I work mostly in poetry because it claims to be neither fiction nor non-fiction, because it acknowledges the gap between what really was or is, and what is said about it. Is the woman really in a box? It depends on who you ask, how they see it, or what constitutes a box. I like to claim that all of my poems are “true”.
Ursula Le Guin has said that in order to concretely create the future, we need to reach beyond narrow capitalist realism: we need poetry and visions of a larger reality. We need to invent fictions about the future, in order to then make them real. This is not just about escapism, in the sense of creating an unreality to take refuge in—though I would argue that escapism is a legitimate, even necessary tool for psychological and imaginative survival within capitalist realism. We build counterpower simultaneously to end capitalism and to survive within it whilst we fight against it; to survive subjectively as well as materially.
—Judy Thorne, Futures & Fictions
[T]he positing of a positive concept—or two positive concepts—provides a break from the tendency to think of left-wing politics solely in terms of resistance and opposition. Framing what we are doing as a struggle for luxury communism rather than against capitalism moves us beyond the automatisms of anti-capitalism.
—Mark Fisher, Futures & Fictions
I absolutely agree that we have to generate possible futures that are not dystopian, but I do not think that utopia is the only alternative to dystopia. As you suggest, there is a kind of dialectical equivalence of the utopian and the dystopian in the current, collapsed form of neoliberalism. The attempt to save the neoliberal utopia is making dystopia more and more likely.
I think I would prefer to talk about hyperstition—which has been defined as the process whereby fictions make themselves real—than utopianism. Much of capitalism functions through hyperstitional processes. In fact, you could argue that capital itself is a hyperstition. At a smaller level, the various techniques of hype which capital uses—in which positing the success of a product helps to ensure that very success—are good examples of hyperstitional practices. I believe we need to think about what a communist hyperstitional practice would look like. ... Class consciousness would be a kind of self-fulfilling circuit, whereby the new revolutionary subject would produce itself. Class consciousness does not passively reflect an already-existing state of affairs: it actively intervenes to produce something new.
—Mark Fisher, Futures & Fictions
Transness, the future. I want people to feel transness, not just of the body, but of the mind and of the heart. Transness as a state of mind—a place where nothing is exact or fixed. I could say my work is about ornament and the importance of architecture, botany, the grotesque, magic, and the occult, but these all branch off from this feeling of being or creating something unreal, otherworldly and thinking bigger than the blueprints we have given.
For me, these vast landscapes and the growing worlds feel like mutating pulsations in my brain between something really sci-fi and something more ancient. Imagining how it would feel to be an atom being ripped apart or how it feels to embody a bolt of lightning. I just want people to consider their realities, and think larger than the binary they're used to.