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SciFly NYC // 101 // Southern Speculations

Weekly Events 11/4 - 11/10

Hey SciFly Readers!

Writing to you from my condo in Florida tonight, hanging out with Mom before an early flight back to LI tomorrow. Spent most of this weekend in Homosassa for my little cousins weeding, and took some time to travel around today checking out the town and some local establishments, including an AMAZING breakfast at this place called 'Biscuit Barn' where everyone I overheard talking was strangely a transplant/snow-bird from Long Island or NYC (guess we all really like 'diner' breakfasts, no matter where we are, lol).

Anyway, super sleepy after all the fun so going to make this short.

Today we spent a bunch of time looking at the houses, looking at an RV lot, and talking about the future about all the different ways one could live. What types of lifestyles make different people happy? A house that you own, a good job that pays well enough, and a group of friends to come and hang out in your backyard? A city full of events and the opportunity run into anyone, anywhere? A hotel room and a Wifi connection in any country around the world, where you just rest your head on your journey as a digital nomad?

It's hard to say what will make us happy. We are each different, and we each have our opinions and preferences for how we want to live. I want a place where I can walk and look at interesting things, opportunities to meet new people and learn about new technologies and ideas. I don't want a car, I want a great bus, and train, and bike-lanes. I want a community-within-a-community, a network of people who share similar ideals and passions, people who are enough 'life me' that I can fit in with my tribe. My 'dream' is to live in a communal work/live intentional community where I can have my own living space, but share community and responsibility with others (group meals, daycare, a co-working space, space to hold events/meetings, a maker-space).

But who is to say that is the only thing that would make me 'happy'? It's just what I'm used to. We only have so much time and energy in our lives, and we must choose our passions and pathways carefully, lest we try to do everything and end up paralyzed doing nothing as a result. This leads us to judge ourselves, and others, by how they have progressed along our own myopic yardstick of what success looks like, what makes a life well-lived. As we travel to new locations and witness new ways of life, we gaze upon different barometers for happiness and success, calling our own into question, and we can't help but wonder, what if? What if I lived here? What if my life looked like this, or this, or this.

Florida has always been a place like this for me. I've been coming here to visit family, and then stay in our family condo since I was a little kid. But so many things here are radically different from my day-to-day life in Brooklyn/Long Island The places, the weather, the people,  the flags on the houses, the political signage on the front-lawns (I def saw poster of trump riding on a tank with bomb/fireworks behind him...)

But as I get older, what scares me is just how 'different' these definitions of what would/should make us happy/to have a good life may have become (at least artificially so). Driving around and looking at Trump/Pence 2020 signs and confederate flags, I found myself angry, defensive, bemoaning the blight of the suburbs, and biting my tongue as I thought, how could any young person want to be here, in a place like this? Then life does what life does, and I head to a great little wedding reception where I see my cousins diverse group of super cool young friends, who all live here, and who are all wonderful, complex, and insightful individuals who I have more in common with than different in most cases (we didn't get into politics so who knows). I see other queers, other non-binary people, happy and living their lives in Central Florida of all places. A cute dyke couple comes up to me in Publix and clearly happy to see a fellow queer, ask me if they should have apple pie or strawberry shortcake for dessert that night, laughing at each other about how silly and in love they both are as they walk away feeling slightly awkward to stop a stranger.

And I remember that sometimes the things that divide us are manufactured, remixed, and reflected back on us by a mass-media machine who wants us to see differences, not similarities. A filter bubble of shared news and media that makes us think everywhere in some place is one way, cares about one thing. A narrative (whose?) that wants us to paint things in black/white instead of recognizing the many shades of gray that define the diverse people, perspectives, and lifestyles that make up any given place. A story that turns complex, multifaceted individuals into 'them' 'the enemy' 'the other', without asking us to draw closer and see how complex the detail of what seems like a flat surface can be.

Travel makes us better. If we just have the courage to recognize our own bias and assumptions and interrogate them. If we can find the perspective to try on others lives, even if just scratching the surface in a shallow way, just for a second, until we remember that there are many paths to happiness and fulfillment, many places we can live, jobs we can have, lives we can lead. We just need to be open-minded enough to find the value and beauty in 'the other', even when we may disagree with certain components of what makes it up. Travel makes us more human, if only we can put down our phones for a second, cut-off the urge to pen a glib text about 'how lame' (different) somewhere is to our tribe, and try to appreciate that difference in a way that helps us think through what/where/who we want in our own lives.

Maybe the solution isn't to filter reality into into only what we want to see and hear, maybe the solution is to be uncomfortable, to question, and ultimately to use difference to learn more about ourselves, and what is important. 

Thanks for listening!
Read on for this week's great speculative events!

"The future is here, now let's distribute it." 

Doc Martens

SciFly is a design studio dedicated to leveraging speculative design and science fiction to imagine and prototype alternative futures enabled by today's emerging technology.


Monday | 11/4

Tuesday | 11/5

Wednesday | 11/6

Thursday | 11/7

Friday | 11/8

Saturday | 11/9

Sunday | 11/10

OnGoing [classes, exhibits, shows etc.]


What I'm Reading

Here is a quick snapshot of my favorite books, podcasts, and articles this week.

Living with Yourself 
on Netflix

Speculative Fiction and Black Feminist Thought
by Jennifer Neal

Here’s How 20 Years of Office Work Will Disfigure the Human Body
By Kristin Houser

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