Thursday, August 17, 2017

Chicanonautica: Report From Altermundos

I just finished reading Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, Popular Culture edited by Cathryn Josefina Merla-Watson and B.V. Olguín, and I've got to tell you that it's well worth reading.  It's damnear 500 pages and is not just stuff by and about me, and--oh yeah--my artwork. My sombrero's off to the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press. This is an important book about La Cultura and where it's going in the 21st century. And it's a good companion read to Latin@Rising.

So, what are altermundos? Is this connected to the Altermundismo movement? Not officially, but there are some common concerns. According to Wikipedia:

El movimiento altermundialista es un movimiento social heterogéneo compuesto por simpatizantes de muy variados perfiles, que proponen que la globalización y el desarrollo humano se basen en prioridad en los valores sociales y ambientales, en oposición a quienes los centran en el neoliberalismo económico.

There's no direct connection to Afrofuturism either, even though Octavia Butler keeps getting mentioned along with Gloria Andzaldúa.

Yup, all kinds of borders are breaking down . . .

The imagination can no longer be seen as the intellectual property of this planet's Anglo minority. And the Latino/a/@/x/oid imagination is no longer stereotyped as magic realist. Like I've said before, in a significantly technologically advanced culture, magic realism becomes indistinguishable from science fiction.

And it's not all just science/speculative fiction, either. There are essays about comics, movies, “fine” art, music, performance, and community organizing. The intergalactic barrio looks back at traditional sci-fi and finds it cramped and restricting. La Cultura needs room to breathe, dance, mutate . . .

The prose ranges from academese to avant-poetic experiments worthy of speculative fiction's new wave and cyberpunk movements, and we get new terminology, like in science fiction. 

Once again, we're in uncharted territory where common spellings haven't been established. New words for new worlds.

There isn't a consensus on what to call it all. Chicanafuturism? Chican@futurism? . . . Chicanonautica? I rather like Merla-Watson's speculative rasquache.

M. Christian once told me, “It's just futurism!” An old word that keeps taking on new meanings. In this case it's everybody discovering and creating their own visions.

Which is exactly what we need in these tumultuous times.

In Altermundos we have the cornerstone for a new kind of Latinidad. I'm not sure what to call it: Movement? Phenomenon? Cultura? Civilization? ¿Civilizaçiones?

Read it, and find out what's been going on, where it's going, and get inspired as to what you should do next.

Ernest Hogan wrote High Aztech, Cortez on Jupiter, and Smoking Mirror Blues before any of this stuff was cool.

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