Guided meditation ~ an experimental SF / futurology exercise on feminist publishing

🔮 v.4

Take a deep breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Feel the air circulate in your body — your lungs, your belly, but also all your cells and tissues, until the end of your fingers and your toes, the top of your head… Let it fill your belly, this breathing brain of ours that we sometimes forget about when we are too concentrated or stressed. Make space for gut feelings.

You can close and open your eyes at any moment if you feel like it, follow my propositions or pause and concentrate on yourself if you need it.

While breathing, start thinking about what you need today…

Maybe you need energy … confidence … maybe you need care … wisdom … maybe you need courage … joy … calm ... time for yourself and your peers … slowing down … going faster ... finding your own rythm … maybe you need to burn patriarchy, to take down colonial statues, to eat the rich, to shout, cry ... maybe you need to rest ... maybe you need support, space, a holiday, a break ... maybe you need to stop ... for a while ... maybe you just need peace …

Concentrate on your needs, and for a few breaths let yourself be filled with this energy…

We are now going to go into the future… or in a parallel space-time. You decide. Choose your own adventure!

Imagine a space in which you feel safe. It can be fictional, or inspired by existing spaces. It can be a composition of architectural or organic elements which presence around you make you feel good. It can be just impressions, fragments, colors, textures.

In this space, imagine a portal, or a bridge, that can make you go in another dimension — the future maybe, a parallel space-time, the past even... From this portal, this bridge, you can feel a soft wind that appeals you.

Follow the wind and go through the portal, walk on the bridge, and when you are on the other side pause, take a few breaths that fill your whole body, and sense the space around you .-*

You are in another reality ՞ ՟ ՚ connected to ours, but quite different. Big social and climate changes happened ֊՞ Big ones, necessary ones. Things you have been waiting for, hoped for, dreamt of. Things revolutionary, that completely shift the power structures in which we have been raised.՜ That make you feel much muuuuuch better and balanced.

You are surrounded by people, they are your peers, you can feel it. Feel their supporting presence ·’

Together, you are gathering around objects, spread in the space, among which publications of various forms, various textures .·#֊

Move around in the space, and get closer to some of these publications. You don't need to see a full picture, again it can be impressions ···

What do you find in these publications that reflect the new reality you landed in? What do they communicate, how?

What do they look like?

What do they feel like? How do they engage, connect with your body? With which parts?

You can stay with the same objects, imagine words, shapes, colors, images, textures, - - -

Unfold their different dimensions, follow the thoughts they generate ~

If you want you can continue to look and move around, you might see other objects, publications, interactions that catch your eyes, ears and many other senses, and trigger your interest.

You hear a soft sound, voices coming from the ground are telling stories, gossiping together, spreading seeds that echo the gossip and amplify them.

They tell the story of how we live and work in this reality, how radical self care has taken a central space everywhere, how our living and working structures have been changed by this new reality.

Stay there for as long as you need…

Walk a bit, and you will arrive softly in a sort of meeting, under a shelter structure.

People are seating on different kinds of seats, comfortable, people of different ages and also other beings, all together. It's not really clear if they are working or just being together and talking while doing different things.

They talk about past, future and present ways of doing they know or heard of. Inspiring tools, generous protocols, radical subversive approaches to publishing and living.

They talk about collective projects centering care over fastness and productivity, rotating roles, learning new techniques and addressing difficulties and differences.

They tell anecdotes of authors from the past deciding to use their skills to elaborate personas and use pen names that would empower them and others around them in difficult times of discrimination and power abuse.

They remember how a group of analphabets and typographers got together to rethink the interrelations of oral and written transmission, and restored the importance of minimized forms.

Someone shares how their ancestors fought to have a different repartition of the means of production, and the means in general, which radically changed the global map of publishing, distribution and circulation, of publications and people.

They laugh and gossip about how long time ago, cleaning, maintenance, care work — in publishing and beyond — wasn't considered as central, one of the most important jobs, and equally paid as other jobs.

Sometimes the voices are silent. And only the thoughts, memories and imagination are speaking…

One of the persons is drawing on the ground, an image they can remember and they love: two faces, one whispering in the ear of the other: les lesbiennes se reproduisent de bouche à oreille. Lesbians reproduce themselves from mouth to ear. Via words of mouths.…

Hearts 💕

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When you are full of these impressions, take a big breathe to go back to the portal, the bridge ⋰ ⋱ and through it come back to our reality.

⋱ is it really the same reality?

Slowly open your eyes, wake up your body and bring it back to the present. Maybe you want to stretch a bit your back, your arms, your neck…

If you want, draw or write down what you encountered during this moment.

Think about what could bring us from the present to the parallel / future reality. What portals, bridges do we need?


⋰ inspired by the project Futurology of Cooperation, thanks to my friend and cyberfeminist colleague Sarah Magnan who introduced it to me ♥ A first version of this guided meditation was developed in discussion with Juliana Vargas Zapata in 2022, a second one for the Books are Bridges summit in Rotterdam in July 2023 ♥ and a third one for the Etceteras feminist publishing festival in Porto in October 2023 ♥