Our new fellow Makan Fofana: the mastermind of Turfurism

Three questions to our fellows: Makan Fofana, the minister of magic, as he describes himself, is a native of a Parisian banlieue. Makan has been developing new ways of reinventing and re-enchanting neighborhoods generally considered as economically and socially deprived.

July 27, 2023

Makan Fofana

Makan Fofana © Steffi Retti

“My first mission is to democratize possible futures while developing solutions to the great challenges of our humanity.”
Makan Fofana

Hello Makan Fofana!

The suburbs of the world will have found a new model of existence: this is Makan Fofana's intention as an Allianz Foundation Fellow. Here he answers three questions.

Where are you from in terms of how you think?

“Born in Versailles (France), I grew up in a Parisian suburb. My childhood was greatly affected by the specific culture and environment of the so-called banlieues. Today, this allows me to become a philosopher of the banlieue, following Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, the thinkers of the city in its widest possible sense. In my work TURFU (French slang for the word “future”) I reflect about these surroundings in connection with politics up to the physics of the planets. Bringing together the quartier with living species, philosophy, the arts and politics - this is the ambition of my next book.”

What would you like to use the fellowship for?

"The fellowship is a great opportunity to take the TURFU approach to the next level, both nationally and internationally. The TURFU project is structured in 10 missions, all designed as a collective development in which everyone can participate. This fellowship supports my aim to serve the common good.

The 10 missions are:

Mission 1: TURFURIST COLLECTIVE – Develop a Discord collective around new narratives that will carry and spread the turfurist movement. 

Mission 2: DYSTOPIAN-CINEMA – For a cinema that proposes restorative fictions and tells the future through poetry, surrealism, mythology and traditions. 

Mission 3: LOW TECH AND METAVERSE – Developing a creative metaverse to serve territorial imagination. 

Mission 4: TURFU CHICHA CLUB – To make the chichas of the world a cultural space for debate, democratic discussion and imagination. 

Mission 5: SYMBIOTURFURISM –Territories and transformation: thinking and practicing the living and becoming a force of proposal for the ecological transition. 

Mission 6: TURFU FABRIC AND SHOP Making handcrafted turfurist objects. 

Mission 7: AFRO-ARABIAN PLURIVERS – Drawing inspiration from the arts, aesthetics and mythologies of all continents to create pluralistic and inclusive futurisms. 

Mission 8: THE SCHOOL OF TURFU – Democratize the teaching of futures, design and science fiction. 

Mission 9: COLLAB AND PARTNERSHIPS – Create hellish collaborations at the European and international level. 

Mission 10: INTELLECT AND PHILOSOPHY – To develop the first Greek-Kabob-inspired School of Philosophy and to think all knowledge. 

I will also focus on writing a new book about the transformation and the cultural revolution of banlieues, on developing an art installation, and on designing workshops with different artists to make the TURFU vision come true.

People have a hard time imagining a desirable future if it does not go through mainstream channels. My first mission is to democratize these possible futures while developing solutions to the great challenges of our humanity."

Where would you like to go? What is your vision, your long-term goal?

"Today, I must play several roles at the same time. I need to talk to the locals, convince them that another future is possible. I must talk to politicians, explain my vision and offer my support. I must write to invent new models. I need to collaborate with artists to help me realize my vision. Through all of this and at different levels I must make the ideal of TURFU a reality.

I am truly convinced that banlieues are, above all, an economic, social and philosophical system that is exhausted but not dead. Tomorrow, there will be cosmopolitan localities. Tomorrow, stars will be able to flourish in their own quartier and inspire new political and ecological practices. The suburbs of the world will have found a new model of existence, a TURFU way of life inspired by diverse backgrounds, anchored in ecological transitions and the well-being of individuals and society."

Makan Fofana about his latest book DU CHAOS NAÎT LA CRÉATION (From Chaos Creation is born), 2021

"Originally, the Banlieue du TURFU was like the ozone layer: a space, mostly in my mind, which allowed me to contemplate and dream of a pink sky, while protecting my gaze from cosmic rays. I wanted to explore new dimensions of existence, even if it meant losing my faith, my skin color, my identity, where I began, where I ended, or my neighborhood ...

Humanity dreamed of freedom before conquering it, it dreamed of the moon before bouncing off its surface. With my first book DU CHAOS NAÎT LA CRÉATION (FROM CHOAS CREATION IS BORN), I call for a collective dream, one of rekindling the poetic flame stifled by pessimistic narratives and other prejudices about life in the suburbs."

Makan Fofana, 2021

Makan Fofanas Buchcover

Makan Fofana: Banlieue du TURFU (Tana éditions, 2021).