e108 2048 – what speculative fiction stories inhabit you?

Note : Une version en français de cet article est disponible sur : Français

(Sound of fire)

This is another fireside storytelling episode, this time by a wood stove at our cottage. Thanks for joining me. Pull up a chair… 

As I mentioned in episode 106, sometimes, when I get discouraged I like to build a fire, like this, to lift my spirits and to re-energize. 

(Sound of fire) 

Today’s story is an excerpt from Part 1, Warm Up : Into The Future from Vanessa Andreotti’s Hospicing Modernity book, written by the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures collective. I first heard this story, in audio form, while driving through a severe snowstorm on January 19th 2022.

(rumble of car)

The road was very slippery. I could hardly see. I probably should have stopped but I was mesmerized by the story and kept driving through the storm, not knowing how my trip or this story might end. I recall that the story inhabited my body and my spirit that day, where it remains. I believe that stories,, including speculative fiction, have that ability to sit with us and guide us through life.

So, this story places you on December 10 2048, one hundred years after the universal declaration of human rights. You are in a 3D virtual reality world conference where people are gathered to decide the direction of education after a period of catastrophic events. 

I’ll read you a short excerpt now from the end:

In the period between 2038 and 2047, we finally accepted that we were part of the problem and needed to engage with our painful reality to avoid being wiped out. The Mars colony tragically failed in 2038, destroying our hopes for life on another planet. In 2039, a massive event made us all suddenly recognize the enormous cost of our mistakes. Finally we could see that we were addicted to arrogance, consumption, and unaccountable autonomy. We realized that we needed mass rehabilitation. We grasped the gravity of the fact that we were only three billion people left on the planet. We understood that we had caused the extinction of 70% of all species – and the extinction of all life in entire regions of the earth – and we were extremely close to causing our own. We recognized that planet Earth is alive and we are part of the metabolism, not the center of the world or a special species. We also worked out that humanity is capable of both horrendous and wonderful things. We started to face our own and others’ humanity in all its complexity and be taught by the human wrongs we had inflicted upon each other, upon other beings, and upon the planet. 

Then we all had to learn quickly, collectively, and without schools or moral manifestos:

  • To heal intellectually, emotionally, collectively, economically, ecologically, and politically;
  • To abolish colonial and racial violence, inequality, hierarchies of worth and separations; 
  • To center the earth and decenter our egos, identities, human narratives, and separations;
  • To age and die in generative ways;
  • To care for, rather than compete with, everything and everyone;
  • To plant, repurpose technology, compost, repair, and regenerate everything;
  • To prioritize the common good for humans, non humans, and the planet;
  • To use words and conversation carefully and wisely, with humility and maturity;
  • To own up, sober up, clean up, grow up, show up, and exist differently.
  • What speculative fiction stories inhabit you?


Thanks to the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures collective for use of the story in this context and to collective member Azul Carolina Duque for her advice.

I am grateful and accountable to the earth and the human labour that provided me with the privilege of producing this episode. (including all the toxic materials and extractive processes behind the computers, recorders, transportation and infrastructure that make this podcast possible).

My gesture of reciprocity for this episode is a donation to the South American Indigenous Network Emergency Fund.

The post e108 2048 – what speculative fiction stories inhabit you? appeared first on conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.


About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term “conscient” is defined as “being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations”. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016-2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

season 1 (may – october 2020) : environmental awareness and action Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie”s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

season 2 (march – august 2021 ) : reality and ecological grief Season 2 (March 2021 ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that “I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, “the state of things as they actually exist”, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way”. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

season 3 (october 2021 – february 2022 ) : radical listening Season 3 was about radical listening : listening deeply without passing judgment, knowing the truth and filtering out the noise and opening attention to reality and responding to what needs to be done. The format is similar the first podcast format I did in 2016 with the simplesoundscapes project, which was to ‘speak my mind’ and ‘think out loud’. I start this season with a ‘soundscape composition’, e63 a case study (part 1) and e64 a case study (part 2), a bilingual speculative fiction radio play, set in an undergraduate university history seminar course called ‘History of 2021 in Canada’. It concluded with a soundscape composition ‘Winter Diary Revisited’.

season 4 (1 january – 31 december 2023) : sounding modernity


I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I”m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation :

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