Following a presumed conclusion of the civil war in Syria, global management consultancies have urged Lebanon and other regional actors to invest in the country’s industrial and urban reconstruction through their private sectors, inviting architecture studios, businesses, tech startups, and public policy think tanks to design, bid in, and scramble for its people’s futures. The human, material, and cultural devastation in Syria is being framed as a ground zero for transnational firms and necropolitical regimes to experiment in market maximization schemes—a violent disavowal of the hope to build another world, envisioned from Daraa to Rojava, and all the way to the Notre-Dame-des-Landes. These endeavors manifest amidst a global conjuncture characterized by decades of neoliberal austerity measures, rampant financialization, accelerated processes of ecological erosion, and a surge in right-wing identitarianism, prompting us to ask ourselves and one another: How do we safeguard the radical imagination from vanquishing discourses and economies of reconstruction? Where do we nourish spheres of interdependence and autonomy in this sterile night?
The 8th edition of Home Works summons artists, curators, filmmakers, scholars, and writers to partake in worldbuilding. In worldbuilding processes, fabricated elements are woven into authoritative realities, forging the perceptible with the imagined, and reconfiguring dominant models of being-in-the-world. When set against the backdrop of modernity and its failed utopian propositions and legacies of cultural infrastructures, worldbuilding offers an infinite set of configurations for ways to feel, make sense of, and render the world. Communities have long confronted the there and then with the construction of fantastical frameworks, designing speculative paradigms for the future, and drawing blueprints for alternative modes of doing. By convoking the radical imagination and exploring imaginary worlds as forms of knowledge, we break from systematic cycles of injury, precarity, and attrition, and participate in acts of re-enchanting the social relations and natural taxonomies that compose our world.