This photo series is from Sonia Prabhu, one of SPICY‘s guest contributors. Sonia is a genderqueer photographer, DJ, and multimedia artist living in D.C., with roots in the Midwest. Their work explores transformation, collective care, survival, and storytelling in a range of mediums, from club music to plant medicine.
If another world is possible, who creates it, and whose world shrinks in the process? Which forms of world-building are rooted in violence?
Space exploration exists as one window into imperialist world-building fantasies, through fetishizing, occupying, and surveilling “new” or “uninhabited” territory. While seemingly innocuous, space exploration is tightly woven into matrices of violence at home. For the U.S. military, outer space has long functioned as site to incubate surveillance technology. And much like other imperialist projects, the vast capital necessary for space exploration, and the communities this capital has historically been extracted from, is obscured.
But world-building can’t be ahistorical. In an interview, Walida Imarisha—a writer, educator, and the editor of sci-fi anthology Octavia’s Brood—illustrates what historically conscious, community-based futurisms look like. She notes, “All organizing is science fiction. When organizers imagine a world without poverty, without war, without borders or prisons—that’s science fiction. They’re moving beyond the boundaries of what is possible or realistic, into the realm of what we are told is impossible”.
So who will interrupt colonization of the cosmos, and intervene in violent futurisms?
This series creates a mythology of two gender-chaotic space warriors preparing to thwart Elon Musk’s new gentrification frontier: a Martian space colony. The warriors carry sacred objects – crystals and a microphone – that have grounded them while surviving in and around the colony of Washington, D.C.
Moving through D.C.—the city with the highest police per capita in the world, and a vast surveillance apparatus to boot—has imparted the warriors with a deep intention to redefine collective safety and security, from this world to the next.
The warriors are adorned with flowers and jewels to celebrate their divine and restorative practices of plant medicine, music-making, and storytelling. They are here to remind us that we might be the world we are waiting for.
Photo, Styling, & Adornment: Sonia (@raver.aunty)