C&AL: What is Futura Trōpica?
Juan Pablo García Sossa: Futura Trōpica is an intertropical and decentralized network composed of local structures that connects communities and territories in the tropical belt of the Earth, in order to exchange knowledge, technologies and endemic designs. On one hand, it is a research project aimed at strengthening and channeling conversations between communities in the tropical belt and to redefine our understanding of the tropics. On the other hand, it is an intersection of networks: local networks, networks of affection, and networks in a technical and infrastructural sense: internet, intranet, Wi-Fi, etc. The current nodes are Bogota, Kinshasa and Bengaluru, with 30 active contributors from different backgrounds and with different experiences.
C&AL: In what ways have the tropics been excluded from the global narrative and what strategies does Futura Trōpica propose to reclaim this?
JPGS: Historically, the tropical regions have been undervalued and exoticized. They have been considered solely for resource exploitation or as unmonitored fields of experimentation (as in the case of Cambridge Analytica in Kenya). The system of globalization and progress – within which the tropics are stigmatized as an “underdeveloped” region – has generated in the region an eagerness to “catch up” with the so-called “developed” world; importing external ideas of progress and preventing us from examining our own notions of progress. Rarely have the tropics been recognized as a place from which knowledge emerges. For example, since the idea of the “Technological Gap “, the notion is still widespread, that no technologies originate from the Global South or the tropics.