The title of the recently published book A Guidebook of Alternative Nows (2012) sounds promising and more than timely – with a look at the financial crisis agitating most parts of the world in one way or another, NOW seems to be the time to rethink our ways of living. Edited by California-based artist and producer Amber Hickey, this publication was co-written by 34 “visionary creative thinkers and makers” from different backgrounds, mostly from the creative fields. The guidebook was also produced in alternative ways, using new ways of funding and publishing (the first print-run of 300 copies was crowd-funded using Kickstarter as a platform). Also, the revenue from the book will be distributed equally among all parties involved in its making and distribution. (1)
The book introduces the reader to the topic as follows: “Imagining the present in profoundly different and promising forms is challenging without concrete examples – and where might these be found when so many signs tell us that the world is spiraling downward: ever more economically unsound, environmentally crisis-ridden, and lacking in obvious avenues for everyday people to make their voices and visions heard?” (2)
The Guidebook of Alternative Nows aims to shed light on “inventive suggestions and tangible alternatives”, “actions that presuppose their desired results”, presenting “a cacophony of realities and potentialities”. (3) The contributions don’t have any certain order, so that the book serves rather as a source of inspiration rather than following a certain narrative. Each chapter is tagged below its title with the following: Economies, Ecologies, Communities, Resources, Histories and Spaces, which help to read through the book in everybody’s own logic.
The contributors range from small local initiatives to more known artists, and many cases are open-natured asking for reproduction, hacking and a wider distribution, maybe already happening in other places around the world. Maybe this is what binds all projects presented in the book together – they are suggestions for a world shared by humans with similar needs, desires and problems. Books such as this help spreading these alternative possibilities and open up new perspectives elsewhere in the world. Therefore, window874 recommends:
Hickey, Amber (editor): A Guidebook of Alternative Nows (2012), The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Press, Los Angeles. The book can be purchased here.
(1) Hickey, Amber (editor): A Guidebook of Alternative Nows (2012), The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Press, Los Angeles, p. 265, Colophon.
(2) Ibid, p. 3, Introduction.