Future Cartographic is a community for creative writing and art.

Erik Moe
Erik Moe at the National Gallery of Art with a sculpture by Rachel Whiteread, kindred artist of place and time

I’m Erik Moe, Founder and Chief of Expeditions here. I have two simple goals for Future Cartographic:

  1. to write, and
  2. to build real-life community around art, creative writing and collaboration

If you’re working on a project, especially one that contemplates place and time (as most art does), or have been curious about creative writing but aren’t sure how to start, let’s talk! This is a community of support that will strengthen your practice. Art—especially writing—craves dialogue.

I’ll be using this website increasingly to practice what I preach: writing in public to find my people and strengthen my practice—and I would love to help you do the same if you’re game.

Some of my writing will touch on the themes of Future Cartographic’s past projects exploring art, place and time. Other posts will explore entirely new territory. And as Future Cartographic grows, I would like to include the voices of participants and fellow explorers like you.

Origins of Future Cartographic

Future Cartographic began in 2015 as a project exploring the distant future of neighborhoods in D.C. (and cities everywhere): imagining hyperlocal utopias as a tool for rethinking change at the neighborhood and planetary level.

The structure was a helpful one for flipping the yes-or-no question that corporations and elected officials put forward about big developments. Why not start with the psycho-geographic attributes that might bring happiness to the people who will live over the next century or two with our choices? What is lacking from this place that change might heal? What would endure and bring more people joy over the next 200 years? What are the cultural treasures of this place, and what would it look like if they grew, flourished and spiraled out in to some unimaginable new form, shaped by our grandchildren and by immigrants to our neighborhood. Long-term thinking about short-term change.

These explorations led to a series of walks, conversations and art installations you can read about in the Projects section of this website. Many of these involved the creation of speculative fiction set in places I’ve come to know through my walks.

Writing and Community

These projects yielded a huge amount of material I wanted to organize in to a narrative form. And so I sat down to write. And write. And write. As of June 2019, I had written 208,790 words over the past few years according to the app I now use to track it all (not counting free-writing and journals). Much of that writing was and is a mess. Some of it has earned generous encouragement, grants and other opportunities.

But the writing process has been a quiet one. Less social, less about community and friends and exploring the physical world than the early Future Cartographic work. It necessarily involves more time in front of a screen.

This is why I’m re-launching Future Cartographic as a blog and creative community.

One of art critic Jerry Saltz’ rules for artists speaks to the need for dialogue and friendship we all share as writers and artists:

Artists must commune with their own kind all the time. There are no exceptions to this rule, even if you live “out in the woods.” Preferably commune in person, but online is more than fine. It doesn’t matter where you live: big city, small city, little town. You will fight and love together; you will develop new languages together and give each other comfort, conversation, and the strength to carry on. This is how you will change the world — and your art.

This is the kind of community I envision building with you at Future Cartographic.

Programs

How do we get there? We’ll figure that out together. My ideas include:

  • writing workshops
  • write-ins
  • one-on-one critiques
  • providing editing assistance
  • collaborations on art projects and on ideas and issues that matter
  • experiments on ideas that might not matter at all
  • publishing zines, pamphlets, books and blogs together
  • coordinating informal writing residencies

The goal is to make this often solitary practice a constructively social and socially engaged one.

For starters, let’s talk. Drop me a line at erik@erikmoe.com.