YEAR ONE is a Speculative Solidarities project that began its formal R&D [research and development] phase in CE 2022. This work draws on the conceptual frameworks laid out in that video series, as well as the Autonomous Mechanics approach, the How to Human auto-evolution methodology / Disruptor Mechanism Protocol, and in its physical, iterative Field Station / HUB form includes elements of the Seed Library project, the Speculative Resilience Radical Practice Library and Lab, Open Field Work Protocol elements, and so on. YEAR ONE was shortlisted in 2022 for a Creative Time award.
Note: for more information on these earlier / ongoing projects and concepts, it is recommended that visitors new to my work explore the “Field Stations, Libraries and Labs” and “Artist Research, Somatics and Citizen Science” pages. You can also find some of the conceptual frameworks I’ve developed specifically around queer and trans futures and speculative language in my essay, “Languaging a Future for Lovepersons: Speculative Strategies Towards Radical Trans/cendence,” (download open access PDF) in the Transgender Narratives Anthology (2021).
Like the tools and resources developed and collected for the Operating System Open Resource Hub, both the YEAR ONE protocol / materials and even the HUB are understood to be Open Source – meaning that they are created with the intention of being used and when appropriate, modified for site-specific iteration. While offered through what may culturally be framed as an “art” context, this work is not theoretical, or meant to exist as an artifact or cultural commodity — its intention is quite literally the exploration into, design of, and implementation of systems and strategies for sustainable stewardship of self and planet. The space of “art” allows this work to be produced and shared quickly, with fluidity across disciplines, at a juncture when time is of the essence — the other political and legislative spaces in which conversations around sustainability are taking place are so deeply entrenched that it is fair to say that we cannot wait for them to implement the strategies we need for our survival.
This is a condition that more and more of us are beginning to feel in our bodies, as we process the alarming, confounding paradox of not only anticipating but living in active climate crisis while having our political and economic systems roundly ignore the dangers to human survival and planetary inhabitability in the interest of continued financial gain for a powerful few.
In YEAR ONE, participants are invited to commit to the enactment of a new timeline, beginning autonomously whenever each participant decides to undertake the process. Through beginning to familiarize oneself with frameworks like becoming plural, the notion that potentially infinite “Year One” timelines are starting and overlapping as individuals and groups take place in the process / project, we start to become more comfortable with ideas around multiplicity. When we speculate a collective future that “began” with “year one,” we can imagine that at some point an “official” starting point is established — and in so doing admit / recognize that similar correctives have continuously happened in the recording and passing down of human history. We begin to become more comfortable and familiar with the notion that the stories we tell about what is happening (and especially, what “happened” – ie, history) are not a truth-telling but a retrospective creating of consensus story so as to create a mythology around important moments.
YEAR ONE protocols and hub blueprints are in the process of being developed and will be shared on various platforms and in various media, and will be collected on this page and/or linked from this page. Individuals are invited to participate in the autonomous / independent / decentralized use of (as well as the creation of and research supporting) YEAR ONE materials, whether for their own personal use, community use, or for sharing as part of the larger YEAR ONE project.
Ultimately, YEAR ONE is an invitation for anyone and everyone to make a personal commitment to beginning a new timeline that might lead us, collectively, to remain safely and sustainably as inhabitants and stewards of planet earth. It asks you to begin envisioning the tasks, habits, strategies, resources, tools and other requirements that you will need personally and then too that we will need collectively — locally and beyond — to survive.
Like many of my projects, it takes conceptual inspiration from the Buckminster Fuller quote that advises us to “build a new model that makes the old one obsolete,” rather than attempting to fix the broken one we’re currently subject to not entirely by choice (also rather than waiting for others to fix it and/or create a new one). It also recognizes that we require a certain musculature both literal and conceptual to become adept at operating differently, and invites us to begin to reprogram ourselves to live a different way, before we might be forced to do so. The type of training this requires is sometimes technical, but also often bodily / somatic, having to do with the ways we think and perceive, use language, and interact with each other. These parts of the work are often undermined or ignored entirely, but ultimately will be essential to our ability to cooperate across experiences, identities, and beliefs. Again, when we begin working through a process of becoming plural, we build into the way that we are operating a baseline understanding of multiplicity, which allows us to function harmoniously for survival across conceptual divides, as well as to train ourselves in effective communication and mediation strategies for collective liberation and conflict resolution.
Ultimately, an agreement to participate in the YEAR ONE project is a profound agreement that we make with ourselves, when no one is watching. This is, for many of us, a struggle–we’ve been trained to perform and sign agreements that many of us in fact do not assent to psychically or truly, we sign agreements that we don’t understand the outcomes of, and we often participate in work out of “responsibility,” the expectations of others, to fulfill a quota or requirement, for accolades or approval within hierarchy, and so on. But this is different, and requires an entirely different kind of sense of responsibility: to yourself, your community, and the stewardship of the planet. In essence, it asks you to truly commit to the changes YOU need to make, (personally or with a community or group or locality, perhaps with your neighbors) to preparing for and enacting the cumulative shifts that might allow us to stay here, not only surviving but living harmoniously and sustainably, on planet earth. This commitment always begins with a personal commitment to be willing to explore and make changes, to challenge ourselves personally in the ways that are going to be necessary for us to be actually ready to shift both alone and together. And so, you’re offered an opportunity to commit, in writing.
If you have arrived here from a workshop or other program, you will have been provided with program-specific / site-specific materials, and will also be invited to fill out the YEAR ONE signatory page. If you are looking for the signatory page to share with others, or wish to download a new copy for yourself, you can find that below. As explained in the document itself, this agreement is an autonomous one and requires no accountability to others, but can be uploaded or included in your personal or collective files, can include the signatures / names of witnesses, and can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion in a registry of autonomous agents participating in this process.
About the YEAR ONE HUB:
The YEAR ONE HUB is developed as an iterative, local resource base for speculative tool sharing, solidarity and mutual aid systems. These are iterative, at times mobile sites that are designed to provide a variety of key resources for our communities in a range of speculative near future scenarios. These are designed to be scaleable and implementable at a range of sizes, but at their core they are a resource center that can be located in a site as small as a converted van or food truck, a shipping container, and or in any small built structure. The elements within the HUB structure itself are designed to expand into outdoor spaces for community events, collective skillshare and learning, treatment and care, trading, etc., but if and when necessary environmentally the HUB should be able to function as a contained entity (ie, not open to the elements, if conditions do not allow).
When considering and designing a YEAR ONE HUB for any community, site- and biome-specific questions are always an essential factor. The questions we ask when looking to develop both our own plan for beginning a YEAR ONE protocol or setting up a HUB look something like:
- What environmental / ecological changes do I anticipate happening in my local environment and how soon?
- What will be the immediate and/or longer term impact of those environmental / ecological changes to my local community, regional community, and beyond?
- What will this look like for me and/or others, and who will be most effected? Who will be most in need of support and why?
- What resources and/or systems do I/we anticipate not being able to rely on from the institutional infrastructures we’ve become used to?
- What resources and/or tools would my community need to become conversant in and capable of maintaining the strategies and operations necessary to support ourselves in the environment we are in (or soon to be in) without relying on our former / public infrastructures?
- In what ways will we shift our relationship to personal tools / resources vs. collective ones? What might no longer be personally “owned” that might become a collective resource?
- How might we be living? Do we need to consider a lighter, more mobile lifestyle? If so, how would this impact the way we built a collective hub? If our community as well as the resources we relied on collectively needed to function in an itinerate or migratory manner, how would this effect or influence the decisions we made about what a hub provided?
- If we consider a speculative future that while deeply changed in its access to resources does not return us to a “pastoral” or pre-modern state but rather shifts our relationship to mobile technology and other digital resources, how does this influence what we imagine our hub offering? And/or what we are able to “own” or maintain individually / autonomously? What becomes digitized vs. stays physical, both in our collective and personal tools, and why?
However, there are general tools, basic hub infrastructure / systems, topic areas and resource bases that would be covered for any and all hubs:
These include required infrastructural elements for the functioning of the HUB itself, which seeks to be as net-zero sustainable as possible. Many of these will be similar to the basic requirements for maintaining an off-grid (or low-grid dependent) service / housing vehicle and/or small home. To understand what this would mean or require is to break down some of what the HUB provides, but these basic infrastructures to maintain and run the hub itself include:
- GENERATOR / POWER SOURCE AND CAPTURE
- WATER CAPTURE and TREATMENT
- WASTE TREATMENT / SEPTIC / COMPOST / MATERIAL PROCESSING
- HEATING and/or COOLING, ELECTRICAL / WIRING
- DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY / SATELLITE / SIGNAL
Once it’s possible to physically maintain a HUB structure itself, there are certain basic resource / tool areas that each HUB will support, with some local variation:
- CARE / MEDICAL BAY / HEALING TOOLS and APOTHECARY – collective basic self and community medical / healing support is an essential HOW TO HUMAN skill in the YEAR ONE speculative framework; the HUB offers tools and resources (as well as serves as a training base) for implementing this care and collecting / foraging / storing a range of natural supplies, treatments, first aid materials, and so on
- TOOL and RESOURCE PUBLIC LIBRARY (analog and digital) – the HUB is envisioned as a shared site of resources and tools for the community. What tools are used infrequently enough that they can be held collectively? What physical resources, like books or other materials, would be held in a local hub in a particular biome, and why? This is also understood as an, in part, digital resource — what would be held collectively in physical vs. digital form and why?
- MYCELIAL / MICRO AGRICULTURAL GROWSITE and SEED / SPORE LIBRARY – as we learn to cultivate, save, and use mycelial and other agricultural materials for a wide range of purposes, our HUBS serve as a base for our personal grow projects and sustain our communities’ capacity to grow plants and mushrooms for medical, food, and material uses.
- FARM / ANIMAL / INSECT HUSBANDRY – (site specific) – if and when possible, a natural extension of the GROWSITE is a continued relationship with animal and insect cohabitants, as well as larger agricultural possibilities. The uses and applications of working with animal collaborators goes beyond consumption of animals and animal products, drawing on long term human-animal (and insect) methodologies for waste processing, material treatment, medicinal applications, land management, etc.
- DIGITAL / VIRTUAL CONNECTIVITY and SIGNAL CENTER – it is unclear how available signal and bandwidth for digital / virtual connectivity will become in the future, in particular to individuals who become itinerant and/or underresourced due to environmental conditions. It is wise for us to plan for the potential collective use and management of virtual resources and shared use of connectivity sites.
- WATER and OTHER MATERIAL TESTING and PROCESSING – it is unclear, again, what would be required or possible for individuals depending on the level of permanent housing and/or personally held resources and tools. The most robust form of a speculative YEAR ONE hub includes shared sites for material and resource testing and processing, as well as training in these strategies / methods.
- SKILLSHARE and TRAINING SITE / SWAP SITE / TRADING POST – while this is more general, it is understood that each HUB site would operate as a central location for community training and skill sharing, and potentially as a site for doing so across communities with different information / data / methodologies. The HUB could become the key site for trading and meeting both within localities and across, with multiple mobile hubs joining at regular intervals (if and when possible) to offer a larger opportunity for exchange of materials and resources both physical and virtual, as well as in the form of training / skill sharing.