Toxicity, Speculation, and Rights: Political Imagination in Mixmedia, Literary, and Cinematic Futurescapes
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This chapter explores the relationship between imagination and emancipation, or biosocial harm between rights and futurism in transmodal speculation across media and fields. Specifically, it turns to transmodal speculative fiction—Johannes Heldén and Håkan Jonson’s Encyclopedia, Jennifer Egan’s “Black Box,” and Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You—that engages with hegemonic modes of world-building and imagining rights futures. It traces how these works invoke and revoke the dominant modes of speculation, pointing out the contested aspects of hegemonic world-dreaming and the limits of neoliberal, corporate, human-focused rights discourses, their anthropocentrism, their failure to acknowledge and address systemic racial, gender, and economic exploitation and ecological devastation, and their co-optation in militaristic violence and expansion. The chapter concludes with a discussion of emancipatory practices and relations that these projects imagine and engender via narrative, aesthetic, and transmodal experiments.