Dreampunk – A Manifesto

finding wonder amongst ruins…

Dreampunk is the rediscovery of wonder and beauty in an age of collapse, conformity and decay. It seeks a modern Romanticism: embracing the ideals of love, liberty, equality and freedom, whilst utterly dismissing the systems of colonial and patriarchal wealth and the privilege. It shuns those who hide themselves away from the processes of life and death, and instead embraces the raw spirits of creation and destruction.

Dreampunks seek to find the extraordinary within themselves and their own locus in place and history. We are explorers of the wilderness and urban wastelands alike: psychogeographers who are deeply connected to wherever we happen to be standing, and whoever we are standing with. Dreampunks blur the line between the real and unreal: experimenting with ritual, the occult, and the transformative as ways of understanding our journeys through life. We work to reunite reason with emotion: rejecting those who dismiss overwhelming evidence in the face of personal bias, or those who refuse anything that is deeply felt and understood simply because it cannot be explained.

Our work strives towards the creative empowerment of the normal, and you may find us amongst midwives, makers, gardeners and blacksmiths—working together as true equals in a world that hoards power amongst the few. We make, reuse, repair and recycle what we have, because we understand the true destructive power of planned obsolescence upon our spirits and surroundings. Our hands are in the bare earth of our permaculture gardens, and we are out there in the wilderness: beneath a canvas sky with a firesteel and waterskin, seeking to leave only footprints in the mud behind.

Dreampunks build living, maker-driven, vernacular technologies which are powered by the wind and waves or the strength of our own bodies, and which do not require the destruction of the deep forests, the oceans, and the mountaintops to enable their existence. We reject the propaganda of Big Bio and Big Pharma, who tell us they can solve our problems with money, drugs and chemicals, who would try to copyright life itself, and who are caught up in what is little more than an arms race against Nature. There is much reason to rejoice in the unfettered curiosity of the human spirit, but there is also good reason to be wary of those who would use its achievements for profit. We consider it our responsibility to challenge anyone who disguises their greed behind the cloak of scientific advancement, and reject any efforts to label this willingness to question as opposition to science itself. Instead, we seek systems of participatory and collaborative science, medicine and agriculture—reclaiming use of the medicinal plants that corporations attempt to refine, re-package, and sell back to us, teaching others how to feed and heal themselves, and learning to live long and healthy lives exploring the wonders of this universe.

In the place of intellectual property and the outsourcing of cheap labour, dreampunks reclaim the methods of production as our own. We see this work for what it is: not as tiresome drudgery, but as tasks that are vital to our existence. We realise that even as we give up our ability to produce and repair, we surrender the control we have over our own lives. And so we work to inform and to share our skills, knowledge and stories with anyone who needs them.

When we tell these stories, we will aspire towards new myths and legends—finding fresh ways of exploring our relationships with one another and the land. This work will be achieved with whatever tools we feel are best, without mind for what society tells us does and does not have merit: employing genre as well as the literary in our storytelling, breaking down the barriers between the performer and the audience, and using the laundry as well as our poetry as an expression of ourselves.

We seize both freedom and responsibility in equal measure, and we will not suffer to be told who (or how many) we may take into our hearts and into our beds, what gender we should present to the world, how we should dress ourselves and fix our hair, or suffer any such restrictions on who we are or what we are capable of being.

Dreampunks do not believe that the world we build for ourselves is perfect, or that it will be magically free from pain, discrimination or oppression. We realise that we live in a time which is often filled with an unassailable darkness, and do not seek to immerse ourselves in utopia and ignore what is happening around us. We are flawed people living in a flawed world, but if we are to make things better than they are, then we shall have to get out there and find another way.

Even if the only place it can be found is in the blaze of the night sky above the crumbling walls and creeping ivy: in ruins where we creep so softly, with bare feet, afraid to break the silence.

We will live it. In the living, we will give it life.

8 Responses to “Dreampunk – A Manifesto”

  1. Hi there – we are in production now on the second show in our Dreampunk season. We do seem to have a similar viewpoint! I look forward to learning more about your project. We get to the U.K. once or twice a year. Happy to meet up in London next go-round.

  2. It seems that we do indeed have some similar views, doesn’t it? A steampunk opera on climate change? Good show! If we can possibly make it down to London the next time you’re in the UK, we should all go for a beer and a chat :)

  3. [...] Dreampunk: A Manifesto – mission statement for a forthcoming Vagrants Among Ruins publication [...]

  4. I’m not sure yet who or where you are or what you’re *doing* with this, but I’m going to keep looking ’til I find out so we can do it together.

  5. Well, there’s plenty of info on who we are, where we are, and what we’re doing on the ‘About’ page here. As for where we’re going with this, the idea is to start with a call for submissions and a ‘zine, and see where things go from there. From your website, it looks like you’re setting up a kibbutz, which is pretty awesome. Where abouts in the world are you based?

  6. [...] Read the rest here. [...]

  7. [...] work on the first Dreampunk! ‘zine now well and truly under way, Vagrants are looking for ways to make our blog a much [...]

  8. […] “Dreampunk – A Manifesto” by Vagrants Among […]

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