Monika is a futurist and futures designer who consults on and prototypes culturally expansive, socially and environmentally engaged future world designs for the media industry, technology companies, and cities or countries. In this conversation with Monika, we discuss the process of prototyping futures and the feedback loop between speculative/science fiction and reality.
“Why would you create more nightmares, when you hopefully can create something that makes people dream, that opens people's eyes, that renders people curious, that makes them want to read more, to understand more, hear more, to dive deeper into that particular thing? Why would you ever feed people more fear, paranoia, doom & gloom? Honestly, life is hard enough. What we currently need most is visions of hopeful future — that inspire us to action & solidarity today,” says Monika.
Most recently, she has been working on @ProtopiaFutures – a platform for research and creative collaborations challenging and offering alternatives to dystopian/utopian stereotypes. Protopia explores visions of radically hopeful and inclusive futures centring Queerness, Indigeneity, Disability and previously marginalized cultural perspectives.
“Whenever we look into the future and especially into the deployment of any new policy, technology, scientific research, urban redesign, we have to think about how does that affect the most vulnerable people,” suggests Monika.
Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired, used the word “Protopia” for the first time in 2011. Kelly’s initial idea of the concept came from the word “pronoia,” (the opposite of “paranoia”): an exuberant feeling that the entire world is rooting for you. You can read more about the Protopia Futures framework here.
Readings and books mentioned in the podcast:
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (2013) by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Speaking of Nature by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Discourse on colonialism by Aimé Césaire