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Amber Officer-Narvasa, Christina Entecheva and Shea Fitzpatrick

This interview is narrated by Amber Officer-Narvasa, Christina Entecheva and Shea Fitzpatrick and took place on January 22, 2020 at School for Poetic Computation, 155 Bank St, New York, NY 10014 in response to Between Me and You: Encryption, Proxies, VPNs and Privacy by Harlo Holmes. Elizabeth and Melanie discuss the following keywords: capitalism, society, world building, stairs, autonomy, question, code, future, organizing, class, exercise, subway. Transcription by neta bomani.

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Disclaimer: Narrators were prompted with the following question before going on the record: The year is 2030. What’s happening? The year is 2020. What’s the same or different?

I want to acknowledge how we ascended into the future and then we receded back to now. And we're still talking about the future, but, it's still within the throes or the deep entanglement of capitalism. I guess my question is: Why is it so easy to imagine the terrors of capitalism or the terrors some other dystopia and why is it so difficult to imagine—not even a utopia, but maybe some type of protopian or pragmatic society in which it still is different from what we're experiencing today, but also, I don't know what the proper articulation of it is, but it's not necessarily the same—it doesn't have all the negatives of capitalism or whatever structure of domination, but it has some elements of some struggle, some elements of not everything being totally okay, but simultaneously, things are not totally evil and corrupt as well. I'm trying to take us to the space in between, perhaps. What is that space like?


I feel like I'm picturing that chart where there's chunks where it's like fantasy, the plausible, the actual, like all that stuff, right? Yeah, I personally have a hard time imagining a future that doesn't feel like I'm just fantasizing it while ignoring a bunch of shit [laughs].


Yeah, I feel that, I think for me, not to take it back in the past, but I think the reason that I have such trouble imagining a scenario that like everyone's trying, it's a little bit better, I think the more that I studied history and realized that there were so many times when people had built power and like were building better societies, but then, like COINTELPRO happened, or like the CIA happened—I feel like I've been carrying the grief for what could have happened and like there were so many times we were like, on the precipice of a different kind of world and then state surveillance disrupted it. But...yeah [laughs] I guess to answer your question, I feel like if every single person had bodily autonomy, the world would be so different. And like, when I think of things changing, I feel like that's where I start, like, what if every single person could say no and have it respected? Like, what if everyone could determine how they spent their time or like, how they allotted their labor? I feel like that would be so different.


That's a big one. I think I have so many models of dystopian realities and so few of how we could be better. My toolbox for speculation is almost empty in that regard. Whereas, like my toolbox for potential roadblocks is like, overflowing so. Maybe the homework before the exercise is to fill that toolbox for speculative, improved societies.


But I do like thinking about "no," as the key to unlock some reinvention of whatever is like the clusterfuck—whatever is going on right now. It's like, I don't know because I think, yeah it's just like the fact like autonomy would allow for so much more collectivity.


Yeah, I think that, that autonomy to be able to say no. And that autonomy over how you spend your time is a huge one. And I think also like the ability to say yes, and like who gets the opportunity to do certain things and who doesn't? Is maybe the foil to that.