RADICAL ASIANFUTURISM AND SPECULATIVE DESIGN

A Repository for Critical Asianfuturism by Nina Yuchi











Science fiction and speculative literature have shaped the ways we think about the future—will it be flying space cars or grim apocalyptic wastelands?

While sci-fi seems to imagine the distant future of improbable societies and impossible creations, it plays an important part in how we operate and work towards social, environmental, and political change.
Not only does sci-fi dream of moving to Jupiter, it also conceptualizes technologies that are making their way into the mainstream market, such as self-driving cars or bioengineered apples. It also prompts us to think:







What kind of futures do we want to live in?
What are we capable of imagining?
What actions will we take to make these futures possible?







Subgenres of speculative literature by people of color don’t only imagine possible futures.

Afrofuturism and Chicanafuturism address imperialist histories of exploiting Black and native bodies for technological advancements, renarritavizing the past to empower the future.
This website focuses on East Asian futurism addressing the possible futures of East Asia and the global Asian diaspora.        









 “East Asia” typically comprises of China, Korea, and Japan.

 
Although these countries geographically lie in the Northeastern corner of Asia, they are also perceived as the “Oriental” East by the Western hemisphere due to their political and economic power as global market competitors. 

East Asian futurism also raises issues of fetishization and appropriation in Western sci-fi and creates discourse about speculative thinking as self-othering. We also get a better perspective of how global politics and history influence Asia’s technological impact.









While anime, video games, and movies have pioneered East Asian futurist aesthetics, artists such as  
Lu Yang,
                                        the Propeller Group,
                Can Yang, and
                                                                      Nam June Paik


further interrogate what it means to be designing for a global future.


Other artists create works speculating distant futures, subverting the stereotypes of Asian sci-fi.










Professors, art historians, and curators further investigate the nuances of East Asian futurism, debating its agendas and intentions. Though still a relatively new scope of research, published academic works begin to question how upcoming speculative Asianfuturist design can generate productive narratives.