They just released a short 8 minute mini documentary recapping the themes of the festival with interviews with the participants.
It features me talking about Platforms and Solarpunk. I almost sound like I know what I’m talking about.
The idea of terraformation was once the domain of writers and artists. We’re entering a new space race to colonise and terraform the universe. Silicon Valley companies like SpaceX, Google and Planetary Resources are in the front seat. As we edge closer towards inevitable environmental collapse these big tech companies are scrambling to colonise new habitable worlds on distant planets. By shooting a cherry-red Tesla car into space, they shape the future narrative of man in space. But what are we leaving behind on Earth? If today’s technological leaps aren’t improving our natural environments than what legacy will we inherit in worlds abroad?
Speakers • Pippa Goldschmidt • E.J. Swift • Jay Springett • Ivan Henriques • Miha Turšič • Maja Kuzmanovic & Nik Gaffney (FoAM) • Films: Margaux Hendriksen, Matthew C. Wilson
P.S Even after all these years I love the way my earrings look 😍
I had barely recovered from last weeks unexplained lurgy and then headed off to the Netherlands once again to The Hague to give a talk – this time at bordersessions. Here’s my Trip Report:
First observation, despite public transporting being incredible over there. The Hague is just that bit further away from everything. Previously it has seemed trivial to just hop cities whilst i’ve been staying. But hoping from The Hague to Rotterdam or up to Amsterdam for dinner etc is a bit more of a mission. I should also note that its more a little more of a mission to get to the airport if you miss the fast train. (Not that I wan’t to relive the trauma of my return journey which included nearly missing my flight on the pages of this blog)
Anyways. I’d never been to The Hague before. I learnt that like 60% of the people who live and work there work for the government. Like a souped up company town I suppose. It does have a lot of church bells, and thats lovely.
The first night of the festival was speakers drinks and the headlining interview with Paul Mason. He was talking about his newest book Clear Bright Future.
During the day the next day I attended the workshop ‘How to measure the ecological development of a zoöp?’ at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. the emerging project continuing from the Terrafictionworkshops I took part in last year.
In the zoöp concept: an important role is played by the zoönomic instrument that helps indicate the ecological development of the collective body of nonhumans within the zoöp.
I didn’t take any pictures during the workshop but I did tweet this:
It was good to see other folks there. Sjef, Klass, Theun, Ian etc. Also the folks who have commitments to start a zoöp. Let me tell you, wild speculative ecological conversations in Holland are a decade ahead of where they are in the UK.
I’ve spoken to Sjef and Theun about it a few times now. I suppose its partly around the Netherlands being a totally human managed environment. Landscape engineering is Just what you do with a decade. I dearly hope that when the opportunity arrises, I can some how be the conduit to segue all this important work and thinking into the UK.
Anyway, that evening I spoke on Solarpunk And The Great Unfolding: Building Keystones Of Continuity at the main festival night. The talk was quite well attended and I had some really interesting conversations afterwards at the bar.
I also saw some other fantastic talks, one about the burgeoning Kite energy sector, and another panel on the Zoop, which was all on more than human personhood. Many assumptions at the beginning of the panel, the audience nodded along with zero pushback – wouldn’t of happened in the UK for sure.
Friday, I had the day to myself. I was thinking about attending some of the other workshops as part of the festival but my social battery was below absolute zero so I took myself off to see James Turrell’s celestial vault and ‘The Sand Engine’. Took a fun long assed bus ride though the outskirts of The Hague to the coast.
I got to the coast and set about hiking to the vault. You crest a big hill and are greeted with the crater
You then enter via a tunnel wall and see the alter:
I spent about an hour in the vault. Laying on the alter looking up at the sky. Seeing the first sunshine that had been in the sky since arriving 2 days before hand, the sideways rain had stopped whilst I was on the bus there. It was an amazing experience to have such a long private time with the art work.
I went to see Hollands ‘Sand Engine’ that was further down the coast.
The sand engine (also called Sand Motor) is an experiment in the management of dynamic coastline. The first one was run off South Holland in the Netherlands. A sandcastle-shaped peninsula was created by humans; the surface is about 1 km². It is expected that this sand is then moved over the years by the action of waves, wind and currents along the coast. To protect the West of the Netherlands against the sea,
At this point. I was 90mins from the bus stop and about 2.5 hours from my hotel. I was also burning a little bit. Ill prepared for 23 degree heat with a rain coat stuffed into my travel pack.
In the evening i went for dinner with Theun Karelse and Ian Ingram in Amsterdam and I enjoyed their company a lot.
The hour that I spent ‘charging up’ on the Alter was very impactful to me. I let my mind wander in a way that I only really do when doing Journeying practice outside of meditaiton.
Laying on the alter in the sun looking up at the sky i felt gears shift and engage, like a complicated pocket watch ticking back to life. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I am doing with my life, and experiencing a humbling.
Indeed, having a lot of free time to myself in a foreign country outside of festival commitments gave me a lot of opportunity to just consider.
Routes though and ways forward. Self reflection, hubris and resolve.
Still smashing though Warhammer books i’m afraid. Im sure you are not interested but I read 2 books last week. Vengeful Spirit + The Silent War.
I was listening to a lot of Sun 0)))s life metal album. Thats about it.
I have just updated the ‘Works’ page on my personal website with all the upcoming speaking events I have this year. I want to rebuild the site at some point but I hate wordpress more than I hate how the website looks right now so it keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list.
I thought I would post an update outside of my regular weekly rhythm to include some of the confirmed highlights for me in the year ahead. I hope the 50ish of you that find me interesting enough to follow this blog find the information all in one place interesting.
Also.. I just posted something similar to LinkedIn so I just copy and pasted it here.
They are Europe
Various opportunities have presented themselves this year including inclusion in We are Europe’s – They Are Europe Program
We are Europe is the association of 8 major European events joining forces to promote, create and produce innovative cultural practices, defined by creative diversity and exchanges.
64 People are chosen every season and this year I was honoured to be included as one of them. As a result in part I now find myself on the professional speaking circuit:
Upcoming Talks (Confirmed)
Jun 19 – Solarpunk And The Great Unfolding: Building Keystones Of Continuity@Border Sessions – The Hague
Jul 19 – New Internet (Panel Discusion) @Sonar-D – Barcelona
Oct 19 – Solarpunk: Life in the future beyond the rusted chrome of yestermorrow @Unsound Festival – Krakow
I am also available for operational and strategy work assisting organisations, projects, & people navigate complex, high growth environments. I’ve worked extensively in blockhain & adjacent tech worlds with a focus on building and scaling sustainable and regenerative cultures, that focus on employee agency & innovate company forms.
Basic human needs are an infrastructure problem – – HappyHorseSkull
This week has been a huge mix of stuff really.
Settling back in after being away / in and out of the country all last month. But its nice as im falling back in to a routine. Im just about to pull the trigger on buying Scrivener on the recommendation of Alex. Mainly for editing reasons than writtng.
So I spent all day on Tuesday with a controversial voice/twitter/youtube personality which resulted in extremely ‘good’ conversation – maybe stimulating is a better word over good tbh. It forced me to take another look at all my views and decide whats script and whats my own position on things, which can only be a good thing amongst the madness of the current contemporary situation. I also note that Apostates and pariahs are free.
Spent quite a lot of time out in my garden. Tidying up and sorting things out. If we stay here through 2019 there is a bunch more urban permaculture stuff I want to get into place.
Our Roses and next doors Jasmine is KICKING
I’ve also been drunk quite a bit :) Its summer and its been nice to have that ‘one more beer’ out in the sun as its been setting over the Thames. I’ve started going to a pub that used to be kinda too expensive about 10 years ago when i used to work just down the road from it. But it seems all the hipster craft beer places I drink at – their prices have crept up to meet it. So I’d rather see the sunset than look at a microbrewery’s pipes and extractor fans.
Also, I think I hate iMovie more now than I did before when I used to use it a lot in like 2012ish. BUT an old colleague who was the marketing manager at a company I worked at has started a daily vlog and its really good. Its funny, he is way more interesting day-to-day on film than IRL
I’m going to regent’s park later today as one of my oldest friends (who is a priest) is moving to America to take over the position of high school chaplain in Texas. I’m thinking of popping to the fancy dress shop before hand to buy him a big hat to wear in the park.
Made a show about the 100th anniversary of my great grandads death. The whole family went out to Lijssenthoek military cemetery and paid our respects. There are photos up on the show website here.
Dipping the stacks
Twitter is now a marketing tool again for me. Pls stand by for even further disengagement.
Had so many calls this week. Some of the work I’ve been helping a few people with has finished and it seems like they liked my coaching style and where they ended up so hopefully I should get some more work out of that. A VC is kind of interested in speaking to me too.
I also had a call with a super cool data scientist and AI specialist, we talked a lot about deep sensing, ecological restoration.
The audio from my talk in Rotterdam finally went online, so I cut my slides to the audio. Its on cyberpunk, solarpunk and land as platform. I think it’s one of the best talks I’ve given.
Yup. Late again because I was travelling/working. I really think I should probably double down on the schedule and stick to it regardless of what I’m doing. I didn’t even do the podcast last week. as I was on a plane and traveling around. Thats said, I don’t think that I couldn’t have made one on the go.. I own a tiny mono-mic that plugs into my phone so… yeah. My Bad.
I was having a great time wandering around Amsterdam in the morning on Thursday and then Rotterdam before I spoke at Het Nieuwe Instituut in the evening. The talk was well attended for a (bank holiday) and it went well:
Title:Solarpunk: A grand dress rehearsal in remaking our present and future history.
Blurb: 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.
I’m not sure how the talk will be posted online but I’ll find out. If its not documented in full I might ask for the audio from the board and slap the slides over the top and post it to medium or something.
After the event we drank tiny beers and I finally met Mx from Terra0.org and a bunch of people from Fiber Festival and also Boarder Sessions, plus its funny that Bratton’s New Normal Crew are everywhere in the circles I move in. It was really worth while.
On the Friday there was a workshop that was about living along side DAOS etc. Definitely hints of the European creative scene are goldilocksing their way to re-enchanting the world, but Calvinism has run a real number on the Dutch thats for sure especially the atheist ones.
I’m grateful to IAS Associate Sjef for his hospitality and also the link up to the Nieuwe Instituut in the first place.
Permanently late more like amiright?
Dipping the stacks
Who the fuck cares anymore about social media? Since i installed Twitter Demetricator and put my phone in black and white I definitely have spent less time on it.
Well apart from all the stuff above I have a new laundry list of things I need to work on. And I need to plough though them as quickly as possible as i’m away again for 10 days at the end of May.
Wish me luck.
I’ve started reading The Contemplative Journey by Thomas Keating Fr. Thomas Keating, is a Trappist monk and priest, known as one of the architects of Centering Prayer, a contemporary method of contemplative prayer, that emerged from St. Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1975. It’s fascinating to read so soon after St Teresa of Ávila’s The Interior Castle.
Some of my best buds in the whole wide world have a new album out. If you are interested where the state of the UK’s Country/Folk Scene is this album is the Shonky Tonk British Doom Folk album for you
“Lack of proper planning does not constitute an emergency” – Ancient Project Manager Saying
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.
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)
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.
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.