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.
“The names of blockchain firms make Californian companies look humble – Gnosis, Ether, Kraken, Stellar …. Ontology” – Ben Cerveny
I missed a week last weeks blog entry. I thought it might feel like the weekly chain had been broken and everything comes tumbling down. But it doesn’t so there’s that. The week before last was really busy sorting out travel for events and writing talks, being social and also family stuff.
Today is Monday Oct 1. Yesterday I got back from Amsterdam which already feels like a blur. Meeting people I admire, 3 talks in 4 days, 2 day workshop, new faces and lots of good conversation, oh and tiny but cold Dutch beers, lots of them.
The main reason I was in Amsterdam was to speak at TerraFiction at Brakke Grond as part of Fiber Festivals Coded Matter(s) #15
The talk went really well. I enjoyed it a lot. I spoke along side a fantastic lineup: Astronomer and writer Pippa Goldschmidt, the speculative fiction writer E. J. Swift, Maja & Nik from FOAM, Ivan Henriques presented his [Symbiotic Machines for Space Exploration] project, and Miha Turšič from Waag spoke on his new project with the ESA. What I was doing there talking about Land as Platform and Solarpunk remains a mystery.
I also gave a long presentation to interdisciplinary students doing an MA in worldbuilding. On (unsurprisingly) world building but more importantly reality hacking. And I spoke on solarpunk and they way it can be used to speculatively re-imagine civic space at Tolhuistuin.
In-between all that, I caught up with a friend I haven’t seen in ages, and attended a two day workshop at Waag on world building which was the third part of the same workshop I’d been in at Het Nieuwe Instituut earlier in the year.
My output was a short story about a baker in late 21st century Amsterdam who’s business partner is the yeast called (Hono) he uses to make all the bread. They work as a bio-coop. Also if there is such thing as Middle Ages High Catholic sci-fi that’d be his world view.
One team produced an *extremely* Adam Curtis video about their Accelerationist patchwork city:
Also Ben Cerveny from The Foundation For Public Code and The New Normal took me and Sjef for a ride on his boat.
Your attention is sovereign
1. You, personally, get to decide where you put your attention.
2. By acknowledging this fact you have to take full responsibility for where you have put your attention in the past, and where you will put it in the future.
Multitasking is mostly bollocks.
This is last weeks episode. Its had the most positive feedback of any show i’ve done so far. I’m really grateful for all the positive remarks.
Dipping the stacks
got a lot more on my pate. I need to write a talk on conspiracy theories for unsound.pl more on that next week.
Also super energised after all the conversations In the last week. Much to think on in terms of my own life and what I want from it.
Been quite a nice week this week. Not very much to say about it tbh so today will be a short one.
Had lunchtime coffees with friends through out the week.
Spent a lot of time hanging out with eve which has been really nice.
It was one of my closest friends birthday bbq/party yesterday hence this post being a day late. Which means I got to spend the day with 4 of my really close friends.
Just 7 of us hanging out all day in the early September sunshine. Was really good to see everyone.
For some reason this week I’m grumpy about the new Apple phones, Angry about action figures, call a man who drives a bulldozer a land artist and describe cut throat razor shaving as exhilarating and dangerous.
The dystopian lake filled by the world’s tech lust
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