Prologue: Gambit

The future has been sold. Parceled, bundled, and securitized, it serves as the connective tissue for a global system where speculation turns a profit. Projections of better tomorrows incorporate us in collective fictions: there is always a way to optimize the present, to upgrade and improve what is to come. Endless promissory notes tame uncertainty as risk, even as predatory insurance schemes thrive on fears of oncoming deterioration, disaster, or accident.

Against such phantasmatic screens of anticipation, this project articulates and practices what we call affirmative speculation.

We are an uncertain commons: a collective of academics, mediaphiles, activists, and dreamers who imagine ourselves as an open and nonfinite group. We explore the promises and perils of collaborative intellectual labor, combining critical analysis with the playful promiscuity that is intrinsic to thought. We perform anonymity as a challenge to the current norms of evaluating, commodifying, and institutionalizing intellectual labor. Finally, we contest the proprietary enclosure of knowledge, imagination, and communication, while also affirming the potentialities of the common.