e130 fiction – what stories do you want to hear?

a quote from robin parmar about speculative fiction raises some questions

(bell and breath)

I love the sound of leaves dancing on hard surfaces. 

(sound of a leaf blowing)

It’s poetic and kinetic and you’ll see in a minute how this sound relates to this episode about speculative fiction. 

With his kind permission, I will quote composer Robin Parmar, from a question he asked me at the end of my keynote presentation at the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology conference ‘Listening Pasts – Listening Futures’ on March 23rd, 2023 in Florida via Zoom. Here’s Robin question recorded from my microphone in the room:

The problem with the future is that it’s already happened. Hollywood, and increasingly the games industry, have already colonized popular imagination about what the future is and there have been so many post-apocalyptic scenarios played out on the screen. And in almost all of these, there’s a heroic band of survivors who have to face their new world in a confrontational way, which just perpetuates the same narrative of what I prefer to call the industrial military entertainment complex. I don’t, like you, I don’t give up hope, but I realize it’s a small leaf in the wind, because I’m not sure how we can compete with such a massive force of narrative that in a way has already written the story, or at least the story that people want to hear, because people have to want to hear the story for it to be a successful one.

(sound of a leaf blowing)

Robin mentions a small leaf in the wind as a metaphor for our feeling powerless when faced with creative forces around us shaping our collective imagination in ways we might not be aware of, or even desire…

So I thought about Robin’s question and have come up with some questions of my own:

(in English and in French)

  • Has the future already happened in our minds and memory? / L’avenir a-t-il déjà eu lieu dans notre esprit et notre mémoire ? 
  • Do you feel like your imagination has been colonized? And if so, how would you know? / Avez-vous l’impression que votre imagination a été colonisée ? Et si oui, comment le sauriez-vous ?
  • Do you know who your heroic band of survivors might be? And if so, could you identify with them? / Savez-vous qui pourrait être votre groupe héroïque de survivants ? Si oui, pourriez-vous vous identifier à eux ? 
  • In what ways do you think the industrial military entertainment complex affects us? How does it affect our minds? / De quelle manière pensez-vous que le complexe industriel militaire et de divertissement nous affecte. Comment affecte-il notre esprit ?

I want to thank Robin for his question. / Merci pour ta question, Robin.

What kind of stories do you want to hear? / Quel genre d’histoires aimeriez-vous entendre ?


For more information on Robert Parmar’s work see http://robinparmar.com/paper-platial-phenomenology.html

I am grateful and accountable to the earth and the human labour that provided me with the privilege of producing this episode. (including all the toxic materials and extractive processes behind the computers, recorders, transportation and infrastructure that make this podcast possible).

My gesture of reciprocity for this episode is to Howlround Theatre Commons .




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