MFA Core Faculty member and writer Carolyn Cooke is thinking a lot about the future of cities, and the future of humans in cities
“I Contain Multitudes” is short piece I wrote recently for Journal of the Plague Years, an online journal edited by the intrepid journalist Susan Zakin that offers a sexy take on politics, culture, and music. My piece is about three books that are helping me understand why US history functions as fiction: stories we tell ourselves about the past that prevent us from imagining a more inclusive, better future.
I’m also thinking a lot about the future of cities, and the future of humans in cities. Yesterday a New York Times story detailed plans for Painted Rock, the new “Experimental City” in the Nevada Desert designed to run on Blockchain technology. Among other tech giants, this “Smart City” will house Tesla’s battery gigafactory that Elon Musk promises that will be the biggest building in the world. Painted Rock’s “ideological amenities” include wild horses, which remind residents of the wildness and freedom the desert milieu represents. This is happening now, and this is what the future will look like if white men build it. I’m beginning to understand my current work, a proposed TV series called Fire City, as an irreverent — and dead serious — refusal of this future.
Carolyn Cooke is the author of the novel Daughters of the Revolution and two collections of short stories. She teaches in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Writing MFA Program at California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.