Futurotopias: Speculative fiction workshops on feminist technologies

This methodology enables participants to invent narratives, fiction or radical imaginaries that work as alternatives to existing oppressive or dystopian models. These new imaginaries can be oriented towards a specific topic (for example inventing feminist and liberating technologies, inventing technologies by combining bodies, machines and nature) or a specific activist issue (for example Sexual and Health Reproductive Rights, Land Defenders, etc). The workshop is oriented at co-designing stories and creating new worlds as processes to imagine and dream together about desired futures.

Write on big papers a selection of broad categories intended to describe the machines or technologies participants will invent during the workshop. For instance: Look and feel (What they look like? Materials they are made of?), Functionalities (What are their functions?), Usability (How can they be used? By whom?). These categories are some examples that can apply to the description of invented machines or technologies. You can also split the category “Look and feel” in two categories, one for adjectives describing the machine and another category specifically about materials they are made of.

Once you have detailed your broad categories, you can display them on the wall.

Brainstorm the different features displayed in the wall for inventing an imaginary machine or technology. For each category the participants are invited to add (with sticky notes) at least one feature of it. For this activity, participants might already have specific feminist technologies in mind. In that case they will detail their different features in sticky notes for every category (look and feel, functionality, usability). Participants that do not have in mind a specific technology, can also add features they want to play with in sticky notes under each category.

From the features that come up from the previous brainstorm’s exercise, we are going to mix them. Each participant will choose one feature under one category and combine them together in a paper and will give that combination to another participant. For example, each participant can get a combination of features that would look like: Look (pink and soft), Feel (made of wood), Functionality (swallow pollution) , Usability (can be used under the rain or dreaming). From that combination, they will imagine a machine, technique, artificial or technology that is based on those features: “In my neighborhood there is a little box made of pink wood that eats pollution every time it rains and when it does not rain, some people can activate it by dreaming of it”.

Building on the previous activity, each participant will build their machines using the process that they prefer. They can either draw it, create a 3D model with art materials like plasticine, or create a collage with photos and other materials. Participants will showcase their invented feminist technologies or new machines. Give a time to all participants to have a look at other inventions and to comment them.

Propose to the group to select 1, 2 or 3 machines and to split in groups for 25 mins in order to write together a story around that machine. Where does it live, who maintains it, how does it impact the ecosystem around it, could be some of the ideas to have in mind meanwhile drafting those stories. Methodologies for quickly drafting stories can used random cut-up processes such as asking each person to write a sentence on a paper, hidden those sentences letting the last words visible to the next participant that will depart from those words to write a new sentence, this can go on until everybody has written something. Or people can create an oral story around the machine and then write it together.

The idea is to finalise the workshop by asking each group to read their stories aloud if they want to.

Special thanks to: Lucía Egaña Rojas and cooptecniques for starting and inspiring this happy madness that bring noise and laughs around and is basically giving me hope

More information about feminist futurotopias workshops

Archive: Futurotopixs Feministxs

Two collective stories redacted with participants to a feminist futurotopia workshop developed during the Open days in Calafou, August 2017

Story 1 – Ibupro – outcomes

what does it looks like : translucent

what is it made of: velvet + smells like lavender

usability: drink it to start the effect + think about removing it and the body rejects it

functionality: enable you to choose from possible outcomes

for whom: for my friends that have gone through a lot

I had overdosed on ibupro-outcomes again. My head was about to explode soon. An endless series of scenarios flickered before my eyes. i was confused. What should i do now? I thought about stopping the effect of the pill and concentrate on my feelings.

Going home now would give 35% possibility to see her again. But in the end, in my chest I had the sensation this would not be the best possibility. This pill is not working I thought. “Not enough”.

She drank the remaining gin she had in the glass, there was a bit of ashes, the truth, she took another pill.

A shiver run on her skin, in her vision she could see the camps of forced modernity. She thought about sending an encrypted message to the genderhackers, she felt a warm sensation.

I could see the communities of resistance to hetero-techno-patriarchy, see the communities of resistance to hetero-techno-patriarchy

The rising sun rays set a lila light on her tits like a body paint: Mother technologies now! Help me I said. The problem is even though I know the possible outcomes, I still do not know how to decide. Should we even have such a power? Should we learn to share and co-own the new transformative possibilities coming from that device to assess our possible futures?

Another pill, another confusing moment, another chance. But this time after the effects stopped, everything was so clear. I had to take the next train. The analized possibilities were now clear, either I took this train, either I could die. But I would not die this time, i would find ways of being connected to the others and build a space of infinite, changing and happy possibilities.

Story 2: Rehab system for sexists

what does it looks like: pink and round

what is it made of: jelly fish material

functionality: activates on its own when sexism occurs

usability: dark side of the force

for whom: for people that experience discrimination

Everything started with the need to analyze Big Data created by Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft. The friends knew it.

By reflex he looks at his feet , he had already been marked and glued to the floor by the “sexist jelly fish”. This time everything was ok, his feet were free. But he did not know for how long.

In the conflict with the machitrolls-7Reich, he could have been infected by the trojan RAGK. Even if he changed his habits, the trojan would look for basic orders on the antipatriarchal education program and in few days it would active a program that could reduce you in a machitroll–7Reich.

It was already more than 300 years that the resisting colonies survived in the underground and the time for acting was coming. Only the last details were missing.

She leaned out of the window with a sigh. Half an hour until her shift at the feminist headquarters would start.

This stinky slime-jelly was also produced here. Heated and pasteurized in a pipe system behind the main screen. Once exposed to oxygen the liquid stored in the wrist watch under extreme high pressure would expand in volume. Therefore the production was designed to be a closed system in vacuum.

A new unique technology that can reach every corner of this planet.

Then the sexist person really decided to over think those issues. The person look at the green stuff covering their feet and felt a sudden familiar feeling, they did it again! They strike in the daylight and everybody could feel it.

Things will not be the same again.

Nobody thought about the old times, nor in the obscure era, finally the humanity would have another opportunity.