Normative Futures

Our ongoing moment is now largely defined by the last one year, which to say the least was challenging and withering. In a fraction, the pandemic shook the foundations of human civilization and dented all our existential systems. As millions of lives are lost, national economies have crashed, and healthcare exhausted, survival and sustenance have once again become the foremost pursuit for the majority of the global population. But as difficult the times have been, they are also quite transformative. We witnessed a collective spirit of survival that prompted us to see and experience things in a new light. Today, the world is more connected than before and a strong sense of consciousness has prevailed.

The present that we live in and the idea of the future that we envision has also expanded. During the pandemic, mental health and well-being has emerged as a major concern. Home has become a multidimensional platform positioning itself in between the old concepts of Outside and Inside. Chaos and Order, Frugality and Innovation, Material and Making, everything was witnessed in these intimate home spaces. The notions of proximity and distance have also changed. The neighbourhood has again become important to us. Localism, our dependence on local systems, has made us re-value things which are within our hand’s reach.

The pandemic also made us question our notions of being a global community. Technology-driven, virtuality-enabled, trans-located, co-working and co-creative spaces have dissolved the limitations of physical geographies. The fragility of the unconnected systems in remote and vernacular setups have also become prominently evident. As the technology-enabled creators have thrived, the rural craftsmen, the small-scale makers and the un-connected artists and creators continue to struggle. Although the traditional creator was challenged due to the shrinking physicality and expanding virtuality, the scope for opportunities has also shifted and increased in some sectors. As individuals and communities, we have progressed to become more adaptive and open to newer possibilities and experimentation. Perhaps it is also the time to rethink inclusivity along with a conscious adherence to the sustainable development goals.

Is the pandemic the paradoxical-pause which the planet's inhabitants needed, or is it a provocation to make us stop in our heels, reflect, rethink and come together to redefine human civilization?

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