The ancient Greeks descended into caves in search of prophecies. They thought that experiences of our senses – the rich aroma of ripe fruit, the dusty heat of the afternoon, the streaks of blood in the evening sky – were distractions from the true nature of the world. In order to see more clearly, you must remove all distractions. Or remove yourself from them. You must travel inside a deep, dark cave. You must feel your way along craggy walls until the daylight dies, the shadows dance, and sounds begin to sing.
Visions come to you, now.
In today’s world, the cave is either a library or an echo chamber; the open landscape is either a town hall or a twitter-verse. Which one you succumb to, and why, is probably a matter of belief.
But the question is the same: what can you see?
Visioning has long been a process of change-making; in the opening to Emergent Strategy, adrienne maree brown cites Ella Baker’s provocation: “this may only be a dream of mine, but I think I can make it real”. In a chapter of Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha relates visioning to “prefigurative politics” — which they explain is: “a fancy term for the idea of imagining and building the world we want to see now”. Visioning requires constellations and liberating our imagination; it invites politics of hope, and a trust in the power of fictioning or collective world-making, from the occult to the speculative. Visioning makes possible the movement from what is to what if, the world now to the world not-yet.
For this chapter of Something Other we ask: what do you envision? What can you see about the future? What do you connect across time? What can you see about the past? How does your vision change your world, and which world are you talking about? We invite your eyesight, your second sight, your mind’s eye. We hope to be transported by what you see.
Previous chapters have invited two kinds of submissions: a work to be published online, and an expression of interest in performing at a live event. Given the ongoing restrictions brought about by (and government incompetence in dealing with) Covid, we are not going to hold a live event for this Chapter, but hope to hold a listening event online in the last week of April 2021.
Submission guidelines for online publication can be read here. We invite you to think of this as an opportunity to present work-in-process, to experiment, and to play. Have a look at our previous chapters to see the range of forms this has already taken. We are always open to something new.
Please let us know if you would also like to participate in the listening event, and if you are able to provide an audio-only version of your work.
Deadline for submissions: 12 March 2021