Queered Economies; Enacting Networks of Reciprocity

Miche O'higgins, Dani Williamson

Led by co-creators of the feminist, sci-fi writing community, Queer Futures Lab, this interactive worldbuilding workshop uses the encounters at a convenience store as the starting point to explore a series of performative and text-based exercises that challenge systems of value, tokenization, and question what a “queer economy” would look like.
Workshop Flutgraben
Hands On

Queerness, for us, is the experience of embodying constant ex/change and transformation. Within that context, Queer Futures Lab will lead the group through a series of performative and textual world-building exercises that challenge systems of value, tokenization, and question what a “queer economy” would look like and how technology aids in creating said economies.

The workshop will begin by imagining ourselves in a convenience store, a familiar and mundane location that easily exemplifies the transactional system of value within capitalism.The exercise asks to define the values of our alternate economy and from there determine the currency or ‘cash’ that tokenises these values. By playing through this scenario over and over, each time changing parameters such as values, currency, location, time period, speed, duration, we attempt to gradually move from a unidirectional, linear transaction to a network of reciprocal exchange where the scenario is unrecognisable from the initial interaction.

In this improv exercise we embrace ridiculousness and surrealism, not insisting on finding ‘solutions’ but focus on the interpersonal relations and networks that arise. The convenience store acts as a familiar departure point from where we can begin to transmute the foundational ‘truths’ that this interaction is built upon. We build worlds by first inhabiting them in an intuitive and playful way, seeing what we can bring forward from these emergent interactions. 

After several iterations of the convenience store improv, we choose one of these scenarios to expand on through a collective writing exercise. Through this, we increase the scale of our interactions and ask at what size is it successful and at what scale do our utopias become too slippery?

We end with a performative reading of our speculative economy where we use the motion of exchanging cash as an analog storytelling mechanism for our anarchic digital networks of relation