Sunday, June 03, 2012

Lao American speculative arts organizing

The big project that's been percolating for me over the last few years is how to develop a multicultural, multimedia organization that meets the needs of Lao Americans and their friends and families interested in the speculative arts.

This emerges from a deep concern that we speak frequently in the community of preserving the past and remembering our heritage. Memoirs and children's books are constantly in development among our emerging writers. But I hear very little of people trying to express concrete visions of what our future can be. What would Lao American culture have to be like to vindicate us reaching the stars, for example?

To me, there is a significant need for a core group of thinkers and artists in our generation to conceptualize that future, and to consider our alternate histories and deep pasts. To embrace what we consider science fiction, fantasy, horror and other artistic genres that we might engage the Lao imagination and heritage.

One the essential questions to me is: How do we improve exchanges between groups and individuals who are interested in speculative fiction, both inside and outside of the traditional speculative arts community. How do we preserve the history of what's come before while also remaining committed to innovating new approaches that meet the needs of today and the next generations?

There's often talk of expanding artistic and cultural horizons, but what does that mean in practical application?

How do we create more Asimovs than Meyers, how do we create work that is rigorous yet suited for the rapidly changing speculative environment we live in today? Is the future in Lao American speculative video games? In multimedia or in old-school books? Do I want a publishing industry that hastens the deforestation of Laos' fragile ecosystem, or is it better to risk production in an e-book world? What will the demands be for the next generation of artists? How soon will it be before it makes sense to hold awards and recognition for Lao American speculative writers? What will that body of work look like over the next ten years? Who will be a part of that journey? How, too, do Lao American speculative artists create work that is responded to, rather than merely responsive?

But what are other key questions you feel we should be considering?

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