The second photobash in what I hope will be a series; a bit larger and more visually interesting than the first. I’ve started thinking of these as 'postcards from a solarpunk future.’ They might not show the width and breadth of this world, but nice scenes of what this fictional solarpunk society would consider aspirational, or values worth showing off.

I feel that for a genre/movement with such a focus on intentionality, there’s a lot of AI art setting the tone online, along with a tendency to accept anything that looks partway futuristic and green, even if it’s a massive cityscape or sort of generically utopian. I want to try to pull the visual aspect towards a more lived-in, human future that sets out to show possibilities/options.

My goals for this one were pretty simple: I wanted to show a setting where cars are no longer the priority, and to show that a solarpunk society will embrace new technology and infrastructure where it’s a good use of limited resources (in contrast to the focus on reusing what’s here that I’m trying to include in other images). I also wanted to show that there’s room for more than one solution (and more than one kind of lifestyle) as with the bicyclist towing a kind of traditional-looking wagon.

As with the other photobashes, there are ruins in this scene. One of my overarching goals is to keep these pictures from looking utopian or like some kind of scratch-built future. Things will be messy, resources will be scarce, and tasks will go undone. As in our world, the debris of abandoned projects will pile up around human society, no matter how good its intentions are. I’m pessimistic enough to see bad times ahead, but I want to emphasize in these that that doesn’t mean giving up. For me, that’s a big part of the appeal of solarpunk, that the people in it keep working to mitigate the damage at any level they can access, and will try to rebuild more deliberately, carefully when they can. So these scenes are a little postapoclyptic, with hopefully a more inclusive, vibrant, and colorful society on the other side.

  • Wandering PhoenixM
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    39 months ago

    Another very nice and thought-through post :)

    I have to say, I completely understand your drive to include ruins ans the like, but rusted cars in the middle of the road, specially having co-op recovery groups as in your previous post and some people using the roads, seems quite unlikely. Still, it emphasises your message very nicely.

    • @JacobCoffinWritesOP
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      9 months ago

      Yeah this one is definitely stylized a bit, I sort of condensed a few aspects of the place into one shot. If it was a real postcard it’d be a heck of a shot with both the wagon and the train, or maybe it’s a touch of in-world propaganda.

      Other details include the lack of power poles for the right track (they cluttered the lines of the scene) and probably the steep grade of the train tracks (I’m not a civil engineer).

      I do think it could be justified in-setting - I figured there are definitely wrecker crews out there collecting vehicles (and almost included some in this scene) but decided they hadn’t gotten this far out yet. Wrecked cars would be someone’s priority, both because they’'d represent an easy source of refined metals, and because (depending on what fluids or batteries are left in them) they’re all minor ecological disasters waiting to happen.

      But nobody’s gotten to them yet. This society is still strapped for resources, there’s never enough workers or hours for everything that has to be done. They choose their priorities and try to mitigate the damage where they can’t fix it. Maybe they don’t have enough enough space or need for how many vehicles were abandoned during wars or forest fires, maybe these ones are too low priority, too far from wetlands or other critical areas, maybe it’s just too much time spent traveling to get them.

      But yeah, realistically they would have at least been moved to make space when the work crews were building or maintaining the train tracks. Perhaps what we’d really see is some simple warehouses dotting the highway here and there, with all the cars shoved inside out of the elements, waiting for someone to come get them.