For the fifth issue of Kajet, a journal of Eastern European encounters, we invite collaborations to take place within the realm of the future.

Following the launch of our fourth issue, we invite collaborations to take place within the realm of the future. Focusing on the possibilities of the future—on what might ‘tomorrow’ bring, the fifth issue of Kajet seeks to provide answers to the following underlying questions: Are alternative possibilities still possible? How can we broaden the horizon of a multiplicity of emerging futures, instead of a singular dogma that has been followed unequivocally in the last three decades of capitalist post-socialism? Can we disentangle ourselves from the traps of capital, from globalising and homogenising narratives that shape our imagination? In the context of disintegrating dreams and prospects, the failure of traditional liberal ideology, the rise of extremism and neo-fascist movements, the danger of profound environmental crises, as well as the dilemma of the nation-state system as a relic of the past, what does the future entail for us? Invoking Ernst Bloch’s ‘not-yet’ and Jacques Derrida’s ‘to-come’, what does Eastern Europe’s future look like? 

Over the last three decades of increased precarity and insecurity, the act of remodelling the future has disappeared in the turbulent transformations that took the reins over Eastern Europe; the very notion of imagining a better future has either been relegated into a worn-out ideal, widely regarded as a by-product of privilege, or cancelled altogether. Juxtaposed between utopia and absurdity, even the possibility of envisaging and fantasising has been discarded and nullified. According to Bifo Berardi, the current collapse of the future is connected to the cultural dimension of capital, to the promise of eternal accumulation and the objective of growing in perpetuity. But the future will never take place because it has already disappeared, being erased from collective consciousness. In the continuous ‘now’ that self-help gurus propagandise, time has collapsed, compressed ad infinitum into meaningless capsules of temporal disorientation. 

At the same time, the future may be already ancient, as the acts of prophesying, forecasting, and foreseeing are as old as recorded human history. Imagining the future may be just another fragmented memory, another form of remembering the past in nostalgic fashion, of recreating priorly cancelled futures that were brushed aside from the so called ‘normal’ course of history. These past futures have always been present, but they have been suppressed by the dominant forces of the status-quo. Such parallel worlds need to eventually find their way toward the surface, by squeezing in between the cracks of a single, dominant modernity. If post-socialist capitalism orients the present toward one, singular narrative of the future (toward a trajectory of productivity and growth and eternal accumulation), we must then rethink our modus operandi. We do need to start thinking side-ways, laterally, in zig-zag, rather than in unilateral and uniformising notions. Thinking solely ahead and forward may not be such a revolutionary act, after all. By relying on sideward thinking, we may be able to propose a response to the singular, linear, teleological understanding of time, history, present, or future; in this way, the parallel, co-existing imaginaries are not only embraced in the plural, but inevitably empowered and made alive. 

When referring to what lies ahead, we need to be equally aware of what took place in the past. This is because power—in the context of a colonial past and future—is managed both by preemptive and predictive forces, as Kodwo Eshun puts it: ‘preemptive’ refers to the way the colonial power controls the past and denies the emergence of alternative futures, other than the one desired by the status-quo; ‘predictive’ implies that that power must be in change of the present in such a way that the future is not only predetermined, but also managed in advanced. Under these circumstances, what types of thinking and practices are needed to re-imagine the future of Europe and Eastern Europe? Is there a new thinking possible beyond “the end of history” or “after the end of post-communism”? Is it possible to strategise and come up with a revised vision for the future of Europe, not in a totalising manner, but perhaps to provide a toolkit that would allow a new way of thinking about this condition, to counter the intellectual/political hegemony of the West, and propose a more habitable setting through a new set of discourses and practices? If the 20th century has allegedly embodied the failures of the dreams that informed the modern world, how does the 21st century look like for Eastern Europe and what does the future hold for us? 

Onto this backdrop, we are looking to publish 20 written texts and 5 visual/photography projects. Besides the suggested themes specified below, we are also interested in publishing short stories, autobiographical dreads and fiction, as well as visual projects, such as photo series and illustrations. The emphasis remains on tackling academic subjects with a more accessible overtone. Therefore, we are particularly interested in projects that draw extensively from cultural studies, philosophy, critical theory, anthropology, film/cinema studies, architecture, ethnography, art history, cultural sociology, queer and gender studies, ecology, political science, etc. 

For written work, the suggested word length is between 1,500 and 4,000 words. Those interested in submitting their work are invited to send us an email with the completed project as well as a brief bio by December 1st, 2020 at the following email address: 

Suggested—although not exclusive—approaches to the issue:

  • Modernity and counter-modernities: de-centring the Western art canon and a future-oriented approach to contemporary art at the so-called margins of Europe; 
  • Feminism, women, resistance, and a better future: feminist histories and modernities, techniques of survival in neoliberal Eastern Europe;
  • Radical change and utopian visions, or how to fight for a better future: social unrests, youth movements, political uprisings and protests; 
  • Neocolonialism, post-capitalist ecology, and the future of Eastern Europe
  • Cyber-utopianism, technology, and labour: artificial intelligence, machines, and the post-industrial revolution; the creation and production of knowledge and mental labour; 
  • Technology and the future of labour as revolutionary prospect in Eastern Europe; 
  • Post-work society and post-capitalism: post-scarcity and Universal Basic Income in the age of digital accelerationism 
  • Anarchism and post-capitalism: past and present accounts 
  • Russian Cosmism: infinity and immortality at the turn of the 20th century 
  • Soviet space colonisation, transhumanism, and Russian forms of futurism
  • Queering the East: the past, present, and future of LGBTQ politics
  • Dethroning the canon and History: cancelled and invisible futures
  • Futurology and future studies: how does our future look? 
  • Histories of the future: futuristic accounts in mankind’s past
  • Utopia as a possible method: the future as the beginning of history
  • Beyond capitalist realism: a visual arts of and for the future
  • Speculative fiction: imagining the day after tomorrow
  • Radical manifesto and the future of the image: art and politics and revolution
  • The last avant-gardes and the last future: modernity, nature, and the end of architecture
  • Cultural memory and cultural resistance: our history is our future
  • Humanity before and after the end of the world: genealogies of the present and politics of hope
  • Apocalyptic anxieties: the future as our fears of the contemporary world 

Good luck!