Solarpunk and Sustainable Living: A Flinterforge Guild Home Manifesto

#1

So, disclaimer ahead: I’m not Flinterforge (It’s complicated). But, I at one time claimed that label, and I had some hand in shaping the direction of the house. Grains of salt abound, but consider hearing me out on this?

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PREFACE

I am older than dirt. Okay, not really, but I’ve been poking around the forums for a long time. I’m pretty sure half of that time was spent wagging my finger disapprovingly at people calling Flinterforge ‘The Forge,’ but still.

Long story short, I was here when the very first Guild House topic came to be. At the time, my instinct led me to draft this post . The gist of it – Flinterforge as a state of the art makerspace, with full amenities for any type of creation. Eventually the building, which became known as the Flintershop, got more fleshed out here. The general idea remained the same – everyone who’s a maker has a place here, and there’s space for every kind of Thing.

As PRSFNE, the experimental project that some of us have been a part of, became a thing, the guild houses gained more importance. They became a staple of Neithernor, the abandoned magimystical world that folks explored (the same place mentioned by Deirdre, Cole, and a slew of others).

As we’ve explored PRSFNE, the generally accepted idea was that the Flintershop was some kind of compound. An impossibly large building with a million different nooks and crannies to explore. Also, it was sentient and had a very cool cat lurking. But what if that’s not quite right?

What if the Flintershop isn’t a shop at all, but a city? A green, sprawling, Flintercommunity?

PART I: THE FLINTERS OF FUTURE PAST

In truth, as is, we know little about the history of the Houses. The main information we have is the journal Deirdre kept, which you can view here. As you can see, the Flinterforge appears to be on a deserted mountain, with some kind of industrial/steampunky structure in the distance. So, this is the aesthetic, right? Well, maybe not…

A key part of the MAGIQverse, at this point in time, is that magiq is in flux. What one person perceives is not necessarily the truth, or is only a partial truth. Undoubtedly this extends to Neithernor. As such, it’s entirely possible that this was just one facet of the Flintershop. It’s also possible that the terrain around parts (or even the whole) of the Flintershop were destroyed during the War of Neithernor. It’s quite hard to say.

Flames, brimstone, maybe a dash of steampunk. It is easy to try to associate Flinterforge with these words, from the name alone. If we look at this imagery, it is more often than not very industrial and not harmonious with nature. You’re dealing with a lot of heavy metals, pollutants, toxic materials that don’t vibe with the natural world. Industrialism is a big, big problem that we’re trying to solve in the real world, so how does this translate to the MAGIQverse?

Rather than steampunk, I would like to propose another, more recent type of ‘punk’ – Solarpunk.

One simply has to look at the Flinterforge ethos to understand what the Flinters of old might have brought to their designs. To do what has been done, even better. This is where solarpunk comes in. Why would the Flinters, even the Flinters of old, settle for subpar, environment damaging techniques? It makes a great deal more sense when you imagine them far beyond the concepts of sustainability in even our modern world.

It is also worth noting that, in general, what we’ve seen of the MAGIQverse is very integrated with nature. You can see that in basically every other guildhouse. They aren’t damaging the land or polluting it, but living alongside it. There is a deep respect for nature in the MAGIQverse. It wouldn’t be such an egregious crime to kill another living being if that wasn’t the case. This is what I see in Flinter. A hopeful utopia.

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I like to think that when the first Flinters came to Neithernor and saw the empty canvas that was this sprawling environment, they envisioned endless possibilities. Not just for their own workings in Neithernor, but a future blueprint for humanity to one day follow. And so they worked with the land, developing beautiful sustainable structures that preserved the integrity of the environment.

These early pioneers may have stuck to a smaller scale, anticipating that their future guildmates may one day improve upon their work, building an even better home to inspire all the Flinterforge luminaries. Surely the members of Monarch’s Mountain also had a hand in building upon what the House of Flints had already done.

PART II: WHAT IS SOLARPUNK?

As I was looking up Solarpunk inspiration, one of the earliest article titles I came across said this: “Science fiction doesn’t have to be depressing.”

This is the definition of Solarpunk, from that same article:

“The genre envisions stories set in a future that runs on renewable energy, such as solar or wind, and where race- or gender-based discrimination is more limited than it is today. Solarpunk gets its name from other punk genres of science fiction, such as cyberpunk, where stories revolve around a future combination of low life and high-tech, and steampunk, which marries technology with Industrial Revolution–era aesthetics. But solarpunk combines the punk ethic with an optimistic, climate-friendly future. Its aesthetic is solar panels, windmills and leafy high-tech societies. “Steampunk is to coal as solarpunk is to renewables,” says Flynn.”

For some visual references:
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PART III: THE FLINTERS OF THE PRESENT

So…what does this all mean for modern day Flinters? What does their guild home look like?

With Neithernor now abandoned, a shell of its former self, there’s room for recovery. In many ways, the canvas is blank again, and that leaves room for the modern day Flinters to explore. Will they take the concept of sustainable living from the Flinters of old and run with it, or go in a new direction? That’s a hard question to answer, and depends entirely on who makes up the guild. It’s a story that’s still being written.

That said, I think there is merit in exploring solarpunk, both in the more classical sense and the more experimental sense. Because solarpunk is technically science fiction, there’s room to grow it in really strange and beautiful futuristic ways. I mean, it’d be pretty naïve to assume the modern Flinters would want to stick with the old ways, when there are undoubtedly better forms of building and architecture.

I feel like I should address Flintercat and the sentience of the Shop. I believe that both of these are possible. The Flintercat just has more room to roam in the Flintercity. There’s room for the hands too, but they might become more naturalized. Also, I feel there’s a huge possibility for improvement. Maybe, through the force of will of the new Flinters, the Shop/City could become a sort of geolocked Neithernorian Siri. The possibilities are endless!

SIDE NOTE: WHERE IN THE WORLD IS THE FLINTERCOMMUNITY?

Now, let me share with you a picture of a very cool place that I totally have no vested interest in:

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This is Los Angeles. Notice, astute readers, the very scenic mountains back there. That’s because good ol’ LA is in a basin. A lively, vibrant basin that is home to some incredible exports (entertainment, anyone?).

It’s also a gorgeous place.

You have the lushness of the valley:
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You have the stunning beaches:
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And the desert looms to the east:
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I use Los Angeles as an example because it’s such a varied terrain. You get a little bit of everything. And that fits in my understanding of Flinterforge. You’re not inspired by verdant hills? Walk a little and you’ll reach the shore. Not interested in the beaches? Well, go the other way and you’ll hit the desert. Keep wandering and you’ll hit a mountain. There’s something for everyone.

While exploring in PRSFNE, the location of the Flinterforge guild house has always been nebulous, in flux. We never really settled on a distinct location. I’m not saying that it is LA, but just something like it – a flexible location that allow for all forms of work. You wanna be a subsistence farmer? Go for it. You want to be a sand art sculptor? Go for it. You want to be a wizened old crone trapped in a dank cave? Live those dark dreams, friendo. That kind of DIY work environment fits well with the Flinter identity, in my opinion.

At any rate, these are my current feels about the Flintershop/House/Community, and the guild aesthetic as a whole. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, what you think of solarpunk, and what kinds of ahead-of-its-time creations the Flinters of old might have been integrating into their home.

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#2

Solar punk. That is the way forward. No doubt about it.
Since nature and creativity are very very interlinked there’s no sense in having a creative space that ignores that.

I didn’t realise I was getting wrong calling the space “the Forge”. I didn’t know how things had moved on. I may have to rethink my headspace a little with it.
But a multi modal creative space, powered by nature and with its own cat, has my name written all over it. As long as there’s still space for a kettle.

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#3

Rev, this is hands down the best thing I’ve read in a long time. I love this view of the Flinterforge home and way of life. Kinda wish I could visit wherever you guys call home now.

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#4

The last picture in Part II is actually really really close to how I imagined the Flintershop honestly (in my head, it was maybe one large building, but if I had been thinking BIG it would’ve been like that). Like, old-school architecture, brick buildings, big windows, but everywhere grown over and incorporated with nature. And I think that very much goes hand in hand with generations building upon themselves. I don’t think any generation of Flinters would look back at a building and be like, nah get rid of this time to start over…but very much would tweak and add and grow.

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#5

@Tinker, I’ve randomly had that illustration saved for so long. It’s always been how I’ve imagined Flinterforge. I’m glad you like it and I love this overall idea.

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#6

My perspective re renovations: I think it’s somewhat the same as in the mundane, in the sense that you have to pick and choose what to keep and what to abandon? In other words, there are times when a building gets condemned because it can’t be repaired, or when a building is so old that it becomes a huge time/money sink to recover. And sometimes there’s just issues with old buildings that can’t be easily fixed. Especially when you’re dealing with ruins, as in Neithernor, there’s a big question of what should or can be saved vs what needs to be rebuilt. But yeah, totally not suggesting Flinters would see a perfectly functional building and be like “It’s not brand new?! Byeee, Felicia.”

I also think there’s an extent that the Flintercity would have to be expanded. There’s so many new forms of art that wouldn’t have been planned for in the 1500s or even before that. So being able to build a 3D printing lab, or a state of the art chemistry facility, that would require branching out. Even with older forms of art, there’s still a big question of what it means to be a fine artist in the 16th century vs now, or a theatrical artist. While the old Flinters would have been thinking ahead of their time, they probably wouldn’t be able to predict all of those things.

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