RAS MASHRAMANI ON ‘IS SCI-FI POLITICAL?’
The following is an excerpt from our pilot episode of March 2013, which can now be found in the 2013 Archive zine.
AS A CULTURAL NEONATE, THE METROPOLARITY CREW DISCUSSES ITS INTENTIONS, SCIENCE-FICTION, AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO ‘THE POLITICAL.’ NOTE THE POINTS OF OVERLAP AND POINTS OF DIVERGENCE. RELISH IN IT ALL! WE ENJOY URBAN PARADOX. IT’S IN OUR NAME, IN FACT.
Ras Mashramani, glorious founding MP member and purveyor of the Nightspace says:
For me, Metropolarity is an expressly political endeavor. No I’m not concerned with politics—with rubbing elbows with old white men, or lobbying for marginal legal successes—fuck all that noise. Marginalized populations are politicized not because we want to be, but because it’s a political act to express the uneven distribution of power in our country. As blacks and queers and women and working poor, we carry generations and generations of fragmented stories, ones created out of anger, fear, disconnection, isolation.
But now we live in a newborn world of information, increasingly co-dependent with that resilient, inclusive, mostly free, anarchic machine: the Internet. And culture and change can be generated by the internet. Voices that are commonly disenfranchised can build their own spaces on the Internet. My own identity has been formed in large part by the internet | memories, stories, and identities I have created and interacted with through AOL chats, multi-user dungeons, forums, and personal web pages. Queer kids coming up now are experimenting with identities in places where they are protected from our country’s religions and popular kids.
I truly believe that we are living in a science-fiction reality, and if science-fiction has taught us anything, it’s that a mastery of technology is integral to survival in a plugged-in world. Today, the digital divide is real and tangible! And our identities hinge on our ability to create and manipulate data in the cybersphere to affect change in real life.
The free for all who can access it, open-source, information-sharing nature of the Internet is a model for our real life. Cities like Philadelphia are hurting for a space to discuss the future of our communities. Fragmented histories and fictions have exhausted their reactionary, grieving, angry stories. The advent of the information age can also mean the beginning of new stories for us freaks and outcasts, whose existences are politicized by overpowering mainstream media that tries it’s best to distract the masses with golums like Jennifer Aniston and google images of Kim Kardashian’s vampire face bath. Metropolarity is the real life answer to this void of critical, future oriented stories for the urban have-nots. I intend that we become a space where we can examine our world speculatively while sharing skills to control the media in the cybersphere, where ideas | solutions | hope can spread like a virus globally.
When we began forming and developing Metropolarity, I had in my head science-informed consciousness raising. I was thinking about the democratic power of the internet—of perfecting the art of coercion by digital means in the name of justice and education, art and expression. I was praying desperately for a space, as populations with difficult and fragmented inter-generational stories to tell, to explore, and critique our increasingly globalized and complex world, while learning to master the technologies that we have been blesses with in our science-fiction age.
Let’s create memes with more substance than feisty kitty cats and babies eating lemons. Let’s take hold of our representations and worm our way into the mainstream.
MEME BE A MEME!! ∞