Guest Blog Post: Eight things that inspired Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow

Combining spoken text, soundscapes and repurposed objects, anorak present EXPERIMENTAL PROTOTYPE COMMUNITY OF TOMORROW, a short-form solo-performance-meets-art-installation about utopian narratives. You can catch it as part of SPRINT Festival on Thu 5 Mar, 7.15pm. Click here for more details. 

In this blog post, theatre company anorak tell us more about the show, their influences, and what they wish to achieve from the performance. 

EXPERIMENTAL PROTOTYPE COMMUNITY OF TOMORROW, the show created by Hannah Batt and I, is about imagining the future. It uses spoken text, music and found objects as prompts for the audience to imagine a positive future.

It’s hard to think about the future. The current political/environmental situation doesn’t inspire much hope. A lot of the most talked about art of the last year or so are things like Chernobyl and Years and Years, both of which present dsytopic images of political authoritarianism and environmental devastation.

As much as those works are well-made, and completely realistic (in a pessimistic/optimistic spectrum way) and valid expressions of the world we live in today, I feel they too easily commodify/inspire despair. We need art to inspire hope, to question how we imagine things and show we can create new systems of being.

But that is a big thing to take on.

Thankfully, people have made things (books/films/games/music) about utopian futures and the act of positively imagining. They’ve been a massive help to making this show, and I thought it would be interesting to share our sources with you:

Four Futures, a book by Peter Frase, was recommended to me by Ross Graham, and was pivotal in forming what the show has become. It’s four distinct looks at what a world without capitalism would look like.

La Jetee, a short film by Chris Marker, which is formally a sequence of photographs. It asks you to fill  in the gaps, to imagine movement where there isn’t any.

An Oak Tree, an artwork by Micheal Craig-Martin, places a glass of water on a shelf, gives you a piece of paper which has a transcript of a fake interview, and asks you to imagine the glass of water is actually an oak tree.

Fully Automated Luxury Communism, a book by Aaron Bastiani, explores how technology is changing our world and the ideal way it could improve our lives. It’s a deep dive into renewable energy, automation and how it can change our world and create a post-scarcity society.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, a video game by Nintendo EPD, is technically set in a post-apocalyptic world, but one that’s green and beautiful. The game gives a huge amount to explore and asks you to approach tasks in your own time. You have a lot of control and agency over what you do, and that feels very utopian to me.

Acid Communism, an unfinished, unpublished book by Mark Fisher, puts forward what an alternative to capitalism should look like. While the whole book remains unpublished, the introduction was published in k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher and I’m a big fan of this quote:

Instead of seeking to overcome capital, we should focus on what capital must always obstruct: the collective capacity to produce, care and enjoy.

lo-fi beats to study/relax to, the now discontinued youtube music stream, isn’t utopian or future-looking per se, but it’s incredibly calming, and puts you in a different headspace, one where you can concentrate, and do something.

Otherwise, we were inspired by the architecture of places like the 1964 World’s Fair and it idealistic future spaces, made of geometric and modernist design.

All of these things have come together to create our show. It’d be interesting to see what would happen if someone else used these sources to create a show, and how different it would be, and what it would say about what you imagine/want the future to be. I’d at least hope it’s made you interested in how these sources have worked their way into the show (WHICH IS TOMORROW AT 8:00 and 8:30PM), and that art is able to inspire hope, represent the change we want to see, and help create the perfect worlds we try to imagine.