Collaborative Project + Curriculum + Public Programs Series

Performance, Physical Computing, Internet of Things, WiFi, Fabrication (various)

2018 - Ongoing 

With support from Mozilla Hive Leadership Fund

‘Technology as Talisman’ is a speculative decentralized community network for the political resistance, radical healing, and community resilience of queer and trans/GNC communities of color that incorporates internet technologies, cultural rituals, and alternative histories and futures. This project aims to ultimately result in the following: 1) curriculum and workshops to inform and teach these technologies, and 2) a performance that includes artifacts and rituals as a proposition for community organizing.

Cultural rituals are technologies of survival for the preservation of self, culture, community, earth, and movements.  In other terms, these tools fight against the extraction of lands and resources, against erasure, colonialism, and the racial capitalocene (a term coined by François Verges to describe how racism, imperialism, and capitalism structure the unequal distribution of climate catastrophe). 

For people of color and diasporic communities, our cultural heritages and ancestral practices can provide the grounding for future possibility; they are lasting, we carry them forward.  Envisioning a future and reworking cultural practices can serve as a process of healing from intergenerational trauma.

To be able to study and model these ideas (and to later codify them), I centered my own Iranian culture, its diaspora, and its rich ancient histories as launching points to then draw out how they can inform the methodologies around healing, community networks, and technologies for survival.  The work around my own culture is very personal and became a more significant and timelier part of the project than expected. I feel that from this I can begin to understand a pedagogy that others can utilize to call upon their own practices and stories and then we can collectively create new systems of support.

These technologies were taught through ritual and storytelling, our own stories.  Mythology and speculative fiction are methodologies used by artists of color and/or diasporic communities towards liberation and survival in an unknown future. Such accounts can counteract a reality that might be defined for us by systems of racism, colonialism, and environmental destruction. As suggested by Verges, “the politics of the possible also rest on the imagination — on the freedom to dream other pasts and imagine other futures than those suggested by the racial Capitalocene [...] We are at a critical juncture, a historical moment that sends us into our inheritances to find sources and references for the struggle ahead.” While she was speaking to the African diaspora, I borrowed this promise for other diasporic communities to hold onto our histories and practices in the face of the precarity of existence.

Cargo Collective 2017