Hope and Art When the World is Falling Apart

A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of getting together with Michelle Kuen Suet Fung and Sam Solnick, two of my fellow contributors to An Ecotopian Lexicon from University of Minnesota Press, for a conversation. The inimitable Maggie Sattler of UMP walked us through the basics of recording a podcast together, and did the beautiful work of editing our meanderings into the form you’ll find linked here. In “Hope and Art when the World is Falling Apart,” we tacked among subjects, discussing each other’s contributions to this volume, discussing etymology of collapse, apocalypse, utopia, dystopia, discussing the relevance of hope and creative process for reimagining the world into a new form–away from racism, xenophobia, classism… you know the drill. I invite you to listen, and share your thoughts and reactions.

Here’s UMP’s description of our conversation.

In the era of climate change, how can we imagine better futures? AN ECOTOPIAN LEXICON is a collaborative volume of short, engaging essays that offer ecologically productive terms—drawn from other languages, science fiction, and subcultures of resistance—to envision what could be. The book connects thirty authors and fourteen artists from a range of backgrounds and locations, and three of them are here in discussion today: anthropologist and herbalist Charis Boke, visual artist Michelle Kuen Suet Fung, and Sam Solnick of the University of Liverpool. This conversation was recorded in August 2020.

For more information, visit ecotopianlexicon.com.

Works and writers referenced in this episode in order of appearance:
David Attenborough’s The Private Life of Plants
Carolyn Fornoff
The Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet, edited by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Heather Anne Swanson, Elaine Gan, and Nils Bubandt
bell hooks
Evelyn Reilly
Karen Barad
Donna Haraway
Climate Changed by Philippe Squarzoni

Thanks to the conversants:
Charis Boke, @charisboke on Instagram, @charisboke on Twitter.
Michelle Kuen Suet Fung, michelleksfung.com
Sam Solnick, @LitSciHub on Twitter