036 :: Technical Support

“Lack of proper planning does not constitute an emergency” – Ancient Project Manager Saying

Narrative

Been a super fun week. Went drinking with Dr Kane Bidwell last night so I am feeling a little slow today. I need to get back up to full speed by later as we have friends coming over for more drinking. Its a nice life.

The weather is going to be gorgeous for the next week up to 23 degrees on Wednesday so i’m planning on going for a lot of walks by the thames and in Richmond park and will just spend the time thinking about my upcoming talks for May. I usually write/give the whole thing in my head over and over and then sit down and make the supporting slides. I’m hoping to have draft 1 of both talks complete by this time next week.

I bought some EZY Jeans from uniqlo and have been telling absolutly everyone how amazing they are. They have literally become my favourite item of clothing – maybe ever. I’m wearing them right now. A friend texted me saying “The EZY Jean comfort community welcomes you” lol.

Eve has started renting a counselling / therapy room in Kingston, I’m not sure if i’ve mentioned it by we have been running around the last 2 weeks getting everything ready for that. its looks great, she had her first client in it Sunday, and two other councillors are interested in renting the room already so that is 100% great! So proud of her.

Permanently Moved

Episode 4 has come around quickly. In this episode I address some feedback, moan about the neighbours, make a few announcements, and begin a new (hopefully) recurring segment called tech support.

It’s also now available in all your favourite pod catchers! (iTunes is still in review tho)

Peer to peer web Berlin: peer-to-peer-web.com/berlin/2018-05-05

Solarpunks podcast signup form eepurl.com/dqHO-9

Dipping the stacks

I don’t even know why people are so mad. This narrative has been 3 years in the making.

The Ministry

I’m speaking at peer to peer web Berlin on May the 5th!

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I’m speaking at het nieuwe instituut in Rotterdam on May the 10th and there will be a workshop on the 11th

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My talk title for Rotterdam:

Solarpunk: A grand dress rehearsal in remaking our present and future history.

Right now, across disparate fields, a future is being built. But the future does not passively ‘arrive’ fully formed from the aether, we must first meet it the way humanity has always done: though dreams, stories and song. This talk will explore narrative strategies and strategic narratives such as RetroSuburbia and Land as Platform to make life more wonderful for us right now, and more importantly for the generations that follow.

If you have a Runesoup subscription and are so inclined you can hear me talk with Gordon about solarpunk for over an hour in the bonus member material.

I’ve been writing a lot of fiction recently (500 words a day) and I’ve resurrected my hard sci-fi solarpunk novella which is a sci-fi novel where the world building is all technologies that exist today. Super solarpunk tbh.

Elvia Wilk wrote a long post over on e-flux about solarpunk: Is Ornamenting Solar Panels a Crime?

Reading

I’m still reading Improbable Botany And   The Invention of Nature by Andrea Wulf.

I also would like to point your attention to this long read on solar orientated cities

Music

Junglepussy has new music.

 

 

Remember Kids:

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034 :: “Dirt Behind Our Ears” : On Solarpunk and the Need for New Futures

I was asked to submit a talk to a big conference over in Berlin in May to talk about Solarpunk and what it’s like to have been involved in the genre from the very beginning as an admin over on solarpunks.net​. I found out last week that it wasn’t accepted, but some other solarpunks were – I posted this to tumblr already but it won’t ever have any google juice there so x-posting here for wider archives as is my tradition.

I’m posting my talk proposal below as it’s the first time that I’ve ever really written something on Solarpunk despite being involved for so long. Some of the wording and phrasing as become important to me especially the lines about not being able to speak for other solarpunks.

“Dirt Behind Our Ears” : On Solarpunk and the Need for New Futures

500 Char Public Thesis – ~ 75 Words

Give a short and catchy idea about your main argument. This text will be used publicly once your session is accepted, so it’s worth proofreading it.

Solarpunk is a movement in speculative fiction, art, fashion and activism that seeks to answer and embody the question “what does a sustainable civilization look like, and how can we get there?”.

The future does not passively ‘arrive’ fully formed  from the aether, we must first meet it the way humanity has always done: though dreams, stories and song. This session will cover the story of the nascent genre of solarpunk and the communities attempts to ‘remake our present and future history’.

2000 Char Description – ~ 300 Words

Please describe what your session is about, how you want to proceed and what methods you are going to use. Be clear and check orthography and grammar. This text will be used publicly once your session is accepted, so it’s worth proofreading it.

The emerging science fictional genre and aesthetic of “solarpunk” begins with ‘Infrastructure as a form of resistance’.

In 2014 the EIA, CIA, & World Bank published a graph charting the falling cost of solar energy and titled it ‘Welcome to the Terrordome’. The upcoming 21st Century shift toward clean energy opens the future to an age of ‘innovative dissent’.

But we don’t see terror in this future. Solarpunk envisions a world where the drastic technological shift towards renewables and decentralisation empowers movements for social justice and economic liberation. It attempts to foster a socio-cultural environment which emphasises individual autonomy, consent, unity-in-diversity, with the free egalitarian distribution of power. It creates a multitude of spaces for indigenous sovereignties, reproductive justice, and radical queer politics. Of course with these principles comes polyphony, one cannot speak for other solarpunks, only be in dialogue and occasional chorus with them. Some solarpunks recognize it was a great tragedy that the alternate historical genre of steampunk was not decolonial to its core from its inception. Others call for the recognition of rights for the ‘non-human’: trees, rivers and mountains. And technologists building decentralised P2P social networks are doing so under a solarpunk banner. The genre provides a rich soil of ideas and action from which our struggles en route to a better world can grow.

This session will briefly explore the history of the genre, some of its central themes and principles and offer a present that can help us begin to see a future with a human face and dirt behind its ears.

032 :: Permanently Moved

Certainly there had been trouble coming. Anyone who had had any experience of wars would have seen it coming long before the afternoon that Mack ran down Morris the Florist.” 

Chapter 4, The Summer Before the War, The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill

Narrative

Well, it’s been a cool week. I’ve seen a bunch of friends I haven’t seen in a while.

I’ve also been super productive with writing and working on various projects. The reason I went to Berlin is chooching along too.

On Thursday I went for walk/dinner/drinks with Mr Stephen Fortune I had a great time catching up with him. We talked about: his QS work and the closing months of his PHD ahead, web3 technologies, the crypto bourgeoisie, our respective Crohn’s Disease and health, meditation / fasting, regnerative ag, warring AI’s betting on prediction markets over their climate change models. Land as Platform and the spirit world and rehaunting the west via Christianity. All in a days work to be honest with you. Fun times.

We also went for Japanese food and drank hibiscus cocktails

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Had a bit of a black mirror moment at the end of our meal when our waitress asked us to rate and review her personally on tripadvisor mentioning her by name. Immediately after that, the PDQ Terminal asked me a NPS question – Totally surreal.

The other thing that happened this week:

Warren posted The Short Things over on Morning.Computer . I thought about it over breakfast and decided “challenge excepted”.

So I give you the experiment:

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 15.34.00

A podcast in 301 seconds.

I want to get a few more episodes/shows under my belt before I submit the feed to all the podcatchers etc. But the direct RSS can be grabbed here.

Please send feedback though either via DMs or email. I’ve already been told to go in the direction of ‘Crypto-agri Joe Frank’

I think that instead of starting one podcast (solarpunks) why not start two?

Dipping the stacks

  • People are mad at surveillance capitalism
  • Russia is still the boogie man
  • Idiot wing of the tory party made fools of themselves on a fishing boat

The Ministry

I threw for some futures earlier in the year when the space weather was good for me. One of those requests to the universe was to do more live speaking.

I thought I’d hit the Jackpot when I got asked in a back channel to speak at Re:Publica Berlin 18 well after the submission deadline had closed. This week I found out it wasn’t accepted but you can read that talk submission over on tumblr here.

I was pretty down about not being accepted to be honest with you, but within an hour of receiving the bad news the following happened.

I’d been asked to speak at peer to peer web berlin  in May the same weekend that Re:Publica is on, AND received and email to speak at/attend a 2 day workshop in Rotterdam (also) in May.

So yeah, thats how the universe works I suppose.

Reading

I ain’t read shit, don’t @ me.

Music

The new Titus Andronicus album A Productive Cough is absolutely awful. Don’t even bother with it.

What you should bother yourself with however is that Sevdaliza has a new single out called Human Nature I really like it

Her album ISON was a fav from last year. And the video for the single HUMAN is absolutely incredible

Remember kids:

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019 :: #TTW16 abstract

PHEW. So for the second time in 2 years I just submitted my extract/talk proposal to the theorizingtheweb conference that takes place in April in New York . The Abstract is reproduced in full below. Even if I am unsuccessful, the same as I said 2 years ago I think the piece is a useful early 2016 ‘flag in the ground’ to orient my self around this year. This is the direction a lot of my thinking and speaking will headed this year. If you have any comments or the subject interests you please do get in touch on twitter, leave a comment on here, or mail me via the contact form on my homepage:

It really should be seen as a continuation from my previous talk at #TTW14 and a continuation of my thinking on/in this space – I’m quite open about it building on my previous talk in my abstract. The title alone should be a hint LOL.

Colonising the Clouds Pt2

Citizenship of the stack (or the art of 21st C Prussian Forestry ) 

In my previous TTW presentation I explored the notion of ‘Infrastructure Territory’ and the way institutions, corporations and nationstates approach digital dualism. I ended by pointing to the emerging condition of a new geopolitics that can only exist by presupposing a digital dualism where geopolitical actor’s territory can exist in informational space. One which ignores the reality of discrete and distinct sheds of computers distributed across multiple global jurisdictions in physical space, owned by entities incorporated under existing national law:

“The geopolitics of the Cloud, as an example, it is partially defined by the ‘accidental’ de-lamination of traditional Westphalian geographies of sovereignty through the realization of other topologies” – Benjamin Bratton UCSD

This talk will build on my former argument and recap with sightings of this delamination in progress: the ‘Ghost in a Shell Corporation’ how “Uber filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit…claiming it exists only in cyberspace”, how ISIS’s approach to sovereignty and geographic borders mirrors the concept of super jurisdiction, Facebook’s neo-colonial efforts to roll out internet.org, Estonia’s e-residency program. These new networks of trust are causing friction between existing geographies of sovereignty at the geospatial level and potentially giving rise to the notion of a ‘Citizen User’ at the individual level.

In the time provided I will attempt to take the audience through a fast paced argument that reframes the ‘Algorithmic Society’ – the dominant ‘modus ponens’ in recent artistic and academic discourse – towards the idea of a ‘Database Society’ and the very broken reality of database bureaucracy and information brokerage in complex institutions.

In order to explore the condition of user-citizenship we will need to examine how institutions ‘see’ with a brief overview of the different types of institutional identity: EG: Physical body, Bureaucratic Record, Sets of attributes or score, Identity is a username/password or proof of memory, and Potential identities.

A commonality between Stacks and States (or any complex institution) not mentioned previously in pt1 is the idea of ‘value’ or ‘productivity metrics. The connection between citizen, user and value are closely related. Resulting in the idea of a ‘productivity potential’ : At the Nation State level it manifests as GDP or GDP Per capita. In the organisation as key performance indicators (KPI’s) and are hangovers of 20th century scientific management.

This kind of identity assignment comes from very early nation state concepts of the surname as well as 19C ideas of productivity and scientific land management. The famous failures of Prussian forestry are very real. We should consider a way of updating this story and read the impact of German Forestry as a shift to the rack-mounted landscape. In this database society we should place ourselves in the midst of  this slow motion forest die off. Increasingly citizens, employees and users don’t want to behave in ways that companies vision of them requires – these motivations, behaviors and desires are illegible to an institution. I will also be talking about Ents…

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Anyway, thats it. If i’m unsuccessful then thats totally ok, I’m going to be be writing on this at some point anyway, and as a bonus means i have a talk in my back pocket which is useful. If you want me to talk about this at a thing you’re doing let me know.

 

013 :: #TTW14 abstract

PHEW. yesterday i finally submitted my extract/talk proposal on the ‘geopolitics of the stacks’ for the theorizingtheweb conference that takes place in april in new york . the piece is reproduced in full below. even if i am unsuccessful, i think the piece is a useful early 2014 ‘flag in the ground’ to orient my self around this year. as this is the direction a lot of my thinking and speaking will headed this year.

please note: im not an academic! but if you have any comments or the subject interests you please do get in touch on twitter , leave a comment on here, or mail me via the contact form on my homepage:

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Colonising the Clouds. 

Infrastructure Territory and The Geopolitics of The Stacks

This paper will explore the implications of multinational technology corporations morphing into the entities that Bruce Sterling has named ‘The Stacks’ – companies that are setting out to build vertically integrated feudalisms. Building on and synthesising the work of Benjamin Bratton (UCSD), Tobias Revell (RCA/ARUP/SuperFlux), Paul Graham Raven (University of Sheffield), and Vinay Gupta (UCL ISRS) this paper will seek to explore ideas of infrastructure, corporations and nation states, territory, and the importance of societal understanding of the interrelations of all three.

It is a strange future-present we live in: corporations are people; Dogecoin exists; Google – a corporation whose mission statement to ‘organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful’ – recently acquired eight robotics companies and a thermostat manufacturer; and ‘The Stacks’ are emerging as digitally-dualistic geopolitical entities.

‘Institutional Memory’ is the method by which information is inherited and pass on between states, corporations and collective groups of people. Using this notion we can begin to unpack and explore the beliefs, biases, and assumptions of corporations and states towards concepts such as hierarchy, law,  and – most importantly in our case – ontologies of the internet.

The concept of a separate, distinct ‘cyberspace’, the subtle shifting of corporate discourse from ‘The Cloud’ to ‘A Cloud’, and the boastful claims of the Information Security industry all point towards the web as being understood along dualist lines by the Stacks. This stands in contrast to non digital-dualist views held by government cyber commands which sees ‘cyber’ as a theater not a territory, demonstrated in their understandings of servers on sovereign territory and the legality of cyber-espionage.

The Stacks require deep strata of data to do their business, and in order to get that data the userbase must be made legible. Following James Scott’s “Seeing Like A State”, this talk will argue for the need to “see like a stack” in order for us to better understand the approaches of these entities towards data collection, knowledge creation, and territorial definition.

The conceptual shift upwards from owning and controlling spatial territory to owning and controlling ‘informational territory’ is not new. It began with closing of the US frontier in 1893 & introduction of the telegraph interoperability bill a few years after. Today however, as these infrastructural territories are created and claimed, their owners and creators are influencing our political and economic systems at every level, from the geopolitical to the micropolitical, resulting in what Bratton calls “the ‘accidental’ de-lamination of traditional Westphalian geographies of sovereignty through the realization of other topologies”

This talk will pose the questions: Where are the nexuses of political contestation in this new landscape? Has the discourse of digital dualism been overly focussed on the individual, or is it that only now are the implications of dualism at the geopolitical level being recognised? What are the implications for politics, as nation states evaporate into the clouds, and the Stacks continue to build their own private infrastructures and extend sensing/robotic platforms into the physical world?

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#TTW14 is a conference run by the crew over on cyborgology blog at society pages. i think the work they are doing is exciting and extremely important in the current moment, and the conference is always great.  I have watched it on live stream for the last few years, and have compiled an image of all the tweeted pictures of the keynote for the last two:

011 : on #stacktivism – my #ILIW13 talk

:: we cannot have a conversation about something whilst it remains unseen ::

‘The stack’The chain of interconnected activities and technologies of current and historical significance that spread far beyond the individual.

Stacktivism Logo

I think there are many people beginning to have/shape a conversation around the stack: From Jo Guldi the author of Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State , Timo Arnall in his No to NoUI piece, Benjamin Bratton and his geopolitics of the cloud and theoretical languge of ‘the stack’, artist/Critical Engineer Julian Oliver (Eyeo2012 talk is very good) & course my good friend Vinay Gupta.

> who owns the means of not dying?

> who controls the stack?

> is infrastructure neutral?

> what are the dilemmas of radical texts on Amazon in relation to capitalist realism while sat under a Tumblr image hosted on Amazon ?

On Sunday I gave a talk at ‘Immaterial Labour Isn’t Working: Digital Culture, Digital Work, Digital Insurrection’ hosted by Autoitaliasoutheast – the panel session was on New Luddism.

I used my time to introduce the concept of #stacktivism a term that i think allows us to form & give shape to the conversation around infrastructure & our relationship we have to it. I do not seek to define it, merely give shape to an idea.

The concept is early days & in its infancy: I hope my talk embedded below is a useful primer/introduction to this enquiry.


Join in the conversation here :: Stacktivism.com

stacktivism.tumblr.com + @stacktivism )

009 : viewer discretion cannot be advised

on thursday i was luckly enough to give a talk at london’s worst artist-run space lima zulu‘s fourth #LZPKBYOBRSVP pecha-kucha night.

topics on the night included bootstrapping, northern ireland prison protests, max stirner, and my talk ‘Cheap Gadgets in the hands of EVERYBODY’. i had a great time, and it was good to see lots of friends i havent seen AFK in too long.

the talk wasn’t recorded. but for posterity before i forget, i just sat down and gave the pecha kucha in one take to my laptop and empty flat. i embedded it at the bottom of this post. a big thanks to huw for inviting me to talk