What future can we imagine from this uncertain present? Have we learnt anything from this two year pandemic still not overcome? Not long ago we were all locked up at home, and now we roam with Covid passport in hand, showing our vaccination cards, still wearing a mask and restrictions have even toughened in some countries. However, despite this being our present, for some strange reason that I can't say I understand, all this seems like a thing of the past. Now that things have improved I am settled back in to the same day to day motions as always, the rush, the stress, the lack of time despite how ever much you stretch it like gum. And of course, also, the trips, the parties, the festivals, the lists of endless desires. We want our world back to how it always was, the one from before, because it suited us fine. But is that really the world we want to live in? Or should we rephrase that question as: what type of world do we need if we all want to stay alive?
Just a quick note from Our World in Data: in African countries hardly 1% of the population is vaccinated, whilst in rich countries 57% of people have already got their full dose. The information is devastating and the question, inevitable. If a pandemic that has now taken more than 5 million lives worldwide, does not make us think and act, what will? Slavoj Žižek speaks in his book 'Pandemic' about a 'new communism', so we either save everyone or no-one is saved. And the historian Eudald Carbonell defends a scientific and technological revolution; which should push us towards a new paradigm putting an end to “anachronistic systems like capitalism”.
What is clear is we need a world that is more respectful (towards each other, towards animals and towards the planet) egalitarian and sustainable, we need to re-find ourselves, underline words in the dictionary like ‘sharing’, ‘collaborating’, ‘helping’ and community building.
Above all that's what we talk about with our guests that participated in this edition: designers like Kerby Jean-Raymond, founder and creative director of Pyer Moss, Luis De Javier and Ryunosuke Okazaki, musicians like Dorian Electra, Caroline Polachek and Bbymutha, artists and curators like Pauline Cournier, Arvida Byström and Antwaun Sargent. As well as the model and philanthropist Noëlla Coursaris, founder of Malaika, an organisation that works on a not for profit basis in Congo, dedicated to promote the education of girls and women. “We have to work hard”, she said. “We have to close the gap. Not only for women, but also the digital gap.” Less statements and more action is what Antwaun Sargent and Dorian Electra advocate. “We need to do a lot more to use the state to take care of people’s basic needs and survival,” Electra said. But in this edition there is space for ideas, despite some of them being closer to a Black Mirror episode than our most immediate future. Maybe the interview with the philosopher David Pearce is the most disturbing we have done to date. Pearce, forefather of the abolitionist school of transhumanism, defends hows thanks to science and technology it will be possible in the future to abolish suffering, mediated by genetic manipulation to place ourselves in perpetual joy. I don't know if it makes me happy or makes me tremble. Anyway, it's not something that we are going to see happen, so I will end with Kerby Jean-Raymond's words that close his interview: “You have to be optimistic for the future, right? These are tough times, but there are ways to get through them. Many things have changed and routines have been uprooted. The only thing that we can do is be kind to each other, watch what we say, stop being a fucking hater all the time, and get through this shit together. It’s the only way to stay alive”. Amen.