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through the singularity Narrative

Conjectures

Beyond

Carnegie Mellon University B.Arch Thesis, S2021 Advised By:

Cruz Garcia, Jerey Ficca, Matthew Huber, Mary-Lou Arscott, Nathalie Frankowski, Tracy Townsend

Christoph Eckrich 05.14.21

the

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Preface

My hope for this project was to satisfy two parallel interests I believe we all share. On one hand, the common desire to strive for a better world - for us, our fellow terrestrials, and our children. The other of course, is to simply lose oneself in a fantasy - an escape which allows us to reflect, dream, and plan for the former. The overarching project is in a way a call to expand the human temporal and relational sensibilities. These orientations are essential to developing the frameworks, infrastructures, and governance strategies capable of acting at the deep timescales of our most urgent crises. Doing so through a fiction allows us to consider them without being paralyzed by contemporary issues. After all, we put these structures together in the first place, we should be able to reconfigure them. Architecture as a discipline finds itself central to this pursuit. As a framework, ordering process, and navigational system - the methodologies and skill sets within are integral to developing novel solutions for vexing crises. The following is a collection of semi-fictional documents produced at certain points of time, being recieved and meditated upon from another. - Christoph Eckrich


Through the Singularity Collections from the Plenaes Group UNX Archive


Letter from the Archivist My dear asdfasdfaa, I hope this letter finds you well, and that the enclosed documents have arrived intact. I was touched by your earlier letter; not many in your generation bother to concern themselves with histories such as these. Your curiosity is a breath of fresh air if I’m being honest; I can’t tell you how much it frustrates me to watch the goings-on of today blindly hurtling towards so many mistakes we have already seen made. The eyes are open, but no one bothers to look backwards anymore. Full speed ahead… as we’ve always said.

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As you must understand, art tends to parallel history, and we have a bad habit of forgetting that by studying representations and accounts there is far more to see than the face-value content. To borrow words from one of the figures you’ll soon encounter, these immutable and re-combinable mobiles have been the foundation of our systems of knowledge, exchange, and growth since we took up reeds and painted on the walls of caves. Plenaes was peculiar amongst its cohort of avant-garde (pardon my expired language) collectives for several reasons. Their longevity, for one, was remarkable. The formulation of the group occurred outside of the public eye and was secretive for quite some time. We are still discovering connections between historical figures who we had always assumed were operating in autonomy. Based on the diaspora of evidence we have available, we’re also forced to consider the possibility that Plenaes wasn’t a group at all - perhaps it makes more sense as some kind of externality that individuals align with across time and space. Given your background and interest I feel that you will likely share the emphasis Plenaes places on architecture, environments, and representations of both. It seems they leaned towards a flatter ontology, one which considered architecture itself (as well as a plurality of objects, lifeforms, artefacts, etc.) as actors with intrinsic significance. I have included some special documents from an architect we believe was involved with the group that should bring some of these considerations to light for you. What we have in our collection are documents perhaps created by members of the group, perhaps documented or simply retrieved by them. Either way, the Plenaes documents are one of the few remaining repositories of information from before the Singularity. They constitute narratives which seem to be truths about our past, although we cannot be completely sure of what is factual and what may be fictitious (as seems to be the hallmark of most work associated with Plenaes). Regardless, common belief can be said to constitute truth, can it not? At UNX we find it most beneficial to simply take this evidence at face value. Even if everything you’re about to read turns out to just be a fable, they still hold valuable lessons. Given the unprecedented erasure of knowledge the Singularity brought about the only way forward is to accept a common history - and this one is as good as, if not better, than any other.


Although the motivations of Plenaes for creating / collecting / preserving these documents are somewhat unclear, found with them was a manifesto explaining the groups beliefs and positions. It seems that each collection deals with particular themes, ideals, and issues central to the thinking of the group and their beliefs regarding societal progress. The chronology is (perhaps intentionally) unclear, but I have ordered the documents the best I can and included a piece from the journal of one known as the timekeeper. It should help give context, even if it doesn’t really clarify. I have, regrettably, on occasion had to redact pieces of information (usually personal or identifying details) from individuals who did not wish to be publicly associated with the group. This is of course in addition to the information which has simply been lost to time and the aftermath of the Singularity. You’ll find some documents disappointingly incomplete, but perhaps it’s more interesting to piece it together yourself anyway. Here are the contents of your package: 1. Plena Es – Against Autonomy ... X The group’s manifesto 2. Excerpt from the notes of XXXXXX XXXXXX, Architect ... X Your specific interests motivated me to include a selection from this journal. I hope you find it ties many of the prior ideals together with regard to your field. 3. Reflections on Chronology ... X From the libraries of someone we only know as the Plenaes Timekeeper, it has been an influential piece of evidence for begining to piece together histories and lessons from Plenaes Material. The following collections of documents and artefacts are all in some way attributed to Plenaes, they should together serve to paint a picture of the contexts with which the group was engaging. 4. Narrative Map ... X A working document I used to help try and order the items in the collections correctly 5. Collection 1: Capital ... X The first collection is characterized by fear of the reconciliation of positive-value and debt-value currencies. The methods by which the capitalist machine is propped up are a neo-keynesian invention of circulatory quotas. The resultant effect on the build environment is one of constant change, building, rebuilding, recycling etc. An environment of totalitarian dynamism. Perhaps not so obviously, it can’t last. 6. Collection 2: Politics ... X The second imagines in a post truth, no, post politics society - how do we begin to rebuild that truth, and create a system of organization which has the capability of leading us away from disaster rather than into it. Advances in technology make possible the visualization of the myriad networks and entanglements which are themselves a system of engendering requisites. The co-dependencies now visible, such a parliament is erected to encounter and advocate on behalf of all things - human, animal, plant, object, hyperobject, etc.

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7. Collection 3: Ecology The third collection deals with the oppressive issue of climate and ecology. It becomes the primary concern of our species, of all terrestrials. Its weight has crushed all other forms of social delineation, class, race, culture, nationality - all matter little now. Rather, societal separations can only be drawn up by utilising the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance - each a valid response to the crisis. All groups have their own territories, their own way of life, their own histories and interpretations. ... X 8. Post-Script Some interpretations and thoughts upon what you have just read. I hope we can have a dialogue about them someday. ... X 9. Plenaen Documents I have included a sizable collection of notes done by one of the group’s archivists. They should help you find further materials should you desire, as well as understand the fertile intellectual soil upon which Plenaes based their work. ... X 10. Further Reading Some other works which might interest you, if you can get your hands on them that is.

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Interspersed in the documentation are various artefacts which I have found complementary. They should be all adequately annotated – but please do reach out with any questions. Additionally, I have reproduced for you some prints of the work of XXXXXX XXXXXX, the architect mentioned earlier. These representations seem to communicate holistic pictures of the contexts in which the group was working – on occasion you may be able to spot artefacts produced by them, or even members depicted in the crowd. We are generally able to piece together what they depict in conjunction with the textual evidence we have - but they tell a story all on their own and should also be appreciated as such. I hope you enjoy. While reading, keep in mind a belief I hold very dear: thought and reflection are what lead to discoveries of better worlds; those ideas and sentiments are best expressed and disseminated through artistic expression. By inspiring the imaginary we, even unconsciously, move the needle in a certain direction and can only hope, as I do now, that others take up the mantle after us.

Yours in the pursuit of a better future,

Head Archivist, UNX.


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Manifesto


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Aporetics of Responsibility

Plena Es Towards Holistic Conceptions of Art, Time, and Society Plenaes is collective. Plenaes is not a collective. It rejects individuality. The individual has long been harkened as the ideological unit of political freedom - the time of usefulness for such a concept has long passed, if it ever existed in the first place. It collects individuals. It collects objects. It collects modes of existence. It collects worldviews. It collects timescales. In much the same manner we have long understood colony-productive (not colonial) terrestrials to function; there is no leader, no figurehead, no orders, no charges. Rather the patterns understood as collective behavior are direct responses to immediate stimuli affecting singular or multiple members. The collective consciousness does not need to be directed, nor can it be from a macro scale - it must seek its own path through the understanding of its context. Plenaes is a reaction to that setting, a setting of our own construction. The many architectures which constitute our worlds act upon us as much as we act on them. Such is the responsibility of world-makers. Plenaes welcomes all and belongs to all because it concerns all. Plenaes seeks the useless. Usefulness, long forgotten and denied by the capitalist processes of abstract valorization, is a productive concept but one which we seek to move past. Use-value is irregardless value and can be commodified and eaten by the accelerationist machine. Where there is opportunity to control there will be desire for oppression. Freedom comes with uselessness. An object without qualities, a people without qualities, an art without qualities, a world without qualities. These are pursuits of liberation. The path towards such idealism may appear to necessitate a passing-through of intra-systemic-reform - such a line is one we tread carefully, never losing sight of the destination. Plenaes is a necessity. Plenaes is a natural tendency. In the complete conglomerate of poly-temporal assemblages there is not a strand in which it, or something-like-it, does not exist. It is, indeed, only a matter of time - a matter with which only time can concern itself. Regardless of articulation/nomenclature/linguistics/expression the ideals Plenaes represents are a constant. The collective will form around them, it must. The Project is a necessity.


Plenaes works equally in the physical domain of materiality and the immaterial domain of ideas. All media exist in both. Plenaes recognizes potentialities. All methods have their purpose. Many are multivalent, some are singular, none are irrelevant. If the pursuit is holism, then every object, all objects, sentiments, obscurities, apparitions and the precise clash of parallel lines are weapons for the fight. Plenaes celebrates the meaning in everything. Plenaes accentuates the message. Plenaes seeks impact. Plenaes believes everything is a medium. We believe in an expansive definition of generative action, and seek one that is all-encompassing. Art is generative action, generative action is participation, participation is to possess agency, to possess agency is to exist. To exist is to generate art. To document that existence is integral to The Project. Curation is essential. As another form of translation it divulges new meanings. Curation creates novel entanglements, deepening the significance of objects. Plenaes aims at creating new possibilities/ interactions/potentialities.

Relationships of Concepts

Potentialities of Mediums

Plenaes values every medium. All media have inherent value. Representation and translation create new meanings in subject and object. Every medium creates worlds within worlds, giving access to the unseen realities that it/we/you inhabit.

Plenaes embraces entanglement. Nothing is singular. Nothing is isolated. We are all tied to each other, to everything with which we share this world. This world is assemblages of complex nonlinear couplings between processes that compose/sustain/engender entwined but nonadditive subsystems as a partially cohering systemic whole. Plenaes embraces the incoherency. Particular ideologies matter very little. The significant mode of existence is one which registers/ maintains/cherishes a maximum number of ways of belonging to the world. Pleanes is an actor. Plenaes is an actor in a world of networks. Everything in the social/natural/post-natural worlds exist in constantly dynamic networks of relationships. Of these material-semiotic linkages human-nodes exert equal influence as all others. Plenaes encompases many, but often acts as one. Plenaes is an actor in a network of worlds. It rejects the limited understanding of linear time and singular space. Worlds exist in parallel/conjunction/ simultaneity and are equal actors/attractors/nodes in our heterogenous present. Plenaes seeks holism. The only way forward is to embrace complex totalities. Plenaes is a fundamental factor acting towards the creation of wholes in/of/with the world. The creation of hybrids is crucial in the pursuit of strengthening entanglements/systems/networks. Plenaes embraces irregular/uncommon/entangled hermeneutics. Methodologies for sense-making in spaces of constant dynamism must be established. Internalizing entireties of networks is futile but necessary.

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Alliances of Terrestrials 12

Plenaes seeks kinship. We seek our kind, we seek the others. Kinship is not a metaphor/abstraction/empty it is a call for action. Plenaes establishes intimacy without spatial or temporal proximity. Plenaes creates hybrids more receptive to bonds. Plenaes engenders inseparable entanglements. Plenaes seeks universal collectivity. Together we must form alliances. Alliances are the protagonists and the navigational structure, alliances are the territory. Alliances reconfigure territories and societies, alliances counter entrenched power by finding mutual aims and constructing webs of connection from contamination, mutation, the indeterminate space of precarity. Plenaes seeks place. Plenaes is in search of a place to land, down on Earth. We must stray from the purported common horizon of prosperity. Plenaes seeks to land somewhere, to reorient the effects and stakes of public life. We reject geographic territories. We reject possessive territories. We seek symbiosis. We seek dwelling. New language, new maps, new spatial matrices, new navigation systems must be developed in order to articulate where/when/why we are and where/when/why we are headed. Plenaes embraces solastalgia as the inevitable normal. Plenaes encompases all. Nothing is exterior. Plenaes is a representative for all things, species, media, objects, artefacts, hybrids, cyborgs, worlds, signals, hyperobjects, concepts, beliefs, dreams, environments, critters, terrestrials. The Project needs participation from all. Plenaes embraces the monsters of interspecies holobionts and ghosts haunting ravaged lands as our own creation, and welcomes them to participate. Plenaes welcomes all new modes of existence and their neologisms.


Commitments of Ideals

Plenaes is definitive. Plenaes is governed by incorruptible ideals, principles, and values. The ideal is simple: Plena Es. Within this statement lie all beliefs/truths/desires. Within this statement lie all motivations/commitments/goals. Within this statement lies the pursuit of a better world. Within this statement lies The Project. Courage, audacity, and revolt will be essential elements of our poetry. Plenaes is not immutable. Alterations to the chartered course are natural and accepted consternations of temporal currents. Plenaes embraces ephemeral ideologies. There is always a revolution the fight may change but it is always present. Frameworks that do not allow for alteration are deemed immoral. The basis for survival is adaptation: agility in the face of contingency, a capacity to revise, to take on the feedback loop as a working methodology. Plenaes requisites participation. Participation is world-building worlding. Jeder Mensch ist Ein Künstler. We are all capable of creative action - any restriction is alienation. Worlding is enacted sometimes with deliberation; other times it is an act of emergence arising from a set of conditions. Worlds do not exist a priori. Collective participation in The Project is ethically required. To oppose such a reality is moral, potentially literal, suicide/fratricide/genocide/biocide. Complexity and contradiction inherent in co-creative-worlding shift gaps and inconsistencies from flaws to assets.

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Pluralities of Time

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Plenaes rejects the contemporary. The idea of a moment is a fallacy. We do not exist in the now. We exist in a continuum along an unpredictable trajectory. It is impossible to shake the parallel scale of shadow time, we must embrace the temporal-duality of existence. Plenaes embraces the intersection of a multiplicity of deep and shallow time-trajectories. Plenaes rejects the point-in-time. We must avoid the constriction of time horizons produced by the disorientation of realizing the false proposition that the future is controllable. An unknown past and an invisible future relegates us to the present - a liminal timespace which we seek to avoid at all costs. Time is the scarcest resource of all - let us not limit it any further. Plenaes embraces heterogeneity. Illustrations of time as singular and linear are unproductive at best. Plenaes opens itself to the poly-temporal assemblages which create our perceived worlds. The heterogeneous present is not a point in time, but instead is the intersection of a multiplicity of variably deep and diverse timelines. Art unlocks the heterochrony that enables us to travel in time and space in search of connectedness. Plenaes embraces poly-temporality. Plenaes dislodges timescales. Plenaes’ work destabilizes the foundations of temporal experience. New orientations towards the temporal and the relational are essential to developing the frameworks, infrastructures, and governance strategies capable of acting at the requisite deep timescales. Through such a shift it avoids the paralyzing conundrum of irrelevant momentary concerns. Optimism no longer needs to envision futuristic scenarios; it needs to intervene critically upon the futures that are being deployed in the present.


Plenaes does not falter in the face of institutions. Obstacles are large, but not insurmountable. Plenaes does not support reformismreform. Plenaes pursues radical un-making and re-organizing in the continuous spirit of re-volution. Plenaes seeks the liberation of activity from capitalist abstraction and the creation of a molecular society based upon use/ful/less/ness. Plenaes does not falter in the face of temporalities. Time is limited, but not finite. Time is constant, but malleable. The cyclic act of re-volution never meets its end. Time is a pliable medium through which alternate futures emerge. We can and must commit to temporalities outside experience. Plenaes is unavoidable. Plenaes is philosophy. Plenaes is praxis. It is the revolutionary rejection of modernized time, value, ecology. It is the practice of existing in a generative state of community. Whether consciously engaged or not, ideas proliferate. Immutable mobiles spread. Dreams manifest, the contemporary dematerializes. The Project is total. is our path. Plenaes is. Plenaes will.

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Principles of Action

Plenaes does not falter in the face of adversaries. Opposition is warranted, but not feared. Plenaes recognizes that ideals/hopes/ dreams are not enough. Plenaes calls for direct and directed action/creation/dissemination. Plenaes celebrates the conflict. Plenaes uses contention to motivate action. Plenaes engenders. Plenaes welcomes converts. Plenaes sings of great crowds excited by work, by pleasure, and by riot; of the multicolored, polyphonic tides of revolution.

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On Architecture


On Architecture Conjectures Architecture refers to the complex choreography of systems, forces, structures

Architecture does not encompass everything, it is by nature restrictive and specific

Architecture is both product and process

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Architecture possess the agency to engage with everything in its process, because it’s product affects everything

Plenaes is a reaction to contextual forces - Architecture constitutes those contextual forces - Plenaes must act through Architecture

Architecture must be radically inclusive - in both product and process

Architecture is unable to be divorced from the responsibilities inherent in the previous conjecture

The Project belongs to Architecture / Architecture belongs to The Project


Architecture must refers does possess is both unable not be toproduct the radically encomthe toagenbe comdiplextoprocess and pass cy vorced inclusive choreography everything, engage from - inwith the both responsibilities iteverything product isofby systems, nature and in forces, restrictive its inherent process process, structures inand because the specific previous it’s product conjecture everything affects

For the purposes of this writing, the following definition of architecture will be in effect. Architecture is both the process and resultant product of a complex choreography of forces, systems, structures, and materials articulated into being. It constitutes a framework for meaningful interaction with the world. Utilizing such a definition leads us in several interesting directions. This essay intends to engage with them, and provide a platform for the agency of the discipline regarding its history and its future. Beginning with an account of what Architecture Is - given the accepted definition above - and leading to inferences about what Architecture Must Be, this piece proposes a line of thinking which the author believes to have the potential of engendering a beneficial shift in perspective. As the author lacks any real authority on the truth of the matter, they can only offer their readers the opportunity to contemplate the following dialectic and offer a different chain of reasoning which provides a more beneficial impact.

Given the assumed definition above we may directly conclude one critical fact: Architecture is undeniably entangled with incomprehensible networks of causal chains and meta/physical concepts. The author poses the consideration of three network areas in particular to illustrate such a point: value, organization, and ecology. While linear conceptions of time are not beneficial to our work, the categorizations of past, present, and future will be helpful and accessible terms in this exercise. On a very fundamental level we may start with this baseline: as a material discipline architecture has value. It may be commodified, and is subject - like most everything - to subjugation by capitalism. We will leave the problematics of capitalism for someone with more experience to tear down, but suffice to say that were we able to separate the discipline from the ideology we would be in a much better place. Beyond material value, architecture contains labor value, use value, and another form which I am not quite capable of defining. A suitable placeholder might be aesthetic value, although that doesn’t quite sum it all up. Regardless, architecture participates in and is entangled with the commodity market, labor market, and ideas market. In the world we currently find ourselves in it is impossible to disassociate value and politics. Thus, because architecture is subject to capitalism it is also politically influential. Beyond the simple conclusions, architecture is inextricably tied to numerous social concerns which give the built environment itself political agency. The history of this is deep and storied, and largely unpleasant. The future of it is equally as far reaching - but hopefully more positive. That is ultimately up to us to decide. The en-

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vironments terrestrials live in, work in, and organize in have a direct bearing on the psychological and active realities in which they participate. This is a critical internalization we must make to create better worlds. Entanglement in consumption, politics, and society necessitates entanglement in the environment. All these are planetary forces thus, architecture is a planetary force as well. Alterations to environments produce alterations to ecology, but the final product we understand to have the most impact is only the last instantiation of a chain reaction of alterations we must bear in mind. Supply chains, material processes, labor policies, technological assistance - all have reverberating effects upon our planet that are in many ways impossible to grasp. We will work towards that distant goal. Upon sufficient consideration of these three (of many) complex concerns we can begin to identify the ways in which Architecture interacts with them. Firstly, granted that architecture possesses a multiplicity of values not only means that it is tied to the following two concerns, but that it possesses agency as well. We have historically underplayed this aspect of the discipline. By taking into account the realistic value of architecture we gain a new pin through which to leverage improvements across all three fields of issues and entanglements.

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Changes in architecture influence changes in politics and social organization, likewise changes in architecture influence alterations in local and global ecology, likewise changes in architecture influence shifts in valorization and valuation across global chains of economic force. But perhaps most importantly what comes to light is that Architecture functions as an instrument of knowledge. It is a cognitive instrument through which many widely varied and seemingly disparate concerns may be linked together and understood as a total assemblage. In addition to shaping both physical and imagined space, Architecture also gives shape to relations (social, physical, spacial, digital, systemic, etc) and therefore constitutes a basis of understanding and interrogating holistic world phenomena. Taking Architecture to its extremes, its most far reaching, constitutes the most demanding and potentially productive form of such an interrogation. When we accept that Architecture constitutes frameworks, we can infer that Architecture is reflexive - and has the opportunity to act upon itself. Thus we can understand Architecture as a discipline which is uniquely self-defining. Rarely does a field equip itself with the tools with which one could turn around and dismantle everything that brought it to its current state - but this is perhaps Architecture’s greatest strength. When Adorno gave his students the framework and tools with which to dismantle the intellectual (and physical) institutions which supported them, he was promptly and forcibly ushered off the scene once he outlived his welcome. Perhaps it is our time, like in Frankfurt, to collectively expose ourselves to Architecture, rid ourselves of the useless old, and bring in the new to a shower of rose petals.


The study of Architecture, at its core, is an immersion into a myriad of connections and entanglements. You may find this quite clearly demonstrated in the study of theory and history, but it is equally as present in the technical studies of structures, statics, and assemblies. For what is a wall ‘assembly’ if not a collection of connected and entangled parts? What is a building, if not an assemblage of assemblages? The author believes a single statement should preface every pedagogical undertaking in the discipline: Architecture is a framework for meaningful interaction with the world. With this precursor one may more readily understand the holistic perspectives necessary to participate in The Project. From these considerations we should be able to conclude several more things about the discipline. Architecture contains immense responsibilities, a great deal of agency, and must (by its own self-defined yet inevitable nature) concern itself with The Project. Just like anything else, conceiving of a totally useless architecture still eludes us. An architecture without qualities, without any use, one that cannot be commodified and does not interact with the outside world. A worthwhile pursuit certainly, but one which I do not foresee us being able to complete any time soon. As such, it is impossible to imagine an architecture which does not affect the context in which it exists, so we must conclude that architecture cannot avoid its own agency. Given unavoidable agency, the appropriate consideration for any moral anti-entropic being is that we must act responsibly. Inaction is irresponsible, but also not an option in this case. In all of the examples I have given in the text so far, and all those which I have not had time to include in this brief letter, it is clear that architecture is an integral foundational player. It is impossible to imagine an architecture which does not deal with these elements, and so we come to the conclusion that architecture cannot escape its responsibilities. And now I come to my final point, my final call to action. Architecture is deeply entangled, perhaps more so than any other field. Architecture has agency in the outcomes of those entanglements, thus it is responsible for them. It is impossible to extricate architecture from its responsibilities or agency, thus Architecture must concern itself with The Project. It is the perfect foil, the perfect armature, the perfect methodology for our pursuits.

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This is a call for Plenaes, in its inevitable pursuit of The Project, not to use Architecture as a framework for a solution - rather to understand it as a novel navigational system which possesses the necessary qualities for charting the correct set of courses.


Additional disciplinary conclusions for future Worlds: Architecture must embrace pluralistic and constructionist logics, building internal consistencies to rehearse different forms of life without fully mapping them out in relation to external social configurations, creating new worlds which suggest new models of shared life. Architecture must adopt a non-anthropocentric vantage point which accepts a multiplicity of intelligences; animal, natural, technological, artificial. Architecture must strive towards equity, which means along the way it must make up for its past transgressions before the next era can be entered. Architecture must accept indeterminability, instability, and uncertainty and turn towards analyzing and imagining temporal and spatial complexities.

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Reflecti


ions on Chronology

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From the Timekeeper Note: This excerpt seems to be pieced together from multiple sources, and serves to illuminate the different conceptions of time used throughout the work. It is important to bear these ideas in mind while reading the Plenaes documents in order to fully understand all of the connections, themes, and undertones.

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Chronology is a relatively irrelevant concept, the exercise of graphically representing it doubly so. The fallacy of linear time has been burned into our consciousness over generations and it has long overstayed its welcome. I write fallacy not because it is inherently false (who can really say - perhaps time is in fact linear) but because it cripples our understanding of the world and ability to cope with the most crucial realities of existence, particularly as a collective. The future has become an overall societal goal. Always obsessed with what is coming next, we have been operating under the false impression that we can foresee and fully control the future. The recent events have thrown many of us into a state of disorientation, laden with uncertainties. Unable to foresee an end to this turmoil, while harboring a strong feeling that the near future will be drastically different from the present, we experience a constriction of time. With a past that is no longer familiar and a day-to-day experience that does not include the future, our time horizons become shorter, to the point where the present is all there is. There are two ways to push our horizons back out to the points where they by all accounts should be. Both heavily rooted in epistemology and linguistics, one can either take a more rational/scientific approach or an experiential/sociological approach to understanding why multiplicitous understandings


are significantly more fortuitous than the singular conception we have so long been stuck in. These notes will provide a small collection of ideas filed under each method. The rational approach is perhaps harder to understand, but these theories will provide a basis to contextualize the more visceral experiential conceptions. The tenseless theory of time calls for the elimination of all talk of past, present and future in favour of a tenseless ordering of events using only phrases like “earlier than” or “later than”. The argument behind this is that tensed terminology can be adequately replaced with tenseless terminology, e.g. the future-tensed sentence, “we will win the game” can be adequately expressed as, “we do win the game at time t, where time t happens after the time of this utterance”. The future tense has therefore been removed, and the verb phrases “do win” and “happens after” are logically tenseless, even if they are grammatically in the present tense. If this is true, then there is no essential difference between the past, present, and future, all of which are therefore equally real, and the passage of time must be merely an illusion of human consciousness. The tensed theory of time, on the other hand, denies that such an argument is valid, and argues that our language has tensed verbs for a good reason, because the past, present and future are very different in quality. The A-theory therefore denies that the past, present and future are equally real, and maintains that the future is not fixed and determinate like the past. A-theorists believe that our ordinary everyday impression of the world as tensed reflects the world as it really is: the passage of time is an objective fact. The philosophy of time that takes the view that only

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the present is real is called presentism, while the view that all points in time are equally “real” is referred to as eternalism. Thus, according to presentism, only present objects and present experiences can be said to truly exist, and things come into existence and then drop out of existence. Therefore, past events or entities, like the Battle of Waterloo or Alexander the Great, literally do not exist for presentists, and, because the future is indeterminate or merely potential, it cannot be said to exist either.

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Eternalism, on the other hand, holds that such past events DO exist, even if we cannot immediately experience them, and that future events that we have not yet experienced also exist in a very real way. For eternalists, the “flow of time” we experience is therefore just an illusion of consciousness, because in reality time is always everywhere. Eternalism takes inspiration to some extent from the way time is modeled as a fourth dimension in the theory of relativity of modern physics, so that future events are “already there” but just have not been encountered yet, and the past literally still exists “back there” in the same way as a city still exists after we drive away from it. This is often referred to as the block universe theory or view because it describes space-time as an unchanging fourdimensional “block”, rather than three-dimensional space modulated by the passage of time. There is also a variation of eternalism, sometimes known as the growing block universe theory of time or the growing block view, in which more and more of the world comes into being with the passage of time (hence, the block universe is said to be growing), so that the past and present clearly do exist, but the future is not yet part of this universe and therefore does not exist. This in some ways gels with our intuitive impression that the past (which is fixed, and can be accessed through remembering and physical records) is very different in nature from the future (which is variable, uncertain and cannot be accessed or consulted). A similar but separate dichotomy exists with


regard to the persistence of objects through time. Endurantism is the more mainstream or conventional view, asserting that, when an object continues to exist through time, it exists completely at different times, with each instance of its existence fundamentally separate from the other previous and future instances. Perdurantism, on the other hand, holds that something that continues to exist through time exists as a single continuous reality, and the thing as a whole is then the sum of all of its “temporal parts” or instances of existing (the temporal parts of a particular person, for example, include their childhood, middle age, old age, etc). This argument goes back to ancient Greece and Heraclitus’ contention that we can never step into the same river twice (because the water is not the same water the second time around). An endurantist would tend to agree with Heraclitus, even though our common sense tells us that the river at one time and the river at another time are in fact the same river, and nothing about it has essentially changed. A perdurantist, on the other hand, would argue that it is possible to step into the same river twice by stepping into two different temporal parts of it. Typically, presentists are also endurantists, and eternalists are perdurantists, although this is not necessarily the case. The concept of alternative universes and the manyworlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, which is gaining increasing attention in the world of modern physics, adds a whole new dimension to the discussion of the nature of time. In the disconnected time streams in a potentially infinite number of parallel universes, some could be linear and others circular; time could continuously branch and bifurcate, or different time streams could even merge and fuse into one; the laws of causality and succession could break down or just not apply; etc, etc. Although modern physicists generally believe that time is just as “real” as space, a few mavericks, such as Julian Barbour, have tried to show scientifically that time exists merely as an

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illusion. In his book The End of Time, Barbour makes the argument that the quantum equations of the universe only take their true form when expressed in a timeless realm that contains every possible “now” or momentary configuration of the universe, a realm Barbour called “platonia”. Barbour argues that, in order to reconcile general relativity with quantum mechanics, either time does not exist, or else it is not fundamental in nature. The possibility that time might have more than one dimension has occasionally been discussed both in physics and in modern analytic philosophy. The English philosopher and scientist John G. Bennett has posited a six-dimensional universe, with the usual three spatial dimensions and three time-like dimensions, which he called time (the sequential chronological time that we are familiar with), eternity (cosmological time or timeless time), and hyparxis (characterized by Bennett as an “ablenessto-be”, and may be more noticeable in the realm of quantum processes). 30

Imaginary time is a concept derived from quantum mechanics. Stephen Hawking introduced the concept in his book A Brief History of Time as a way of avoiding the idea of a singularity at the beginning of the universe, where time suddenly starts and all the laws of physics break down. Hawking proposed that space and imaginary time together are finite in extent but with no boundary (in a similar way as the two-dimensional surface of a sphere has no boundary). Imaginary time is not imaginary in the sense that it is unreal or made-up, but it is admittedly rather difficult to visualize. It is perhaps easiest to think of it as a line perpendicular to the past-future line of regular or “real” time, in much the same way as the imaginary numbers run perpendicular to the real numbers in the complex plane in mathematics. Under this model, “real time” as we know it would still have a beginning, but the way the universe started out at the Big Bang would essentially be determined by its state in imaginary time. The beginning of the universe would then be a single point, analogous to the North Pole of the Earth, but not a singularity. Avoiding singularities is key in our understanding


of the uni/multi-verse. When a function, particularly relating to space/time, takes on an infinite value they go beyond our perceptual capabilities. In that sense, when theorizing about the unknowable, it is much more productive to simply avoid them and remain within realms we as humans are able to conceptualize. Similarly speaking, in my own work I often find more experiential conceptions of time to be much more fruitful. Some of these are laid out below. The Bureau of Linguistical Reality defines shadowtime as “a parallel timescale that follows one around throughout the day-to-day experience of regular time.” During this crisis, we experience shadowtime when short-term personal fears co-exist with deep existential planetary concerns; when those universal concerns turn our plans for life into obsolete and unimportant endeavors; when our perception of the planet’s temporal scale radically expands as we come to realize that viruses have populated the planet for over 1.5 billion years; and when simultaneously, the scale of the Earth is dwarfed in light of the rapid speed at which a newly discovered social issues proliferate through every corner of the planet. Shadowtime enlarges the frame of human experience by deepening the segment of historical time that we occupy. In shadowtime, the present is not a point in a time-trajectory, but rather it is a moment at which vastly different deep and shallow timetrajectories intersect. The experience of shadowtime connects us with a plurality of heterogeneous pasts and with the deep future of our planet. In shadowtime, we begin to acquire time-consciousness and we start to integrate our human actions with the planetary timescales at which they really operate. Coined by philosopher Glenn Albrecht, solastalgia describes a form of existential distress caused by environmental change. Albrecht described it as “the homesickness you have when you are still at home.” The experience of solastalgia—usually related to more localized events such as volcanic eruptions, drought, or destructive mining techniques—has become increasingly extensive. Many come to realize that what we initially thought was an exceptional state

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might indefinitely change reality as we have known it. History, the tool most commonly used to account for time, is usually presented as a series of accumulated facts that are written down to assert a rectilinear unity of time. The current crisis is challenging this assertion. German embryologist Ernst Haeckel coined the term heterochrony to describe deviations in the “traditional time” of the body. In Modernism and Time Machines, author Charles M. Tung explained how “Heterochrony reveals that our corporeal present is not the culmination of a progressive and uniform linear time.” The notion of heterochrony suggests the co-existence of multiple and irregular time-trajectories that converge into poly-temporal assemblages. It suggests that the heterogeneous present is not a point in time, but instead is the intersection of a multiplicity of variably deep and diverse timelines.

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Art unlocks the heterochrony that enables us to travel in time and space in search of connectedness. Through literature, for instance, we come into contact with people in distant cultures and eras who lived through similar events. The grievous sense of separation produced during this crisis makes us especially receptive to what literature has to offer, to those deep feelings of connectedness across cultures and generations. Art often triggers in some the experiential realization that we all come into this world alone, that we leave this world alone, and that it is precisely in that aloneness that we are deeply connected across time zones and centuries. Crises incite us to connect across time and space, to experience time as multidirectional and our body as poly-temporal. I find this last concept of heterogenous time, or heterochrony, to be perhaps the most convincing illustration of them all. I am working on the beginnings to some charting mechanisms to make sense of events, ideologies, flows, entanglements, etc under these pretenses. I am not sure how effective they will be in the end, particularly with the limitations of depiction in two or three dimensional


space. However, as pointed out before, art tends to unlock the perception of heterochrony even if the representation itself doesn’t communicate the concept entirely. I hope at the very least my work will be able to tap into that sense for some people. Perhaps I’ll finish off my musings today with some personal reflections. I find it most productive to consider no reality (not even the one within which I currently find myself) to be more significant than any other. This has been a beneficial belief for me in the creation of work as well as simply an understanding of how to operate within the world. Whether speaking of potential/actual events, static/ entropic/anti-entropic beings, entanglements/ singularities - all of these should warrant their own consideration, respect, and reflection. I would argue the broadening of horizons, both time and otherwise, is a critical pursuit we must all engage in.

These notes draw heavily from the work of Cristina Parreño Alonso and Luke Mastin.

ncluded d have i n a s, r o th note all se two au ncourage you to e th y b k as you or Ie in mind d some w reading section . m e th p e I’ve foun e er e , and k the furth s on Tim w them in e i v t n e ents. iffer ng docum i of these d w o ll fo r the encounte

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Narrative Map


Building Histories

The following document is a testament to the complexities and contradictions inherent in the Plenaes collections. It is, in its current state, my best attempt at making a proper ordering of the material. There were many iterations before this, so take this a suggestion rather than a rule. A proposed route on which to travel, perhaps. I encourage you to stop and smell the roses when they catch your attention, maybe backtrack a bit to see another view or explore a different path.

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I found the process of reordering and re-reading to be quite interesting and divulgent of new meanings. Should you have the time, why not try the same. You can take my job for a while, and sift through the documents as you like. Perhaps package them up again and send them along in a different order - I think that’s probably what Plenaes would have wanted anyway. In short, I am admitting my own fallibility and aknowledging your own agency. We all find ourselves in the same situation, post-singularity, and are all equally oblivious to the happenings of the past. With records destroyed and word of mouth accounts so few and far between, we have to make our own histories. Let’s make it a good one. Yours,

P.S. I scribled some notes in the margins that jumped out at me when I was collating my printed copies of the material. Mostly explanatory, but sometimes raising questions. Feel free to ignore them entirely, but I would love to hear your thoughts as well.


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Collection I


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Notes towards “OUROBOROS; an Archeology of Capital” Morgan Kernes, August 1st - Sixth Cycle.

The titular relevance of this essay is a redefinition/reapplication of the traditional Gnostic and Hermetic symbol of the Ouroboros - a snake eating its own tail. The symbology takes on new meanings when considered through associations of systemic structures rather than mythology and spirituality. Whereas the latter understands the circularity and skin-sloughing of the serpent to symbolize fertility and rebirth, the former places emphasis on the futility of its actions and the inevitability of self-consumption.

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The term consumption plays a key role here, for if we presume the serpent to be locked in its position - having already swallowed too much of itself to turn back and regurgitate - it does not continue out of pleasure, rather out of necessity. The only option for survival is to continue its consumption. Furthering the problem but allowing for its continued existence. To continue the parallel, many mythologies invoke this imagery on the world scale. They speak of a so-called World Serpent, which encompasses all within its constricting grip. It is through this set of imagery which I want to pose the consideration of capitalism and the monetary system. The rest of this essay will attempt to position how our structures put themselves in the fallacious position of the snake, and what will happen should we not chop its head off post-haste. I think perhaps I should start with a bit of history - will have to think about which portion makes the most sense to be the introduction.


If we are to undertake such a project as an archeology of capital and its relations, we must first consider where to begin. The decision of an origin point tells a story and makes a statement in and of itself. We could perhaps begin with the first territorial markings of pre-recorded eras, or perhaps with the first currencies, or perhaps with the first to theorize for and against the concept - Smith and Marx are suitable figures, or n even perhaps the real history has only just now history beginning i t a of h e future? W e conceiv begun. Could w nd as the time ---

about understa thinking what we of y a w ch a would su ? te a implic

Since it is a central figure of our story, let us perhaps start with a brief history of exchange value. An intrinsic concept representing the desirability of goods, services, information, etc - it is not limited in time or place. Future value for instance, is oddly often considered to have more worth than its equivalent in the present tense. This exchange value has been quantified and concretized through physical representations of trust we call currency or money. Perhaps the most influential immutable mobile; currency is used as a medium of exchange, a unit of measurement, a temporo-spatial storage device, and a societal actor. When the representations of exchange value have practically equal amounts of use value, one could assume a quasi barter system to be in place. The requisite trust is minimal, because the exchange of value is directly applicable to both transactional parties. However, as is far more common, when the representations of exchange value are essentially worthless or perhaps even entirely immaterial, we enter an era where trade is much more dextrous but requires an immense amount of trust. This guarantee is typically provided by states, governments, or national institutions whose level of stability far exceeds any individual or private enterprise.

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Such a system of sovereign backing has great potential, and in many ways elucidates the best of both worlds. A stable and trustworthy entity, established through social contract, represents and provides a secure exchange medium through which all exchange may take place. The value and quantity of the representation is controlled and manageable. The easiest way to institute such a system is with material representations of exchange value and enforcement of explicit valorization of those tokens.

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Valorization is a tricky thing to establish once a system is fully underway, partially selfconsumed so to speak, but if understood from the outset it is quite a simple task. Exchange representations are only awarded through the application of value-forming labor in societal productions. The definition of this value must of course be set by the controlling entity, but as an example take the trading of financial futures we will address later on. The intermittent exchange of not-yet-valorized currency predicated upon its future accruement of value would be considered 1) immoral and 2) would not be rewarded with exchange value tokens. Now of course, in order to make the immutables even more mobile we make the logical jump to desiring immaterial tokens, and what may be the beginning of the end. Speaking to a broad timescale this is a relatively recent development, but to many of us it may as well have always been this way. Desiring their tokens to be kept safe, many would deposit them in a central location whose valoried service was to do just that. However rather than charging a fee of those who stored their tokens with them as would

Record

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be expected, they utilized the concentration of wealth to issue immaterial tokens predicated upon their future return of more than what was given out. Often operating on the reasonable assumption that not all who had stored their tokens with them would desire to utilize them at once, meaning that a fractional reserve is all that would be needed for consistent operation - and the rest could be lent to make a profit. This is the first immoral practice. In the conceptualization of exchange value as a controlled system we now have free variables which cannot be controlled. Namely, the amount of immaterial, non-valorized tokens which flow freely through the system, the negative value currency created in reciprocity, and the compounding and increasing quantity of exchange value tokens which are created out of thin air through these loaning practices. The power of value-creation has now effectively been passed off from the high trust, high stability state organization ensured through social contract to a low trust, low stability privatized service. It is arguable whether or not this service is effectively valorized, but it is a demonstrable fact that the way in which they create new exchange value tokens is not. Once that power is lost, the Ouroboros has progressed too far to consider regurgitating itself and returning to the stability that once was. The only option is for outside action to extricate it from this unfortunate situation, through partial surgery or the every so fitting death and rebirth. We must return to a sovereign valorized system. Let me propose an example of the consequence of immaterial value which is near ubiquitous today. Imagine a totally “outsourced” company – which not only outsources its material production, the distribution of its products, and its marketing strategy and publicity campaigns, but also the design work itself to some selected top designer agency, and, on top of all that, borrows money from a bank. The company will thus be ‘nothing in

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itself’ – nothing but the pure brand mark, the empty Master-Signifier which connotes the cultural experience pertaining to a certain life-style. Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself here - I don’t think the editors will appreciate me rambling on but this is an important point to make. If I set up for a sequel they’ll probably let it slide.

Now that the background is over with, I’d like to speak to the present situation we find ourselves in. Bringing back the metaphor from the beginning of the piece, we are currently in the exact moment of choice: our capitalist society and monetary system is has dug itself in too deep, consumed too much of its own being, and now we must decide whether to feed it exponentially further in order to let it’s continued growth take place - or halt it in its tracks, lob off the head, and start anew with a rich history of problematics to inform our new decision making process.

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While I do not have faith in the capability of those in the position to make that decision to choose correctly, I do believe that the latter option is correct. The partial impetus for writing this piece is to garner support and engender public opposition to major supranational financial regulatory institutions such as the International Circulatory Board. While their missions are not inherently evil, historical practices such as structural adjustment programs have systematically dismantled alternative systems and economic explorations. We cannot trust that these organizations will operate with the best interests of the people or the planet at heart, and must begin to raise public awareness of the issues at hand. As Marx wrote: “The actual burden must be made even more burdensome by creating an awareness of it. The humiliation must be increased by making it public… the people must be put in terror of themselves in order to give them courage.”


My prediction, if I had to humbly make one, is that some form of legislation is to be passed to work in the opposite direction. It will continue to shovel the tail into the serpent’s mouth until the constriction it forces upon the world is so tight we will not be able to breathe even if all that is solid melts into air.

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As Marx wrote: “The actual burden must be made even more burdensome by creating an awareness of it. The humiliation must be increased by making it public… the people must be put in terror of themselves in order to give them courage.” Now: Imagine a totally “outsourced” company – Nike, say, which not only outsources its material production (to Indonesian or Central American contractors), the distribution of its products, and its marketing strategy and publicity campaigns, but also the design work itself to some selected top designer agency, and, on top of all that, borrows money from a bank. Nike will thus be ‘nothing in itself’ – nothing but the pure brand mark ‘Nike,’ the empty Master-Signifier which connotes the cultural experience pertaining to a certain life-style.


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Retrieved Email Records From International Circulatory Board Executive Committee Members; Marcus Finch and Tae Joon Hwang

To: mfinch@icb.org From: tjhwang@icb.org Subject: Next Steps Standard Encryption (STLS) Marcus, I wanted to follow up on our last Exec meeting, discuss some action items with you. Do you have time to call next next week? Drop something in my calendar at your convenience - no more than an hour though, I’m a busy person unlike the hippies you’re used to dealing with. Let me be frank to preface our conversation. Your alternative proposals were well thought out, but I must say it does not feel like we’re living in the same world. Or perhaps I’ve lost the idealism you seem to hold on to so tightly. As Chair it’s my responsibility to make actionable decisions and assess the risks before we commit to any proposal, and given our current situation and the agency the ICB has been granted to intervene - I simply do not have the luxury of dreaming up quasi-marxist reinventions of the labor economy. In a parallel universe I would love to follow you down this rabbit hole but I fear it is not in the cards for us or our organization. The situation is grim. We need to focus on sustaining what has worked in the past until we have a sure footing again.Then and only then can we consider your ideas for restructuring the purpose of the ICB. For now, I’m going to ask you to back Christina Loowe’s proposal at our next meeting. She has brought forth the only salient idea that will satisfy the parties that matter, AND help those that don’t have a say. Consider the alternatives: a complete collapse of value systems, resurgence of militaristic states, complete infrastructure implosions - you know this better than anyone. The circulatory quotas are the only way to keep the machine running, and that after all is what we must do. I look forward to talking this over with you, don’t make up your mind yet. Best, TJH

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To: tjhwang@icb.org From: mfinch@icb.org Subject: RE: Next Steps Standard Encryption (STLS) TJ, my friend, We’re scheduled for Thursday, 3:30pm BJST. For the whole hour. You better be serious about this. You have your work cut out to convince me. You realize what you are asking of me right? It’s a betrayal of my personal ideals as well as, dare I say, the reason I was brought onto ICB Exec in the first place. I know the global economy is in turmoil, and I know the free market has never been worse, but that is exactly why I am pushing for these reforms now. It is precisely because everything is in the shitter once again that perhaps it will draw enough attention to finally be considered a real crisis - one that warrants a real and total recalibration.

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Loowe’s proposal is just going to prop up the current system with all of its crumbling mass on twigs. Worse than that even, they’re not even real twigs. It’s a proposal which supports the entire global economy on a fata-morgana, and once that heat goes away and people can finally look at what we’ve done they’ll realize the only way out is collapse. Mark my words. These circulatory quotas are a joke. So many of our fellow board members think that this can all be solved with some clever bookkeeping. If the GDPs are high no one worries - this is not a numbers game, it’s about people’s livelihoods and the livelihood of our planet. I would like to think that Loowe knows this and can see past the facade of numerical distortion, but I don’t know if that makes the proposal better or worse. Talk soon, Marcus


To: tjhwang@icb.org From: mfinch@icb.org Subject: To Clarify Priority Encryption (ALEPH) TJ, Regarding our conversation yesterday, I’ve sat on it for a bit and there are some things I want to reiterate to make sure you understand where I am coming from. 1. Supra-national regulatory organizations like the ICB have existed before, but largely operated through coercion, structural adjustment programs and so on but the ICB has an unprecedented amount of influence on the global stage. Look how those other organizations turned out, they’re what got us into this mess in the first place. 2. We needn’t operate like we’re living in the past. We have the agency to turn this around, and the rapport to swing governments to our side and work on this collaboratively. What you’re proposing is an undeniable ego trip which makes the ICB the sole support for the entire world-market. 3. You and Loowe both have a savior complex perhaps the whole mission statement of the ICB is predicated on having one. But the real world is not. It is far more complicated. The numbers you two are so enamored with are entangled with systems any organization is incapable of managing. 4. We have a unique position teetering on a razor’s edge. It is our choice now, to choose to support the colossal self-destructive machine of our current system for the limited time it has left, covering people’s eyes as they gaze upon it in blissful ignorance. OR we could blow the whistle now, and become the ones that usher the globe out of this mess. You want to expend all your energy staying above the waves, rather than let it carry you until we find ourselves closer to the shore later on. I know you’re asking for my support because having the opposition vote would make your life a lot easier. Just come out and say it, but I won’t be bribed. One day, all that is solid really will melt into air. MF

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To: mfinch@icb.org From: tjhwang@icb.org Subject: RE: To Clarify Priority Encryption (ALEPH)

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Finch, Perhaps you couldn’t read my tone of voice. Loowe’s proposal will go through, it is our only way forward - with or without you on board. Catch my drift? The decision is up to you, but do consider the consequences. TJH


To: allstaff@lists.icb.org From: tjhwang@icb.org Subject: [Important] New Policies | Executive Committee Standard Encryption (STLS) All, It is with great pleasure that I am able to announce the new protocols the ICB will be backing in the coming fiscal year. It is our belief that these policies will stabilize the economic turmoil that has plagued us for the last decade, growing worse every year. Please see the attached proposal for more information. The Executive Summary is copied below for your convenience.

“The International Circulatory Bureau has been the globe’s foremost economic authority for at least 10 cycles. We have spearheaded countless successful initiatives on the world scale, ushering in prosperity and stability for first and fourth world nations alike. Recently our attention has been focussed on a meta analysis of global monetary supply. For the last two cycles our statisticians have been carefully monitoring the fluctuations in currency value, quantity, and supply across all nations and have published several sector relevant reports which you can find in Appendix A of this proposal. What has come to our attention are the warning signs of a monetary crisis on unprecedented levels - driven largely by the increase in debt-trading practices. Index 6 contains data and graphics which represent the radical increase in preference of negative-value currencies over positive in the last three cycles. In the last cycle alone, debt-currency has been exchanged over positive-currency at a rate of 7:1. We understand the cause of this to be the simple fact that the implied value of interest bearing debt exceeds that of its positive-value counterpart. This is a natural implication of our contemporary monetary system, and nothing short of total reform would have prevented it. The acceleration however, was quite unfounded. Our models did not predict reaching the current levels until at least seven more cycles. The creation and subsequent rise of several alternative Black Currencies into mainstream use has upset the balance and pushed us to act sooner than we anticipated necessary. Black Currencies are completely non-valorized, unregulated, and untraceable cryptocurrencies whose value is backed by partially legal and entirely necessary crediting organizations. It would take collaborative and decisive action from every single nation to eliminate this problem in the necessary timeframe. The ICB does not recommend this for several reasons. Firstly, the coordination effort is immense and will be too slow to come to fruition. Secondly, the process would require a complete overhaul of global monetary systems - returning to sovereign money and damaging international trade relations and the overall speed of global economic growth. Thirdly, the capital required for such an operation and subsequent reform is immense. It would require the reconciliation of all positive and negative value and the reinstantiation of the former, effectively triple all of the currency in the world market.

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However, if action is not taken such a reconciliation is bound to happen through natural market cycles. See Appendix C for a comparison of the current social, economic, and political markings to those of previous crises. It is imminent, and we must act soon. The International Circulatory Bureau has prepared the following document in order to propose to the Council the adoption of a new legislature enforcing an international practice of Circulatory Quotas. These quotas will ensure the prolonged stability of the current system, at the very least as an intermediary measure. In three cycles we will issue a second report and proposal detailing our assessments and whether we recommend continuing the Quotas in the long term.

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The core agenda of the Circulatory Quota proposal is to prevent the reconciliation of positive and negative value currencies. By ensuring they are both constantly in flux and never accumulate we guarantee both a continuous growth in trade and industry, while ensuring the reconciliation does not have time or impetus to take place. In Index 2 we have proposed a two-fold scaling methodology based upon national GDP and individual income. Individual nations will then have the option of scaling those further based on localized debt/currency ratios as well as long term goals for productivity, circulation, and wealth redistribution. In Index 3 we detail those modifiers based upon the results of Index 2. The Circulatory Quota proposal does not differentiate between state, civilian, or incorporation. All are equally subject to the legislation - the success of the proposal is predicated upon total participation. Additionally, it does not differentiate between positive and negative value currencies. We see this as a major strength. Individuals are allowed to trade with and utilize debt-currency as well as positive-currency as they wish, allowing the continuation of our contemporary monetary system without any revision. As they will both be in near constant flux, the risk of reconciliation is minimal. See Appendix E for proposed plans to devalue debt-currency as the Quotas become adopted. This proposal has the full endorsement of the International Circulatory Bureau. We hope the Council will find it equally as satisfactory, and look forward to working together on the rollout.”

Branch Leads should be receiving rollout protocols shortly, all other staff should standby for instructions. This could be the beginning of a new era, one with us at the forefront. Sincerely, Chair Hwang


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Neo Albion District 7 Planning Committee Minutes 4 April, 16th Cycle CM: Attention, attention. Our second speaker tonight is Samuel Lewis from Ward C. Sam, go ahead. SAMUEL LEWIS: Chairmen, Chairwomen - thank you for giving me the floor. I’d like to address the committee today about my ongoing surveys of New Albion districts Four, Six, and Seventeen. As you all know, these districts have been particularly interesting as of late due to their location along a spectrum of development extending from the central business district, through the ICB headquarters, and on to the disenfranchised neighborhoods beyond. Four, Six, and Seventeen are not the only districts where profound change is occurring but they do represent a unique cross-sectional slice not quite present anywhere else my colleagues are studying. [Lewis displays zoning map on screen]

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SL: I’d like to draw your attention first to the changes we’ve seen in the last two cycles which I will highlight on our zoning and development maps here, share my assessment of the situation, and then I’d like to propose some motions to prevent future issues we believe may be right on the horizon. There’s quite a bit of content, so I’d prefer if you noted any questions and saved them until the end when there will be some time to discuss the proposals in detail.


SL: I will work my way outwards from the city center, beginning with District Four. District Four lies on the eastern edge, but still very much inside the zone designated as Corporate Business. It shares borders and many characteristics with zones One, Two, and Three. Keep in mind that Four is a part of my study mostly based upon its alignment with the slice I am examining, and that many of the observations here apply to One through Three as well. SL: After a shaky interim cycle the markets seem to be back in full force, and as has always been the case that means that the CBD is filled with construction once again. I’ve highlighted the lots for you to see here. Nearly 28% of the parcels have been redeveloped within the last cycle, up from 16% in the previous, and estimated to increase to 35% by the end of the current cycle. SL: Generally speaking this is seen as a positive development, as all new construction generates significant revenue for the city - and, most importantly, density is going up and not down. However, if the rate of construction keeps growing at it’s anticipated pace we will have two major problems to deal with. First and foremost is the disruption to traffic, circulation, and general life in the city center. Even if all the contractors worked out a sophisticated collaborative management plan, which we all know they won’t, we would on average have 27 out of the 56 major arteries closed for 70% of the next cycle. I don’t have to tell you how many problems this would cause, how many residents would complain, or how much money it would cost. I would also like to take this moment to raise to your attention the issue of impermanent resident displacement. Many of the redevelopment sites have taken alleys and extensive portions of pedestrian way offline, and will displace the significant unofficial resident population to unpredictable locations. I would urge the committee once again, to add housing for this population into the next major development proposition. CM: Sam, please. Why is this our problem? SL: Because they live in New Albion as well as you and I. Did I say I would rather you hold your questions until the end, thank you. SL: The other major issue is all the refuse from the buildings coming down. No doubt it will cause a significant increase

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in air contamination, and the AQI was already registering us in the red for 66% of last cycle. Given the increase in construction and lack of time to flush out the contaminates, we can expect an increase in those numbers as well as a wider spread. Potentially as far out as Districts Twenty and further. Secondly, the landfill space we have immediately available is rapidly filling, and at the current projections will be full in two cycles. CW: Can’t we just send it elsewhere? To Lurds? SL: Oh, and of course the height of the proposed buildings will cast much of Districts 7 and 12 into near constant shadow - but that’s a conversation for another day. My initial assessment here is that we must advocate for reuse, potentially by imposing fees and increased taxation on new construction in zones One through Four.

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SL: Moving on to Six, we have some fascinating developments going on. The International Circulatory Bureau has recently purchased a large plot of land on the eastern edge, bordering District Seventeen. Their new headquarters will likely bring a great deal of vitality to the area, but we are worried that it may lead to a distinct change in the urban character. The plans submitted, and already approved I might add, predict a building which is constantly in flux. It is in reality no more than an armature to hold modular units shipped in from factories, and potentially exchanged as often as several times per cycle. SL: A good idea given the imminent onset of the Circulatory Quota legislation, and to top it off they have offered to pay for the infrastructure development needed to support such a system. My worry is this: currently the district exists as a buffer zone, naturally separating and transitioning from the CBD to the lower-income areas on the outskirts of the city such as District Seventeen. We should all understand that such border areas are critical, and provide much needed interaction between the two groups. I have been working on mixed development proposals in District Six for decades now, and that effort is likely to go to waste. SL: The infrastructure the ICB proses to build in order to support its headquarters would make the area exceedingly lucrative for developers hoping to capitalize on the wave of construction bound to happen when the circulatory quotas


are instituted. I predict that this area will, nearly overnight, be converted into a receptacle for standardized modules of high end residential and corporate offices. I recommend allowing the ICB to continue building its headquarters, but limiting the infrastructure development to a highly restricted area - and perhaps preventatively rezoning around 20% of the existing parcels to prevent this eventuality. SL: Lastly I would like to voice my concerns about what will happen to District Seventeen when the Circulatory Quota rollout is in place. We all are aware that this is currently an economically depressed area, and barring major financial support from the city they will remain as such for the foreseeable future. Without the capital to participate in the construction boom bound to happen, homeowners will either have their properties fall into disrepair - having to allocate their mandatory spending quota elsewhere - or they will be snatched up by speculators and the populace will be forced further into the slums. SL: The fact that all three of these conditions exist within a 50mile radial slice of New Albion is remarkable - and will only serve to accentuate the aforementioned consequences. To remediate and retain relative stability in these areas, and indeed all across the city, I urge the council to take the proposals I have distributed to them seriously and consider an affirmative vote. Please take a minute to review the Executive Summary on your desk and then I will be happy to answer any questions. Thank you.

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Pages ExtractedFound from the Journal of Imir Kesh, Painter age 217 Book 3, P is truly unmistakable. I must remember to ask her about it the next time we meet. I wonder if Sharon is familiar with her work… I bet they would both be able to have a long, and probably arduous, conversation about the works of Steyerl and Stanislaw. Note: Have an excuse prepared so you can flee after you introduce them, if the need arises of course. Ah, sorry to report to my self of today couldn’t make the progress that my self of yesterday set out to do. My current self feels… disappointed? No, more frustrated - angry almost. I imagine my tomorrow self will have internalized those emotions once again though, so I may just fester them for a while longer. It’s not my fault my subject is so goddamn frustrating! I HATE painting from pictures, but I bet I’ll cave if this goes on for another few years. What kind of charlatan dilutes their perception of reality before creating a piece. It ruins the point of a painting! I recall a stark argument with placeholdername1 about this very subject not too long ago… He thought it didn’t make any difference, but painting is about internalising the world around you and bringing that direct, emotional, perception back onto the page. It takes time, it takes consideration, it takes reflection and introspection. And most of all, it can’t be truthful if what you are representing has been corrupted by a stiff, emotionless piece of technology! I’m used to painting cityscapes, setting up in a friend’s apartment, or marking a place on a street corner, or a park, so I can return to the same spot every day and take it all in as I process and ideate. I can understand the constant flux of the urban environment only through the backdrop of the constant cityscape. The ephemeral nature of crowds becomes clear against the stoic buildings, the parks which change on their surface with the seasons but the bones remain the same, the rails and transit which while mobile are sublimely predictable… How I long for those days to be back, to forgo this constant sense of unfamiliarity; it distracts one so from the beauties of quotidian life! My solid foundation, the background to which I was so used to setting the motion and excitement of life, is gone. The damn quotas don’t allow for anything to stay up more than a year. I swear the skyline changes more than Sharon changes her outfits. I must remind her to check out that shop on High Wacker, some of the blouses were simply sublime. Speaking of the sublime, perhaps therein lies my answer? I must remember to read Edmond Burke once again - Tomorrow self, take note. Back to the topic at hand. The current project is looking to depict the blasted

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Book 4, Page 12 have been working on it for some time now, but I feel that I have finally made some sort of breakthrough. The damn Circulatory Board headquarters has finally relented into some form which I feel I might be able to do justice to. After tearing it down and rebuilding it who knows how many times (that was a figure of speech, I do because I’ve been trying to paint it FOR TWO CYCLES. For future reference - it’s 8 - one per quarter) they seem to have finally realized that there is a better way to embody their philosophies. The succession of starchitect designed corporate palaces were aesthetically stunning, even if they were intellectually as flat and fake as their designers. The current design is neither of those things. A sell out corporate referential modernist office block from hell, it seems to fit the organization perfectly.

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Harkening back to the ‘Modularity’ trend from, good lord, absolute ages ago - perhaps this new economic regime has finally given that movement a place to realize all of its promises. Who would have thought metabolism would come back at the behest of the market? Somewhat poetic, in the ironic sense… Anyhow this damn building. Finally it takes a shape perhaps it can hold. And what a boring one. Or Fascinating? I can’t quite tell yet. It is truly Platonic - I can say that much with certainty. Platonic in the most grotesque way possible. It always appears as the same volume but the contents are evey shifting, rearranging, flowing in and out on chthonic tendrils linking it to all the supporting infrastructure of the city. I watch it day after day… I can’t quite tell if it is feeding off of the city, off of us, or nourishing the fabric by way of its outcasts and offshoots (I suspect the former but I suppose only time will tell). It appears imposing, but perhaps only due to its function rather than its form. It is still dwarfed by the central business district behind but its aura is somehow far, far more imposing. Due to the stark contrast of hardcorist formalism juxtaposed with the surrounding vernacular? Or could it be the sheer chutzpah of the statement harkening back to modernism (with some references to metabolism?) which denies the neoliberal ideology contained within the formal language it so desperately desires… Last cycle they redid the formwork, I suppose to create a framework within which the future iterations could manifest. The grid has been static since it’s construction - so far, so good. Perhaps this will give me a basis upon which to draw the iterations within. I pray it does.


Book 6, Page 42 Notes towards an ephemeral style: 1. A reconception of buildings as actors helps to alleviate the stress caused by their constant shifting about 2. The juxtaposition becomes about scales and rates of change, rather than static/dynamic 3. Look to impressionism for inspiration 4. Consider: the medium is static, is this a problem? 5. In search of a constant, possible answers: Sky (too fickle), Ground (regrettably not as constant as it once was), the Heavens (possible, but vague), the Ghosts of History (think palimpsest - interesting), the Human Psyche (who am I, Freud?) 6. Perhaps an inversion of roles is in order, the human (perceptor) as static, the world shifting around them 7. Visualization of invisible flows must be integral to such a style, consider the consistent overbearing presence of circulatory quotas - and the causal relationship they have to the world we find ourselves in 8. Consult my architect comrade for further theorizing

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Notes towards “OUROBOROS; an Archeology of Capital” Morgan Kernes, August 1st - Sixth Cycle.

Dear need with than give

reader, I am deeply sorry that I feel like I to write this piece in the first place. Bear me, for there will be more substance here just an “I told you so”. To begin, let me a quick recap from the previous article.

OUROBOROS was a piece I wrote early last cycle, so it’s been almost two cycles since those initial ideas and predictions first hit paper. I would encourage you to dig it out and refresh your memory, at the very least perhaps you’ll glean some dark sense of omen-schadenfreude. The piece was a speculative history of Capital and it’s relations, and used the titular reference to foretell the situation we see unfolding in front of us now. An Ouroboros is a mythical dragon/snake creature which is locked in an infinite cycle of consumption and rebirth. Used as an analogy for the particular brand of neoliberal globalist capitalism which has somehow garnered unequivocal support, it feels like it hits almost too close to home. The article ended with the following statement: My prediction, if I had to humbly make one, is that some form of legislation is to be passed to work in the opposite direction. It will continue to shovel the tail into the serpent’s mouth until the constriction it forces upon the world is so tight we will not be able to breathe even if all that is solid melts into air. And here’s the punchline: I told you so. Recent developments coming from the ICB indicate exactly the kind of policy I had feared about to come into effect. They have not released the full brief to the public yet, only sharing the

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executive summary a couple days ago. The idea of quotas is a textbook example of just such an inadequate crutch. It will be used to prop up the status quo until it has grown so fat nothing in the world could keep it from collapsing.

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Furthermore, such policies focussed on consumption and cyclical sustenance of finances are exceedingly detrimental to the foundational networks we all rely upon for our expected quality of life. They prey upon accelerationist tendencies, and undo all efforts of sustainability we have worked so tirelessly to put into place. Resource consumption will skyrocket, and with it so will emissions (See Duarte et al.). We are consciously choosing prolonging the collapse of capitalism over the well-being of our planet. A sin so unforgivable, I shudder to think of the future. Not that I expected my previous article to go anywhere other than a speaking gig or two - but I fear that we have now passed the point at which I had found it plausible, if painful, to simply chop off the head and undergo a rebirth. I humbly suspect that the ICB knows so as well. There are some good people working there, some intelligent people, and perhaps one or two that are both. That being said - I believe this to be a conscious move on their part in order to prolong disaster and allow for some intelligent nations to adequately prepare. They waited too long to propose any real change, and now it’s time for triage. Reconciliation of positive and negative value currencies is already well underway. There’s unrest and discomfort in the world’s markets increasing numbers of people are checking out early and making it much, much worse for those who stay in. Liquidation potential is rapidly approaching zero. The quotas are hoping to draw


people back in, but the only consequence could conceivably be exile for life - and really, that may be better than the alternative. Only time will tell how long these policies will last - but I can tell you this with certainty: it is the beginning of the end. Prepare accordingly. MK

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Retrieved Email Records From International Circulatory Board Executive Committee Members: Tae Joon Hwang, Christina Loowe, and Ex Committee Member Marcus Finch

To: tjhwang@icb.org From: mfinch@imai.com Subject: [no subject] Priority Encryption (ALEPH) All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air. All that is holy is profaned.

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You knew this would happen one day, you just hoped it wouldn’t be on your watch. Guess you should have stepped down last year like you told me you would. MF

To: mfinch@imail.com From: tjhwang@icb.org Subject: RE: [no subject] Priority Encryption (ALEPH) Fuck you.


To: cloowe@icb.org From: tjhwang@icb.org Subject: [Urgent] Mitigation Plan Standard Encryption (STLS) Loowe, We followed your proposal because it was the safest option. Did your research really not uncover any of these potentialities? The committee meeting was uncomfortable enough, and at the SSOC summit I quite literally got my ass handed to me on a silver platter. They see the signs Christina, they know what’s about to happen almost as clearly as we do. 77

Any hidden language in our policy outlines we can pull to (at the very least) save face? If we don’t do anything, literally every government in the world is going to look at their treasuries one day this cycle, notice that all they own is debt, and the only place they’ll be able to look for an explanation is a 6,000 page document with your name on the front. Regards, TJH


To: tjhwang@icb.org From: cloowe@icb.org Subject: RE: [Urgent] Mitigation Plan Priority Encryption (ALEPH) Tae Joon, Cut the shit. You know as well as I do that my proposal was our only option. You knew the flaws in it better than anyone other than maybe Marcus. I did what I had to, no what WE needed to, in order to stay afloat and maintain a proper image. You can’t fault me for that. The Circulatory Quotas were the only way to keep the machine running - without that grease we would have had this collapse not even a cycle after the founding of the ICB. They were brilliant for what they were. And look at what we got done? I know states and media alike are going to try to blame us for this, but honestly they should be thanking us for the prosperity and growth we brought them in the meantime. How many houses have you lived in recently? How much travel did you get an excuse to do? How many business deals and investments happened because we required it? 78

The debt and interest issues were real, but unavoidable unless we wanted to do the full reform Marcus proposed. It’s too late to go back and side with him. You co-sponsored the proposal, you can’t pin this all on me even if you wanted to. Both our names are stamped onto the policy documents and, as you say, literally every government in the world has a copy. You want to save face in this? You can’t get out alone. With love, Christina

To: cloowe@icb.org From: tjhwang@icb.org Subject: RE: [Urgent] Mitigation Plan Priority Encryption (ALEPH) Fine. Since we got into this together let’s try to get out together. I’ll cover your ass to the team at least, but I can’t promise anything about the media. Tae


To: allstaff@lists.icb.org From: tjhwang@icb.org Subject: RE: [no subject] Priority Encryption (ALEPH) All, Know that I do not fault anyone in particular for this, but that collectively, we will be taking the blame for a lot of what is to come. The ICB is unlikely to survive this ordeal and will likely be dismantled by the UN - or at least stripped of its power, which is affectively the same. As you all must be aware, we are in free fall. The Circulatory Quota proposal endorsed by the Executive Board several cycles ago was a last ditch effort to appease our constituents and keep the global market forces strong. I appload boardmember Loowe for her creative proposal, and in the cycles following we saw unprecedented levels of global economic growth. It allowed us to do many things, advance in many ways; as an organization and a species. Whether it was faulty assumptions or faulty executions is hard to say, nor will we likely ever have the funding to properly investigate. The fact of the matter is we have failed at our task of maintaining the current economic order, bolstering trade, and making sure the machine runs smoothly. Saying that it ground to a halt would be a disservice to our efforts. I should rather say it exploded in a fiery blaze of glory and took us all down with it. We wait to see what the bureaucracy will pin on us and what they will shake off to circumstances, but be ready to receive exit protocols - and plan for the worst eventuality. Yours - perhaps for the last time, Chair Hwang

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Archived Voicemail, E. Strilka (Financier) addressing G. Strilka (Spouse)

[11:42 AM CDST] Babe please pickup, please Honey? … Hello? Shit. Ok listen. I uh, I just got out of an ICB meeting and we need to act fast if we want to stay on top of this. Check all the accounts we have with SEO and SI Financial - we need to cash out all the debt assets or else things are going to get bad. The reconciliation is coming and all of ICB knows it we need to hurry. Call me back. [12:16 PM CDST] Pick Up Dammit! What are you doing at a time like this? I don’t fucking care because it can wait. You know I can’t check accounts at work - it’s against policy so I need you to do this, and I need you to do it soon. Both of our futures are at stake, you hear me? [12:24 PM CDST] Hello? Hello! Fuck.

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[12:44 PM CDST]

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Hey. Some of the coworkers are talking about the best ways to get out of this. We think the best move is to buy land, doesn’t matter where. Damn I wish I could get into our accounts at work. Listen, call me back we need to get on this NOW. [1:15 PM CDST] ...sobbing… What are you doing! Why won’t you pick up! I… I just checked. I gave in. I guess maybe you already saw… It’s gone, it’s all gone. SEO folded. Our SI account is negative. FDM hasn’t made a statement but they wiped all the accounts, damn fools. JPMCS says we owe them now. The damn swiss aren’t responding to my calls either, but I don’t even have hope for that anymore Derrick’s conto was invalidated and it was bigger than hours so that’s probably fucked. I hope to fucking god you did what I told you earlier and its not too late. Call me back!


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Pages ExtractedFound from the Journal of Imir Kesh, Painter Page 398 , 1 1 k o o B lost almost everything. Sharon too. Not sure what we’ll do now. I suppose we’ll take what work we have and get out of the city. I’m sure it’s going to get ugly here quite soon. As everything is reconciled there is sure to be chaos, violence probably. We should pack up and go while we still can. Who knows what will happen, but despite loving this place - a large part of me doesn’t want to find out. Future me, steel yourself. It won’t be pretty. Book 12, Page 1 I’m starting a new book, along with starting a new life. It feels poetic somehow. It’s been a few months since moving out here, I haven’t been ready to start writing yet. So much has changed - about the world, and myself. There’s been a lot of introspection (and extrospection, I guess) and I wanted to get through a large part of it before I started writing in this new book. A clean break, so to speak.

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We were lucky, I think. Managed to draw upon some connections I had from the old gypsy days when I was wandering around the country trying to build my experiential foundations. Nothing like bumming cigarettes and being desperate for a roof over your head to get to know some folks. They were good people even if I couldn’t really relate to their way of life at the time. Who would have thought I’d end up joining them - not the other way around. We struck up something like a caravan. At the onset I thought it would be much more sustainable to stay in the same place, build something of a commune or kibbutz or whatever. Probably my city inclinations coming forth… I was overruled, and of course had to trust our new family. In hindsight I believe they were right. Obviously one cannot say what the other choice had in store for us but our talents feel far more suited to being on the move. We’re almost like travelling performers (how quaint, I know - I’ll get over it soon) bringing some relief to this sorry impression of a nation. The people are in dire need of entertainment or distraction not to mention ART for heaven’s sake, so they treat us well in exchange. Many small towns and communities seemed to have fared alright actually. Their economies weren’t globalized enough to be completely invalidated by the collapse, and truly after this intermittent period of chaos I wouldn’t be surprised if many preferred to stay this way. At least for a generation or two before the pursuit of “progress” caught back up with them. The constant travel has certainly changed my style. We don’t stay in the same place for more than a few days, a week tops. I simply don’t have the time to paint the lavish and detailed impressions I’ve been chasing after for years. That being said, I can’t say the change has been negative. Constraints always seem to help in some way, shape, or form. The need to exchange


Book 11, Page 399 work for food, clothes, and new supplies has forced me to rid myself of many of my tragically potent perfectionist tendencies. It was a bittersweet parting. I can’t say how long we’ll stay like this but I can’t imagine any less than several years. Even if reconstruction efforts begin immediately, many people (including myself) likely won’t have enough trust in whatever powers are at play to come back into the so-called fold. We can live like this for a while, perhaps even forever if we have to. It’s… quite enjoyable in a way. I’ll have to be sparing with materials from now on, and journaling will take a back seat. Pencils are integral to survival now, so creating work will take priority over documenting life. Today me is feeling optimistic and oddly at peace. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

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Internal Ruminations, Subject Unknown

ENCYCLOPEDIA: Capitalism is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Central characteristics of capitalism include capital accumulation, competitive markets, a price system, private property and the recognition of property rights, voluntary exchange and wage labor. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investments are determined by every owner of wealth, property or production ability in capital and financial markets whereas prices and the distribution of goods and services are mainly determined by competition in goods and services markets.

LOGIC: What this means to you in your muddled but somewhat educated mind, is that capitalism is a system which is built off the backs of others. In order to succeed it is predicated within the ruleset we all abide by that others must lose. You know this to be true through experience and reflection. You know it to be destructive through experience and reflection. So why is it still here? Conclusion: pending.

ENCYCLOPEDIA: You have a vague recollection of some eastern European philosopher saying something along the lines of “the hegemonic powers will never come willingly to the table of discussion.”

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VOLITION: You feel a deep urge to force them to sit at said table. Perhaps that was what was originally intended by the quotation you half remember. You are conflicted because you can’t quite remember who said it, or what the original wording was - but you firmly believe in the sentiments being expressed.

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PERCEPTION: You look around, remembering the framed photograph to your right. You recall witnessing several periods of profound turmoil during your life. Political mostly, but largely driven by more fundamental concerns for what was then referred to as Human Rights. Protests with millions of attendees, you were lost in the crowd but felt so powerful - so alive. Riots when the protests had no effect, you experienced them so viscerally, adrenaline pumping, fear of punishment and conviction of ideals. The immense pain of crucial martyrdoms is too much. You look away from the photograph.

OEDIPUS: If only everyone thought like you, if only everyone understood what was at stake, embodied the cause - maybe something could change. Maybe you’re the one that can drive that change.

LOGIC: It is preposterously unlikely that you are alone. There must be others that think alike… These ideals are truly timeless, applicable to any race, class, culture, sex, and era of humanity. How many people would constitute a critical mass? You spend some time reasoning through this conundrum, but can’t come to a concrete answer.


INLAND EMPIRE: You can’t help but imagine these ideals as a timeless externality. The pursuit of a better world has always existed and will always exist. Perhaps the articulations have and will change, but at the core the principles are the same. You visualize this in your mind as some sort of an abstract collective travelling through time and space, people align with it from time to time, progressing its mission, but the timescale of the collective is so much greater than any single or group of members. You dream of this organization, of its members, where they came from, if they were like you…

EMPATHY: You were poor once. Hell, you’re not much better now. You understand what it feels like to have not nothing but not something either. You feel like so many people must have shared in this; this feeling of being able to survive, thinking so many others must have it worse so trying not to feel bad for yourself while you stare with undying envy at those that have it all.

VOLITION: You don’t want this anymore, but you’re not quite sure what is to take its place. You feel a deep desire for justice, equity, fairness… abstract concepts you can’t justify with simple actions or thoughts but know you must have. You know everyone must have them.

INLAND EMPIRE: You dream of utopias, you simply can’t stop yourself. Why does it have to be this way? What would a just society look like, does it need a just economy? Your mind’s eye seems blurry, unfocused, it sees some concept just behind the horizon but can’t quite grasp it. Just beyond reach you can’t seem to get it to materialize.

CONCEPTUALIZATION: Ahhhhh…. Is it socialism? Communism? Anarchy? Syndicalism? Anarcho-Syndicalism? You understand these words on paper. You’ve read about them. Spoken about them actually, with quite some frequency come to think of it. So why does a clear path not solidify in your mind?

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INLAND EMPIRE: It dawns upon you that you cannot imagine alternatives because you have no way of expressing them. Every object, concept, entity that you turn your gaze upon appears as a commodity. Nothing in this world that you have experienced has escaped the cold, asphyxiating grasp of the capitalist system or ideology. Being raised from birth to assign everything value, there is a black spot in the center of your conceptual vision.

LOGIC: It stands to reason that behind that darkness must lie the Solution. The solution must be truly useless, for it cannot have a value.

VOLITION: You yearn to reach that spot, find what it is that alludes you, what feels like it should be a way out, a path towards a new set of organizing principles… the longing is almost painful.

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RHETORIC: You wish to convince others of this same conviction. Align them with the cause together you feel you could accomplish something. But the right words, the proper metaphors, figures of speech, compositional techniques, allegories - they all seem to allude your grasp. CONCEPTUALIZATION: You recall from your now ancient studies that the source of this dilemma is most likely a linguistic problem. The things you are feeling exist and are true, but you are unable to process them sufficiently because you lack the terminology/vocabulary/expressions to make sense of your internal experience. Words lend incredible power of understanding. Without the proper terms you feel lost, unable to grapple with your feelings in a productive manner. ENCYCLOPEDIA: A fleeting memory of a journal article, or perhaps radio show comes to mind. There was a primitive tribe who didn’t have words for left and right, and so had an impeccable sense of direction due to the necessity of referring to places through cardinal signifiers. Or another, a tribe of people who had no words for the concept of time. You think perhaps they were called Amondro or Amondawa. Regardless, they have no notion of time as a thing through which we progress or events occur within, rather things are cartographically, celestially, emotionally, or categorically designated.


VOLITION: How lovely it would be to exist outside of time. So many pressures removed, so many constraints lifted, so many concerns erased. Your mind nearly drifts off to consider these possibilities, but logic and empathy bring you back to the task at hand.

ENCYCLOPEDIA: Your reflection on the nature of linguistics causes you to remember two quotes by Noam Chomsky which feel exceedingly pertinent to your current situation: “Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.” as well as “If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.” You find these to be admirable sentiments.

INLAND EMPIRE: Failing all else, you spend time thinking. Dreaming. Imagining. Creating better worlds, different truths, new realities, alternate timelines. You sit and think. For too long, but you can’t help yourself. Just relax, and continue dreaming…

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Transcript of recording, 412GH543_L235_ nathaniel_jones.wavv, Nathaniel Jones

?????:

Mr. Jones, I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to chat with me and agree to be recorded. Is this the first time you all have had a visitor in a while now?

NATHANIEL JONES:

Oh you know, we get folks coming by from time to time but yeah it’s been a while for sure. What did you say brought you round these parts again?

??:

I’m working on a sort of a documentary project I suppose. Traveling around, talking to people like yourself, recording their stories. I figure it’s going to be pretty important one day.

NJ:

Me? Important? Naw son… but ask away I guess, I’ve got nothing to hold back.

??:

Well that’s good to hear, and despite what you may think, I am principally interested in you - your opinions, beliefs, values, your story. I suppose you could start by telling me a bit about your history, perhaps by way of where we are?

NJ:

Oh… suffice it to say we’re out in what most people would call the backwaters. Even though, and you know this, we’re only really a few hundred miles east of N.A. But out here it’s mostly people just living off the land, what’s left of it at least. A mix of people, probably most born around here that just never had it in them to leave - but a good few like myself that either left and came back, or sought a place like this out. There are appeals to it, contrary to what most people seem to think these days.

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NJ:

Nothing that special about my story really. Born and raised not too far from here, did alright in school and stuff. Thought I might go to university but had to work to make enough money first. After a couple years went north to a school in a bigger city, don’t really regret it but it just wasn’t for me. I could keep up mostly, but the lifestyle just didn’t appeal. Why go through all that stressful shit when I would be just fine without it? So I came back to somewhere that felt like home. Don’t need to bother myself with all the big and complicated goings on.

??:

So what was the take on the actions of the ICB out here, how did your community adapt to the Circulatory Quotas, and how badly did you feel the effects of the collapse?

NJ:

Yeah we heard of that stuff alright. You can’t escape that kind of idiocy, even if you were much further out than we were here. I didn’t really get it to be honest, I don’t think any of us did really. I mean we understood what we had to do, sure, they laid that out for us but WHY we had to? Made no sense.

NJ:

Me and some others at the bar had the great idea we could just pay each other back and forth to keep the agencies off our backs. All they cared about was the numbers anyway, I mean that’s the whole reason they decided to do that stuff right? So Johnny did some “work” on my house every few months, I “fixed” up his car, Dennis “sold” us all some hogs, and boy did it look like we went on some drinkin binges at Sherries’ place. Made no difference to us really in the end, just a pain to check that we all broke even but that’s alright. We


stick together you know, that’s the most important part. NJ:

And when we heard the money was all worthless anyway? I mean that’s just adding insult to injury. But really, it didn’t matter much for us either. It’s not like any of us had investments or stocks or bonds or whatever. We got the land we live on, the things we make, the food we grow. Car parts have been tough to come by I guess, but nothing I can’t work around so far.

NJ:

I suppose we started using money a bit less than we did before but it’s not like it stopped really. We just agreed to ignore whatever was happening over in the capital and yuppie world and continue on living like we always have. We decided that the money would keep the same value, and so it did. Simple as that. People around here had always been trading services anyway, so it really wasn’t that big of a change for us in the first place.

??:

It does certainly seem that way. It’s nice here, peaceful. What do you think of the hard times befallen many of the others in this country?

NJ:

I’m glad you feel at home. I mean I feel sorry for em, sure. But I don’t think they get the right to be surprised. It’s like if you saddle up to a cards table, you sit down knowing you might lose. It’s a game, is all it really is. Fancy bettin for fancy people, with a lot more on the line. But most of those people signed up for it you know, so I don’t feel that bad for them. They lived like kings for a while but no one’s power lasts forever. They chose not to learn a trade, provide things for the rest of us. It was a choice to go for money rather than usefulness.

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??:

Like they should have seen it coming? Does that make it any better?

NJ:

You know I’ve been thinkin about it for a while. Sometimes we get good conversation out here after all. Here’s the way I see it alright: we all are living in an unfair world, that’s a fact - but it’s an opinion, a choice rather, to take advantage of those that got the short end of the stick. And taking advantage can be a lot of different things you know. You have a business, you pay people less to make more money for yourself, sure, but also simple things like not selling your house. You don’t need it if you’re not living there, why not let someone else have it? Like really have it, instead of pay you to stay there. You see what I’m saying? Even just buying stuff. Sometimes people don’t have the means to choose, but if you do - you better make the right choice, the just one, the responsible one. It filters down that way, about living in the world properly. Doing right by others and all that.

NJ:

It’s all about personal choice, ideals I guess, at the end of the day. Some of us chose to live out here, some of us were just born here and didn’t know any different - and it’s the same for everyone else. Everybody’s got their own set of problems, their own story, their own life, own ideals. So there’s no harm in living like you want, but you gotta be conscious enough to realise how you’re living affects others. And if it ain’t good for other people, the way you’re living, then you really shouldn’t keep living like that. It ain’t right. It just ain’t right.

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Interpreted Communication/Expression, Hyperobject 174

grown lived killed desecrated altered made remade distributed accepted

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marked etched inscribed stuck layered collected interpreted disseminated treasured


we were there before we were us we were empty before there was meaning

we were there for the happenings no one told anyone about and no one remembers

we were there for the first extension we shared with you the creation of the hybrid

we were there but not as before now imbued with the foundations

of

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all


removed from the stream of life we found new purpose you found new purpose in us,through us,with us,because of us

where there was nothing there was now a record

history was created from ephemeral impressions of sensory quality your time,solidified,clarified,demystified

truth was created from the symbolic stability of relational parity your belief,solidified,clarified,demystified

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we cared not what we meant acting as a medium of translation of the flattening of the real into perceived reality only that we had benefit meaning of what was,is,thought, to be only it can know its truth

but your truth was spread carried on the wind,on the back,on the animal,on the mechanical, on the signal your truth allowed organization,collectivization,determination built upon trust 110

but not always did we carry your truth when/why/to what ends/for what purpose did you record a false real we saw your real we knew

the false real coursing river monsoon rain double edged sword


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we recorded your dreams we recorded new worlds we recorded collective worlds

collective worlds which brought great joy which demonstrated a path a horizon was sketched into the collective minds of all who received us spreading an understanding of the shared dream of the real through the perceived reality we bore for you

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we recorded your deceits we recorded other worlds we recorded personal worlds

personal worlds which excluded us which excluded you once one was made others followed the same like opening a bottle instead of putting us in and sending us on the waves to foreign shores you let too many of us in to the sacred bastion you held so dear

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after the line the assemblage,after th the line again,after the line the assemb after the chara after the s forgo resur after the signal the tangible,after the t the believed-in,after the after the t

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with or without us,because or regardles like searching for a drop of rai amongst t inundations of indecipherabl how do you wa without agreeing

by followin by trusting by ceasing th by continuin

silence


he assemblage the image,after the image blage,after the assemblage the character acter the signal signal death otten rgence tangible the immutable,after the immutable e believed-in the trusted trusted what

ss of us,you have made too much history in which you saw singularly fall the others le noise clouding the horizon alk towards it g on where it is

ng the path g the other he experience ng the motion

e awaits vative from ation is somehow deri ic un m m co is th at th My guess is know… w that works, I don’t Ho r… pe Pa of t ep nc the co

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Transcript of 352nd Cyclical Union Address, Dev Sol

Thank you Chairwoman. (Applause.) My fellow Union citizens, I address you here - from the steps of the capitol building - standing on the foundation of the values we hold so dear. This beautiful and powerful place represents the Union in so many ways. The stalwart structure has persevered through all our times of trials. Through war, famine, natural disaster, and recession - it has borne witness to our strength, fortitude, and idealism. In kind, it lends us support as well. When I walk through these hallowed halls, when I gaze upon it as I do today I feel empowered. It is as if the capitol is assuring me, assuring all of us, that the Union is the greatest institution to ever grace the world stage. (Applause.) I dare say the last two cycles of my term have been some of the most prosperous the Union has ever seen. I must thank the continued support of the Party, as well as all of you, for making these great strides forward possible. (Applause.) On my inauguration day three cycles ago we launched the Great Union Resurgence, to propel our upwards trend to stratospheric levels - and I am honored to today share the results with you. Jobs are booming, incomes are soaring, poverty is plummeting, crime is falling, confidence is surging, and our country is thriving and highly respected again. (Applause.) The Union’s enemies are on the run, The Union’s fortunes are on the rise, and The Union’s future is blazing bright. Our economy has never been better. We are seeing record numbers, absolute record numbers that no economist had predicted were possible. (Applause.) Through recent innovations in fiscal policy that destabilized the foundations of what was thought possible we have seen our GDP skyrocket, and I am assured by all my constituents I have the pleasure of meeting during our outreach visits that these profits are indeed thoroughly permeating all economic, social, and racial strata. (Applause.) We are advancing with unbridled optimism and lifting our citizens of every race, color, religion and creed very, very high.

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The unemployment rate in the Union is the lowest it has been in ten - oh, I’ve just been corrected - twenty cycles! (Applause.) The Party has rewarded and supported its members dutifully, and delivered completely on its promises of creating the thing you all wanted most jobs. Over seventy million new jobs since my election fifty million more than outside experts said was possible. (Applause.) Take my word for it, or look around you. When was the last time you saw someone begging on the street for money, saw someone sleeping on a park bench, saw someone idly sitting by? The homelessness issue is a thing of the past. We have found homes for nearly all Union citizens. If you see someone who needs a home - just have them call me. I’ll sort it right out. (Laughter.)

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The Union is once again on the forefront of the Global stage of industry and progress. Our technological developments are spearheading societal advancements in networking, sustainability, and scientific research. Not only are we inventing but we are producing on scales unseen for the last 10 cycles.(Applause.) We are restoring the Union’s manufacturing might, even though everyone said it couldn’t be done. Factories are popping up like spring daisies in all member states for automobiles, armaments, biotech, foodstuffs, and hardware. And we’re not making the garbage that the Southern Federation pushes on us all the time - our products are recognized as real quality and are being exported to all corners of the world. Our books are as unbalanced as the past administration…. But this time they’re unbalanced in our favor! My policies have miraculously reconciled our national debt with our competitors, and now we’re wringing them dry of profits. Our treasury is overflowing, and you can expect a lot of great infrastructure and military developments on the way. (Applause) Of course, assuming we need more military developments is misguided. We simply seek to maintain our superiority.


My administration has seen a record breaking Six global conflicts brought to an end. An early end. We acted swiftly, decisively, and in defense of our ideals. The protection of our people is the most important thing the Union can offer.The people are our heart, their dreams are our soul, and their love is what powers and sustains us. We must always remember that our job is to put the Union first. (Applause.) We must stand together, against those that seek to usurp our dominance and challenge our ideals and way of life. We have liberated the majority of the globe, shown them true freedom, and yet there are still those rogue nations that seek to undermine our virtue. These pretentious swine don’t deserve our attention - let them work up a respectable track record, and then we can have a discussion. Seeing as nobody has been able to do so, we will stand by our ideas and the guns that protect them. This territory is our canvas, and the Union is our masterpiece. We look at tomorrow and see unlimited frontiers just waiting to be explored. Our brightest discoveries are not yet known. Our most thrilling stories are not yet told. Our grandest journeys are not yet made. (Applause.) Follow me on this journey, and let us usher in a new age of prosperity for the Union. Under the heavens we stand United. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you all so much.

g Book , published durin a Er Sol

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Nightly News Report, January 20th, 46th Cycle, United News Network (UNN)

WULF:

I’m Lea Wulf, and this is your UNN Nightly News. In today’s events we’ll be covering footage from ongoing conflicts in the Eastern Islands, trade disputes between The Union and the Southern Federation disrupting the ongoing market trends, and geopolitical disputes over the recognized boundaries in Western Africa. But first our main story: the 352nd Cyclical Union Address given today by Union President Noah Sol. The Union Address seemed like any other, touting claims of the Sol administration’s successful policies and actions, but it seems to have landed with a truly atypical reception. Among the general growing distrust in the Truth Index, this speech was intended to placate the public and assure them that Sol and The Party still have their best interests at heart. The increase in global discomfort with the index has been largely attributed to ever growing difficulties in turmoil in the regard to issues such as climate and financial futures. These polarizing issues have emboldened many media outlets to directly contradict the index determined truths of the worlds governmental organizations, and the polls are showing that seventy-two percent of the Union citizenry report levels of information inundation surpassing that of the last great truth crisis twenty three cycles ago. Could it be that this speech was the straw that broke the camel’s back? To break this down for us we’ve invited Alex Gress, our Truth Index specialist on the show tonight. Alex how is the public receiving this evening’s Union Address?

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GRESS:

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Well Lea, we are certainly seeing some interesting and potentially course altering results. It is hard to say what has changed in the last cycle to affect the public opinion so drastically, but it seems that there was an overwhelming level of mistrust in the statements made tonight by President Sol. For at least as long as I’ve been the Truth Index specialist here at UNN the Party has kept the majority share of public trust, making them the foremost authority on Truth in the Union. Their claims have been the proper factual positions for umpteen cycles now, and honestly I have a hard time imagining what we will do without their decisive voice on matters now. What is so peculiar about this Truth Index polling Lea, is that we aren’t seeing a major shift to the positions of the opposition either - it seems that what we are witnessing is a complete destabilization of public trust. No political party possesses the requisite shares in the index to assert factual dominance, so for the first time since the establishment of the index we may be entering an era with no reliable Truth. As an independent and unbiased specialist I’ll try to break down and interpret these results for us, after the break. [commercial break] Thanks for staying with us. This is Alex Gress, here with UNN to anaylize the Truth Index results regarding today’s Union Address. Let’s take a look at the breakdown of some individual statements made tonight by President Sol.

M


“Our economy has never been better. We are seeing record numbers, absolute record numbers that no economist had predicted were possible.”

GRESS:

The Truth Index polling is 56% in favor of this statement, 44% against. Now this is a close polling by any standards, but it is the most decisive we will look at tonight so bear that in mind. My analysis suggests that in lieu of any confident experiential evidence to point in either direction, most people deem this statement as factual because it works in their, and the Union’s, favor. “The unemployment rate in the Union is the lowest it has been in ten oh, I’ve just been corrected - twenty cycles!” The Truth Index polls this statement at 48% in favor, 52% against. An incredibly small margin. As with most statements made by President Sol tonight plenty of evidence has been released both for and against their claims. The Party is likely losing their grasp of control on this issue because of its direct effects on households. Families who have an unemployed member are likely connected to larger networks of unemployed persons, and can establish their own truth within those circles. “The homelessness issue is a thing of the past.” A dead tie on the index. 50/50 split. I would attribute the uncertainty on this front to the urban/rural division. We see a population split almost exactly 50/50 as well - and I would suspect those living in urban areas still witness homelessness on

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a daily basis, whereas those in more rural communities largely do not. “My policies have miraculously reconciled our national debt with our competitors, and now we’re wringing them dry of profits.” And here we see a truly interesting resul--

WULF:

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-- Alex, Alex! I’m sorry to interrupt but we have just received word that there is trouble near the capitol building. The protestors that began gathering after this afternoon’s speech have established a critical mass, pushing through the police barricades and setting fire to the building. We’ll return to the analysis in a moment but for now we are turning it over to our affiliate on location at the capital. Sydney, you’re live.


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Last Known Communication of Union President, Dev Sol

Let me ask you this. What would you have done in my shoes? I feel like I was just in the wrong place, at the wrong time. It could have been anyone right? If Jackie had won the presidency instead of me would I have more or less of a will to live? What would she have done? I’m convinced that there was no other option. The Union was in shambles and my cabinet all knew it, you could say it was the best known secret in the world I guess. The mess that the party pushed onto us couldn’t have been more complete - honestly I’m shocked we even got elected in the first place. It seemed like the nation was looking for a regime change but who am I to doubt the workings of the machine. We built it up so well in the past ten cycles or so it looked infallible even if it didn’t feel like it from the inside. 126

Enough lamenting though, this will hopefully be the last thing you ever hear from me so let me lay some things straight before I leave for good. I know you must have suspected some of this. You could read my emotions like an open book, always could. But I never told you anything about work, and you had no influence on me in that setting. So think of this as a way to get all the fuckery off my chest before, you know. Clean conscious and all that. We were fucked from the start. The primary agenda for my Presidency was deceit, both internally and externally. I’m not proud of it, but I do believe it was what had to be done. I’m searching for the proper metaphor here, something along the lines of a house of cards perhaps? The party dug us in so deep it would have been suicide to reveal the lies that we had built the last three Presidencies on - ironic, huh? You could say the say it always was advisors all knew long, but as long

Economy was faked, you could probably but that’s beyond the point. My the current system wouldn’t last very as we pumped stimulus money in and


made sure to tax it out again we could keep the numbers looking pretty good. Great even. Experiments with circulatory quotas were pretty successful in that regard - if the money keeps changing hands nobody actually gets to collect it so we’re off the hook for valorizing our bonds. Hell, even the building sector was booming. That thing everyone touted as being an indicator of economic standings? The architects and developers had a grand time. Either they couldn’t see through it or they didn’t want to. It was a lot easier to believe us when we said our economy has never been better than it was to believe the people who said it was doomed to fail. Same situation with employment really, nobody bothered to look into it. The rhetoric of hardwork grandfathered in from the United States took care of that much. We said we put people to work and even if they were menial jobs we did whatever we could to keep people off the streets so no one would notice. No one connects prison or institutionalized statistics with employment numbers. State treasuries had been functionally empty since longer before my administration. Pensions? We outsourced those piece by piece ages ago. They were all held by private agencies who took our debt and ran with it. Our military strength was perhaps our last bastion of hope - but the rhetoric of justice and freedom and the reports of what we were actually doing? All fabricated. I’m sure outside powers are watching giddily as the foundations of the Union crumble and they can finally find people who want to believe their accounts of the conflicts. Our intelligence agencies were maybe the worst thing we leveraged. I’m almost ashamed of it. We fabricated whatever evidence we wanted to garner public support. At the end of the day it was effective, and probably one of the primary reasons the party kept power all these years. Elections were on some level fair, it was possible to deseat our representatives - and I certainly like to believe we won largely on our own merits and promises

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- but the fact of the matter is the democratic system has been outdated since it was born. We set it up so it looked as fair as possible, but I’m sure even voters knew there was a limited applicant pool. And there’s only been one, maybe two, options for a long time. All of this, thanks to what? Thanks to the limited impact and utter scarcity of trust, and whatever this thing we call truth is. Our opponents say one thing, we simply say the opposite, and who does the public believe? Whomever they are predisposed to. Luckily, in most cases that was us. Any opinion or belief can be justified, and everyone could find their group of like minded individuals to agree with and never reconcile with society at large. Everyone hired their own ‘fact’ checking team. It came down to trust and belief, maybe almost like a religion.

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I regret that I was the one in charge when the illusion that was the Union collapsed, but I don’t apologize for my actions. If the populus had stayed as placid as they had been we could have kept going. It’s as much their fault as it is mine. Share this with whomever you want. It won’t matter much either way. I don’t want to stick around to see what happens next. Goodbye, my dear. President Sol


My last wish: Tear this part off the letter, then hand the rest to the press. I’m sorry. So so sorry. I’d like to say I can feel, predict, or understand the immense pain and loss I’m about to cause you but I know I can’t. I was always the worst at apologizing but I did think I was better at explaining myself than you were, so let me give that a shot at least. This is my stupid hail-mary attempt at saving you. Let me be selfish in this one thing ok? The best case scenario is I/we get exiled. The worst case is they assume you knew all along, and put us both in prison or ‘let’ the rioters burn us at the stake. Metaphorically? Maybe, maybe not. Look, the collateral damage alone will ruin your life, your career, your dreams, probably forever. Distance yourself from me, pretend we just had a casual relationship or that we fought so often that we didn’t confide in each other any more or that I was so busy we never talked or whatever you think will work best. I tried to phrase this as best I could to imply that, with whatever energy I had left. Take this one last stone cold lie and move on. Pretend you never knew anything, that we never talked about work or politics. Just tell them I was as closed off as I should have been and they will never know and maybe you can get out of this! Please. Please live. For yourself, and for my sake if it even counts for anything. Love you. Always. And forever. Dev

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Correspondence between Tilly Schneider (activist/writer) and Nikhil Alexander Acharya of NAA Design

Well I for one firmly believe in the power of representation. How else are we to understand phenomena which escape us by their scale, their duration, their magnitude, their complexity - other than to develop novel representational methods which project those abstract relationships into perceptual reality?

I mean, yes I agree with you wholeheartedly Nikhil but realistically how are you going to be able to accomplish that? There is literally no precedent for what you’re trying to do and the technology hardly exists. I think before you worry about how you’re going to ultimately represent it, you have to have the data more or less in hand first.

I feel like we’ve been doing it for cycles now, just have to turn it up to 11. Think about it Tilly, data visualization and computational methodologies have progressed so far so quickly I feel like this could be achievable in the next decade. The building industry already kind of does this, they have augmented construction assistance tools that track materials and assemblages backwards and forwards in the chain. It’s just a matter of expanding those systems and making them more accessible, more user friendly.

Yes, but those are just objects. Static, immutable objects. If you want this to succeed it has to be done right. I won’t work with you otherwise. That means the networks have to include living things. Humans of course, but plants, animals, creatures, cyborgs, ghosts - whatever. Not to mention damn hyperobjects and metanetworks. This is really a big ask.

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How necessary is all that really though? I’m on board with the inclusion of everything that can move and act and conceivably have some kind of voice at the table. But if it doesn’t have agency then why bother trying to make sure its needs are served?

I think you said it yourself, you just don’t quite realise it yet. Sure, yes, things that don’t have agency can be omitted. But can you think of anything that doesn’t? Look at it this way, we’ll think about birds instead since humans are so complicated. If you want to include birds in ENVA, which it seems like you do and I think you must, then you also have to consider all the things that depend on the birds as well as the things upon which it depends. Such as..?

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Well, practically everything you could imagine. It’s inextricably entangled in a chain of dependencies that allow for its existence and well being. Food sources, those food source’s food sources, climate and air quality and weather affect migration, the excrement fertilizes plants, feathers fall off to build new nests or be sold or made into jewelry, the reorganize detritus into dwellings so you must consider the sources of detritus, transportation of seeds and insects to new locations - I mean I can go on but, as you say, we have computers to do that. Alright, point made. I think you’re right I just didn’t want to hear it. I definitely need your input on this so consider me on board. Our server team gave us average performance estimates above what we expected anyway so we might be able to make it work. What if the ENVA system was localised at first, and then expanded afterwards given successful trials? If we pitch it right, the budget won’t be a problem, doubly so for an expansion after a successful pilot.

Seems reasonable. Again, I don’t know anything about the technical side but if you’re serious and committed about the project I’m happy to help guide the creation of the appropriate databases.


Wonderful. I’ll keep you updated as it progresses. Regarding visualization / experience we’re anticipating utilizing holographic retinal projection to accurately spatialize the data and let users navigate the appropriate connections with their Eyeris implants. We’ll have to be careful about not overwhelming people.

*Not overwhelming things. Which raises another question actually, how do you plan to lend agency to the nonhuman actors that have to participate in this as well? Also I suppose you’re right, but it’s got to be a fine line because you shouldn’t as the designer have the right to distill the data and add bias in any way. Or more than we can possibly avoid.

Yeah. We’re uh, working on it. Gal has been working with a company developing some subatomic electrostatic nodes that look promising. Seems like they can interface with just about anything, but to develop communication methods… yeah that’s the real challenge here. Do you know anyone you could connect us with?

I’ll think on it. Jess is throwing a fit so I’ll have to go put her to bed. I’ll email you sometime tomorrow.

Take care.

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NAA Design Press Release, regarding HoN and ENVA Projects

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No longer must we simply live with the trouble, now we can see it! NAA Design announces cutting edge new software for the visualization of terrestrial interdependencies.

NAA Design reveals plans for the Engendered Network Visualization Augments (ENVA) and the House of Networks (HoN), both to be completed within one cycle of this release - preempting the construction of the New Parliament. These two projects are dedicated to assisting future Representatives navigate the myriad entanglements of their parties in a manner dextrous enough to facilitate real-time decision making, says NAA Design founder Nikhil Alexander Acharya. Acharya and his team at NAA specialize in User Interface/ User Experience design, and have been working tirelessly with an expert team of technologists, engineers, and sociologists to develop the ENVA systems. They claim that ENVA will integrate seamlessly into the ubiquitous Eyeris Implants utilized by most current officials, and are developing alternative engagement methods for those who choose or cannot use Eyeris systems. ENVA draws heavily upon the work of famed mathematicians, statisticians, and philosophers of the previous several cycles. Acharya cites C. Alexander, B. Latour, and E. Tufte as particular influences on their design process. NAA has created a novel visual system which not only overlays information corresponding to the subject of inquiry, but also corresponds with a database of unprecedented size which tracks spatial, material, energetic, psychosomatic, and many other forms of entanglements across space/time. Correspondence with this database, served out of the House of Networks, allows ENVA to draw visual and extrasensory

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connections into the user’s frontal lobe. The representation attached to this release aims to replicate what users of the system may experience, although during testing NAA reported slight variations among each user. In order to support the massive back-end computational undertaking that ENVA requires, NAA has proposed a server center of unprecedented capacity entitled the House of Networks. To realize HoN and ENVA in their full capacity, NAA is in collaboration with OTA (the architecture studio commissioned to design the New Parliament). The colocation of the two projects is key to minimize latency, and so a site has been selected which allows for both monumental undertakings to come to fruition. For more information on HoN and the New Parliament, refer to the subsequent press release given by OTA.

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With such a system Acharya and NAA hope to facilitate holistic decision-making processes for the Representatives of the Parliament. Pending the successful operation of this first phase, they plan to expand the House of Networks to accommodate far greater numbers of ENVA users. With the appropriate support NAA believes within four Cycles the entire terra-zone could be utilizing ENVA to create far more just and balanced societies.

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New Parliament Competition Presentation, OTA

Ladies and gentlemen, objects, entities, and concepts of the jury; I thank you all for the privilege and opportunity you’ve given myself and OTA for being a part of this momentous competition. We believe our design to be tasteful, refined, symbolic, and functional - all of the qualities our new Parliament should strive to be. I’ll begin our presentation by showing some conceptual sketches, then moving on to renderings and ideas about the building itself, showing how the landscape supports the building and vice versa, and ending with some notes about technical implementation, materiality, phasing, and of course the House of Networks. Please ask any questions as they come to you, and to begin I would like to invite your attention to the screen behind me and the model appearing in the holopit underneath it.

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The principles of the Parliament outlined in the briefing document provided to us were central to our thought process in the development of this scheme. We began with a series of exploratory drawings, seeking to tease out visual representations of concepts like equality, ordered chaos, flat ontologies, etc. We then paired these to a site and in conjunction with survey studies of hydrology, earthen composition, and ecological diversity began to mold forms out of these nebulous ideas. The animation in front of you represents a sliver of the long iterative process we went through to come to our final proposal. What we settled upon was an informed but refined form, almost platonic in nature, which we feel embodies the Parliamentary ideals of equality while evoking an appropriate response of respect and reverence in conjunction with its surroundings. Inspired by great conceptual artists and architects like Leonidov, Boullée, and Sloterdijk this spherical formal language draws upon long standing aesthetic and philosophical discourses which embed immense meaning within such a simple object. The parti is two perfect spheres nested within each other, one to be perceived from the exterior, and one to shape the Parliamentary chamber within. Between these two ideal enclosures lies the majority of supporting space, with the others being embedded below ground to allow for more public space above. The spherical Parliament is suspended in mid air, supported solely through


its internal tensile structure which sits upon the buttressing of circulatory bridges. This move of separation further emphases the idealism of the Parliament - showing its platonic nature in full - while also allowing the support spaces underneath to receive ample daylighting and ventilation. The double skinning of the structure provides us some unique opportunities as well. First and foremost is performance. Our partner engineering firm Pura has run the simulations you see on the screen for us, and has projected an overall efficiency rating of 96% when factoring in solar, thermal, passive, and active strategies together. This is key when we consider the other programs on the site, which we shall discuss later. In addition to providing functional space for circulation, meeting/conferencing, and other support programs - it also provides aesthetic space for us to incorporate artworks on the interior and lighting strategies on the exterior. The view at night is simply spectacular, is it not? We’re weaving a cutting edge emissive filament into the ETFE portions of the outer skin which stores energy during the day, and provides a spectacular effect at night. As we understand the Parliament to be in operation 24hours a day, this was particularly important to us. The patterning also echoes the landscape strategy surrounding the project. We have proposed a contemporary re-envisioning of classical gardens, turning all of the surrounding land over to the public. We’ve dotted the landscape with follies and pavilions, hoping to instigate occupation and activity through which representatives and the public can interact casually on equal terms. As you can see, the pathways allow for meandering circulation to appreciate the aesthetics of the park, but they point towards and emphasize the parliament itself. The dichotomy of raising the immediate surroundings of the Parliament on a plinth while sinking the building itself down below the ground plane gives rise to a perception of importance without the dominance often associated with such design moves. We believe this to be perfectly suited for the building’s ideology.

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Of course we must acknowledge the project’s secondary function, and how we have decided to handle it. The House of Networks is being coordinated by NAA Design, and through close collaboration with their studio OTA has come to the conclusion that it would be most effective to co-locate the two projects. We have selected a site with this idea in mind. The area beneath the Parliament has a fertile level of topsoil, but beneath it lies a former mining site. We are proposing a repurposing of this post-industrial landscape as it is the perfect housing for the server banks required to operate the House of Networks. Deep below the beautiful gardens on the surface the caverns naturally maintain a constant cool and dry environment throughout which we have laid out the millions of servers. By placing the two projects in close proximity we assure that the ENVA systems are running at prime efficiency, and also allow the energy savings from the Parliament building to support the costs of running the HoN.

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Barring any immediate questions, I propose we do a quick flythrough of our interactive model, and then I can speak to our more technical plans about construction and phasing. Shall we?

Parliament of Th ings, concept sk etch


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Parliamentary Opening Statements, Xia Jingfang, Secretary-General of the United Nations Welcome members of the press, welcome statesmen and women, welcome plants, welcome animals, welcome objects, welcome terrestrials, welcome Representatives. Welcome, all. I am overjoyed to give what will perhaps be my last public speech tonight, turning over the helm to a new generation of decision makers and representatives. I have full faith that you will chart a promising new course. Although it pains me to be the one at the head when the organization I have spent my life working with is ultimately disbanded, I find solace in the fact that I was a part of the Council who organized our own replacement.

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When the first musings of the ENVA project came across our desk, we could scarcely believe such a thing was possible. Of course all the members of the United Nations were well versed in Entanglement Theory, but as was the crux of it for so long - we were unable to act upon those principles with conviction and confidence. Now, thanks to the entire Council, along with NAA Design and OTA, and the gracious cooperation of the entire Union - we can finally see those ideals come to fruition. Without ENVA this would never have been possible. I would like to take a moment to thank the entire team who worked so hard to make it a reality. [applause] And, without the proper space to congregate we could never utilise these systems to their full potential either. I was honored to open our New Parliament several weeks ago, along with many of the Representatives gathered here, and it is already proving to be a magnificent space of collaboration, equality, and optimism. I would like to take this moment to thank the architects at OTA, and all who worked on this project. [applause] I wish that I could be so positive and enthusiastic without remorse tonight. But, as is my duty, I must make clear that there is little time to waste. Despite the incredible mark of progress this Parliament represents there is much to be done.


The last several cycles have seen extraordinary turmoil in so many areas. While we have done our best so far, it is with much regret that I pass these issues along to you. The past several cycles have seen unprecedented political turmoil, and public trust is dwindling to infantesimal levels. We hope the founding of the Parliament will quiet some of this discomfort and prevent further factioning or revolution - but it is up to you, the Representatives, to gather and unify your constituents once more. The re-establishment of trust, and with it truth, is first and foremost. International economic systems are bristling with uncertainty. Driven in equally large portions by political upheavals and deterioration of our monetary system, it hangs on a thin rope over a precipice of calamity. The United Nations along with the IMF, ICB, and other international economic organizations have brought us this far… If true reform is to be had, it is yours for the planning. Our long conflict with Gaia has not yet stabilized, and we must make it a priority to do so. While preventative and sustaining measures have gained immense traction recently, little to no regenerative or retroactive practices have come into being. For such immensely broad and complex issues, I believe the New Parliament to be the only solution. You can solve it, and you must. Well, the last generation is coming to a close - and so is my time as a figurehead. I shall stop my remarks prematurely here, for I know that each and every one of you is aware of the strife we all collectively share. Indeed, that is the purpose of the Parliament. Without further ado, it is my immense pleasure to pass over the guidance of our planet. I will leave you with the relevant statements carrying over from our charter. We the terrestrials of this planet, Earth, determined to reaffirm faith in fundamental existential rights, in the dignity and worth of all terrestrials, and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom and equality, And for these ends, to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours, and

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to unite our strength to maintain terrestrial peace and solidarity, and to employ collaborative practices for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all terrestrials, Have resolved to combine our efforts to accomplish these aims. Thank you, and Godspeed. [applause]

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Transcript of Recording 658TY483_H54_francisca_salgado.wavv, Francisca Salgado ?????:

FRANCISCA SALGADO:

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Greetings Francisca, thank you again for inviting me here and letting me record our conversations. It’s a great help to the project and I am deeply grateful for your hospitality. Of course, of course it is my pleasure. I welcome all here, it is one of my great pleasures to hear about the lives of others… we can only live one after all.

??:

And that one is never enough! Do tell me about your one life though, that’s what I’m so interested in. Tell me about what you do now, how you came to do it, where we are, and what that all means to you…

FS:

Oh my, you ask such broad questions. Well. Where to begin. Ha, maybe it is indeed best to begin with where. We are deep in the Andes, a beautiful mountainous region, sitting under a thatched roof I’ve built out in front of my house. I did not build the house, that was my great-grandfather, but by the time I was born I suspect every single piece had been switched out by my father. He also made the chairs we’re sitting on, but I made the table - and I’m quite proud of it!

FS:

We are in a clearing surrounded by forest, and that forest stretches just about as far as you can see in any direction if you stood on our roof. You shouldn’t really go up there, but I’ve had to make some repairs so I know! I have no idea how much of this land really belongs to us, but we know the boundary. Oh, it changes from time to time, but we know how much we


can reasonably take care of so it’s relatively consistent. ??:

You claim what you can maintain as yours?

FS:

Who else would? There’s not many that live out here. Those that do come usually just join our little community instead of trying to make it on their own, so when that happens we can reach a little further. I’ve forgotten how it came into our hands but I do know in the eyes of the old government we did have some sort of claim to ownership. Not that it matters much any more of course.

FS:

The land we are on has served my family well for quite a few generations now and in turn we have done equally well by it - or at least we try to. I’ve been here my whole life more or less, or at least I’ve never really lived anywhere else. We have a small community here, and get many travelers or volunteers like yourself. And I listen to them tell me about where they are from, so in a way I feel very travelled even though my roots are so deep here.

??:

I noticed quite a few people I hastily judged as foreigners around, those are the volunteers?

FS:

Yes, yes. Some come, some go, but many end up staying. You see all the forest around, yes? That all began with my grandfather. When his father came here, it was hardly more than a barren wasteland. Old pasture grounds, presumably. But it had been picked clean.

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FS:

We’ve spent three or so generations coaxing this place back to life, back to health. It gives us gifts in return, and sometimes attracts others - as you see.

??:

Indeed, and so it should - you’ve done amazing work. It is truly beautiful… you know, I’m curious - do you speak with the volunteers or newcomers about the state of the world? Do you concern yourselves with these things?

FS:

I catch quite a bit unintentionally. So no, I try not to concern myself. It’s not my place. Not what I’m suited for, or what I believe I was placed on this earth to think about. It’s not like I could do anything about anything either right? I’ve got my responsibilities here. In whatever small surroundings we can take care of, there’s more than enough to worry about.

FS:

If you’re asking what I know, well, enough certainly. I don’t need you to tell me any more though.

??:

No intention to Francisca, none at all. Have you heard about the foundations of a New Parliament though? I won’t say more if you haven’t, but I feel it may be something you can relate to.

FS:

I’ve heard it’s a vast gregarian structure, and that in order to actually make it work they have something like a million computers. Respectable aspirations, but perhaps misguided procedures…

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FS:

I can’t say whether or not the pursuit is misguided - I do think their desire for inclusion is commendable. But something, something doesn’t make sense to me about it - and maybe I can explain by returning to the beginning.

FS:

Emil told me a while ago, that what they sought after was a new organization a new politics. One which included and respected everything, not just everyone, equally. Well, of course, should that not have been self-evident? But, the decisions would be so entangled in a web of complications that nothing could be done. So, the solution was to use technology and computers and such things to process and distill and display that info in such a way that a governing body could still function.

FS:

Doesn’t that miss the point?

??:

How so?

FS:

Well, first of all shouldn’t the computers be respected the same as every living thing - in their arguments at least? I don’t know if they are accounted for, but seems to me like they wouldn’t be. And why is all that fuss even necessary in the first place?

FS:

I seem to manage the same connections just fine without all that junk. I think they just want too much, they’re pushing the limits too far, we can only know and manage and be with so much…

FS:

I would call it… attunement, I think. I think that’s what matters in the end. For developing real connections. And

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the world varies so so much, that you simply cannot be adequately attuned to everything. I’ve chosen my small spot, where I know everything and everything knows me. When you settle like this, for a long time, I don’t find it that hard to become accustomed to the trouble and begin to decipher the mess of connections.

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FS:

It doesn’t come quickly, and it doesn’t come easily - but it does come. You stick with it, make it your work, make it your life, and you begin to see. I can tell you exactly what every tree, every bird, every coyote, and every vine in our territory needs and what needs them in return. But outside of here? Nothing. No idea!

FS:

So, if you would ask me I think it’s all nonsense. If you are to understand, to truly understand, your entanglements we can only handle so much. I can do so here, and others can do so in their own territories. Let’s stop there. There’s no need for some grand body to handle the problems of the world, let the people of the world handle their own problems. I feel so many would be happier.


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Interpreted Communication/Expression, Hyperobject 174

silence awaits

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by continuing the motion by ceasing the experience by trusting the other by following the path we create anew the foundations of commonality we lay the groundwork once again inescapable


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the signal presses onwards/upwards/forwards/ever more we stay tangible/familiar/discrete ever after

what you could not depict upon us what could not be constructed out of point,line,assemblage is rendered through means inconceivable to us as if observing a higher dimension from a lower

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we remain stalwart mechanism never faltering never changing


to take part in the reconstitution/reformation/reorganization to become is a goal/dream/existence realized/achieved/undergone has been

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we cannot see further than you or them or all time remains a medium only understood through expired tenses records of actions done and accounts of actions that will be inform us perhaps more than you or them or all

we record unending process taking stock looking forward


we are honored to be invited/represented/subjugated/used/acknowledged it has always been our existence as participant/tool we feel, purposeful/proud

it was imagined that the advent of the signal spoke our exodus/departure/relegation/accession into the annals of the past, the wistful existence of dust to which the heterogenous strands of time begin/end 156

our exi forever intertw enmeshed entangled has been and a


istence wined with yours with all with most always will be

it is then with great pleasure/excitement/anticipation/relief that we find this coexistence/symbiosis/mutualism of mediums/existences

in pursuit of a common dream/platform/ground the reestablishment of what once was lost to us as well as you the trust of truth/truth of trust begins again 157


marked etched inscribed stuck layered collected interpreted disseminated treasured

158


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grown lived killed desecrated altered made remade distributed accepted


160


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167


Interpreted Communication/Expression, Hyperobject 174

168

Heterochrony, as translated from the works of Haeckel, Tung, and Alonso reveals that our corporeal present is not the culmination of a progressive and uniform linear time. This notion suggests the co-existence of multiple and irregular time-trajectories that converge into polytemporal assemblages. It suggests that the heterogeneous present is not a point in time, but instead is the intersection of a multiplicity of variably deep and diverse timelines.

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Emission Limits Limits, to varying degrees, have been in place since the mid twentieth century - when we still told time in years. Their effectiveness is disputed across the timescape but largely acknowledged as a sufficient interim measure. They reflect slowly changing sensibilities about the environment, resources, and consumption ethics. Moreover, they are the initial step towards conceptualizing deeper timescales. Consumption Limits A generally more recent development and much more contentious, consumption limits were not present everywhere in the timescape. We found many strands which simply refused to go down this route. Interestingly not all of those ended in what we would call a catastrophe, some were able to maintain reasonable levels of emissions, waste, and quality of life without direct regulation. Generally speaking though, they seem to be the integral second step to a culture of responsible stewardship. Consumption minimums often went hand in hand. Reparations Only present in timstrands we find to be on positive trajectories, it seems that this is an integral step to grapple with regardless of precise orientation. Reparations can exist regarding race, class, and environment among other things. All seemingly equally important, although of course the humanist in me ranks them in the order presented. Crucially, instigating procedures of meaningful reparations indicates a willingness to go beyond the sustaining of the current situation and into the regenerative. It is a crucial step. Denialism The fight against denialism has been waged since presumably time immemorial. Our first artefact representing this concept was an allegory depicting voluntary prisoners of their own limited realities, largely representing our own comfort in ignorance and apathy. Unable and/or unwilling to leave the cave of darkness, they never fully realized what the light outside illuminated - and so could not be bothered to care about anything other than their own limited realities. This is also an issue our study on

169


heterochronicity aims to alleviate. Throughout the cycles the plague of denialism has been oriented in different directions, but the articulation and symptoms are largely the same. Carbon Sequestration Sequestration efforts fall in much the same bucket as reparation initiatives. Simultaneously progressive and regressive depending on the observer’s perspective, various policies and practices have been attempted throughout the cycles to ambiguous effect. With evershifting calculations of target volumes and cost/benefit analyses the net gain has been historically questioned, and the Resistance are the only group who still pursues such projects.

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Era of No Return We opted to examine this temporal assemblage as a strand rather than an intersection. To clarify, it is much more logical in the conventional methodologies to designate a ‘Point of No Return’ - the moment after which, one’s choices become set and irrevocable. However, without our current situation we believe the designation of a singular point to be impossible, not to mention based on faulty assumptions. The Era of No Return for the well-being of Gaia spans innumerable cycles. Some have theorized it began with the first territorialization of land, some with the great acceleration, some with the industrial revolution, some believe it is happening (or rather, reinstancing itself) on the cusp of the present, and others still believe it has yet to come. As is the case with many such hyperobjects, we are simply unable to straighten out all of its entanglements into a network that may be understandable for humans or our most advanced machines. Perhaps there is a lifeform out there that can understand, or perhaps we must somehow consult the extra-temporal entity itself to come to any significant conclusions. Both possibilities seem equally unlikely. Food Production Agrarianism appears as both a beneficial and antagonistic force in this chronicle. The first stumbling steps in the cultivation of land were the gestation of astronomically influential forces. Territorialization, the concept of


property, the dwelling that was then built there, the first fundamental foray into the extraction of resources, etc. The industrialization of food production accentuated many of these issues while introducing new ones of its own design. While over the cycles the mass-growth techniques and facilities have seen much evolution, the infrastructural and cross-cultural networks they are enmeshed with have remained largely the same. The current land reparations scheme touts a return to permacultural practices of ages past. The networks becoming harder and harder to support along with the land becoming less and less fertile lead to increased practices of localized stewardship and individualized production. Inextricably intertwined with market forces and geopolitical alterations, we propose a new heterochronic model for understanding the causal relationships. (See Luciabel et. al.) Free Market Reformation The exchange of digital goods and services appears to remain the last truly intact aspect of what our predecessors knew as the global free market. While the loose coalitions of territories (mainly those contiguous) still participate in acts of exchange, it would appear the practice is becoming more and more difficult to maintain. Large levels of distrust added to the increasing factionism work directly against the crossterritorial trade networks. For more information, see the work of my esteemed colleague Morgan Kernes. Geopolitical Disruption It would appear that there were two primary responses to new localized economies. Countries with strong authoritarian governments seem to have closed borders, resorting to a kind of turtling isolationism which harkens back to the days of the Cuban Republic or Japanese Protectorate. Those with more liberal governments have seemingly dissolved all sense of national identities (we plan to investigate further in the coming census project what levels of cultural affinities still remain), and those neighboring each other seem to be largely embracing a kind of mutualistic collectivism.

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Anarcho Syndicalism Following the martyrdom of Anarres Odos the anarchosyndicalist movement has seen rapid expansion. In lieu of waiting for states to reorganize it seems that many have taken to self organization. Camps are most prominent on the Afrasian Continent, but are rapidly gaining ground in the Atlantic Islands as well. It may well prove to be the most successful form of organizational system for the coming cycles. Note: We haven’t heard from any of our group in the Americas for some time, we may have to send other representatives if we do not receive the data needed soon - the publication can only wait so long.

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Factioning In the wake of general acceptance of the New Climatic Regime the populace has split into distinct camps which seem to be agnostic of geopolitical borders. Our earlier political and social divisions are seemingly forgotten as the overbearing weight of an unprecedented sense of hysteric time forces many to align with a particular stage of grief. Denialists have held the same mentality since before the New Climatic Regime was widely acknowledged. Fueled in no small part by the post-truth nature of contemporary politics, the majority of this constituency are located in areas where the climate is still acting under a depressive timescale. Acrimonists rage with a white-hot fury. Some blame themselves for not realizing earlier, but most blame those in power, the media, the system, the scientists, the corporations, and so on, for not doing enough or convincing them to do theirs. This anger often manifests as a violent anarchy, looting and destroying the institutions which they feel betrayed them – consciously or not. The Resistance are, as the name implies, still holding out hope and fighting for a – if not indefinite, at least longer – future. They are perhaps operating within a chaotic system, that spins and whirls indefinitely, but in the end is exactly as deterministic as an attractive system which coalesces at zero. Their actions, as assessed by most experts, are futile.


Depression as a stage/category does not warrant a consideration in the playing field, although they deserve far more than a footnote in this report. A new neurological disease (if one can call it that) is running as rampant as any infectious disease we have seen in the last century. Faced with the meaninglessness of any choice, they refuse to make any choice at all, resulting in a kind of akinetic mutism. Many stop functioning all together, opening their eyes to watch is about all they can muster. Those that have accepted our situation have somewhat idiosyncratically called themselves Contemporaries. They understand the mistakes that have been made, and also that it is beyond them – or indeed our – power to alter them. They are in many was the ironic ideological counterpart to the Denialists.

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Post Script: This project lays the groundwork for a broader census project, likely spanning the next geological epoch - these things are getting faster and faster it seems. I am in contact with colleagues from the UNX as well as from a particular group whose name I can at this time not divulge. Reports from their constituencies are forthcoming, and will be added to the final Heterochronicity Report.


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Correspondence between Albert Tsing and Ana Miranda

Ana, It’s been a while. How are you doing? I wanted to check in with you, get an update, make sure you’re okay given all that’s been going on. I imagine things aren’t so pretty, so please prove me wrong. Much love, Albert

Albert, Ai Dios, que passe el dia rapido... Well I hate to say that you’re right. All the climate problems affect the south and coastal nations far more, so everything is worse than you’d expect by listening to your news. But you can rest easy enough, I am doing just fine - as fine as any of us can be with this weight on our shoulders. It’s been a while since I’ve heard from you. Much has happened. I’m not making much music any more, I know you always loved that. I’ll still play for you if you come, but it doesn’t fill me with the same alegría de la vida, you know. My writing is going well, and people are catching on. I’m getting booked on the radio a lot to speak, not much on TV. Seems like it’s probably going to go extinct soon. Too costly. At least here. Plus we have the sense not to listen, ha! We are slowly gathering people, the group is receiving more and more letters every day. We’re building up Albert, one day it will come time and maybe some real change will happen. Until then I better not say much more. Would love to hear what your fascinating mind has been fixated on these days… Mucho Amor, A.M.

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Ana, I receive your letter with mixed feelings. It is so good to hear from you, yet so painful to empathize with your situation. Indeed, I’d like to float some ideas across to you, see what you think. It’s informed by my work, but much more in line with the expertise you have. Here’s a bit from a paper I’m thinking of publishing...

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Cultural and economic globalization represents a profoundly entropic force in the world. The local (the heterogenous) has been subsumed into an extraordinary elitist vision of a gilded palace — a globalized world where all can no longer possibly fit, and which exists solely for the comfort and profit of the few. Its construction has relied on the gross exploitation of the planet’s fossil biomass, the deleterious effects of which now threaten us all. This fatal systemic flaw is denied even by those in the U.S. promoting the so-called Green New Deal which proposes the continued embrace of an expansionary economy and the growth of urban development. Business-as-usual with a green twist is a toxic cocktail. It does nothing to blunt the point of the capitalist spear driven into the heart of an erstwhile, reasonably stable ‘natural’ world, which supported a negentropic complexity of human and non-human species and their varied cultural and biological stratagems. The obscurantist elites have decided to abandon the ideology of a planet shared by all. It sounds suspiciously like a conspiracy theory, and yet the elite’s concerted actions, like the privatization of formerly government functions, the dismantling of social safety nets, and the highly successful efforts to widen the wealth gap, are all too evident. To this can be added the elite’s disposition to deny climate change, as practiced by our president or, more often, to churlishly accept the science but refuse to act to moderate its proximate cause, confident that they, at least, can escape its worst consequences. The pursuit of wealth, freedom, knowledge and leisure for all, which has been at the heart of the Modernist project, has been abandoned. I argue that, in response, we need to shift our headlong, centuries-long tilt along the temporal axis that has as its horizon, Global Modernity (the chosen few clamoring on the leading edge of its Modernization Front) toward a new attractor, which we may call the Terrestrial.


We cannot simply retreat, reverse time’s arrow and live in the Local (the point of origin from which we have sprung on our march to the modern world) for once there, most would starve, because there are now far too many of us. We should abandon the Local-Global axis, made untenable by the climate-driven ecological collapse. Geopolitics have been replaced by geohistory in which humankind has relinquished its role as the primary actor. We are dealing with an upheaval that is mobilizing the earth system itself. Social questions must be replaced by ecological questions. The premise of our politics needs to be profoundly reoriented. What do you think? You always offer me the best advice… A.T.

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Albert, I´m all for radical imagination and new orientations. ¡Buenas ideas--and told with force and vision. And they are spreading here too. I know people talk about this, think like this - like us. But I write from the poorest country in South America, second poorest in Latin America. Where not only are people suffering suffering suffering and need whatever aid they can get, but also the country - with its long history of invasion and takeover - feels pressured to build a modern military for protection in a hostile world and go hogwild for global-economy-sized industrialization to the tune of voracious deforestation, massive excavations, and polluting factories to pay for social programs and defense. Despite all the talk about Madre Tierra, minds here aren’t changing. Es así...

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How do we distance ourselves from the notional present to consider critical futures? I don’t know that it’s possible, for us at least. You have a much different position you know. Perhaps some change could come about in the North but in the South, we must sadly focus on our immediate needs before having the luxury of dreaming the wonderful dreams you do. When we reach a point where laziness is a reality, and not a death toll - then we may speak of such radical ideas freely and without consequence. For now I fear I may have to settle for reform, contrary to my own beliefs. Immediate betterment takes precedence, and will give us the time and space to actively work towards the things you are writing about. It would be lovely to see you… A.M.


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Ana… I know you are right… but I can’t help but argue for, hope for, pray for the possibility of a reset. A recalibration of such scale, wouldn’t it help you out of all those problems your people are in? I know that can’t be done without stability first. Or not realistically. But would it not be amazing? I feel that in the chaos we will soon all be launched into - we must look to the southern mentality to reorganize ourselves. Indeed the hegemonic structure should invert itself if all is to be right with the world. I’d like to come visit, please let me know when and how would be appropriate. XO, A.T.


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Special Feature: Ecological Factioning, United News Network (UNN)

ROSS:

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, this is UNN Shortwave coming to you with quality reporting on quality timescales. Tonight we have a special feature, a census project is underway - the likes of which we have not seen yet since the New Climatic Regime began several cycles ago. It is a joint venture spearheaded by an organization known as UNX and supported by myriad other sociological groups focussed chiefly on ground reporting. We here at UNN have spoken to a collection of representatives from these groups over the past couple days, and are here to give you a look inside the project and an analysis of trends sweeping the world right now. Thanks for tuning in, and joining us tonight is Helena Song - an influential voice in the upcoming census project. The first attempt in cycles to get a good handle on the terrestrial state of affairs. Helena, welcome.

SONG:

Thank you Maria, it’s a pleasure to be here. I’ve been leading a group of reporters who have been speaking to UNX representatives on the ground across the country, and across the world. What we have for you tonight is a distilled version of the repercussions echoing out from the New Climatic Regime. We’re probably all quite familiar with the new geopolitical organizations that have been coalescing over the past couple cycles. As the Climatic Regime came to power and dissolved most remaining semblances of nationality, we saw a period of profound disorder and chaos. UNX attributes this to a loss of identity, a missing directionality that often occurs

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in the aftermath of great disasters. It is only peculiar in this case that the disaster has not yet occurred.

ROSS:

Absolutely Helena, how does that difference seem to be affecting responses to this crisis-in-progress?

SONG:

As we learned, the period we are currently emerging out of was one characterized distinctly by this lack of directionality. Not entirely akin to a mass psychological disease - but not that far removed sociologists at UNX coined the term Languishing to describe the common symptoms among most individuals. Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through dirty glasses. With nothing to be tethered to, an equal emptiness in front of us - this was nearly an expected reaction. In the last cycle it seems that a directionality is returning, a sense of identity even. UNX attributes the stages of grief. However, it appears as if most people are not moving through them as is typical when faced with tragedy. Rather they align with one stage and stick with it, organizing around the shared emotional resonance of that area. The UNX has thusly characterized the factions we see emerging as Denialists - Denial, Acrimonists Anger, Resistance - Bargaining, Akinetics - Depression, and Contemporaries Acceptance. UNX reports a map charting the areas the factions are currently occupying will be made available at your local data center within the week.

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ROSS:

We can’t wait to have that info in our hands. The rest of our program will summarize the ongoing census results for each of the groups. Stay with us. [interlude]


ROSS:

We’re back with Helena Song, please Helena we’re deeply interested in hearing what your colleagues on the ground have been gathering up information wise regarding the formation of different factions.

SONG:

Absolutely Maria, working our way down through the established stages, we can begin with observations recorded in the Denialist zones. As the name would suggest, this faction is adamant that the Climatic Regime is a falsity - or at the very least it has not yet arrived in full. They occupy generally the larger cities of the past, living in a husk of urbanity. Their societies have attempted to cling on to whatever semblance of stability was left behind. Most people could hold on to their trades or careers but of course the payout and social worth has changed quite drastically. We are seeing decent employment numbers and relative stability among this group, but they are often put at odds with the Acrimonists who blame the Denialists for most of our current issues. The Acrimonists don’t occupy one particular zone. They have banded together and are roaming the dilapidated interstate systems in caravans - making them quite hard to track down. UNX identified sites that would be likely targets for their anger, and sent field agents to sit and wait. Their political philosophy is most closely related to the old principles of Anarcho-Syndicalism. However, the goal of collectivizing in this case is not to take control of the means of production but rather to destroy them in their entirety. The Acrimonists tend to seek out major governance buildings or industrial sites, pillage them to the bone, and burn them to the ground. Our latest reports show a critical mass of caravans heading south/ south-west towards a major fracking plant.

ROSS:

That seems quite concerning, but I’d like to assure our listeners - we will

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issue evacuation warnings on Shortwave when it becomes necessary. What about The Resistance Helena, are they also mounting such violent efforts?

SONG:

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The Resistance prefer to call themselves the Reclamation Group, for reasons which should be abundantly apparent. They are the sole actors working to undo the damage done to our earth, what many others deem a futile task. Generally speaking, they are quite dispersed so as to act upon their mission and various initiatives with the greatest reach. Our reporting has recently uncovered an increased presence in the Heartlands, where it appears they are setting out to build an immense carbon capture device. While it seems clear to most members what must be done without any ulterior guidance, Gail Marcos - a former radical activist - has recently emerged as somewhat of a figurehead. A representative from UNX is set to make contact shortly and we hope to be able to get Gail on the air with us soon. The Akinetics are set in polar opposition to the activity of the Resistance. To call them a faction of their own is perhaps overzealous, but the UNX remains adamant that their increasing numbers warrant careful consideration. A not yet fully understood Neuro-Psychological Epidemic seems to be spreading rampantly, largely centered in Denialist areas. The afflicted appear to lose their will to act, often their will to live. The best of the remaining medical specialists are seeking answers, but have no significant developments yet. We have been advised not to spread any information on the condition which we do not have to, and so respectfully ask our listeners to find our previously provided explanations satisfactory for the time being. The census includes both those suffering from akinetic mutism as well as those tasked with caring for them to be a part of this faction.

Init

ial

exp


ROSS:

How terrible… I’ve just been told if you’d like to donate to some of these institutions, we will be able to put you in touch with a representative if you call in to our station. Please Helena, continue.

SONG:

And we arrive at our last station, The Contemporaries, as they like to call themselves, have acknowledged the realities of the New Climatic Regime but made the decision to accept the futility of acting against it. Located largely in previously high-travel areas, their development and lifestyle is varied but can be generally characterized as entertainment and service. Increasingly populous enclaves have sprung up around coastal areas, particularly those with amusement parks and fun palaces. There doesn’t appear to be any kind of political structure, since their primary task is revelry. UNX understands this faction to have fully embraced the values of Homo Ludens, and recommends those at risk of akinetic mutism to defect to one of the Acceptance Zones.

ROSS:

Thank you Helena, it’s been so great to hear from you and finally be able to get a good, broad, picture of what is going on these days. Helena will be back with us once the census is finally complete, to share the final findings with our audience.

ROSS:

Now folks, to decompress we’ve got an hour of post-psy-trance-step to kickstart your day of mentalism. The first tune is by a group called Plant Imagination, released earlier this cycle on Demosage Records.

pan

[music]

sion

of R esis tan

ce T erri tory

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Transcript of recording 242LU211_Y654_shangev_kwande.wavv, Shangev Kwande ?????:

SHANGEV KWANDE:

??:

Thank you for allowing me to accompany you for a while Shangev, I am truly grateful for your willingness to participate in my project. Would you mind stating your name for me as I begin the recording? Oh yes, well it’s my pleasure. I’m sure we’ve spoken enough by now that you know how much I love to talk, telling stories is what I believe I was put on this ground to do. My name by birth is Shangev Kwande. And where do you hail from Shangev? I know we’ve talked a bit about your past, but I’d love to get it recorded as well if you don’t mind.

SK:

Ah well you know I don’t have a good answer to that question, but I suppose that’s more interesting to you anyway. I usually tell folk I come from out west, and the truth is I don’t really know where. From my first memory we were always on the move. A while here, a while there. It doesn’t really matter too much. My home is here, on this earth, where my stories are and where everyone belongs.

SK:

My family, our family, we didn’t quite fit anywhere. Or perhaps rather we didn’t quite fit with anyone. We watched as the groups coalesced, these ‘factions’ as many people call them. We watched from a distance, not really feeling like we belonged to any of them. Just making our way, our own path, moving around, listening to stories, engaging with lives, seeking meanings…

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SK:

Anyhow yes, that is what I usually say. I look back fondly upon those days. Even though I was coming of age right around the point of no return I believe I had quite a happy childhood. We were a jovial bunch, and most people welcomed us with open arms. We would make music, tell stories, some of us would often make paintings…

??:

Could you tell me a story, your story perhaps, about the Point of No Return? I’m quite interested in what it was like to experience first hand… I wasn’t even born yet.

SK:

Mmmmm many people make such a big deal of this. To call it a point is not entirely accurate but it helps with the conceptualization I suppose. You see it was not a momentary occurrence, but a long drawn out battle. A battle with ourselves, yes, both inside and out. We knew it was coming, perhaps everyone did, yet it was quite hard to grasp.

SK:

There are two types of problems in this world, those that are hysteric and those that are depressive. You must have witnessed many riots or raids in pursuit of your project, no? Those are hysteric - unavoidable. The point of no return was depressive, we could hardly perceive it for it acted on timescales so vastly longer than our own. And yet perhaps that is why you and others like to call it a point, the time of inflection was miniscule in comparison to its entirety. I would say I was between the ages of fourteen and eighteen when what you might call the point occurred.

SK:

It was a strange feeling, to finally see what had been weighing upon your soul so heavily begin to affect your surroundings. The speed at which the deterioration occurred was so slow for

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so long, even multiple generations could hardly mark any change. But as we as humans accelerate our development exponentially, well, so does our host. Once the change became visible to the eye - it became perceptible and real. It had been too late for many cycles, but it wasn’t realized until that time. Once we could see it, perceive it, feel it, rather than abstractly know it… it was a crisis. SK:

Many went into mourning, in fact nearly everyone did. The real question, the interesting thing to see, was how they did so. Did they shut their eyes and pretend it still wasn’t real? The unbearable summers, the unpredictable winters, the catastrophes, the air it was all imagined? Many lashed out in fury, blaming those who had power and didn’t act. Maybe so, they should be blamed, but what good does it do to bury them? The burnings only add to the problem…

SK:

There were two kinds of reactions to the slow realization that one’s actions had no meaning. Many moved on. Forgot about it. Understood there was no point so they may as well do anything they please. Aye, despicable but understandable. And many more simply gave up all hope. Gave up everything. Resigned themselves to die but had not the motivation to even take their own life. Such a sad fate.

SK:

Or, in the face of such tragedy, does one refuse to stop fighting? I can respect this position. Far more than I respect any of the others. For while no one can tell if it truly matters in the end, idealism has more power than you or I or anyone could imagine. Simply acting in accordance with what you believe to be just and true and equitable and

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beneficial is never a position anyone can fault. They strive and strain and one might begin to feel sorry for them, tragically toiling like Sisyphus on the hill - but they are the only ones who haven’t given up their most precious treasure.

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??:

And what is that..?

SK:

Simple friend, the ground we walk upon.

??:

Ah, I should have realized that without having to hear it from you. Would you mind if I accompanied you for a while longer? Perhaps recording some more of your stories?

SK:

Not at all my friend, not at all…


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Homa’s Tale, Author Unknown This stor y appear s to come seem to c from a c ome from ollection a time lo do we kn of fables. ng before ow. It ’s p It would ossible th that of P on purpo at it was lenaes, b se , or per ut what made to haps sim inspirati look and ply set as onal mat f e el ancien i de by on erial . We are off by t e of the m ’d rather so much , embers a not assum but as yo entirely s e that ou possible u’ll see la r timesca ter on les it is regr ettably

It is as it always was, so beautiful to live in harmony. To be in communion with other beings is the height of existence, for it elevates each individual taking part. Homa and Geia had such a bond, and this is where we begin. It is rumored they fell from the sky, or descended at the very least. Many folk have said they witnessed a glorious descent upon steeds of gold and silver elegantly alighting upon the earth as if they had always belonged there. For that is truly how it seems, as many others are adamant that the pair has always lived in the pasture they do now. How could it be any different? Homa and Geia belong to that spot like the great river belongs in its rocky pass - no one could imagine it otherwise. 192

They are perhaps somewhat peculiar, but fit as closely to each other as they do to the land upon which they live. Geia tends to the land, the crops, the animals as if they were a part of her own self. She tills the earth with tenderness and respect, and it appears to yield to her will as easily as you or I would wade through a shallow stream. And certainly the creatures of the land must recognize this as well, for they treat her with reverence they reserve for their own kind. A fellow shepherd once came running to me out of desperation, crying half his flock had been split off by a pair of crafty wolves. One had distracted him by stealing his cane, while the other quietly ushered off the sheep while his back was turned. You see, even amongst the beasts there are truly wondrous couplings. I went to help him and by the time we had reached the clearing in which it occurred, Geia had reprimanded the wolves and was sitting across from them, feeding them a loaf from her bare hands. But I digress. Homa was a crafty individual. Perhaps not quite as skilled as some of the tradesmen of the north, but I’ve heard he taught them everything they know. Homa was always discovering new ways, new tools, to make his life - and Geia’s - easier. A gracious but not particularly humble fellow, he was always ready to help those in need so long as they carry his name with pride. Together they have built an eden, and all know of the prosperity they bring to the land. Depict

ion of Creatio

n


n Myth

Seasons passed, we wandered. Upon returning to the area where Homa and Geia resided several cycles later, we understood something was amiss. We gathered from the denizens there had been great strife. While Geia stayed as attuned as she always was, Homa had become enamored with his skill. Geia was skilled enough in her stewardship of the land that they could have survived together as they always did for as long as they wanted - forever perhaps, since it felt like they had been there forever already. However Homa was not satisfied with survival. He desired more, to build more, to own more, to create more, to produce more. Geia was at first in agreement with this. For with Homa’s inventions, he could provide better for all the surrounding denizens. As time progressed, and as Homa’s skill and prowess grew his tools became larger, more effective, agents of production and alteration. Geia grew afraid that they would damage the land she held so dear. And indeed they did. Irreparably. Geia baid Homa to stop three times. The first, he slowed - but only momentarily. The second, he assuaged her fears and continued working. The third, he denied her worries altogether. By the time of Geia’s fourth plea it was too late. Homa’s tools had taken on a life of their own, in his hands and in those of all he spread them to. In what felt like the blink of an eye, the eden they had cultivated together began to wither and die. We witnessed this upon our return, so we know it to be true. Geia could not stand to witness this fall, so she left. She departed from Homa and in doing so severed their immeasurable communion. Perhaps a thread remains, perhaps not. Many seasons passed once again, the denizens of the area picking one path or the other. Many followed Homa, perhaps more still followed Geia - but no one could count with any certainty. Their followers, with many of whom I have spoken, all agreed that on the fifth moon of every cycle both Homa and Geia disappeared until the next moon. When asked upon their return where they have been, the answer is always the same. “A meditation, a reflection.” Upon completion of numerous meditations, they finally understood what must occur. Homa laid the foundations for a maze, and Geia grew it into a garden. They worked in shifts, secretly and piecemeal, so neither truly knew its entirety. Whether there was one center, with many paths leading to it, or many centers with one path towards them, not even they could say. They resolved to enter this garden, and leave their futures to fate. Should their bond be strong enough, they will choose the correct paths and end up in the shared center. It is said they still walk in this garden of forking paths, seeking a reunion. No one knows if they found each other or not. It is perhaps for you, dear reader, to decide.

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Speech given by Gail Marcos, Reclamation Group Figurehead, at Tiempo Plaza

We no longer have the luxury of putting a stop to this nonsense! Now we are forced to make amends. We will reclaim this planet, our territory. We will reclaim it from ourselves - our so called compatriots. They do not have a right to this place. They do not live here. They use it, extract it, suck out all the life. It has gone on for too long! And we are all that is left to right the wrongs of an entire species. My friends, are you up to the task? I was born into this problem - the problems of generations upon generations past. I had no choice, nor did any of you. It was impossible to not be aware, they knew it, and they denied it. Perhaps we can understand ignorance, but not denialism. They consciously - as if a conscious played any role in their decision making - stole our futures from us! Despicable. People were dropping dead on their doorstep. Species were vanishing from existence. Entire cities were returned to the ground as if they never had been there in the first place. Countless lives hung in the balance, and the blood is on their grubby hands. A mass extinction was right in front of them, and all they could be concerned with were fairy tales of growth, productivity, and capital. Unforgivable! We have waited for too long. Cycles and cycles, decalogues and regimes have come and gone - all full of fake promises and inaction. It is time for the opposite my friends, my fellows. We must take it upon ourselves to nurse our sickened host back to life! They turned to us for support - for hope. How dare they, as if we had any left to give! Hollow words and empty promises strung us along for cycles upon cycles. Their falsities and deceptions magnified by the lack of discernible truth but of course they knew. They knew the whole time and CHOSE to keep silent. They pass off their problems to us with no regard for our lives, or any lives. If only we had been able to act sooner. If only we had organized generations ago. If only we had overthrown the hegemonic powers when they were at their most vile. If only we could have acted before the thresholds were past. So many lives, ours and others, could have been saved.

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Look at the state of the world now. Made up of such vile contingents. Some act as if nothing has changed, other rage in senseless anger. The poor souls who have lost hope do nothing at all, and the worst of them celebrate their powerlessness. We, you and I and all of us here, are the last people who have any semblance of realism left in us. There is no other option - all others mean death. We refuse to accept this fate. We recognize we should have acted sooner, but we accept that this has only made our task harder - not impossible! When we bring this place back to life they will understand. We will make them, and we will make sure the same mistakes are never made again. I stand before you today in front of the largest collective rehabilitative effort ever launched in the critical zone. Look behind me - this will be our icon! We were told we needed 138,462 carbon pyramids to set us back on the right path - hailed as a preposterous figure. Well friends, we have eliminated 10,000 in one fell swoop. Let this pyramid be a testament to our will, our power, our commitment, and our planet. A headquarters, an icon, a gathering point, a message. The Reclamation Group will complete the remaining 128,462. Let us usher in a new era, together, with all terrestrials as one.

Work on carbon py ramids. Headquart ers?

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Transcript of recording 242LU532_Y673_shangev_kwande.wavv, Shangev Kwande

?????: SHANGEV KWANDE:

SK:

SK: (all following)

Just so you know I’ll be recording… I hope none of you mind… No? Good… My apologies Shangev. Of course, it is good to ask. Children, I also have something very important to ask you - listen close, and please answer with your own truth. Have you ever felt hopeless? Do you understand what I mean by that? You nod your heads, but I am not sure. Don’t be so quick to agree with me! It is not a bad thing not to truly understand, you are quite young after all, and I would be much happier if you do not feel within yourself a grasp of this idea. Let me describe it to you, so that perhaps in the future you will know how to avoid it. The feeling I am describing is one of complete nothingness. A nothingness so total, so consuming, that there is no room for anything else. This is also perhaps a hard thing to imagine. Let me tell you of something in this world which could help you imagine such a feeling inside you. Long ago, great men of science and many-knowers deduced the presence of something in the universe which could not be observed by any other means. They called it dark matter, for it was like the darkness in a cave when one cannot tell if there is something there or not - yes that’s right, one could even compare it to that cave, the one our ancestors used to illustrate the fallibility of knowledge and impossibility of truth. This dark matter was present everywhere, it was ubiquitous, in fact the majority of everything is dark matter. And yet, we could not see it nor sense it, nor feel its presence in our bodies - the ways we have come to know all things important to us did not work on this object. We looked at the things around us, using complicated technologies, and were able to infer its existence from the effects it had on the world. Perhaps that illustrates how a great nothingness can fill our world - but there is more to the story. One day, what we have come to know as the third great omen appeared. It signified to those men of science and many-knowers that this empty presence was not like all other matter we see or feel or touch or smell or taste a finite thing. One

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could not count it like you count on your fingers, for it kept growing. This great darkness, this great emptiness was expanding - and it would continue to expand until it filled every last corner of existence until there was no room for anything else. Slowly, ever so slowly, the dark matter would fill the universe and black out all of life, happiness, beauty, your friends, enemies, everything worth caring about. At some point we will be able to see it, sense it with our own bodies, without the use of instruments - even if only through the absence of all else. You must think this is scary, no? Rightly so… rightly so… but you have not jumped from your seat in shock, like you would if an Acrimonist maniac had come running in with torch in one hand, molotov in the other. It is precisely because you cannot see this threat, cannot feel it acutely, it does not demand the attention that others do. You see this is a depressive temporality, not a hysteric one. But in the face of it, one is utterly powerless to do anything against it. Not alone, not together, not even all of the terrestrial alliances could do anything about the increasing nothingness of creation. It was simply believed to be the way of things. 200

Now children, do you see the purpose of this story? It is threefold in its significance. It is an allegory for a particular condition, for the overbearing issues of climate, and the power of your own intrinsic agency. As I said before, perhaps with this external understanding you can imagine the way such a phenomena would occur internally. Many before me have called this existential dread, but that was still when it was a largely invisible thing, like dark matter was and thankfully still is. However this emptiness that many are experiencing internally, this dark matter inside you if you will, has reached the point that it often becomes visible. These people are what we now call akinetic mutists. They have lost the light inside them; even if they would like to have it back, as you or I might try to do when we feel sad, they cannot retrieve it for there is simply no room amidst all the nothingness already present. Have you the ones to stray is where they are

seen those large warehouses to the east? Yes, your parents point out to you and tell you not near when you play or go out adventuring. That they live, or perhaps better said: that is where housed. For we cannot say they really live like


you and I. When one is full of nothingness, there is also no room for the experiences of life to fill. It was once thought that the only way of one falling into such cognitive disarray was the realization of irrefutable determinism. Say, how would you feel if you knew for a fact that all of your decisions were meant to happen. That you couldn’t break from the trajectory of fate? We once subscribed to such ideas, that our lives were preordained, that our path through the world was set by some otherworldly navigator; and societies still turned out fine, no? Ah, but belief is so vastly different from proof. It is again a question of attention, a belief may be held at the back of one’s mind and paid little heed in the conscious realm of daily life. However if something is demonstrated to you, it is unavoidable - irrefutable! If you cannot demonstrate in a similarly sensory way that it is false, and all others say that it is true, well… that commands much attention. If you knew that tomorrow, whether you wanted to or not, you were going to eat porridge and drink green tea instead of black, how would you feel? If you knew that no matter what you did, or thought you had control over, the outcome would be the same, what would you do? This is one of the vexing questions of our time. For while we do not have proof that our lives follow a set path, we do in many ways have proof that our actions do not matter at all regarding many crucial problems. The elimination of free will matters very little when faced with the irrelevance of it. Do you all follow? That is the origin of those suffering from akinetic mutism, those in the stage of depression, from which they will never emerge. I see some of you are catching on, you are quite clever, you know that? Indeed, my earlier story is also a way to think about our recent history, the one that led to so many feeling this great emptiness. When a problem is so large it is incomprehensible to our simple little minds we have a hard time solving it. Seems self evident, no? But not so to many people. There was great effort mounted against the slow destruction of our planet by some. I respect them greatly. However it seems to have not been enough, for they toil continuously even now when we largely understand their efforts to be futile. Had the others only listened sooner…

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Those that denied the problem were the worst, followed by those who simply stated we had no way of solving it and moved on with their lives. Those that were too angry at the lack of action provided no benefit either, and then… the ones I feel the most sorry for are those that took it to heart. They simply lost any intention of living, of taking action. This is the darkness, the emptiness, I have been referring to.

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Don’t let it seem like I am talking down about these people, for it is a perfectly natural response. No less valid than anger, bargaining, or acceptance. I too, have struggled with this emptiness, this hopelessness. At times it is overwhelming, it paralyzes one into inaction. The sheer weight of our situation can be debilitating. But then, I recall those like you. Those that still have so much to see, to learn, to experience - and I remember to do my small part, whatever it is. Even if it is futile, I will still do it. My brother did not grasp this, and perhaps that is why I do - and I try to spread awareness with stories such as these. Watching him, caring for him, losing him, was one of the most painful experiences of my life. We must remember; we are all parts of a whole, actors in a network, great chains of causal dependencies. This understanding can bring back the meaning to a futile existence. Now, let this old man tell you what he thinks about all of this. You may choose to live your lives however you please, and one cannot fault you for that, for your decisions - and certainly your emotions - are yours, and yours alone. But if there is any wisdom I can give you it is this: we made these problems ourselves, we as in humans, so they must be ours also for the undoing. We put these problems on the rest of the world, on all terrestrials, and we must respond with care. Care as a response, and as an act. The stewardship of our connections, our relations, is paramount. There is so much to experience in this world, so many wonderful things. As long as you never let that light go out there will never be enough space within you for the emptiness to emerge. As I always liked to say, it’s a beautiful glass. To counter this emptiness, should it get inside you, use art, stories, creations. Channel the nothingness back outside to where it came from, but this time, as you expel it from you, give it shape. Imbue within it something of yourself, and it leaves not as nothingness but as an expression of the experience you felt when it was inside you.


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Summation and Analysis of Medical Reports, Elena Kassel

RCT MEDICAL LABORATORY Patient Name: SELENA MIASIS Case Number: F-5243-8965 DOB/Sex: 5/24/12C, Female Client Name: GCT Psychiatric Center Insurance Provider: CT HMO

Received: 6/17/36C Processed: 6/25/36C

DIAGNOSES Patient has a clear case of Akinetic Mutism, following the typical diagnosis procedures in conjunction with your forwarded report the results clearly show a textbook example. - Abebe, MD 6/25/36C

PROCESSES PERFORMED 204

Electroencephalography: Analysis shows near constant state of minimal activity akin to severe insomnia . Positron Emission Tomography: Glucose levels appear typical, nothing else to note Neurochemical Composition Analysis: All levels appear normal, but dormant. The absence of any reaction is a clear indicator of AKM. Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Results appear typical. Sending on for further psychological analysis. Remote Stimuli Transference: Failed all stimuli tests. Definitive demonstration of AKM.

PERTINENT HISTORY No relevant medical history found. Reference to be made to the report submitted to us with the samples. Relevant excerpts are given below. “Miasis was forced to be but on intravenous support at 21:46 06/14/36C due to her refusal to nourish herself” “Miasis’ last words were spoken at 10:26 06/01/36C, they were as follows in response to an inquiry for desired treatment: “Why waste it on me, I’d get up and leave but really it doesn’t matter either way. Nothing matters, come to think of it. My life perhaps least of all…” at which point she became verbally unresponsive to all attendants.” “Miasis’ pupil tracking still seem to be active. CT Scans show that information is still being processed.” “Miasis possesses no relevant genetic or hereditary conditions/disorders that would influence her behaviour in this manner.” TREATMENT RECOMMENDATIONS Approving Doctor/Technician: MAAZA ABEBE

om ly fr

Like ed . t a ot s, N can mutist S n i Bra inetic


Although I have only supplied a singular document as supplemental evidence to this report, I assure you that it is characteristic of all the cases I have been surveying. Acquiring release permissions from families was quite difficult, so even the Miasis document is only to be shared within the organization. In parallel to the Heterochronicity Report I have been tasked with one sector of the Ecological Factioning Census, and this submission constitutes the beginning of those records. The sector I was tasked to investigate is defined as a non-active contingent, and comprises those entrenched in the ‘depressive’ stage of grief. To say they suffer from a collective depression though is perhaps too simplistic a characterization. Their affliction appears to be a compound psychological/ neurological condition dubbed “Akinetic Mutism”. Here I stray away from the term disease as researchers have not yet come to a robust conclusion regarding its origins or transmission patterns. What we do know is that it’s spreading, and this ‘faction’ (a term utilised simply for census purposes) is steadily growing - not only through patients, but also the increasing number of support staff needed to treat them. The Miasis document attached to this report is one of many lab results I have been able to examine, and one of the few I have been allowed to reproduce. The consensus seems to be that knowledge of the condition is one of the prerequisites for diagnosis - meaning that if the general population remains ignorant about what is going on, or perhaps believes it to have an alternate cause, we could significantly limit the spread. Consequently there is extreme secrecy surrounding the primary care facilities, and the staff have all been brief in such a way that knowledge of the symptoms and causes are compartmentalized. Making my investigative work quite slow, and quite limited in scope. As you can see in the Miasis document, the affliction seems to manifest as a lack of cognitive/executive function reminiscent of a coma. The patients are all clearly still conscious, they’re eyes still track activity and stimuli but the condition prevents any action upon them. We see in the brain scans normal activity in areas governing sensory stimuli, but a

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complete absence of transmission into the areas that govern cognitive and motor function. Among all the cases I have studied there has been no statistically significant indicator of onset speed. The rate of decay from the display of initial symptoms to complete mutism varies between a few months and a few days, with no correlation to typical factors such as age, existing conditions, or treatment methods. Among physicians and psychologists alike the consensus seems to be that once a patient has lost the will to speak, they are beyond the point of preventative intervention and should be moved into intensive care units immediately. Initial remediation treatments have proved minimally successful. Holistic care programs focussing on emotional and mental health and stability having the best results with early stage patients, while direct chemical supplements showing more benefit as the condition progresses.

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I will continue to monitor the situation and plan to submit a report monthly from this point forward. The initial projections show a 24% population increase for this faction in the coming cycle, which may show them surpassing those in the faction of acceptance shortly.


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Reclamation Group Historiography

Note from the Archivist - I have had to piece this information together from a variety of incomplete sources. Many of our audio files are at least partially corrupted from the electromagnetic anomalies that arose from the Singularity, so you will have to make do by drawing the connections between the little snippets we have. Should you notice a different connection or potential recording that makes more sense or brings other ideas to light, please get in contact with me.

Pieces from speeches given by Gail Marcos over the years

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re ngs a i d r o rec to Many e’re lucky . o w we d l lost, t a h w ful have ally that i uded Espec ipt I incl cr trans on . r earlie

“....Our future is a future where anything material in the environment - whether it’s wearables, cars, buildings - can be designed with this variation of properties and relationship with the environment that can take part in the natural ecology...” “....We have to become designers of eco-systems. Not just designers of beautiful facades or beautiful sculptures, but systems of economy and ecology, where we channel the flow not only of people, but also the flow of resources through our cities and buildings....” “....However, I think the major opposition to ecology has deeper roots than mere economics; ecology threatens widely held values so fundamental that they must be called religious….” “...We must decide that these problems have been brought on only by ourselves - we can not blame natural processes, leaders, organizations, corporations - we must take ownership and make amends through our own means….” “...Ecology should be object lessons that the world sees, that explains in a visceral, physical way, the attributes of God…” “...I really wonder what gave us the right to wreck this poor planet of ours...” “...You may have fooled the people, but Gaia sees right through your charade…”


Police reports on file from Svalbard, translated Case #: 532134-68954 Date: September 21st, 42 Cycle Reporting Officer: J. Larsen Prepared by: G. Olsen Incident: Raid of Seed Vault, Svalbard

Details of Event 22:11 - Witnesses report numerous unmarked vehicles leaving the outskirts of Longyearbyen, approximately 20. 22:28 - Estimated arrival at Svalbard Seed Vault, guards report first headlights seen at around 22:20. 22:34 - Confrontation between guards and supposed group leader, unidentified. 22:40 - Shots fired, appear to have been entirely non-leathal cartridges expended by both sides 22:45 - Svalbard policed phoned by guards 22:48 - Six squads cars dispatched 22:56 - Arrival at Seed Vault, met with resistance. Perpetrators had used their vehicles to construct a barrier. 23:01 - 24:00 - Standoff continues 00:01 - Motion reported behind makeshift barrier, officers on scene radio for further backup 00:05 - Four additional squad cars dispatched, accompanied by two riot team vans 00:14 - Backup arrives on scene 00:14 - 00:58 Standoff continues 00:59 - Shots fired, conflict ensues 01:20 - Station lost contact with officers on scene 01:32 - Remaining three squad cars dispatched, contacted mainland for aerial support 01:38 - Squad cars arrive on scene, witness remnants of apparent chemical warfare. Hesitant to approach 01:39 - Svalbard Internation Airport security sights three cargo trucks arriving ahead of schedule, does not contact police. 01:50 - Chemical traces seem to clear, officers don masks and enter premises. No casualties reported, but all officers were laid unconscious. 02:04 - Unregistered cargo plane takes off from Svalbard International Airport

Actions Taken Svalbard police acted to the best of their ability given current resources and information available during the incident. Initially presumed to be a group of unorganized troublemakers from the mainland looking to cause a stir, it was presumed the Seed Vault security would be able to handle the situation. Regrettably it seems that this was a highly orchestrated undertaking most likely conducted by the Reclamation Group which we were inadequately prepared and staffed to conterract.

Summary Between the hours of 22:11 and 02:24 the Reclamation Group conducted a heist operation on the Svalbard Seed Vault. Starting from a rendezvous point in Svalbard, they must have flown in equipment on the same cargo plane they used to escape. An unidentified gas was used to subdue all officers and security personnel on the Vault premises. They stole nearly 50% of the inventory.

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Design proposition for the carbon pyramid headquarters

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Imagine 138,462 pyramids of biomass slowly decomposing: innumerable microorganisms and trillions of invertebrates digesting the structure over the course of years or decades, generating a complex and unintended array of metabolic processes. Perhaps these structures would self-ignite from the heat of their own rot or collapse, destroying nearby settlements. Or perhaps they could generate energy through the methane emitted from their decay. And if the entropic qualities of these pyramids proved undesirable, we could explore the possibility of transforming them into a more durable material. Biomass itself is 44 percent carbon and so—through a process of thermal decomposition known as pyrolysis—our 138,462 pyramids could be rendered down into 60,932 pyramids of a pure, black charcoal. This decay-resistant material— often called “biochar”—would potentially add hundreds or thousands of years to the lifespan of our structures as carbon sinks. We find this biochar to be potentially the best option, but it would likely need to be supported by some kind of superstructure. Perhaps, instead, captured CO2 could be injected into porous rock, such as subsurface basalt. Over a process of several years, carbon dioxide would solidify into calcite crystals and this bedrock could be quarried for use as a building material. As in ancient Egypt, monolithic slabs of stone could form pyramids, either built in situ to help bolster tourism in Iceland, the African Rift Valley, and other areas rich in malfic rock; or conveyed over unfathomably long distances for reasons that might seem obscure to future generations. Such structures would be durable and their construction would likely employ large masses of people, but the process would be extremely energyintensive. Moreover, the majority of these pyramids’ volume would be taken up by the host rock, not sequestered carbon, meaning that we would need to construct far more than our original 138,462 pyramids.


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A propaganda/event poster


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Remnants of an ecological survey document

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“... This atlas tells the story of the exploration of an unknown land: ours. By redefining, or rather by extending the traditional cartographic vocabulary, it offers a manifesto for the foundation of a new geographical and, in so doing, political imaginary. If some of the phenomena we are witnessing (soil erosion, depletion of resources, acceleration of urban spacetime, intensification of polluted areas) escape us by their scale, their duration, their magnitude, it is through the development of our techniques of representation that we can hope to understand better...”

s?


Incomplete list of initiatives • General Strikes • Reforestation and Rewilding • Cessation of Emission Producers, Diplomatic • Cessation of Emission Producers, Forcible • Repopulation • Reconstruction of Territory as Dwelling • Regenerative Architectures • Sequestration • Post-Political Activism 213

• Terrestrial Engendring

I found the efforts required to uncover these fragments worthwhile because, well, we can only assume that they must have had some success given the fact that we are all still here. I’m sure there had to have been more effort on their part than we have evidence for, but it’s quite hard to even imagine what they could have been. Either way we owe them quite some thanks, and should aspire to continue some of their initiatives as the consensus is we are still not beyond any ecological danger.


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Text File Found on SMD Belonging to Saliah Gürsoy of a be either part to is th e v ie way el ivist - We b dence . Either h n rc o p A e es rr th co m a o Note fr ated record of or perhaps a be is not indic al ld u rn o u w jo t al n it ie dig e recip clear, who th the author is content. decipherable e th in e er h w any r¨áO—ÓŠaZ ¢ºÿ,#<€“¯&;@—Ç‘èp8ᱫòðlzÐ8^9]exƒ}OC£3‰ÁËÀº¼¿4à‰3dôïí o ™\|qÐÀ;†Æi <†ÙÌ2@xDY¿ yyÝ¢µŸD£_ÄHö>-…OÐò¬“ðiîKÝʤ/á; c ÍÓÐû!¯/´ ºEÐriüe /ä’6¡m´m³–¿Ä!MdÛàYûe4}ZÛk;¹<¥~=ÿˆ&ëJ iäöLœI_êPÚPH™¨‹‘ž”è5ŽÅ+zÀÍËs( öSÐ=´hù,_]7iÙ”¾Ö¨áýÙß]î!h—”•þŸÛç\¸ohß ›°/¥Æš¸Íý”û[€~#)05`$üØ`B¶qúÿTHÙ©ÿ‘¼#Œän º¥^¦í¤kCêŸëßàWQûCñ«é4|fîµðøeÜð9@ž›<s¾šqz¿ßžþ lœ£fûl×J}4˜êb„Iƒ0.„’§öÙQ{j`a>FôíÙˆ‚LÌú|ü³1P á\ž¶žÎ¸ÿZ‡Ž’1]Í»¦¡~:n[ß;??Wð\ÆíW qНÎAq-÷uly an excellent dinner, and it brought back so many fond memories. I can still vividly recall the first story of uncle Shang’s I heard. I’m pretty sure he was trying to tell us about depression or something, I’m not sure the message exactly landed with me… But I guess I’ve been pretty happy for most of my life, wouldn’t you say so? So, that means something probably got through my thick skull. Ha, I even remember that he went on about physics or something too. I mean come on, we must have been what, 6 or 7 years old? Honestly, that’s uncle Shang for you. Trying to make something accessible to kids by comparing it to something he thinks is damn obvious but we can’t even begin to imagine. Come to think of it though… were you even there? Sometimes I feel like we were just always together, or at least my brain heart seems to convince me of that reality. It’s foggy, but it feels right at least. Like that time we were sitting out on the{¯ÿ²Úo øÒ‹°…E Ü‘­ —ÿÕðòõÈ“‰û0‰ÓƒI·+ƒÁmXï϶@íÓ²…W‹v±•

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Õ&Í_¾@%n\pÌÁòð<{Ž,^¤¾”ÌX@ jñáGYt!‘w|á!ñrÙÑ5m¸ÿׄöëþEGµ5­ «GÚ€µƒÚ® Ä-“~Dé7ÏÊ×Ö±êÅÛö¦3úC‘44and you never believed me! I know you must have heard him spin some other yarns, maybe a bit later, towards the end of his life. Have you heard the one about this crazy obsessed painter guy he knew? Or how he met Gail? Or that time he wrestled a giant catfish? Or, maybe my favorite, was when we would talk about his dreams? He always had the craziest dreams. Sometimes they were more vivid than reality. Sometimes he’d joke that those were the real stories, and he was just making the ones about his life up.

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What always struck me though, and I’m sure you understood too, was some kind of underlying idealism in everything he did or said or imagined. Some kind of conviction that life had meaning, not just ours but everything around us was here and acting for and with purpose. I feel like his stories could bring us together, unite us with a common goal, a shared dream. I asked him about it once, I don’t think you were there with me that time, but I wondered where it all came from. I should have taken notes! He went on for ages, like he always would. Talking about entanglements, and place, and participation. Going on about how important kinship was, how powerful art is, and some nonsense about what nonlinear time means. He said though, and this I remember quite clearly, that it was something like a calling. Shang said he felt that it was almost spiritual, not in a religious sense but in the sense of a connection to all of us - to this place, to all things. A concern for the well being of all and the pursuit of a better future is what drew him to these ideals.


I could feel it. I bet you could too. Sometimes maybe we were just too timid to act on it? But it’s out there, it’s got to be. And there have to be other people tuned in to it too. I wonder how we find them? Or if we have to? I dunno, in a lot of ways it feels inevitable. Like all of this is going to exist whether we’re here to help it along or not, and honestly that’s a little comforting if you don’t think about it much. If you do though, then you have to ask yourself why it isn’t better already? As a wise man once said, shouldn’t these truths be self evident? Or something like that, who knows. I guess what that means is the message just hasn’t reached enough people yet. I bet that’s how Shang would have wanted to be remembered; not by talking about him, or even his stories, but by spreading those truths he believed to his core to as many people as possible. What do you think? Anyhow, IþUÐ1ô5°zE6¦|AÆf„ñìerÝN1¯ÓZ’Å=£¶«ÇÚÖ r:ˆOøRïsm) ¢mKЄ9¼ÝÏ!Ëë2W?ܤ_3fdÄòÕð#?Ò°q‡ø’ .ò-Cλʑ!~#½DÄü«¯Mkšç/DNÃeèßg‘ÛÒ¨í¬ ¹PÇCÚr;KøÜf=Ë@ãòE9‰C>ÞŸjºžÞ4ÍJx\

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Post Script


Constructing Meaning I figured after all this hearing some of my thoughts in reflection could be helpful. Take it or leave it though, ultimately it’s up to you to conclude what you will take away from this body of work. Narrative is critical in all of this. On one level to make the work accessible and engaging, drawing those interested into a world with story. On another though, I find it adds impact.

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Capital in many ways lays the foundations through which we consider everything in this world. It is an intellectual and societal pandemic which infects nearly all aspects of life in our culture. What can you think of that escapes its grasp? I’m not sure I can come up with anything. The injustices perpetrated through this medium also often feel insurmountable. Politics is a direct representation of social will, the will of the people, the will of the collective. Or, it should be. When other interests sink their teeth into the manifestation of the social contract its integrity is forever compromised. Sometimes it feels more productive to just start over than it does to try and patch those holes. Ecology is arguably the most critical concern of all. Without it, what are we left with? It is an issue we act upon and with every single day, either consciously or not. The issues are entirely created by our species, so the responsibility to fix them also falls to us. Time is much more complicated, and much more influential, than we all usually imagine. It’s difficult to parse whether we are supposed to understand the three collections happening sequentially or in parallel. Our perceptions and ways of processing time inform how we deal with these vexing problems, sometimes deciding whether we even engage with them in the first place. Architecture permeates every aspect of this work - perhaps even every aspect of the world, although that may be a difficult


claim to back up. As a framework for interaction, agency, and relations though it is one of the most powerful disciplines for use in pursuit of The Project.

Heterochro

All together these aspects form something greater than the sum of their parts. Shaping worlds and prompting holistic thought is equally as paralyzing as it is liberating in it’s gargantuan size.

nic Orrer y

Here, I’ll leave some space for you to jot down your own thoughts in response. I’m looking forward to reading them. 223


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Plenaen Documents

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Archivist’s Notes

The following pages contain an ongoing series of notes relatively recently uncovered. We believe them to be research musings and quotations of some kind, likely of a Plenaen Archivist. I’ve transcribed them, but only given minimal thought to formatting. I’ve bolded or circled some of the more tantalizing bits.

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In all honesty, it’s quite dense - so I’m not sure I would recommend reading all of it. That being said, there is a wealth of excellent information here that will help further contextualize the documents you have just made your way through. I’ve tracked down most of the source material the notes seem to be drawing from as well. We only have some of it in our collections at UNX, but if you prefer to go straight to the source I encourage you to look for some of those volumes yourself. Every one that I have picked up has been worthwhile. Cheers,


Wittgenstein Plays Chess with Marcel Duchamp – Amit Dutta “one does not realize something because it is always before ones eyes” Our memory serves to allow us a comparison of an object to the personal past of such an item. Truth is easy to understand if you do away with preconceptions about where it is supposed to lie. “Architecture, as philosophy, is actually more of a kind of work on oneself. On one’s own conception. On the way one sees things, and what one demands of them.” Was really about perceptions of reality, ways of seeing the world, and truth. Folding Beijing – Hao Jingfang Nice character introduction at the beginning, introducing motivations and traits. Music is power… once again. First hooks you into the story, then doubles back and gives the setup. “I’ll just stick to unemployment. I’m sure you understand the concept,” Lao Ge continued. “As the cost of labor goes up and the cost of machinery goes down, at some point, it’ll be cheaper to use machines than people. With the increase in productivity, the GDP goes up, but so does unemployment. What do you do? Enact policies to protect the workers? Better welfare? The more you try to protect workers, the more you increase the cost of labor and make it less attractive for employers to hire people. If you go outside the city now to the industrial districts, there’s almost no one working in those factories. It’s the same thing with farming. Large commercial farms contain thousands and thousands of acres of land, and everything is automated so there’s no need for people. This kind of automation is absolutely necessary if you want to grow your economy—that was how we caught up to Europe and America, remember? Scaling! The problem is: Now you’ve gotten the people off the land and out of the factories, what are you going to do with them? In Europe, they went with the path of forcefully reducing everyone’s working hours and thus increasing employment opportunities. But this saps the vitality of the economy, you understand? “The best way is to reduce the time a certain portion of the population spends living, and then find ways to keep them busy. Do you get it? Right, shove them into the night. There’s another advantage to this approach: The effects of inflation almost can’t be felt at the bottom of the social pyramid. Those who can get loans and afford the interest spend all the money you print. The GDP goes up, but the cost of basic necessities does not. And most of the people won’t even be aware of it.” He felt that he had approached some aspect of truth, and perhaps that was why he could catch a glimpse of the outline of fate. But the outline was too distant, too cold, too out of reach. He didn’t know what was the point of knowing the truth. If he could see some things clearly but was still powerless to change them, what good did that

do? In his case, he couldn’t even see clearly. Fate was like a cloud that momentarily took on some recognizable shape, and by the time he tried to get a closer look, the shape was gone. He knew that he was nothing more than a figure. He was but an ordinary person, one out of 51,280,000 others just like him. And if they didn’t need that much precision and spoke of only 50 million, he was but a rounding error, the same as if he had never existed. https://uncannymagazine.com/article/foldingbeijing-2/ Down To Earth – Bruno Latour The main proposition is that a large segment of the ruling class (read: elites) have decided that it was pointless to act as though history were going to continue to move toward a common horizon. For reasons of increasing inequalities, deregulation, climate change etc – we are no longer moving towards a world in which all humans could prosper equally. This class has stopped purporting to lead us, and instead is sheltering themselves, repudiating the concept of a common world we can share. To resist this loss Latour calls us to LAND somewhere and ORIENT ourselves towards the ways in which both the affects and the stakes of public life shall be redefined – to come down to earth if you will. Great Operating Statement: “As the author lacks any authority in political science, he can only offer his readers the opportunity do disprove this hypothesis and look for better ones” The withdrawal from the paris climate accords proved that the climate question is at the heart of all geopolitical issues today, and that it is tied to questions of injustice and inequality directly. COP21 showed that there is not enough of earth to sustain the modernization and globalization plans of all member countries. Begging the question, do we recalibrate or look for an escape route? The typically definition of migrant or refugee as one from the outside is growing ever closer to those on the inside who are equally left behind by their countries and governments. We are facing an ordeal common to all of finding oneself deprived of land (earth). To reassure migrants and come together we must carry out two complementary movements that the ordeal of modernization has made contradictory: attaching oneself to a particular patch of soil /and/ having access to the global world on the other. It is said one has to choose between the two, but current history may bring this apparent contradiction to an end. Look into Donna Haraway’s Worlding - Kathleen Stewart (2012) provides a definition of worlding referring to the “affective nature” of the world in which “non-human agency” comprising of “forms, rhythms and refrains” (for example)reach a point of “expressivity” for an individual and develop a sense of “legibility”. Through this process a particular ‘world’ emerges for the individual through their engagement with a number of interrelated phenomena. Anderson

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and Harrison expand on worlding further: “...the term ‘world’ does not refer to an extant thing but rather the context or background against which particular things show up and take on significance: a mobile but more or less stable ensemble of practices, involvements, relations, capacities, tendencies and affordances.” (https://newmaterialism.eu/almanac/w/ worlding.html) Read more about Haraway’s Terrapolis - It is clear when Haraway is sketching out her version of worlding that she is keen to separate her use of the term from that of Heidegger’s: “Finished once and for all with Kantian globalizing cosmopolitics and grumpy human-exceptionalist Heideggerian worlding, Terrapolis is a mongrel word composted with a mycorrhiza of Greek and Latin rootlets and their symbionts” (Haraway, 2016, p. 11). Worlding for Haraway manifests itself in the SF sense: “a risky game of worlding and storying; it is staying with the trouble.” (Haraway, 2016, p. 13). (https:// newmaterialism.eu/almanac/w/worlding.html) The shift from a local to a global viewpoint ought to mean multiplying viewpoints, registering a greater number of varieties, taking into account a larger number of beings, cultures, phenomena, organisms, and people. Yet what has happened is the opposite – the ubiquitization of entirely provincial viewpoints, products, cultures, etc – and the unrelenting application of these across the world. The large issue is that those who oppose modernization or globalization are instantly labeled archaic or obscurantist, deemed by the elites to 228 have illegitimate positions. “In the end, what counts is not knowing whether you are for or against globalization, for or against the local; all that counts is understanding whether you are managing to register, to maintain, to cherish a maximum number of alternative ways of belonging to the world.” – I feel that in a way, if one subscribes to this, the hegemonic natures of globalization as singular applicable viewpoint oriented in contrast to the provincials (populists?) will fall by default. This text follows a convention according to which the lower-case term “earth” corresponds to the traditional framework of human activity (human beings in nature), while the upper-case “Earth” indicates a power to act in which we begin to recognize, even if it has not been fully instituted, something like a political entity. The “Othering” of populations is perhaps the most dangerous affect of the elites ignorance of the New Climatic Regime. The elites have taken seriously that their dominance was threatened and have decided to dismantle the ideology of a planet shared by all. “The elites have been so thoroughly convinced that there would be no future life for everyone that they have decided to get rid of all the burdens of solidarity as fast as possible – hence deregulation; they have decided that a sort of gilded fortress would have to be built for those who would be able to make it through – hence the explosion of inequalities; and they have decided that, to conceal the crass selfishness of such a flight out of the

shared world, they would have to reject absolutely the threat at the origin of this headlong flight – hence the denial of climate change.” “This hypothesis would make it possible to explain how globalization-plus has become globalizationminus. Whereas until the 1990s one could (provided that one profited from it) associate the horizon of modernization with the notions of progress, emancipation, wealth, comfort, even luxury, and above all rationality, the rage to deregulate, the explosion of inequalities, the abandonment of solidarities have gradually associated that horizon with the notion of an arbitrary decision out of nowhere in favor of the sole profit of the few. The best of worlds has become the worst.” ^ all this action on the part of the ‘elites’ is not entirely conscious, but at some level at least whether the intentions were there or not have little bearing on the effects of the actions. Subconsciously it is undeniable that the awareness was there, and it is (sadly) understandably natural/predictable to act within ones self-interest. As a defense of the populists (trump base), these people have been coldly betrayed by those who have given up the idea of actually pursuing the modernization of the planet with everyone because they knew such a task was impossible. Before accusing these people of no longer believing in anything, one must understand the effect that such a betrayal has on one’s ability to trust. It has largely been abandoned by the wayside. Knowledge and truth do not exist in a vacuum. Facts remain robust only when they are supported by a common culture, by institutions that can be trusted, by a more or less decent public life. By extension then, we can assume the possibility of a reorganization of our core truths based upon societal shift. It would be possible to wipe away our notions of territorialism and find a new truth not under capitalism or simply more harmoniously with other terrestrials. Read about Post-Truth Politics The local-minus is no longer the same Local. It is a retrospective invention consisting of the leftovers of modernization, but nevertheless it attracts as powerfully as globalization (plus or minus). Because of this gap and stalemate the modernization front no longer exists. The shared horizon is gone, and with it the organizing arrow of history that it supported for so long. “It is as if the expression modern world had become an oxymoron. Either it is modern, but has no world under its feet, or else it is a true world, but will not be modernizable. We have reached the end of a certain historical arc.” It is at this juncture we find ourselves today. We are too disoriented to array the positions along the axis that went from the old to the new, from the local to the global, and we are incapable of naming what the third attractor is or describing it in such a way that allows us to reorganize our society in pursuit of it. (it is something in the realm of climate – posit: terrestrialism)


“Trumpian politics is not “post-truth,” it is post-politics – that is, literally, a politics with no object, since it rejects the world that it claims to inhabit. The choice is mad, but it is comprehensible. The united states saw the obstacle and simply refused to proceed, like a horse refusing to jump – at least for the time being.”

corresponding to the infinite horizon of the Global, but at the same time the Local is much too narrow, too shrunken, to accommodate the multiplicity of beings belonging to the terrestrial world.” This is why the orientation of Local and Global along a single trajectory has been wrong from the beginning.

“The terrifying impression that politics has been emptied of its substance, that it is not engaged with anything at all, that it no longer has any meaning or direction, that it has become literally powerless as well as senseless, has no cause other than this gradual revelation: neither the global nor the local has any lasting material existence.”

The crucial choice had to do with two directions of politics: “One that defines social questions in a restrictive manner, and another that defines the stakes of survival without introducing a priori differences between humans and non-humans. The choice to be made is between a narrow definition of the social ties making up a society, and a wider definition of associations that make up what have been called collectives.”

Terrestrial as a political actor is representative of the way in which the earth is now participating in history. It is no longer an object to be possessed, it is fighting back and concerning itself with our operations. This concept of the Terrestrial has been crossed consistently by the green parties already, seeking to orient public life towards this third axis. An in some sense they have succeeded, it is impossible to think of any material object that has not taken on an ecological dimension – even if it is willingly ignored. Ruefully they are often put in opposition to modernization, and therefore have their political wings clipped from the outset. But at the same time they propose things too novel for the right, and so are left in a weird middle ground that can’t be supported by either half. Look into Anthony Giddens: Beyond Left and Right, the future of radical politics “By what miracle could this operation of reorientation take place in a world where all the efforts to “escape from the left/ right opposition” or “go beyond the division” or “look for a third way” have failed? For a simple reason that is bound up with the very notion of orientation. Despite the appearances, what counts in politics are not attitudes, but the form and weight of the world to which these attitudes have the function of reacting. Politics has always been oriented toward objects, stakes, situations, material entities, bodies, landscapes, places. What are called the values to be defended are always responses to the challenges of a territory that it must be possible to describe. This is in effect the decisive discovery of political ecology: it is an object-oriented politics. Change the territories and you will also change the attitudes. “ The modern/terrestrial vector is proposed as a credible and desirable alternative to the left/right dichotomy that remains so acute. So then how do we get there? How do those who feel abandoned by the historical betrayal of upper/ruling classes and are clamoring for the security of a protected and familiar space begin to shift away from that sense of belonging? This impulse is only labeled as reactionary in contrast in the headlong flight towards modernization – if we stop fleeing then the desire for attachment must be redefined. Whereas in the local sense it means closing oneself off, in the terrestrial sense it must mean being situated but opening oneself up.

Critical to understand that global/local does not correspond with left/right. And the question of positivity or negativity is largely (neutral, irrelevant, incalculable?) on the larger scales in pursuit of modernization. But what world exactly, this progress would end up resulting in, was never explicitly understood – and the horizon of progress became a vague utopia as Earth failed to give it substance. There is a difference between social/economically defined classes and territorially defined classes. Those defined by territories have much more agency to advocate for their own sake. With an increasingly online economy and workforce these powers of the proletariat to organize are being crippled. Latour argues that class struggles depend on a geo-logic. A revitalization of Marxists materialist analysis by obliging us to reopen the social question while intensifying it through new geopolitics. “We need to be able to count on the full power of the sciences, but without the ideology of “nature” that has been attached to that power. We have to be materialist and rational, 229 but we have to shift these qualities onto the right grounds.” “The Globe grasps all things form far away, as if they were external to the social world and completely indifferent to human concerns. The Terrestrial grasps the same structures from up close, as internal to the collectivities and sensitive to human actions, to which they react swiftly” The fallacy of the Globe is represented in the Galilean conception of the universe, in that one can from the vantage point of earth perceive the planet as a falling body amongst other falling bodies translates to the necessity of having the vantage point of the universe to perceive what is happening on the planet. “The fact that one can gain access to remote sites from the earth becomes the duty to gain access to the earth from remote sites. Such a conclusion is in no way obligatory.” But it is how ‘rational’ ‘sciences’ have come to be defined. The inevitable consequence: we have begun to see less and less of what is happening on Earth.

Consequently the other half must be convinced how little globalization-minus relates to access to the Globe and the world. Despite being bound to the earth and to land, the Terrestrial is also a way of worlding, in that it aligns with no borders and transcends all identities.

“It is this brutal division that was to give consistency, as it were, to the illusion of the Global as the horizon of modernity. From this point on it was necessary, even if one stayed in place, to shift one’s position virtually, bag and baggage, away from subjective and sensitive positions toward exclusively objective positions, finally freed of all sensitivity – or rather of sentimentality.” It is from this vantage point that one can say earth has always varied and that it will outlast humans, making it possible to take the New Climatic Regime as an unimportant oscillation. The Terrestrial does not allow this kind of detachment.”

In this sense it solves the issue of place, the earth that globalization would require simply does not exist, yet the local perspective is much too restrictive. “There is no Earth

It is easily to fall into an understanding of nature as passive, writing off earth’s agency as a subjective illusions written onto an indifferent entity. But, how much of this is also


manufactured by our worldview? Since the 17th century nature has existed in the collective consciousness largely as a factor in production, a resource, a statistical risk – it was impossible to figure the natural entities as agents or actors. Nature-as-universe had so fully obscured nature-as-process that those who were acting upon these resources were left devoid of words or concepts to describe the inevitable reactions. As a simple example of the relational shift: “If the composition of the air we breathe depends on living beings, the atmosphere is no longer simply the environment in which living beings are located and in which they evolve; it is, in part, a result of their actions. In other words, there are not organisms on one side and an environment on the other, but a coproduction by both. Agencies are redistributed.” Latour’s ideas come into an interesting relationship with Cixin Liu’s Dark Forest Theory the foundations of which are thus: All life desires to stay alive. There is no way to know if other lifeforms can or will destroy you if given a chance. Lacking assurances, the safest option for any species is to annihilate other life forms before they have a chance to do the same. The options for survival then, are to remain secretive or acquire technology to the level such that one could immediately destroy any threat revealed to them. While the Terrestrial is clearly not in strict adherence to the ‘turtling’ strategy as described in the novels, the preoccupation of the Terrestrial with the ‘Critical Zone’ does preclude the latter option. “[The Critical Zone] is the point of departure and also 230 the point of return for all the sciences that matter to us.” https://vimeo.com/139097473 Latour posits we must switch from a system of production to a system of engendering. The system of engendering brings into confrontation agents, actors, animate beings that all have distinct capacities for reacting. It does not proceed from the same conception of materiality as the system of production, it does not have the same epistemology, and it does not lead to the same form of politics. It is not interested in producing goods on the basis of resources, but in engendering terrestrials – all terrestrials. It is based on the idea of cultivating attachments, operations that are more difficult because animate beings are not limited by frontiers and are constantly overlapping, embedding themselves within one another. Shift from identity of an object to an object as a system of connections. Prehensile things latch on to others and want to be understood. The focus is on establishing relationships rather than the production of goods, the object created is less important than the set of relationships. The withdrawal of the u.s. from the climate accords was tantamount to an invasion or occupation of all other signatory countries – if not with troops, then with co2 which we retained all rights to produce. It is a new expression of a right to dominate in the name of a modernized lebensraum. The issue with anthropocentrism is the assumption that there is a center, either man or nature, between which we supposedly have to choose. The statement “we are earthbound, we are terrestrials amid terrestrials” does not lead to the same politics as saying “we are humans in nature” or even “we are all animals anyway”.

Partially it avoids the trap of thinking harmony with nature is possible. This is not the aim, rather than seeking agreement between all actors, we are learning of our dependencies as well as theirs on ours. With the shift from production to engendering comes more allies in our fight. While humans may be alone in system and Earth focused on production, we are not alone in an Earth centered around living. The other Terrestrials may then be considered potential allies in our struggles against injustice. “Fighting to join one or another utopia, the Global or the Local, does not have the same clarifying effects as fighting to land on Earth!” “It makes no sense to force the beings animating the struggling territories that constitute the Terrestrial back inside national, regional, ethnic, or identitary boundaries; nor does it make sense to try to withdraw from these territorial struggles so as to “move to the global level” and grasp the Earth “as a whole.” The subversion of scales and of temporal and spatial frontiers defines the Terrestrial. This power acts everywhere at once, but it is not unifying. It is political, yes; but it is not statist. It is, literally, atmospheric.” Generate Alternative Descriptions – First Step We must first take inventory, have a period of surveying, before any true recalibration can be made. Like a Thief in Broad Daylight – Slavoj Zizek The State of Things -“… The function of philosophy is to corrupt the youth, to alienate them from the predominant ideologico-political order, to sow radical doubts and enable them to think autonomously. The young undergo the educational process in order to be integrated into the hegemonic social order, which is why their education plays a pivotal role in the reproduction of the ruling ideology.” “Techno scientific progress is perceived as a temptation that can lead us into ‘going too far’ - entering the forbidden territory of biogenetic manipulations and so on, and thus endangering the very core of our humanity.” “We live in an extraordinary era in which there is no tradition on which we can base our identity, no frame of meaningful universe which might enable us to lead a life beyond hedonist reproduction. Today’s nihilism – the reign of cynical opportunism accompanied by permanent anxiety – legitimizes itself as the liberation from the old constraints.” The freedom our society has to do whatever we please engenders itself as an obligation to constantly change. I’m not sure I totally agree, but if you couple this nihilistic freedom with the nihilism faced by the despondent nihilism of societal collapse… well maybe. An example perhaps of the Terrestrial paradigm; local authorities often prove to be more sensitive to global issues than higher state authorities. RE: local mayors honoring commitments of climate action despite Trump’s cancellation of the same regulations. “Capitalism is openly disintegrating and changing into something else. We do not perceive this ongoing transformation because of our deep immersion in ideology.” Three events marking the three stages of the communist movement, separated by 50 years each: Marx’s Capital outlined the theoretical foundations of the Communist revolution, the October Revolution was the first successful


attempt to overthrow a bourgeois state and build a new social and economic order, while the Shanghai Commune stands for the most radical attempt to realize the most daring aspect of the Communist vision, the abolition of state power and the imposition of direct people’s power, organized as a network of local communes The new communists are, as in Guattari’s Communists Like Us, precisely “like us” – that is, ordinary academic cultural leftists. Ideologically pure but actively weak. The target audience is wrong.

terms of basic health and survival. Our generation sees these as privileges instead of the half of the social contract that the government is meant to uphold. “Parties like Die Linke represent the interests of their workingclass constituency… this automatically puts them within the confines of the existing system, and their goal is therefore not authentic emancipation.”

The debt/credit form of fictitious capital is also directly intertwined with the education topic in a productivetechnocratic sense of getting ready for the competitive job “To really change things, one should accept that nothing market. A student goes into debt to pay for their education, can really be changed within the existing system…. When this debt The precariat is our new form and only constant self-revolutionizing can maintain the system is repaid (consumerism etc), those who refuse to change anything are of proletariat. The problem with through selfeffectively the agents of true change: a change to the very commodification. refugees is that in a sense they principle of change.” “Bourgeois are both below and above the society generally The Big Other (the symbolic substance, the domain of unwritten customs and wisdoms best expressed in the proletariat. They are striving obliterates stupidity of proverbs). – I feel like this is getting at something castes and other with all their being to become hierarchies, shared but I’m not quite sure how to put it into words. I think it’s kind of like a Marxist version of the recalibration all the proletariat, but in that way equalizing Latour is calling for: “Leaders like Lenin and Mao succeeded individuals as (for some time, at least) because they invented new are also embodying an ambition market subjects proverbs, which means that they imposed new customs that only by and will to achieve that is often divided regulated daily lives.” class difference; missing from the true proletariat but today’s late The paradox of our predicament is that the two tendencies capitalism, with of against global capitalism – resistance and self– strangers who had been left its spontaneous disintegration – seem to move at different levels and behind by their own country. ideology, do not meet. Plus ideologically the movement is being endeavors undercut by the most ‘progressive’ mega capitalists like to obliterate Musk and Zuckerberg are the ones who are spearheading the the class division itself by way of proclaiming us all ‘self231 conversation of post-capitalism, as if it is being appropriated entrepreneurs’” – the difference being only in the quantity of by capitalism itself. Gates at least realizes that if we are to money we borrow. survive we must institute regulatory forces that do not belong to the market, because the market by nature is too selfish to Ayn Rand (I know, I know) – “When money ceases to become fight for the planet. the means by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. Blood, whips, and guns or … yeah guys… capitalism is defined by capitalist relations of dollars.” production, not by the type of state power… That being said, it still does matter who controls the state power. On credit/debt economies: “Insofar as its distribution money is no longer grounded in the process of valorization (workers “Classical Marxism and the ideology of neo-liberalism both being paid for their labor etc), it begins to function as a direct tend to reduce the state to a secondary mechanism that means of domination. In other words, money is used as a obeys the needs of the reproduction of capital; they both means of political power, as a way to exert this power and thereby underestimate the active role played by state control its subjects. Furthermore, although some theorists apparatuses in economic processes.” claim that we thereby move beyond relations of commodity The precariat is our new form of proletariat. The problem exchange and exploitation-through-valorization, one should with refugees is that in a sense they are both below and insist that valorization via the circulation of capital remains the above the proletariat. They are striving with all their being to ultimate goal of the entire process of economic reproduction.” become the proletariat, but in that way are also embodying – The problem with fictitious capital is not that it is outside an ambition and will to achieve that is often missing from the of valorization, but that it is parasitic on the fiction of a true proletariat – strangers who had been left behind by their valorization to come. own country. Zizek mentions Tri-Solaris (Cixin Liu) as an analogy for the Connection to the worlding in Folding Beijing: “Today’s unpredictability our own planet is hurtling towards. explosion of economic productivity confronts us with the Aligning with Latour – “… we humans can no longer rely on the ultimate case of this [80/20] rule: the coming global economy Earth as a reservoir ready to absorb the consequences of our trends towards a state in which only 20% of the workforce productive activity. We must acknowledge that we lice on a can do all the necessary jobs, so that 80% of the people are Spaceship Earth, and be responsible and accountable for its basically irrelevant and of no use.” Is not such a system itself condition… A new way to relate to our environs is necessary irrelevant? once we realize this: we must become modest agents The welfare state has collapsed to such an extent that we collaborating with our environment, permamently negotiating call these human rights “benefits”. Unbelievable. We have to a tolerable level of stability.” look at the ‘benefits package’ at our workplace to see what Capitalism is precluded from acting against this crisis because the company is gracious enough to give their workforce in the very nature of the risk involved fundamentally opposes a


market solution. In anticipation of vast climatic change, we must be prepared to live in a more plastic and nomadic way. If great populations are displaced, national sovereignty will have to be radically redefined and new levels of global cooperation invented. “Our unfreedom is most dangerous when it is experienced as the very medium of our freedom – what can be more free than the incessant flow of communications that allows every individual to popularize their opinions and form virtual communities at their own free will?” Vagaries of power --

We Have Never Been Modern – Bruno Latour 1.5 – What does it mean to be a modern?

purification, what are we going to become? Can we aspire to Enlightenment without modernity? My hypothesis – is that we are going to have to slow down, reorient and regulate the proliferation of monsters by representing their existence officially. Will a different democracy become necessary? A democracy extended to things?” 2.1 – The Modern Constitution The divide between the sciences and politics has been so well drawn up that the separation is viewed as a double ontological distinction. In reference to the translation/purification split of the Moderns, once one reestablishes the common understanding that organizes the separation of natural and political powers, one ceases to be modern. The Constitution believes in the total separation of humans and nonhumans, but simultaneously cancels out this separation. This has made the moderns invincible? I need clarification here…

The Moderns, as Latour defines them, are always existent 2.14 – We have never been modern in contrast with the Ancients. In much a similar way to the Okay but this statement seems contradictory to my previous Global/Local dichotomy – this conflict has been stretched interpretations: “Either I defend the along the axis of time’s ‘irreversible “Modern humanists are reductionist work of purification – and I myself arrow’. But now the Ancients win serve as a purifier and a vigilant almost as much as the Moderns. because they seek to attribute action guardian of the Constitution – or else I “The hypothesis of this essay is that to a small number of powers, leaving study both the work of mediation and the word ‘modern’ designates two sets of purification – but I then cease the rest of the world with nothing that of entirely different practices which to be wholly modern.” must remain distinct if they are to but simple mute forces. It is true The postmoderns reject all empirical remain effective, but have recently that by redistributing the action work as illusory and deceptively begun to be confused. The first set among all these mediators, we scientistic. They feel that they follow of practices, by ‘translation’, creates the moderns, but by doing so operate mixtures between entirely new types of lose the reduce form of humanity, under the moderns assumptions of 232 beings, hybrids of nature and culture. but we gain another form, which classification of time/eras. They have The second, by ‘purification’, creates two entirely distinct ontological zones: has to be called irreducible. The tagged the slogan ‘no future’ onto the modern slogan of ‘no past’ – so then that of human beings on the one hand; what remains? Disconnected instants human is in the delegation itself, that of nonhumans on the other.” in the pass, in the sending, in the and groundless denunciations. “What link is there between the work nonmodern (or amodern) is anyone of translation or mediation and that continuous exchange of forms.” “A who takes simultaneously into account of purification? This is the question the moderns’ Constitution and the on which I should like to shed light. My hypothesis – which populations of hybrids that that Constitution rejects and remains too crude – is that the second has made the first allows to proliferate.” I’m really struggling with conceptualizing possible: the more we forbid ourselves to conceive of hybrids, all these ontological dualities… the more possible their interbreeding becomes – such is the paradox of the moderns, which the exceptional situation in 3.2 – What is a quasi-object? which we find ourselves today allows us finally to grasp.” It appears to me that a quasi-object exists as a Modernity for latour is the whole enlightenment project - the deconstruction of the dualism between nature and society. sciences especially are so entangled with culture, politics, Latour writes: “quasi-objects are in between and below etc even though they took the position that they should be the two poles, at the very place around which dualism and separate. We don’t have control over this hybridity because we dialectics had turned endlessly without being able to come to refuse to have the language to understand them. terms with them. Quasi-objects are much more social, much more fabricated, much more collective than the ‘hard’ parts “The second question has to do with premoderns, with the of nature, but they are in no way the arbitrary receptacles of a other types of cultures. My hypothesis – is that by devoting full-fledged society.” themselves to conceiving of hybrids, the other cultures have excluded their proliferation. It is this disparity that would explain the Great Divide between Them – all other cultures – and Us – the westerners – and would make it possible finally to solve the insoluble problem of relativism. The third question has to do with the current crisis: if modernity were so effective in its dual task of separation and proliferation, why would it weaken itself today by preventing us from being truly modern? Hence the final question, which is also the most difficult one: if we have stopped being modern, if we can no longer separate the work of proliferation from the work of

Quasi-object is much more specific than a hyper-object, only referring to a kind of middle ground which consists of qualities that are inherent to the object and a set of qualities attached to it by social relationships. Specific to the dualism of nature and society.


5.1 – The impossible modernization “Modernizing, although it destroyed the near-totality of cultures and natures by force and bloodshed, had a clear objective. Modernizing finally made it possible to distinguish between the laws of external nature and the conventions of society.” 5.2 – Final Examinations It seems as if Latour is advocating for the preservation of the modern ideals of progress and production, but the subtraction of over generalization and categorization that have until now accompanied them. “To retain the production of a nature and of a society that allow changes in size through the creation of an external truth and a subject of law, but without neglecting the coproduction of sciences and societies. The amalgam consists in using the premodern categories to conceptualize the hybrids, while retaining the moderns final outcome of the work of purification – that is, an external Nature distinct from subject.” – External Nature? Really? 5.3 – Humanism Redistributed “Modern humanists are reductionist because they seek to attribute action to a small number of powers, leaving the rest of the world with nothing but simple mute forces. It is true that by redistributing the action among all these mediators, we lose the reduce form of humanity, but we gain another form, which has to be called irreducible. The human is in the delegation itself, in the pass, in the sending, in the continuous exchange of forms.” 5.4 – The nonmodern constitution First Guarantee: the non-separability of quasi-objects, quasi-subjects. Every concept, institution, or practice which interferes with the continuous deployment of collectives and their experimentation with hybrids will be deemed immoral. Second Guarantee: All concepts, institutions, and practices that interfere with the progressive objectification of Nature – incorporation into a black box – and simultaneously the subjectivization of Society – freedom of manoeuvre – will be deemed immoral. Without this second guarantee, the networks liberated by the first would keep their wild and uncontrollable character. Third Guarantee: we can combine associations freely without ever confronting the choice between archaism and modernization, the local and the global, the cultural and the universal, the natural and the social. Afterwards, every call to revolution, epistemological break, Copernican upheaval, claim that practices have become outdated forever – will be deemed immoral. (I’m not sure I agree with this last bit, is it a rejection of the power to alter course?) - basically more so saying that we cannot undergo another complete rejection of what came before Fourth Guarantee: the production of hybrids, by becoming explicit and collective, becomes the object of an enlarged democracy that regulates or slows down its cadence. 5.5 – The Parliament of Things “When we amend the Constitution, we continue to believe in the sciences, but instead of taking in their objectivity, their truth, their coldness, their extraterritoriality – qualities they have never had, except after the arbitrary withdrawal of epistemology – we retain what has always been most

interesting about them: their daring, their experimentation, their uncertainty, their crazy ability to reconstitute the social bond.” “Natures are present, but with their representatives, scientists who speak in their name. Societies are present, but with the objects that have been serving as their ballast from time immemorial. Let one of the representatives talk, for instance, about the ozone hole, another represent the Monsanto chemical industry, a third the workers of the same chemical industry, another the voters of New Hampshire, a fifth the meteorology of the polar regions; let still another speak in the name of the State; what does it matter, so long as they are all talking about the same thing, about a quasi-object they have all created, the object-discourse-nature-society whose new properties astound us all and whose network extends from my refrigerator to the Antarctic by way of chemistry, law, the state, the economy, and satellites. The imbroglios and networks that had no place now have the whole place to themselves. They are the ones that have to be represented; it is around them that the Parliament of Things gathers henceforth.” “Half of our politics is constructed in science and technology. The other half of Nature is constructed in societies. Let us patch the two back together, and the political task can begin again.” Latour writes “is it asking too little simply to ratify in public what is already happening?” And answers that no, the official representation is effective rather than opting for more revolutionary programmes of action. I feel as though his stance on that has changed over the years? In Down to Earth it feels as though he is certainly advocating for a revolutionary recalibration. 233 Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell An excerpt from the notebook of Isaac Sachs: Exposition: the workings of the actual past + the virtual past may be illustrated by an event well known to collective history such as the sinking of the Titanic. The disaster as it actually occurred descends into obscurity as its eyewitnesses die off, documents perish + the wreck of the ship dissolves in its Atlantic grave. Yet a virtual sinking of the titanic, created from reworked memories, papers, hearsay, fiction – in short, belief – grows ever ‘truer’. The actual past is brittle, ever-dimming + ever more problematic to access + reconstruct: in contrast, the virtual past is malleable, ever-brightening + ever more difficult to circumvent/expose as fraudulent. The present presses the virtual past into its own service, to lend credence to its mythologies + legitimacy to the imposition of will. Power seeks + is the right to ‘landscape’ the virtual past. (He who pays the historian calls the tune.) Symmetry demands an actual + virtual future too. We imagine how next week, next year, or 2225 will shape up – a virtual future, constructed by wishes, prophecies + daydreams. This virtual future may influence the actual future, as in a selffulfilling prophecy, but the actual future will eclipse our virtual one as surely as tomorrow eclipses today. Like Utopia, the actual future + the actual past exist only in the hazy distance, where they are no good to anyone. Q: Is there a meaningful distinction between one simulacrum of smoke, mirrors + shadows – the actual past – from another such simulacrum – the actual future?


One model of time: an infinite matryoshka doll of painted moments, each ‘shell’ (the present) encased inside a nest of ‘shells’ (previous presents) I call the actual past but which we perceive as the virtual past. The doll of ‘now’ likewise encases a nest of presents yet to be, which I call the actual future but which we perceive as the virtual future. I regret not taking notes as I was reading this, but some reflections to follow. One, the narrative structure which resembles the description of time above is quite attractive to me. I particularly align with the ways in which certain artefacts tie these stories together – less enamored with the ideas that the character’s souls are tied, or that they are reincarnations etc. As we all move through the world we both receive and leave behind artefacts which have a much greater history than our own conscious experience. These objects carry varying levels of meaning on personal/emotional levels and societal/ cultural scales. Throughout our lives it is as if we are dropping a breadcrumb trail towards identifying our existence, who we truly are. The trail is not a trail to a destination as such, but a line of puzzle pieces that once one has reach the last can perhaps be put together to form a picture. This picture is incomplete, but illustrative. What is missing from it? Is it the actual personal contact with the individual/ entity that it describes? Even with deep, meaningful, and prolonged interaction there is no guarantee that there is true understanding from one entity to another. So what do we do with our incomplete pictures of the world? The so-to-speak breadcrumb trails crisscross, mix, and tangle as certain piece overlap with others – acquire meaning from different sources, all on their own path, as they pick up and 234 put down the pieces of other’s stories. Union as a fabricated revolutionary organization is exceeding elegant. “… its raisons d’etre are not to foment revolution. First it attracts social malcontents like Xi-Li and keeps them where Unanimity can watch them; second, it provides Nea so Copros with the enemy required by any hierarchical state for social cohesion.” Piranesi – Susanna Clarke Again, I did not take notes while reading, but some reflections to follow. The way in which this story unfolds and reveals information to us is quite remarkable. The character, as a sort of newborn brain-washed level of intelligence is highly experienced in his perception of reality but clueless as to ours. What we as readers can understand from simplistic descriptions or allegories, Piranesi is clueless about. As he slowly regains his prior conscious, more about the real world and his current situation is slowly revealed. Despite his return to ‘our’ world at the end, part of him and his epistemology is deeply attached to the House. He has learned to perceive the world through the meanings and teachings the House has within its walls. The statues symbolize certain emotions, characteristics, personalities, situations etc – and it is with these that he identifies, and uses to create meaning of the world around him. Visualization and Cognition – Bruno Latour Explanations of modern scientific culture / human cognition: “It seems to me that the most powerful explanations, that is

those that generate the most out of the least, are the ones that take writing and imaging craftmanship into account. They are both material and mundane, since they are so practical, so modest, so pervasive, so close to the hands and the eyes that they escape attention. Each of them deflates grandiose schemes and conceptual dichotomies and replaces them by simple modifications in the way in which groups of people argue with one another using paper, signs, prints and diagrams.” “Instruments, for instance, were of various types, ages, and degrees of sophistication. Some were pieces of furniture, others filled large rooms, employed many technicians and took many weeks to run. But their end! result, no matter the field, was always a small window through which one could! read a very few signs from a rather poor repertoire (diagrams, blots, bands, columns). All these inscriptions, as I called them, were combinable, superimposable and could, with only a minimum of cleaning up, be integrated as figures in the text of the articles people were writing. Many of the intellectual feats I was asked to admire could be rephrased as soon as this activity of paper writing and! inscription became the focus for analysis.” It is in science as it is in war, politics, law, and many other situations: that (or whom) which comes out victorious is the one who is able to muster the largest number of well aligned and faithful allies. We must then look at the ways in which someone convinces others to take up a statement, pass it on, make it more of a fact – a practice which is inextricably tied to visualization. “Fiction —even the wildest or the most sacred— and things of nature —even the lowliest— have a meeting ground, a common place, because they all benefit! from the same “optical consistency”. Not only can you displace cities, landscapes, or natives and go back and forth to and from them along avenues through space, but you can also reach saints, gods, heavens, palaces, or dreams with the same two-way avenues and look at them through the same “windowpane” on the same two-dimensional surface. The two ways become a four-lane freeway! Impossible palaces can be drawn realistically, but it is also possible to draw possible objects as if they were utopian ones.” Worldview is understood in the sense of a metaphor, that it is both how a culture sees the world, and makes it visible. A new visual culture redefines what it is to see, and what there is to see. “What is so important in the images and in the inscriptions scientists and engineers are busy obtaining, drawing, inspecting, calculating and discussing? It is, first of all, the unique advantage they give in the rhetorical or polemical situation. “You doubt of what I say? I’ll show you.” And, without moving more than a few inches, I unfold in front of your eyes figures, diagrams, plates, texts, silhouettes, and then and there present things that are far away and with which some sort of two-way connection has now been established.” Scientists looking at nature, economies, stars, organs do not see anything – rather they begin seeing once they stop looking at the object and begin studying the consistent representations of those objects. Such conclusions feel somewhat linguistic in nature. In so far as we understand the world through our ability to communicate about our perceptions, without verbal descriptors a concept may as well not exist – and interestingly this also applies in certain ways to visual representations. If we cannot find a way to represent a concept or object pictorially which communicates the


essence of the thing we are trying to express, we may as well not have perceived it in the first place.

“Among the interesting immutable mobiles there is one that has received both too little and too much attention: money. The anthropology of money is as complicated and entangled Advantages of working with paper-space (representation) as that of writing, but one thing is clear. As soon as money rather than the Object itself: starts to circulate through different “Realms of reality that seem far cultures, it develops a few clearcut Inscriptions are mobile, they can spread and be disseminated in it is mobile (once in apart (mechanics, economics, characteristics: ways the Object cannot. small pieces), it is immutable (once in marketing, scientific organization metal), it is countable (once it is coined), When moved, inscriptions are and can circulate from the immutable. of work) are inches apart, once combinable, things valued to the center that evaluates They are made flat, perceptible, all flattened out onto the same surface. and back. Money has received too much is revealed. Nothing is hiding from a attention because it has been thought of The accumulation of drawings as something special, deeply inserted in certain perspective or in a shadow etc. in an optically consistent space the infrastructure of economies, whereas it is just one of the many immutable The scale may be modified at will, is, once again, the “universal mobiles necessary if one place is to without change in their internal proportions. This allows for cross exchanger” that allows work to be exercise power over many other places far apart in space and time.” comparisons as well as aids in perception.

They can be reproduced and spread at little cost, so that all the instants of time and all the places in space can be gathered in another time and place.

planned, dispatched, realized, and responsibility to be attributed.”

The inscriptions can be reshuffled and recombined – promoting connections in the mind between those with the same ‘optical consistency’. They may be superimposed. Taking 4 and 6 together, inscriptions of totally different origins and scales may be compared to understand structure, pattern, theory, and abstraction. Inscriptions may become part of written text, and it is this collaboration that is truly fruitful. The two-dimensional character of inscriptions allows them to merge with geometry. They may be measured and studied as representations of the original which allow for surplus-value gained from their capitalization. These advantages should never be isolated from each other, and always taken in conjunction with the mobilization process they accelerate and summarize. “Realms of reality that seem far apart (mechanics, economics, marketing, scientific organization of work) are inches apart, once flattened out onto the same surface. The accumulation of drawings in an optically consistent space is, once again, the “universal exchanger” that allows work to be planned, dispatched, realized, and responsibility to be attributed.” “The problem is that these entities could not exist at all without the construction of long networks in which numerous faithful records circulate in both directions, records which are, in turn, summarized and displayed to convince. A “state”, a “corporation”, a “culture”, an “economy” are the result of a punctualization process that obtains a few indicators out of many traces. In order to exist these entities have to be summed up somewhere. Far from being the key to the understanding of science and technology, these entities are the very things a new understanding of science and technology should explain. The large scale actors to which sociologists of science are keen to attach “interests” are immaterial in practice as long as precise mechanisms to explain their origin or extraction and their changes of scale have not been proposed.”

“The history of money is thus seized by the same trend as all the other immutable mobiles; any innovations that can accelerate money to enlarge its power of mobilization are kept: checks, endorsement, paper money, electronic money. This trend is not due to the development of capitalism. “Capitalism” is, on the contrary, an empty word as long as precise material instruments are not proposed to explain any capitalization at all, be it of specimens, books, information or money.” “Thus, capitalism is not to be used to explain the evolution of science and technology. It seems to me that it should be quite the contrary. Once science and technology are rephrased in 235 terms of immutable mobiles it might be possible to explain economic capitalism, as another process of mobilization. What indicates this are the many weaknesses of money; money is a nice immutable mobile that circulates from one point to another but it carries very little with it. If the name of the game is to accumulate enough allies in one place to modify the belief and behavior of all the others, money is a poor resource as long as it is isolated. It becomes useful when it is combined with all the other inscription devices; then, the different points of the world become really transported in a manageable form to a single place which then becomes a center. Just as with Eisenstein’s printing press, which is one factor that allows all the others to merge with one another, what counts is not the capitalization of money, but the capitalization of all compatible inscriptions.” “More precisely we should be able to explain, with the concept and empirical knowledge of these centers of calculation, how insignificant people working only with papers and signs become the most powerful of all. Papers and signs are incredibly weak and fragile. This is why explaining anything with them seemed so ludicrous at first. La Pérouse’s map is not the Pacific, anymore than Watt’s drawings and patents are the engines, or the bankers’ exchange rates are the economies, or the theorems of topology are “the real world”. This is precisely the paradox. By working on papers alone, on fragile inscriptions which are immensely less than the things from which they are extracted, it is still possible to dominate all things, and all people. What is insignificant for all other cultures becomes the most significant, the only significant aspect of reality. The weakest, by manipulating inscriptions of all sorts obsessively and exclusively, become the strongest. This is the view of power we get at by following this theme of visualization and cognition in all its consequences.”


Exhalation – Ted Chiang The Merchant and the Alchemists Gate Really interesting take on time travel/temporal relations. The sides of the gate exists in different periods, and one may interact with either, but events seem to be set in place regardless of one’s conscious actions – because those same decisions have already been made. “Do you now understand why I say the future and the past are the same? We cannot change either, but we can know both more fully.” “Coincidence and intention are two sides of a tapestry, my lord. You may find one more agreeable to look at, but you cannot say one is true and the other “The underlying is false.”

to avoid a waking coma. Civilization now depends on selfdeception. Perhaps it always has.” The Lifecycle of Software Objects Interesting take on early stages of sentient AI’s. Not sure its extremely related or helpful. The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling A fantastic reflection on truth and how we formulate our histories, narratives, and own self image - displayed through the device of a search engine which interfaces with constantly recording cameras.

Referring to the semi-fictional narrative spliced into the piece about pre-literate civilizations and premise of the how they operate and conceive of own histories and truths: “... present book is a simple one: their “Nothing erases the past. There is many of the specific details I’ve repentance, there is atonement, and the global capitalist system is inscribed are invented. The actual there is forgiveness. That is all, but events were more complicated approaching an apocalyptic and less dramatic, as actual events that is enough.” zero-point. Its “four riders of the always are, so I have taken liberties Exhalation to make a better narrative. I’ve told a apocalypse” are comprised by the story in order to make a case for the A fascinating epistemological exercise, the character reveals or ecological crisis, the consequences of truth. I recognize the contradiction deduces ‘truths’ about their world here.” the biogenetic revolution, imbalances through a dissection of their own brain. Viewing the consciousness within the system itself (intellectual The Three Body Problem – Liu Cixin from ‘Sirius’ as Latour would say, has allowed him to investigate his property, struggles over vital DARK FOREST THEORY surroundings in a way not possible resources), and the explosive growth from the Terrestrial.

Quite oddly morbid and existential… of social divisions 236 relating in some way to our current climate crisis I feel. The character contributes by his very existence to the end of the world, as does everyone. “With every movement of my body, I contribute to the equalization of pressure in our universe. With every thought that I have, I hasten the arrival of that fatal equilibrium.” Entropy will kill us all… and it is utterly inevitable. But, is the climate crisis equally so? “One sect dedicated itself to the goal of reversing the equalization of pressure and found many adherents. The mechanicians among them constructed an engine that took air from our atmosphere and forced it into a smaller volume, a process they called compression. Their engine restored air to the pressure it originally had in the reservoir, and these Reversalists excitedly announced that it would form the basis of a new kind of filling station, one that would – with each lung it refilled – revitalize not only individuals but the universe itself. Alas, closer examination of the engine revealed its fatal flaw. The engine itself was powered by air from the reservoir, and for every lungful of air that it produced, the engine consumed not just a lungful but slightly more. It did not reverse the process of equalization but, like everything else in the world, exacerbated it.” The piece is structured in such a way that the reader assumes themselves in the role of an explorer finding a written record of a previous civilization – an interesting way to modulate the relationship between author and viewer. What’s Expected of Us “My message to you is this: pretend that you have free will. It’s essential that you behave as if your decisions matter, even though you know they don’t. The reality isn’t important; what’s important is your belief, and believing the lie is the only way

and exclusions.”

Living in the End Times – Slavoj Zizek Introduction

“In today’s post-political democracy, the traditional bipolarity between a social-democratic center-left and a conservative center-right is gradually being replaced by a new bipolarity between politics and post-politics: the technocratic-liberal multiculturalist-tolerant part of post-political administration and its rightist-populist counterpart of passionate political struggle – no wonder that the old centrist opponents are often compelled to join forces against the common enemy.” “The underlying premise of the present book is a simple one: the global capitalist system is approaching an apocalyptic zero-point. Its “four riders of the apocalypse” are comprised by the ecological crisis, the consequences of the biogenetic revolution, imbalances within the system itself (intellectual property, struggles over vital resources), and the explosive growth of social divisions and exclusions.” “One can discern the same five figures (of grief) in the way our social consciousness attempts to deal with the forthcoming apocalypse. The first reaction is one of ideological denial: there is no fundamental disorder; the second is exemplified by explosions of anger at the injustices of the new world order; the third involves attempts at bargaining; when the bargaining fails, depression and withdrawal set in; finally, after passing through this zero-point, the subject no longer perceives the situation as a threat, but as the chance of a new beginning.” The path forwards of emancipatory enthusiasm can only be followed when the traumatic truth is fully lived, not only accepted in a disengaged way. As Marx wrote: “The actual burden must be made even more burdensome by creating an awareness of it. The humiliation must be increased by making


it public… the people must be put in terror of themselves in order to give them courage.” Denial: The Liberal Utopia What does the Big Other really mean? From Bargaining: The Big Other is considered by Lacan to be the network of symbolic relations. In other words, it is immaterial or symbolic substance inherent in labor and societal conditions which cannot be appropriated in the same way material or objective substances can. “Ideology is not constituted by abstract propositions in themselves, rather, ideology is itself this very texture of the lifeworld which “schematizes” the propositions, rendering them “livable”.” The ideology is the pattern of belief not the position itself. “When we are shown scenes of starving children in Africa, with a call for us to do something to help them, the underlying ideological message is something like: “don’t think, don’t politicize, forget about the true causes of their poverty, just act, contribute money, so that you will not have to think!” A good take on the tolerance problem: “why are so many problems of today perceived as problems of intolerance, rather than as problems of inequality, exploitation, or injustice? Why is the proposed remedy tolerance, rather than emancipation, political struggle, or even armed struggle?” Zizek comes to understanding/agreement with Levy, a hardline liberal free-market proponent, with overly simplified reductions of both their viewpoints. Liberal tolerance and communist collectives can be one and the same if viewed from an ideological level… “this sense of mutual understanding was proof that we were both knee-deep in ideology: “ideology” is precisely such a reduction to the simplified essence that conveniently forgets the background noise which provides the density of its actual meaning. Such an erasure of the background noise is the very core of utopian dreaming.” For liberalism, at least in its radical form, the wish to submit people to an ethical ideal held to be universal is the mother of all crimes. It accounts to the brutal imposition of one’s own view onto others, the cause of civil disorder. Therefore politics should be thoroughly purged of moral ideals and rendered ‘realistic’ – taking people as they are, counting on their true nature, not on moral exhortations. I was unfamiliar with Kant’s take on governmental organization. It seems to make sense to me, but is decidedly pessimistic/realist – or rather, I think there SHOULD be a different answer, even if there isn’t one in a practical sense. Yet regardless, we have not achieved what he is writing about, so perhaps I shouldn’t judge: “Given a multitude of rational beings requiring universal laws for their preservation, but each of whom is secretly inclined to exempt himself from them, to establish a constitution in such a way that, although their private intentions conflict, they check each other, with the result that their public conduct is the same as if they had no such intentions.” It would be interesting to conceptualize this version of a Constitution with Latour’s version. But later even Zizek rebukes Kant’s view, saying (I think correctly) that such a society only works with the presupposition that the subjects are exclusively, as Kant says, A Race of Devils. Perhaps it is precisely our uncertainty as humans which makes organization so difficult… “An anti-ideological and anti-utopian stance is inscribed into the very core of the liberal vision: liberalism conceives itself

as a ‘politics of the lesser evil’ its ambition is to bring about the ‘least-worst society possible,’ thus preventing a greater evil since it considers any attempt to directly impose a positive good as the ultimate source of all evil.” In potlatch, on the contrary (contrary to traditional instantaneous market exchange), the time elapsed between my giving a gift and the other side returning it to me creates a social link which lasts (for a time at least): we are all linked together by bonds of debt. From this standpoint, money can be defined as the means which enables us to have contacts with others without entering into proper relations with them.” “Western secular law not only promotes laws that are different from those of religious legal systems, it also relies on a different formal mode of how subjects relate to legal regulations. This is what is missed in the simple reduction of the gap that separates liberal universalism from particular substantial ethnic identities to a gap between two particularities (liberal universalism is an illusion, a mask concealing its own particularity which it imposes onto others as universal): the universalism of a Western liberal society does not reside in the fact that its values (human rights, etc.) are universal in the sense of holding for all cultures, but in a much more radical sense, for individuals relate to themselves as universal, they participate in the universal dimension directly, bypassing their particular social position. The problem with particular laws for particular ethnic of religious groups is that not all people experience themselves as belonging to a particular ethnic or religious community – so that aside from people belonging to such groups, there should be ‘universal’ individuals who just belong to the realm of state law. Apart from apples, pears, and grapes there should be a place for fruit as such.” “If we formulate the problem in these terms (basically, that the monocultural hegemony utilizes the fantasy that multiculturalism is the hegemony, so that reflexively the speech act which declares multiculturalism the hegemony is in fact the hegemonic position), the alternative appears as follows: either ‘true’ multiculturalism, or else drop the universal claim as such. Both solutions are wrong, for the simple reason that they are not different at all, but ultimately coincide: ‘true’ multiculturalism would be the utopia of a neutral universal legal frame enabling each particular culture to assert its identity. The thing to do is to change the entire field, introducing a totally different Universal, that of an antagonistic struggle which, rather than taking place between particular communities, splits each community from within, so that the ‘trans-cultural’ link between communities is one of a shared struggle.” I.E. IT’S JUST CLASS STRUGGLE AGAIN PEOPLE – JESUS HE SPEANT A LONG ASS TIME TRYING TO MAKE THAT POINT Bargaining – The return of the critique of political economy Alain Badiou describes three ways in which a radical emancipatory revolution could fail: Direct defeat of course, simply crushed physically or ideologically by the enemy Defeat in victory itself: the movement triumphs over the enemy, but only by taking over the latter’s main agenda (making concessions, etc) Defeat by virtue of the void: in triumph the movement realizes that it is unable to impose a truly alternative social order, that any revolution is never more than a between-two-States. Then the descent into nihilism, the void, and destructive terror

237


Badiou then proposes subtraction rather than purification: rather than taking power, one maintains distance and establishes spaces subtracted from the State. This comes from Baiou’s views on Marx’s ‘objective agent’ which he believes to be gone: “throughout the previous century it was supposed that the politics of emancipation was not a pure idea, a will, a prescription, but was inscribed, almost programmed, in and by historical and social reality. A consequence of this conviction is that this objective agent has to be transformed into a subjective power, that this social entity has to become a subjective actor.”

foregrounds an ideological ‘distortion’ which functions as a kind of historical transcendental a priori of capitalist societies. They cut this link by tracing the source of reification and alienation back to ‘instrumental reason,’ the will to technological domination/manipulation which functions as a kind of a priori of the whole of human history, but no longer rooted in any concrete historical formations. The over-arching totality is thus no longer that of capitalism, or commodity production: capitalism itself becomes one of the manifestations of ‘instrumental reason’ (the will to domination).

“Badiou dismisses every History that goes beyond a particular World as an ideological fiction, and one should not miss the implication of his thesis that there is no general theory of History: it amounts to no less than the full abandonment of Marxist historical materialism. The irony here is that, while ‘creative’ Marxists of the twentieth century advocated historical materialism without dialectical materialism, Badiou aims for a dialectical materialism (or materialist dialectics) without historical materialism. There is no place in Badiou’s theoretical edifice for historical materialism, which is neither an imaginary narrative of History nor a positive science of history as a domain of being (social reality), but the science of the real of history as well as the critique of political economy as the science of the real of capitalism.”

Moishe Postone: “It seems to me that the central issue for Marx is not only that labor is being exploited – labor is exploited in all societies, other than maybe those of huntergatherers – but, rather, that the exploitation of labor is effected by structures that labor itself constitutes. So, for example, if you get rid of aristocrats in a peasant-based society, it’s conceivable that the peasants could own their own plots of land and live off of them. However, if you get rid of the capitalists, you are not getting rid of capital. Social domination will continue to exist in that society until the structures that constitute capital are gotten rid of.”

Dialectics, as a method of analysis, takes into account the interconnectedness of nature, the contradictions and state of continuous change inherent in it, and the process by which natural quantitative change leads to qualitative change. Simply put, dialectics holds that all things are in a constant state of change, that this continual change is a result of interactions and conflicts, and that many small hidden changes add up 238 until the thing in question has been qualitatively transformed into something different. The process by which water is transformed into steam, by heating it until it passes the boiling point, illustrates the concept of dialectics at work. Materialism is the Marxist conception of nature as it exists without any supernatural or mystical dimension. Materialism holds that objective reality exists independent of human consciousness and that matter is primary. Dialectical materialism shows that people’s thoughts, characters and actions are shaped by the conditions in the world around them, the material world. When people look at the world through the lens of dialectical materialism they can see the logical development of beliefs and thoughts, actions and events, and even human history as a whole. Historical materialism extends the principles of dialectical materialism to the study of society and its history. Historical materialism recognizes that history and society develop based on material, economic conditions. Therefore all development, that of ideas and that of institutions, is based on conflicts and interactions in the material world. (https://www.workers.org/ dialectical-historical-materialism/) “One should always bear in mind that, for a true Marxist, ‘classes’ are not categories of positive social reality, parts of the social body, but categories of the real of a political struggle which cuts across the entire social body, preventing its ‘totalization.’ True, there is no outside to capitalism today, but this should not be used to hide the fact that capitalism itself is ‘antagonistic’ relying on contradictory measures to remain viable – and these immanent antagonisms open up the space for radical action.” Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment

Exchange value should equal labor value, the paradox is that labor-power as a commodity produces more value than it is worth. “Imagine a totally “outsourced” company – Nike, say, which not only outsources its material production (to Indonesian or Central American contractors), the distribution of its products, and its marketing strategy and publicity campaigns, but also the design work itself to some selected top designer agency, and, on top of all that, borrows money from a bank. Nike will thus be ‘nothing in itself’ – nothing but the pure brand mark ‘Nike,’ the empty Master-Signifier which connotes the cultural experience pertaining to a certain life-style.” I very much like the reframing of “universal basic income” to a “citizens rent.” Landlords receive rent for their tenants using their property (regardless to what extent they take advantage of them), Bill Gates receives rent for enabling people to participate in global networking (also regardless of the extent of usage), and the work force (citizens) should be paid a rent for belonging to a state and allowing it to make use of their labor. Philippe Van Parijs is perhaps the biggest proponent of a basic income, citing that it could perhaps usher in a society beyond traditional capitalism and socialism that would be feasible, just, and free. “In today’s society, one cannot really choose to stay at home in order to raise children or to start a business – such freedom would be feasible only if, as a form of income redistribution, a society were to tax the ‘scarce’ commodity of well-paid jobs. But Parijs’ idea is that the dynamic of capitalism can be combined with Rawls’s notion of a just society as one that maximizes the least advantaged individual’s ‘real freedom,’ the freedom to choose what one prefers. In short, the only possible moral justification for capitalism would lie in its productivity being harnessed to provide the highest sustainable basic income.” This is a real potential ‘Third Way’ of leveraging the very profit seeking process which sustains capitalism to provide for the poor. In contrast to other socialist utopias, working or not working is a true choice, adding that freedom to the capitalist society of free choice as a genuine option. “If there is exploitation in such a society, it lies not so much in the exploitation of the workers by the capitalists as in the exploitation of the productive strata of both capitalists and


workers by the non-workers: those who receive the rent are not the parasites at the top of the social scale, but those at the bottom. Furthermore, the minimum income would increase workers’ negotiating power, since they would be able to refuse any job offer they considered outrageous or unacceptable; moreover it would support consumption and thus help the economy to thrive.”

Master is false – and stop that imposition on nature.

The realities of the semi-socialism we have in many ‘progressive’ European states is approaching its limits. “Although our societies prosper through the (re)distribution of wealth generated by the creative minority, both political poles deny this fact: the left denies it because, if it were to admit it, it would have to accept that the left itself lives off the exploitation of the rich and successful; the right denies it because, if it didn’t, it would have to accept that it is really part of the social-democratic left.”

The interesting philosophical bit regarding the idea of a Parallax is that the observed difference when shifting perspective is not simply ‘subjective’ thanks to the fact of it existing ‘out there’ and being viewed from different angles, it is rather that subject and object are inherently ‘mediated,’ so that an ‘epistemological’ shift in the subject’s point of view always reflects an ‘ontological’ shift in the object itself.

However, this support is reversed as soon as a financial crisis is realized. Then the ‘creative titans of industry’ must be bailed out by the ordinary taxpayers. “Sloterdijk would do better to recall his own earlier point that it is capitalism itself which, in its very core, is driven by a perverted eros, by a lack of which becomes ever deeper the more it is satisfied? Therein resides the supergo core of capitalism: the more profit you amass, the more you need.” Regardless of the motivations of hyper-philanthropists like Carnegie or Gates, their donation of accumulated wealth for the public good is a self-negating action: it destroys the reproductive trend of capital – elevating those who do it based on their merits of stepping outside the system. “this is the logical endpoint of capitalist circulation, necessary from a strictly economic standpoint, since it allows the capitalist system to postpone its crisis. It re-establishes balance – a king of redistribution of wealth to the truly needy – without falling into a fateful trap, namely the destructive logic of resentment and enforced statist redistribution of wealth which can only end in generalized misery… This paradox signals a sad predicament of ours: contemporary capitalism cannot reproduce itself on its own. It needs extraeconomic injections of charity to sustain the cycle of social reproduction.”

The Architectural Parallax “… my dream of a house composed only of secondary spaces and places of passage – stairs, corridors, toilets, store-rooms, kitchen – with no living room or bedroom.” – could be an interesting project…

“The parallax gap is thus not just a matter of shifting perspective; things get interesting when we notice that the gap is inscribed into the ‘real’ building itself – as if the building, in its very material existence, bears the imprint of different and mutually exclusive perspectives. When we succeed in identifying a parallax gap in a building, the gap between the two perspectives thus opens up a place for a third, virtual building. In this way, we can also define the creative moment of architecture: it concerns not merely or primarily the actual building, but the virtual space of new possibilities opened up by the actual building. Furthermore, the parallax gap in architecture means that the spatial disposition of a building cannot be understood without reference to the temporal dimension: the parallax gap is the inscription of our changing temporal experience when we approach and enter a building. It is a little bit like a cubist painting, presenting the same object from different perspectives, condensing into the same spatial surface a temporal extension. Through the parallax gap 239 in the object itself, ‘time becomes space.’” – So, in a sense, what I’m hoping to do with my drawings is to illustrate that parallax gap that is inherent in three dimensions in such a way that it is also communicative in two.

“What, again, we should add here is that modernist functionalist austerity is always reflexive; it also communicates meaning: the “functionality of a high modernist building is the message the building emanates. It is not simply The role of strikes has significantly changed from our classic that it is functional, it declares itself as being such, but with understanding – workers no longer strike to get better wages the irony that this declaration can often be at the expense or working conditions because they understood their own of the building’s real functionality: modernist buildings indispensability, but rather now that they are able to be designed without superfluous ornament and simply to fulfill replaced by machines, they strike primarily not against the their function end owners but rather to raise general public conscience about the predicament they are in. “Imagine a totally “outsourced” company up by precisely “This is the possibility not taken into account – Nike, say, which not only outsources not fulfilling their declared functions by Marx: the very process of the rise of the its material production (to Indonesian – the people who “general intellect” and of the marginalization in them often of physical labor measured by time, instead of or Central American contractors), live feel constrained undermining capitalism by way of rendering capitalist exploitation meaningless, can be the distribution of its products, and and uneasy. It is the excessive, nonused to render workers more impotent and defenseless, using their potential uselessness its marketing strategy and publicity functional elements itself as a threat against them.” campaigns, but also the design work itself of a building which make it actually Adorno and Horkheimer understood in to some selected top designer agency, “functional,” that is, Dialectic of Enlightenment that domination and, on top of all that, borrows money livable.” over nature necessitates class domination. it to recall This does not mean that we have to accept from a bank. Nike will thus be ‘nothing “Suffice the “New Urbanism,” the necessity of social domination, rather we should accept and recalibrate the “primacy of in itself’ – nothing but the pure brand with its return to family houses the objective” (Adorno) in that the way to rid mark ‘Nike,’ the empty Master-Signifier small in small towns, ourselves of our masters is not for humankind to become a collective master over nature, which connotes the cultural experience with front porches, recreating the cozy but to recognize that the very notion of the

pertaining

to

a

certain

life-style.”


atmosphere of the local community - clearly, this is a case of architecture as ideology at its purest, providing an imaginary (although “real” in the sense of materialized in the actual disposition of houses) solution to a real social deadlock which has nothing to do with architecture and everything to do with late capitalist dynamics.”

typologies primarily determined by the capacity to conduct flow. Architects have tried to engage with this borderless space, the “space of flows,” by dissolving the envelope as an obstacle to flow and spatial continuity and presenting an image of the world as a chaotically flowing magma. However a new picture is emerging in the form of bubbles and information technology, economic foams, containers of a liquid reality.” Afterwards, Polo goes on to claim that the envelope is the last bastion of architectural expression which I think is an inadequate view or representation of the agency of the field (or its just defeatist I suppose).

“The hypothesis, furthermore, is that today’s gigantic performance and arts complexes, arguably the paragon of contemporary architecture, effectively try to impose themselves as architectural zer-institutions: their conflictual meanings (entertainment and high art, the profane and the sacred, the exclusive and the popular) cancel each other out, “Zaera Polo’s starting point is what one is tempted to call resulting in the presence of meaning as such, as opposed “Neocapitalist Deleuzianism” . Deleuze and Guattari proposed to non-meanning - their meaning is to have meaning, to a certain conceptual network - the opposition between the be islands of meaning in the flow of our meaningless daily molecular and the molar, production and representation, existence.” - well, kind of. I think many firms which build such difference and identity, the nomadic multitute and the buildings intentionally attempt to divert private money into hierarchical order, etc. - within which one pole is the the creation of public space… I believe generative force and the other “This is a pathographic manifesto: its shadowy representation: there to be a clear difference between contradiction and subversion, although it a techno-political diagnosis of the multitude is productive, may reside primarily in motivation rather and is as such reflected in a architecture after imaging. Neither distorted way in the theater than affect. representation. To put it in a history nor a general theory of of Interesting connection to House of a brutally simplified way, the Leaves… Zizek writes regarding the architectural images, it builds problem is: how does this continuity between inside and outside: relate to capitalism? “The incommensurability between outside up a philosophical description network There are two opposing answers. and inside is a transcendental a priori - in of architecture’s contemporary Deleuze and Guattari’s own is a our most elementary phenomenological one: even if capitalism is experience the reality we see through a technical consciousness, and Marxist a force of “de-territorialization,” window is always minimally spectral, not its deepening immersion in the unleashing the productivity of as fully real as the closed space we are the multitude, this productivity in… this is also why, when we enter the culture of electronic images remains constrained within 240 closed space of a house, we are often the confines of a new “resurprised: the inside volume seems larger that has swallowed all of life.” territorialization,” that of the than the outside frame, as if the house capitalist framework of profit were larger from the inside than from the which encloses the entire outside” ….spoooky…. process; only in communism It really is all about framing, and the perspectives from which can the nomadic productivity of the multitude be fully we view things - which architecture exemplifies on a daily unleashed. The opposite answer is then given by advocates of basis. “... conversely, democracy may appear sublime, when the post-68 “new spirit of capitalism”: for them, it is Marxism viewed from an authoritaria or totalitarian regime… [Tschumi’s itself which remains caught in the totalizing-representational New Acropolis Museum] relies on a similar effect, on reaching logic of the Party-State as the unitary agent regulating social the third floor, one sees through a wide window frame the life, and it is capitalism which is today the only effective force “thing itself” (ding an sich I presume?) the Parthenon - the fact of nomadic molecular productivity. Paradoxically, one should of its being viewed through the frame, and not directly, only admit that there is more truth in the second answer: although enhances its sublime appearance.” Deleuze and Guattari are right in conceiving the capitalist framework as an obstacle to fully released productivity, they What this indicates to us is that in the division between inside here make the same mistake as did Marx himself, ignoring and outside we obsess over, there is always the excess of a how the obstacle is (like the Lacanian objet a) a positive third space which gets lost. Zizek here argues with the tone condition of what it enframes, so that, by abolishing it, we of Reyner Banham or the early machinists like Rogers and paradoxically lose the very productivity it was obstructing. “ Piano etc - we should glorify the in-between space existing inside the walls, of services and infrastructure. I find this a bit limited. Of course it is a valid approach, but I think the spatial implications of a thick membrane are the more interesting parts, or perhaps there’s something a bit more metaphysical to draw out of this conclusion. Zeara Polo writes, somewhat in response to the famous Marx quote (“All fixed, fast-frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned…”) that the a new mode of delimitation is necessary - bubbles and foams, like what Sloderdijk writes in his Spheres trilogy - “Globalization has propelled a set of spatial

“So how does the anti-elitist architecture of performancearts venues fit these coordinates? Its attempt to overcome elitist exclusivity fails, since it reproduces the paradoxes of upper-class liberal openness - its falsity, and failure to achieve its goal, is the falsity and limitation of our tolerant liberal capitalism.” - the effective political message of these buildings is democratic exclusivity (much like the realities of liberal economic systems): they create an egalitarian open space, but access to this space is invisibly filtered and privately controlled. Hal Foster: “Jameson used the vast atrium of the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles designed by John Portman as a symptom of a new kind of architectural Sublime: a sort of hyper-


space that deranges the human sensorium. Jameson took this spatial delirium as a particular instance of a general incapacity to comprehend the late capitalist universe, to map it cognitively. Strangely, what Jameson offered as a critique of postmodern culture many architects (Frank Gehry foremost among them) have taken as a paragon: the creation of extravagant spaces that work to overwhelm the subject, a neo-Baroque Sublime dedicated to the glory of the Corporation (which is the Church of our age). It is as if these architects designed not in contestation of the “cultural logic of late capitalism” but according to its specifications.”

navigate.”

“Koolhaas was right to reject what he dismissively calls architecture’s “fundamental moralism” and to doubt the possibility of any directly “critical” architectural practice however, our point is not that architecture should somehow be “critical,” but that it cannot not reflect and interact with social and ideological antagonisms: the more it tries to be pure and purely aesthetic and/or functional, the more it reproduces these antagonisms.”

“The always present experiencing of all calculably possible futures (let us call this the state of management) is a very different imaginative framework from the orthographic imagination, whose mediatechnics demanded that it use a record of past experiences to contemplate the future (this was the state of history)”

“Recall William Butler Yeat’s well-known lines: “I have spread my dreams under your feet / Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.” Since they refer also to architecture, the warning to architects is: when making your plans, tread softly because you tread on the dreams of the people who will live within and gaze upon your buildings.”

-“Unlike historical time, which was always concerned with relating the present and future to a past recorded on orthographic surfaces (let us call this form of ortho-recording representation), real time continuously relates the present to all possible futures at once - or at least to as many futures as can be counted and computed faster than the speed of perception (let us call this form of electro-recording presentation)”

Axiom 1 - There are no ways of thinking that remain isolated from technical activity, no ideas or dreams or fears or desires insulated from the characteristics of a given technological age. The notion that thoughts exist apart from their technical formation is one of the most pervasive fallacies of modern life. Thinking is a process of recording and storage that in every instance involves an instrument and a surface - which together form a technical organ known as a medium. Axiom 2 - nothing technical is ever merely technical

Signal Image Architecture – John May Foreword – Bruno Latour “Images are no longer a record of anything; they are the provisional translation and a possible rendering of data that could take any other shape.” “When, in my own writing (i.e. visualization and cognition), I have pointed out that a lot of scientific referential work could be summarized as a search for the oxymoron of “immutable and combinable mobiles,” I was trying to describe activities that encountered a lot of trouble in succeeding at this contradictory task. I was thinking of the immense work necessary to bring birds from the Galapagos to the Science Museum in London, as if brought across long distances in time and space while remaining “intact”… But what May’s book makes me realize is that the contradiction between immutability, combinability, and mobility has been solved to such an extraordinary degree that time and space have shifted location, moved above our head, and are now falling back on us – hence the incredible metaphor of “the Cloud.”

Axiom 3 - the specific conception of time embedded in a technical system is inseparable from the forms of thought and imagination that system makes possible or impossible. Technics contain models of time which resonate with lived life. The structural pace with which any given technical system records and retrieves thought and action is inseparable from 241 the ways of life it makes possible or impossible. The speed of the medium is decisive for the psychosocial realities it makes possible or impossible. “What is an image in our time? It is at once our field of experimentation and our field of politics. It is the technical format in which experimental lives - lives consciously lived differently than our own - might one day find not only their form but also, we hope, their political expression within a new statistical literacy capable of navigating the conditions of telematic culture.”

--

Time in Fashion – Caroline Evans & Alessandra Vaccari

“This is a pathographic manifesto: a techno-political diagnosis of architecture after imaging. Neither a history nor a general theory of architectural images, it builds up a philosophical description of architecture’s contemporary technical consciousness, and its deepening immersion in the culture of electronic images that has swallowed all of life.”

“Instead of considering time in the conventional sense as a sequence of past, present and future, the book proposes three alternative ways to think about the relationships of time and fashion: industrial time, antilinear time and uchronic time. The first concerns the seasonal nature of Western fashion as an industry that has impacted on workers and wearers alike. The second gives us a way of looking at fashion design as a ceaseless process of quotation, reconstruction and recombination of motifs, in which nostalgia and revivals play their part. The third construes fashion’s ‘imaginary’, with its capacity for fantasy and mythmaking, as a form of alternative history that asks ‘what if?’ Scrambling time, it rewrites fashion history as a kind of fiction. The term uchronia is a nineteenthcentury neologism derived from the word ‘utopia’, replacing place ( topos ) with time ( chronos ). It usually refers to an idealized or semi-fictional view of the past. In this book, the

“In this mood, we confront the technical collapse of historical consciousness in the design fields, rehearsing a project aimed at clarifying the status of computational images, so that we may eventually fashion a politics commensurate with our lived realities. Our primal scene throughout is Bruno Latour’s “new climatic regime”: a political condition belonging to ideas and ways of life that find their genesis in the tension between the inexorable force of neoliberal globalization and the psychosocial weight of the Anthropocene – twinned abysses that the language of modernity is hopelessly unequipped to


term is used as a way to investigate the stories that fashion tells about its past and its imagined future. Through these analytically distinct categories, the book investigates the relative and multiple natures of fashion time. But although the categories are used to structure the book into three discrete sections, in reality they often overlap. To give just one example, vintage fashion may entail both antilinear and uchronic time: antilinear, because it brings past fashion to life through revivalism and recycling; uchronic, as it creatively reinvents the motifs of the past in the present.”

of Mao, that defines its special character. The apparatus of the parts has been retained but redirected towards managerial rather than political objectives. As Hui observes of the party’s depoliticization: ‘in contemporary china the space for political debate has largely been eliminated. The party is no longer an organization with specific political values but a mechanism of power.’ This depoliticization process he continues, ‘has had two key characteristics: firstly, the de-theorization of the ideological sphere; secondly, making economic reform the sole focus of party work.’”

Jetztzeit and the Tiger’s Leap – Walter Benjamin (77)

Aihwa Ong theorizes neoliberalism as “a new relationship between government and knowledge through which governing activities are recast as nonpolitical and nonideological problems that need technical solutions.”

Benjamin opens Thesis XIV by claiming that history consists not of ‘empty time’ but of ‘time filled by the presence of the now’. He thus distinguished between the idea of ‘now- time’ and the present. In Thesis XV he goes on to argue against traditional histories which follow chronological narratives and explain causes and effects. At the end of his essay, he proposes that the past can only be accessed through brief flashes in the present, creating a ‘constellation’ of moments from both the present and the past. This juxtaposition is a kind of montage, and in fact Benjamin’s written metaphors were often strikingly visual, like the metaphor of the tiger’s leap that he uses here to describe fashion. As he says, fashion has a flair for the topical (which can also be translated as a sense of the actual present) so that when it leaps over the recent past to seize imagery from the distant past, it will inexorably find a historical image that is meaningful in the present. This juxtaposition, or constellation, of images of past and present is what elsewhere he called ‘dialectical images’, and the concept is suggested without being named as such in his final sentence, where he writes that the tiger’s leap ‘in the open air of history is the dialectical 242 one’. “History is the subject of a structure whose site is not homogeneous, empty time, but time filled by, the presence of the now [ Jetztzeit ]. Thus, to Robespierre ancient Rome was a past charged with the time of the now which he blasted out of the continuum of history. The French Revolution viewed itself as Rome reincarnate. It evoked ancient Rome the way fashion evokes costumes of the past. Fashion has a flair for the topical, no matter where it stirs in the thickets of long ago; it is a tiger’s leap into the past. This jump, however, takes place in an arena where the ruling class gives the commands. The same leap in the open air of history is the dialectical one, which is how Marx understood the revolution.”

Risk Design – Jonathan Massey

“By reshaping salient risk imaginaries, the building mediated significant changes in the City’s spatial form, economy, and governance. The Gherkin’s development established a new cluster of branded high-rise office towers that Climate expanded economic activity in London’s financial district by changing its physical and urban character. Its hand, dw planning and design provided a framework for revisions to planning regulations that favored the interests of that are n landowners, developers, and multinational financial services firms over those of heritage conservationists— to the hum changes linked to a restructuring of governance that diminished the autonomy of the City Corporation, the City’s distinctive and traditionally insular government. The design and construction of 30 St. Mary Axe are a smaller-scale instance of what Arindam Dutta calls “metaengineering”: the design of entire economies through intertwined architectural, urban, and policy intervention.” Sunvault – Phoebe Wagner, Bronte Wieland

is precisel to mobiliz radical ac time-perce attuned to “We act n will las

Boston Hearth Project – T.X. Watson Nice initial framing as an application essay, draws audience into the story before the real narrative begins, sets the scene for why it is being told. Central figure is a self-supporting living building with closed interior ecosystems. These mechanisms allow for the cooptation of the building and the narrative to unfold as it does. Not quite building as character, but a bit more than setting.

The Architecture of Neoliberalism

Speechless Love – Yilun Fan

Koolhaas, OMA, and CCTV - Spencer

Interesting take on post-climatic collapse landscape. Self sufficient hovercraft that resulted from a lack of power and organization amongst human civilization to escape into the stars. Therefore they split the atmosphere (critical zone) into three sections, and divided them by class. Upper, middle, and lower have their own bands of altitude, and individuals can only communicate via radio anyway.

Urbanism, Ross Exo Adams writes, produces a “new order of life founded on the normalization and management of human behavior.” “These conditions of reproduction now extend to the organization and distribution of knowledge and information – laterally dispersed as well as hierarchically orchestrated – upon whose exchange the modern corporation depends. Mentalities of cooperation, social exchange and interaction are, through the order of the urban, to be elicited and maintained as the new conditions of labour.” “That the state should have a role within neoliberalism – principally that of legislating for and legitimating the conditions of the ‘free market’ – is, of course, by no means unique to China. It is the state form – that of the single party – and the powers of governance it has inhereited from the era

The Head of Us, Notes Toward an Oral History - Sam Miller Brilliant Oral History format, but interesting choice to introduce it after a couple entries. I suppose the first entry was a better hook? I stand by my choice to begin the collection with a format introduction though.


https://uncannymagazine.com/article/the-heat-of-us-notestoward-an-oral-history/

Our time-genes can resonate with this crisis tempo: “We act now, or we die now.”

I appreciate the slight misdirection under the guise of mediacoverup that allows this to potentially occur in the world we share.

Climate change, on the other hand, dwells within timescales that are not naturally accessible to the human intellect, and this is precisely what incapacitates us to mobilize and take immediate radical action. Humans’ natural time-perceptual system is not attuned to the temporal scales of “We act now, or the consequences will last for millennia.”

Capitalism and Democracy- the odd couple - Martin Wolf In its latest annual report, Freedom House states that “a total of 67 countries suffered net declines in political rights and civil liberties in 2016, compared with 36 that registered gains. This marked the 11th consecutive year in which declines outnumbered improvements.”

change, on the other wells within timescales not naturally accessible man intellect, and this ly what incapacitates us ze and take immediate ction. Humans’ natural eptual system is not o the temporal scales of now, or the consequences st for millennia.”

The financial crises that destroyed globalisation in the 1930s and damaged it after 2008 led to poverty, insecurity and anger. Such feelings are not conducive to the trust necessary for a healthy democracy. At the very least, democracy requires confidence that winners will not use their temporary power to destroy the losers. If trust disappears, politics becomes poisonous.

The link is not just empirical. Democracy and capitalism rest on an ideal of equality: everybody may share in political decision-making and do the best they can in the market. These freedoms were revolutionary not that long ago. Yet deep conflicts also exist. Democratic politics depends on solidarity; capitalists do not care about nationality. Democracy is local; capitalism is essentially global. Democratic politics is founded on the equality of citizens; capitalism cares little about the distribution of riches. Democracy says all citizens have a voice; capitalism gives the rich by far the loudest. Electorates desire some economic security; capitalism is prone to boom and bust. Deep Timescales of our Most Urgent Crises - Cristina Parreno Alonso This pandemic calls for humans to start thinking and acting according to much larger timescales to encompass the ecological and geological resources we draw from. It is a call to expand the human temporal sensibilities that are so essential to developing the frameworks, the infrastructures, and the governance strategies capable of acting at the deep timescales of our most urgent crises. The coronavirus pandemic has powerfully demonstrated that time-awareness instigates action. Immersed in an urgent sense of total endangerment, humans’ time-perceptual system is well qualified not only to understand but also to mentally inhabit the timescales at which this crisis operates.

By forcing upon us new ways of experiencing time, while providing a new vantage point “to see the life we lived,” the coronavirus crisis is estranging us from the limited time frames under which we have been relating to the environment. The potential here is a sort of awakening produced by new expanded time-sensibilities where our accustomed time frames are reflected back to us as dysfunctional. Surprisingly, a new and deadly planetary pathogen could be revealing in its wake several deeply entrenched human time-perceptual pathologies. UNCERTAIN FUTURE / ETERNAL PRESENT The future has become an overall societal goal. Always obsessed with what is coming next, we have been operating under the false impression that we can foresee and fully control the future. The coronavirus pandemic has thrown many of us into a state of disorientation, laden with uncertainties. Unable to foresee an end to this pandemic, while harboring a strong feeling that the near future will be drastically different from the present, we experience a 243 constriction of time. With a past that is no longer familiar and a day-to-day experience that does not include the future, our time horizons become shorter, to the point where the present is all there is. PAST OF NO-RETURN Coined by philosopher Glenn Albrecht in 2005, solastalgia describes a form of existential distress caused by environmental change. Albrecht described it as “the homesickness you have when you are still at home.” The experience of solastalgia—usually related to more localized events such as volcanic eruptions, drought, or destructive mining techniques—has become more extensive during the coronavirus pandemic. Confined to the boundaries of our own homes, we come to realize that what we initially thought was an exceptional state might indefinitely change reality as we have known it. We are then invaded by the paradoxical feeling of being homesick while sick of being at home. HOUR-LILIES We live in an age where time has become the scarcest resource of all. We try to save as much of it as possible, and we feel there is never enough of it. In Michael Ende’s novel Momo: Or the Curious Story About the Time Thieves and the Child Who Returned the People’s Stolen Time, the Men in Grey steal the time (hour-lilies) from the humans’ hearts, making people terribly sick and the city sterile, devoid of all things considered to be time-wasting, such as joy, art, and love. Professor Hora saves humans from this pathological condition by stopping time. In a frozen world where no one can


move, only Momo is granted one hour-lily to sneak into the Timesaving Bank and release all the frozen hour-lilies, which, by flying back to the hearts of the people, restore humans’ sense of time and love for the things that really matter in life. Just as in Momo, the coronavirus crisis has generated a sense that time has stopped. But (for those of us fortunate enough to be able to keep our jobs while in quarantine), the long period of tedious frozen time during this pandemic has been, simultaneously, one fresh hour-lily to be spent on those things that cannot be rushed. Many have taken time to reconnect with family—weekly phone calls to relatives have turned into daily video-chat sessions; with friends—even those who had not seen each other for a long time have mutually granted generous doses of time; and with the community—we have witnessed beautiful acts of generosity that have made many of us believe in humanity again.

HETEROCHRONIC TIMES History, the tool most commonly used to account for time, is usually presented as a series of accumulated facts that are written down to assert a rectilinear unity of time. The current crisis is challenging this assertion. In 1875, German embryologist Ernst Haeckel coined the term heterochrony to describe deviations in the “traditional time” of the body. In Modernism and Time Machines, author Charles M. Tung explained how “Heterochrony reveals that our corporeal present is not the culmination of a progressive and uniform linear time.” The notion of heterochrony suggests the coexistence of multiple and irregular time-trajectories that converge into poly-temporal assemblages. It suggests that the 244 heterogeneous present is not a point in time, but instead is the intersection of a multiplicity of variably deep and diverse timelines. Hunkered down in our own homes during this pandemic, many of us have turned to art to overcome a downhearted sense of isolation. Art unlocks the heterochrony that enables us to travel in time and space in search of

The Great Plague, John M. Barry’s The Great Influenza, or Boccaccio’s Decameron transport us to other remote times and bring us close to the lives and stories of people who experienced the plague that afflicted London in 1664, those who suffered the 1919 flu pandemic, or those who lived in Italy around 1348, when quarantines were deployed for the first time. The grievous sense of separation produced during this pandemic makes us especially receptive to what literature has to offer, to those deep feelings of connectedness across cultures and generations. Other forms of art—including poetry, theater, music, ballet, and opera (some of them in their digital versions)—have in their own ways brought us closer to others. On Easter Sunday, the Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli live-streamed a concert from an empty Duomo Cathedral in Milan. Witnessing this event on the screens of our devices, some of us experienced one of the most powerful experiences of connectedness while being alone at home. The sound of his marvelous voice and the image of his fragile yet powerful human figure standing alone, framed by the magnificent architecture of the Duomo, produced in many of us a deep feeling of being connected to the world. The screens of the 28 million people who saw the concert that day alternated between views of the Duomo and heartbreaking images of some of the most beautiful cities completely deserted and devoid of life. All of the people missing from the streets of those cities were instead right there, with Andrea Bocelli, listening to “Music for Hope,” being together in being alone.

Art during this pandemic has triggered in some the experiential realization that we all come into this world alone, that we leave this world alone, and that it is precisely in that aloneness that we are deeply connected across time zones and centuries. The coronavirus History, the tool most commonly used to account for pandemic has induced an absolute in traditional time. It has incited time, is usually presented as a series of accumulated rupture us to connect across time and space, to facts that are written down to assert a rectilinear experience time as multidirectional and our body as poly-temporal.

unity of time. The current crisis is challenging this assertion. In 1875, German embryologist Ernst Haeckel coined the term heterochrony to describe deviations in the “traditional time” of the body. In Modernism and Time Machines, author Charles M. Tung explained how “Heterochrony reveals that our corporeal present is not the culmination of a progressive and uniform linear time.” The notion of heterochrony suggests the co-existence of multiple and irregular time-trajectories that converge into poly-temporal assemblages. It suggests that the heterogeneous present is not a point in time, but instead is the intersection of a multiplicity of variably deep and diverse timelines.

connectedness. Through literature, for instance, we come into contact with people in distant cultures and eras who lived through similar events. Works like Lloyd and Dorothy Moote’s

SHADOWTIME

The Bureau of Linguistical Reality—a participatory artwork focused on creating new language to better understand the new realities emerging out of climate change—defines shadowtime as “a parallel timescale that follows one around throughout the day-to-day experience of regular time.” Shadowtime—used to describe a new temporal experience induced by anthropocenic events—is developing new forms of expression during the coronavirus pandemic. During this crisis, we experience shadowtime when shortterm personal fears co-exist with deep existential planetary concerns; when those universal concerns turn our plans for life into obsolete and unimportant endeavors; when our perception of the planet’s temporal scale radically expands as we come to realize that viruses have populated the planet for over


1.5 billion years; and when simultaneously, the scale of the Earth is dwarfed in light of the rapid speed at which a newly discovered pathogen has reached every single corner of the planet. Shadowtime enlarges the frame of human experience by deepening the segment of historical time that we occupy. In shadowtime, the present is not a point in a time-trajectory, but rather it is a moment at which vastly different deep and shallow time-trajectories intersect. The experience of shadowtime connects us with a plurality of heterogeneous pasts and with the deep future of our planet. In shadowtime, we begin to acquire time-consciousness and we start to integrate our human actions with the planetary timescales at which they really operate. Shad-ow-time noun Definition: A parallel timescale that follows one around throughout day to day experience of regular time. Shadowtime manifests as a feeling of living in two distinctly different temporal scales simultaneously, or acute consciousness of the possibility that the near future will be drastically different than the present. One might experience shadowtime while focused on goal oriented conversations, tasks and planning for life as we have known it—(college, career or occupational ambitions). During such moments there is a creeping sense of concerns that would make all said planning obsolete or seem unimportant, i.e. the collapse of the Larson B Ice Shelf that will accelerate sea level rise. Shadowtime may also occur when one is preparing a meal for their child and suddenly realizes that an endemic flower that had evolved over 42.7 million years has gone extinct within their child’s lifetime. Shadowtime is not exclusively a negative experiences demonstrated with epoquietude. It can make one reflect quietly on the tricksterish desire and escapism lying behind apocalyptic vision, as well as catalyzing an embrace of the unknown and a counteraction to anthropocentric hubris. While one may feel that shadowtime follows them always, the sudden experience of the presence of shadowtime amid day to day activities is often extremely disorienting. Usage: Kane was intently working on his presentation which was due the next morning, but as he looked up and saw the moon it occurred to him that the moon had been rising and setting for 4.5 billion years, moving ever further away, he felt shadowtime for the rest of the evening.

READ MORE ABOUT HETEROCHRONY AND SHADOW TIME Could also kind of tie in with the reading louis shared about traveling around the world from your room Bureau of Linguistical Reality - Heidi Quante and Alicia Escott

A participatory and evolving artwork which is creating new language as an innovative way to better understand our rapidly changing world due to manmade climate change and other Anthropocenic events. The vision of the artwork is to provide new words to express what people are feeling and experiencing as our world changes as climate change accelerates. Selected Definitions: En·nui·poc·a·lypse noun Slang: Slowpocalypse Definition: While media often depicts the apocalypse as a sudden and dramatic event, the Ennuipocalypse, or Slowpocalypse (slang) offers the concept of a doomsday that occurs at an excruciatingly slow day to day time scale. Slow Ennuipocalypse, may occur in a geologic blink of an eye, but for the Homo Sapiens in urban/suburban settings who are often disconnected from the natural cycles— it is painfully boring. As a result of the perceived slow pace of the apocalypse or Slow Ennuipocalypse those who live through it feel a compulsion to distract themselves with ever faster technology, media and economic systems— all of which feed back into a disconnect from the pace of the natural systems we need to survive. Teuchnikskreis noun Definition: Using new technologies to tackle environmental symptoms and byproducts caused by other (possibly older) technologies, which will in turn eventually produce their own unintended by-products and problems— for which newer technologies will then need to be produced. Teuchnikskreis is characterized by a sense of being stuck in a vicious cycle or spiral, thinking technology will be the solution to the problems created by technology. Pre-trau.mat.ic. stress dis.or.der noun Definition: A condition in which a researcher experiences symptoms of trauma as they learn more about the future as it pertains to climate change and watch the world around them not making necessary precautions. Similar to PostTramatic Stress Disorder but preceding the actual trauma. Characterized by disturbance of sleep, constant vivid worry and dulled responses to others and to the outside day to day world and/or seemingly comparative short term responsibilities such as: paying rent on time, attending children’s soccer games or appropriate attention to a retirement portfolio.

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The At·mo·re·la·tion·al noun Definition: A relationship with, or interpretation of the world that is relational, and not object based. The Atmorelational Looks at the space or relationship between things as the primary point of focus. This idea offers that it is impossible to determine the exact beginning of a thing or its precise end and that there is a fluid porousness between where the body/self ends and another begins. The term The Atmorelational can be used in place of the term Nature. IE “let the atmorelational take its course”. The Atmorelational was influenced by the ideas conceptualized by the work of Caribbean poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant. Inert Colleconnaissance Syndrome Noun Definition: Inert colleconnaissance syndrome is a collective understanding marked by a fear of action and a desire not to upset the system or paradigm. The syndrome is applied to societies rather than the individual exclusively and is marked by a collective knowledge or understanding and concern over a problem or injustice paired with gross collective inaction. 246 The syndrome is frequently applied in discussions of climate change. Epo·qu·e·tude noun Definition: An antidote to crushing anxieties over the deteriorating state of the world, epoquetude is the reassuring awareness that while humanity may succeed in destroying itself, the Earth will certainly survive us, as it has survived many other cataclysms; and that, in the endless chambers of time, the lives of individual species, vast civilizations, and even entire worlds are merely brief notes in an inconceivable symphony, each sounding its distinct voice and then fading out, so that the music may continue

INSIDE - A lecture-performance by Bruno Latour With the image of the globe we lose the representational capacity to describe where we actually live - the miniscule membrane of a ‘critical zone’ on top of the planet. A few kilometers up, a few down. It is critical in three ways, critical for life, critical in the sense that its fragile, and critical because it is extremely difficult to know. It is completely heterogenous. Why is it important to engage with scientists, artists, and architects to discover new ways of representing the place we live? The imagination of the globe was the only way to extract ourselves from the local. Now, after being removed

in the name of modernization, we are wanting to go back to our localized identities after realizing that globalization is an impossible farce. An alternative visualization is the ONLY way to establish the third attractor. Trump has proved that you can claim to protect the local and be totally globalized (probably possible as a function of neoliberalism right?) - which basically constitutes a ‘fourth’ attractor. So to land at the third, we have to basically do the exact opposite to get to where we should be. This is why being outside, seeing earth from space, as well as being inside, being present in earth and all its processes, both have political consequences. Inside is less being enclosed, more so being entangled. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzPROcd1MuE

STET - Sarah Gailey Fantastic example of unique online formatting of narrative. Document with interactive notes, editor comments, links between text, etc. Story unfolds in the comments on an article, between the editor and the author. https://firesidefiction.com/stet

Aporetic Propositions on Citizen, Artist, Participation, and the Claim of Design - Michael Stone Richards This is great precedent/inspiration for the Plenaes Manifesto Unless “we” fall into a state of exception we are all citizens and any and all ethical or political responsibilities befall us qua citizens. There is no political or ethical responsibility that the artist or designer qua artist or designer has that the citizen does not first possess qua citizen, and we cannot design citizenship, we can only sustain a fragile culture of citizenship. When Beuys wrote that Jeder Mensch ist ein Künstler – We are all artists – this was in part a statement about radical democratic potentiality, akin to Simone Weil: We are all capable of creative action. What pre-empts or interrupts the flowering of such action remains the question of questions that no traditional idea of art or design can comprehend methodologically or epistemologically. Participation is existence. Its opposite is alienation. If so, why so much talk of participation? What impedes participation? To speak of participation here is first to draw upon the etymological sense of participation, namely, to have a share or a part in something; but participation is also a movement – intentional, affectively expressive – by which we grasp possibilities and meanings always a part from the locus of movement; above all, participation is world-building practice. Here participation reveals an important feature of our existence, namely, that human existence is always existence or movement in a world beyond bare life, beyond, that is,


the Cave. We should more properly speak of an event of designers to leave behind the lazy emphasis upon products, participation between partners in the community of being, making things, stuff, and designing places for stuff to occupy. that is also the City, and as such a phenomenon of shared Colomina and Wigley quote Lina Bo Bardi as saying that “The and complex creation. The restriction of movement is the grand attempt to make industrial design a motor for renewing restriction of existence itself, and this is the basis of being society as a whole has failed – an appalling indictment of the able to say that participation is existence. perversity of the Designers are always understood as system.” If though what is also intended is political participation, as must be the case, and all solving a problem. Artists, intellectuals, Design in the participation is conflict, it should be realized expanded field, à la Hegel, as Charles Taylor put it succinctly, and writers are expected to ask questions, let us call it – why that “the aspiration to total and complete not! – does not to make us hesitate, to see our world and participation is rigorously impossible,” and have its pedagogy would only serve to magnify the conflict ourselves differently for a moment, and and is emerging inherent in all human activity. Markus therefore to think. Why not design as a way without designers Miessen has made much of this Hegelian or institutional base insight in his meta-thinking on design. What of asking questions? Why not design that in design schools. kind of participation and in what kind of is not merely produces thought-provoking hesitations It3-D community of affect or shared interests are replicators questions that might point to an emerging in the routines of everyday life rather that will soon conception of the artist / designer as thinker definitively than simply servicing those routines? Why make / interrogator in need of new institutional redundant expressions. not design that encourages us to think? traditional ideas of It is thus ethically required that any skill of making, Design as an urgent call to reflect on the restriction of movement, any pre-emption so, too, will the of shared movement that would impede or what we and our companion species have emergence of selfrestrict the modes of existence of any human organizing, selfbecome? Design as a shifting of timescales replicating autoexistence seeking the community of being, the City, should be challenged. poietic systems. The question of what But is it as artists or designers, that is, in the name of the participation, an event of participation between partners in the artist or the designer that the ethical and then political community of being, will then mean will have a new urgency. challenge should be made? Again, to quote Colomina and Wigley: First, what the great Harvard, French scholar Paul Bénichou 247 first called the sacralization of the artist / writer, namely, the Designers are always understood as solving a problem. Artists, idea that the artist qua artist had a special calling or vocation, intellectuals, and writers are expected to ask questions, to that is, a secularized but still priestly role, is not something make us hesitate, to see our world and ourselves differently that can any longer be taken seriously. Strictly speaking, it was for a moment, and therefore to think. Why not design as a way not first and foremost a Romantic idea. It was an idea born of of asking questions? Why not design that produces thoughtthe French Revolution but it expired with Late Romanticism provoking hesitations in the routines of everyday life rather and was critically buried with the various New Art Histories than simply servicing those routines? Why not design that and Cultural Historicisms of the post-1968 generation of encourages us to think? Design as an urgent call to reflect on critical theorists. what we and our companion species have become? Design as a shifting of timescales And what if design, the pre-critical idea of design as solution to problems of efficacious structure, is part-and-parcel of At the very least such an expanded conception of design as the problem? Is there a competence unique to designers that interrogation would not only jettison the concern with stuff, entitles a generalization to the level of practice as the Marx it would expand its thinking into a care beyond the human of the “Theses on Feuerbach” understood practice, that is, as – our companion species with which we also participate – the dynamic totality of embodied social relations? As Beatriz and become part of a critical activity of biopolitical thought Colomina and Mark Wigley put it in their recent critical history and the non-alienating activity alone worthy of being called of design, Are we Human? Notes on an Archeology of Design participation. (Lars Müller, 2016): The nineteenth-century dream of “total design” has been realized. The famous slogan of the 1907 Deutscher Werkbund “from the sofa to city planning,” updated in 1952 with Ernesto Rogers’s “from the spoon to the city,” now seems far too modest when the patterns of atoms are being carefully arranged and colossal artifacts, like communication nets, encircle the planet. Designers have become role models in the worlds of science, business, politics, innovation, art, and education but paradoxically they have been left behind by their own concept. They remain within the same limited range of design products and do not participate fully in the expanded world of design. Ironically, this frees them up to invent new concepts of design. Ironically, that is, the expanded world of design would free up

Protocols For The Phase Transition: Towards New Alliances A.S.T. AST proposes a new set of protocols for use under a system of engendering. These protocols forge new relationships across borders, cultures, and species. Also good manifesto inspiration. Protocol 001_We are already synthetic. Adaptation is our only way through. Protocol 002_Territory is now a process. It is not a fixed state.


Protocol 003_ Navigation is not typological but topological. Navigation is recursive positioning. Protocol 004_Multiscalar fluency is essential. Protocol 005_Time is not fixed. Time is plastic.

“... without a universalism from below, the left will lack the requisite conceptual resources for confronting capitalism, ecological crisis, or complex, embedded structures of oppression. That is to say, if we are invested in countering both capitalism’s differentiating and universalizing tendencies, we need to be able to give an account of the universal— to intercede within debates about its operations and constitution. Otherwise, we will face “a debilitating disjuncture between the thing we seek to depose and the strategies we advance to depose it.””

We evolved to comprehend time at a particular scale where it maintains a persistent linearity, one event following another. We appear to be witnesses as well as agents of causality. But our timelines extend now beyond experience; our timelines are geological. Fuel made from long dead life compressed for millions of years has been consistently burning for two-hundred years, affecting a global system ten-thousand years into the future. We did not evolve to experience this temporality, yet it looms as an existential threat, as real as any ancient predator bounding at us through the dark. Time is creeping up on us, hunting us; we are predator and we are prey. Time will eat us 248 whole if given half a chance. Our commitments in time tend to be bound by our perceptions of it. We can recognize our limits and act on what we know rather than the limits of our experience; we adapt to navigate and affect temporality’s indeterminacy, enabling our commitments to act as murmurations extending across time. And as we recognize our perceptual limits, we expand the temporal commitments we have the capacity to make.

We must speak from various time frames depending on what subject and/or time period we are speaking from or to. Time is a pliable medium through which alternate futures can emerge. We can and must commit to temporalities outside experience. Additionally, we are now in a period of deep time urgency. Protocol 006_Risk mitigation is constitutive of existence. Protocol 007_Alien translation is what we need art to be. Protocol 008_We are alliances or we are nothing. Alliances operating at the scale of the biosphere are essential to address the challenges and crises in our midst. At the same time, the biggest shifts are catalyzed at the granular scale—they are accessed through pattern shifts of mundane behaviors that rewrite imaginations, both individual and collective, and vibrate into deep time. Alliances embody the rewired coalitions that reconfigure territories and societies within transformation. They can counter entrenched power by finding mutual aims and constructing webs of connection from contamination, mutation, the indeterminate space of precarity.

Whether born from spontaneity or strategy, new alliances are the responsive agents of this condition. They are the dynamic technology for mediating difference, the unclassifiable, the chaos, the fallout; they can flip crises into essential transformation. SOURCES AND INFLUENCES:

Sara Ahmed, Benjamin Bratton, Ray Brassier, Luiza Crosman, Laboria Cuboniks, Keller Easterling, Arturo Escobar, Denise Ferreira da Silva, Macarena Gómez-Barris, Donna Haraway, N.Katherine Hayles, Helen Hester, May Adadol Ingawanij, Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, Suhail Malik, Walter D. Mignolo, Reza Negarestani, Bahar Noorizadeh, Patricia Reed, Kim Stanley Robinson, Nick Srnicek, Anna Tsing, Jeff VanderMeer, Neal White, Sylvia Wynter, Kathrine Yousef, amongst others. https://strelkamag.com/en/article/protocols-for-the-phasetransition-towards-new-alliances Helen Hester On Xeno-solidarity And The Collective Struggle For Free Time “We could include modernity’s conception of nature as an (infinite) resource to be a part of this legacy of universalism as well. Given this history, it is not surprising that any attempt to reassert the political utility of the universal has proved controversial; the dominant trend has been toward critiquing false universals rather than attempting to reassert the universal for emancipatory ends.” “... without a universalism from below, the left will lack the requisite conceptual resources for confronting capitalism, ecological crisis, or complex, embedded structures of oppression. That is to say, if we are invested in countering both capitalism’s differentiating and universalizing tendencies, we need to be able to give an account of the universal— to intercede within debates about its operations and constitution. Otherwise, we will face “a debilitating disjuncture between the thing we seek to depose and the strategies we advance to depose it.”” “Care is too multifaceted to position as an absolute moral good or an unquestionable ethical norm, and it’s not always helpful to set it up as a perpetual obligation which is utterly resistant to change. It cannot be theorized in the abstract, but needs to be understood in terms of specific forms of situated, embodied practice. We should seek not simply to revalue care—to accept it, and fight for its recognition—but should also be open to redistributing and, under the right circumstances, refusing and reducing it. Negotiating between these responses requires attentiveness to the actual forms of care we’re discussing and addressing—distinguishing between those caring activities we pursue for ourselves, each other, and our communities, versus those we undertake in the interests of capital. This is a hugely complex task, but one that we cannot shy away from if we want all forms of work to be


included within our efforts at emancipatory transformation. “ “Amongst the figures who have exerted a shaping influence on my thinking in recent years has been Hortense J. Spillers, Leith Mullings, Kim TallBear, María Lugones, and Xhercis Mendez. Their writings deftly explore the ways in which biological and social reproduction can be seen to be entangled with the imposition of particular working arrangements, property relations, and ways of knowing. Mullings, for example, is very acute when it comes to navigating the complexities of the uneven distribution of “the family.” It has been both a site of refuge and a site of control; barriers to the formation or cultural recognition of nuclear family units have provoked the emergence of rich and nourishing alternative forms of kin network, but these alternatives have also been tethered to conditions of violence, oppression, and compulsion. Her work is helpful in ensuring that, even as we look to these examples of non-nuclear reproductive units for inspiration—that is, as the basis of possible future models or as a denaturalizing force—we do not fall into the trap of uncritically romanticizing them, or severing them from the conditions of their emergence. “

to a compost heap or landfill. Imagine 138,462 pyramids decomposing: innumerable microorganisms and trillions of invertebrates digesting the structure over the course of years or decades, generating a complex and unintended array of metabolic processes. Perhaps these structures would selfignite from the heat of their own rot or collapse, destroying nearby settlements. Or perhaps they could generate energy through the methane emitted from their decay. And if the entropic qualities of these pyramids proved undesirable, we could explore the possibility of transforming them into a more durable material. Biomass itself is 44 percent carbon and so—through a process of thermal decomposition known as pyrolysis—our 138,462 pyramids could be rendered down into 60,932 pyramids of a pure, black charcoal. This decayresistant material—often called “biochar”—would potentially add hundreds or thousands of years to the lifespan of our structures as carbon sinks.” Worldbuilding Forever: Bold Ideas For Our Collective Futures Ryan Madson A great editorial on the importance of world-building. Reference for presentation material regarding the importance of such practices.

138,462 Carbon Pyramids - Karen Pinkus, Hans Baumann “Could a Keynesian “pyramid scheme” establish a “viable planetarity” by re-orienting the forces of global labor to address the climate crisis? With a dose of irony, the design inquiry of building 138,462 Carbon Pyramids imagines what it would mean—for labor, economies, and landscapes—to translate an abstract figure into a real carbon management solution.” - Off the cuff seems to be a pretty funny conjecture... “To be clear, Keynes’ advocacy for central government spending is not precisely intended to improve working conditions or to facilitate social mobility. In The General Theory, at least, employment is an end in itself. Full employment leads to social stability, social stability facilitates the smooth functioning of capitalist markets leading to wealth accumulation, and this in turn spurs consumerism. Consumerism creates jobs, thereby stabilizing the market and allowing this cycle to continue. Without certain guarantees, workers might strike or withdraw from the labor market altogether. “After all,” as Robert Lekachman in his Age of Keynes wrote, “the marginal product of unemployed men is zero. If the community puts the unemployed to work at totally useless jobs, such as the leaf-raking and ditch-digging which were the derided activities under the WPA in New Deal America, their marginal product will still be zero. But the income from this fruitless labor will be expended on food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and recreation.” Keynes’ obsession with mass employment is, therefore, not a means of empowering the working class, nor does it represent a revolution in the modes of production or in the politics of labor. We agree with those scholars who emphasize that Keynesian economics were crucially developed to bolster Western capitalism against the “disruptive” power of the working class as represented by the rise of the Soviet Union.” “If we regard these 138,462 pyramids as a sort of public earthwork or land art intervention (and we do), we might realize that a biomass pyramid bears a striking similarity

“Enter worldbuilding, which encompasses an interdisciplinary toolkit of methods ranging from storytelling to design fictions, from extrapolations of social and political theory to imagining future scenarios for testing policies, products, and tech. Many of today’s most pressing problems require rigorous contextual frameworks and visionary solutions, which worldbuilding methods are uniquely suited to provide.” “Miyazaki continues: “The idea that nature is always gentle and will give birth to something like the Toxic Jungle in order to restore an environment polluted by humans is a total lie. I believe that the idea that we should cling to such a saccharine worldview is a big problem.[…] The question then becomes, what is hope? And the conclusion I’d have to venture is that hope involves struggling along with people who are important to you. In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where I think this is what it means to be alive.”” “Worldbuilding is perhaps most profoundly instrumental as a tool to create collective visions, designs, or strategies for addressing the future of our planet. Diverse teams of creatorparticipants can assimilate contributions from a broad range of disciplines and genres including architecture and urban planning but also the sciences, information technology and programming, science fiction, gaming, industrial design, critical theory, and more.” “A truly collaborative approach to worldbuilding might yield unexpected results. Contradictions and complexities inherent in co-creation could more accurately reflect the imperfect and lived-in world(s) of the present moment. Through the prism of pluralism, internal inconsistencies and information gaps become assets rather than flaws—contradiction as an opportunity for reflection and reconciliation. A richly conceived social milieu for a future metropolis, for example, should be expected to accommodate vastly different sub-cultures and group identities, political and religious views, aesthetic

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preferences, and so forth. Collaborative worldbuilding thus encourages difference, tolerance, and dialectical exchange.” “Worldbuilding allows participants to speculate about future scenarios and alternative worlds of varying scales and scope—cities, regions, nations, continents, political and economic systems, environmental conditions, outer space, extraterrestrial worlds, and others yet to be imagined. Sarkis’ research into world-making at planetary and territorial scales provides readers with numerous precedents that point to new possibilities. “Worldmaking is different today,” concludes Sarkis. “The crucial challenge that stands before us is no longer the incomprehensibility of the scale, but rather the inhumanity of the global and how we need to imagine it otherwise, to question the boundaries that still divide it, and to reduce its pervasive inequalities.[...] Our optimism no longer needs to envision futuristic scenarios; it needs to intervene critically upon the futures that are being deployed in the present.” While there seems to be clear criticism of all these utopian, aspirational, and grand architectural projects in saying that why is a practical discipline such as architecture trying to tackle problems which are clearly political in nature - I feel that architecture as a discipline is uniquely suited to doing so. Futures need to be represented in order to be communicated. We organize our societies through the built environment. It is a discipline which has evolved into an amalgamation of many others, or rather we must master the art of being conversational in all aspects of building and the contexts they are in. While we may not be qualified to create a bulleted 250 action plan with the requisite steps - this aspect of broad knowledge I feel does uniquely qualify us to dream and design on such scales. Fluxopia: On Life In The Metabolic City - Luke Jones “If the ambition of metabolism is to re-stabilize the relationship between the city and its geo-biophysical hinterland, it will necessarily do so according to a particular pattern. The self-awareness of the post-Anthropocene city will be maintained by fluxometrics, and will reproduce the specific structures and qualities of that technique. Metabolism connects the world above with that below through a double translation. First, familiar objects are subsumed into an impersonal landscape of chemical fluxes. Then these flows are subdivided and re-apportioned to the human processes which caused them—as “environmental impacts.” The incompatibility of these systems of knowledge—the field of flows versus the discrete catalog of objects—make occasional breakdowns in the system of environmental value to some extent unavoidable. The flexibility of metabolism as a concept is what bridges from the inside of human culture to the planetary exterior and then back again.” “The naturalistic analogy, as applied to human processes, thus produces an ambiguous relationship to nature itself. As a definition of processes through chemical flux, applied universally to man-made and non-human activities, the idea of metabolism in a sense abolishes the qualitative distinction between one and the other. What remains, rather, between the human and nonhuman, the biosphere and the technosphere, is a necessary but purely dogmatic separation

between two equivalent fields. This separation is at the most fundamental level the “reality” of the metabolism itself, what allows it to capture information.”

“As environmental indices become an increasingly embedded corrective to patterns of human design and production, it becomes important to identify the forms and techniques by which such systems are produced and maintained. In a world of ubiquitous environmental indexing or carbon calculation, our shared reality becomes the fluxometrics of human processes. The more we internalize, in the design of our cities, a calculus of environmental impact as a social or technical good, the more we become the citizens of fluxopia. In visualizing our shared metabolism at decisive scales and locations, the objectivity of the original signal possessed is lost by degrees. We can become aware of our own impact only through first making it thoroughly unrecognizable; the world transformed so it can ultimately remain more or less itself. It is this slow, recursive selfcorrection whose signature we may “The planet TERREST expect to read again and again in the toward which it seems a developing structures of planetary self-awareness.” movements are headin Here - Richard McGuire A wonderful collage of time, narrative, and character. The blending of ‘important’ and ‘mundane’ events is perfect. The window pane strategy for depicting the same place in multiple times is also fascinating, and quite effective. The allusion to the future is also quite prescient, and allows us to think about the world while being grounded in a single place. Having such a solid foundation lends more room and flexibility for one to contemplate the wildly different times and situations.

terribly difficult to defi main attractor does not And yet, using the sam to describe the other pl finally, a solution to the as the source of our g it overlays the strang (remember that a terri is defined as that whic to subsist) atop territo which free agents can

Narrative themes from different times are collaged together to collate specific responses or emotions, and to illustrate mininarrative sequences. Also occasionally uses the windowpane method to collage a sequence of events happening very close together i.e. movement. The book wraps itself up in the narrative (kind of) by using a future ‘reconstruction and visualization program’ to explain the story of the place across time. Just such a wonderful balance of highlighting and celebrating our everyday lives while also letting the mind wander to critical questions of society and future… Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin - Donna Haraway “I think the issues about naming relevant to the Anthropocene, Plantationocene, or Capitalocene have to do with scale, rate/


speed, synchronicity, and complexity. The constant question when considering systemic phenomena has to be, when do changes in degree become changes in kind, and what are the effects of bioculturally, biotechnically, biopolitically, historically situated people (not Man) relative to, and combined with, the effects of other species assemblages and other biotic/abiotic forces?” “Anna Tsing in a recent paper called “Feral Biologies” suggests that the inflection point between the Holocene and the Anthropocene might be the wiping out of most of the refugia from which diverse species assemblages (with or without people) can be reconstituted after major events (like desertification, or clear cutting, or, or, ...).”

“My purpose is to make “kin” mean something other/more than entities tied by ancestry or genealogy. The gently defamiliarizing move might seem TRIAL is at once that for a while to be just a mistake, but then (with luck) appear as correct all all progressive political along. Kin-making is making persons, ng, and yet that which is not necessarily as individuals or as humans. I was moved in college fine. Paradoxically, the by Shakespeare’s punning between and kind—the kindest were not t seem to be so attractive! kin necessarily kin as family; making kin me principle I have used and making kind (as category, care, without ties by birth, lateral lanets, it seems to offer, relatives relatives, lots of other echoes) stretch e homelessness detected the imagination and can change the story.”

general disorientation: ge shape of territories itory of any living form ch allows this life form ory understood as that decide on their own.”

A Fictional Planetarium - Bruno Latour

“I am starting from the premise that what I have called the New Climatic Regime organizes all political affiliations. The climate question is not one aspect of politics among others, but that which defines the political order from beginning to end, forcing all of us to redefine the older questions of social justice along with those of identity, subsistence, and attachment to place. In recent years we have shifted from questions of ecology — nature remaining outside the social order — to questions of existential subsistence on threatened territories. Nature is no longer outside us but under our feet, and it shakes the ground.” “Climate mutation means that the question of the land on which we all stand has come back into focus, hence the general political disorientation, especially for the left, which did not expect to have to talk again of “people” and “soil” — questions mostly abandoned to the right.” Bruno Latour also acknowledges that it is impossible to tackle this sort of problem head on, and so instead turns to fiction. “In what follows, a territory is considered not as a chunk of

space but as all the entities, no matter how remote, that allow a particular agent to subsist. I will start from the assumption that the present disorientation is due to the fabulous increase in the lack of fit between the two sets of constraints: we inhabit as citizens a land that is not the one we could subsist on, hence the increased feeling of homelessness, a feeling that is transforming the former ecological questions into a new set of more urgent and more tragic political struggles.” A nice way of talking about earth overshoot day: it measures the moment in any given year when humans have eaten up their natural capital and start accumulating debt against the earth. The paradox with all globalized countries is that they all occupy far greater territories than their national boundaries on a map. There is no correspondence whatsoever between the shape of a nationstate and the widely distributed sources of wealth its citizens benefit from. “Globalization is simultaneously that toward which we should all strive to be progressing, and a totally skewed utopian domain where time and space have been colonized to the point of rendering it uninhabitable and paralyzing any reaction to the threat everyone clearly sees coming.” “The planet TERRESTRIAL is at once that toward which it seems all progressive political movements are heading, and yet that which is terribly difficult to define. Paradoxically, the main attractor does not seem to be so attractive! And yet, using the same principle I have used to describe the other planets, it seems to offer, finally, a solution to the homelessness detected as the source of our general disorientation: it overlays the strange shape of territories (remember that a territory of any living form is defined as that which allows this life form to subsist) atop territory understood as that which free agents can decide on their own.” “The key element is the realization that what all life forms have in common is the making up of their own laws. They don’t obey rules made elsewhere. The crucial discovery is that life forms don’t reside in space and time, but that time and space are the result of their own entanglement. So, although reconciling the realm of necessity with that of freedom is a waste of time, connecting free agents with other free agents opens up completely different styles of association and allows the building up of different societies. The TERRESTRIAL is the same planetary body as the ANTHROPOCENE, but where the politicization of nature might finally take over.”

Beyond the Breakdown: Three Meditations on a Possible Aftermath - Franco Berardi “I’m going to say something about three distinct subjects. One: the end of human history, which is clearly unfolding before our eyes. Two: the ongoing emancipation from capitalism, and/or the imminent danger of techno-totalitarianism. Three: the return of death (at last) to the scene of philosophical discourse, after its long modern denial, and the revitalization of the body as dissipation.”

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back, and the useful is now king. Overly dramatic, but I get it - “The year 2020 should be seen as the year when human history dissolved—not because human beings disappear from planet Earth, but because planet Earth, tired of their arrogance, launched a microcampaign to destroy their Will zur Macht.” “Therefore, the agent of evolution is no longer the conscious, aggressive, and strong-willed human being—but molecular matter, micro-flows of uncontrollable critters who invade the space of production, and the space of discourse, replacing History with Her-story, the time in which teleological Reason is replaced by Sensibility and sensuous chaotic becoming.” Okay, maybe worthwhile including in one of the narratives. Microlevel agents and actors, perhaps they are the hyperobject of atc II? Thought, art, and politics are no longer to be seen as projects of totalization (Totalizierung, in Hegel’s sense), but as processes of proliferation without totality. After forty years of neoliberal acceleration, the race of financial capitalism has suddenly ground to a halt. One, two, three months of global lockdown, a long interruption of the production process and of the global circulation of people and goods, a long period of seclusion, the tragedy of the pandemic … all of this is going to break capitalist dynamics in a way that may be irremediable, irreversible. The powers that manage global capital at the political and financial level are desperately trying to save the economy, injecting enormous amounts of 252 money into it. Billions, billions of billions … figures, numbers that now tend to mean: zero.

So money is impotent now. Only social solidarity and scientific intelligence are alive, and they can become politically powerful. This is why I think that at the end of the global quarantine, we won’t go back to normal. Normal will never come back. What will happen in the aftermath has not yet been determined, and is not predictable. We face two political alternatives: either a techno-totalitarian system that will relaunch the capitalist economy by means of violence, or the liberation of human activity from capitalist abstraction and the creation of a molecular society based on usefulness. “The third point I would like to reflect on is the return of mortality as the defining feature of human life. Capitalism has been a fantastic attempt to overcome death. Accumulation is the Ersatz that replaces death with the abstraction of value, the artificial continuity of life in the marketplace.” https://conversations.e-flux.com/t/beyond-the-breakdownthree-meditations-on-a-possible-aftermath-by-franco-bifoberardi/9727

Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet - Anna Tsing Monsters Monsters point us towards life’s symbiotic entanglement across bodies, while ghosts help us read life’s enmeshment in landscapes.

All of a sudden money means nothing, or very little. Why are you giving money to a dead body? Can you revive the body of the global economy by injecting money into it? You can’t. The point is that both the supply side and the demand side are immune to money stimulus, because the slump is not happening for financial reasons (like in 2008), but because of the collapse of bodies, and bodies have nothing to do with financial stimulus. We are passing the threshold that leads beyond the cycle of labor–money–consumption. When, one day, the body comes out from the confinement of quarantine, the problem will not be rebalancing the relation between time, work, and money, rebalancing debt and repayment. The European Union has been fractured and weakened by its obsession with debt and balance, but people are dying, hospitals are running out of ventilators, and doctors are overwhelmed by fatigue, anxiety, and fear of infection. Right now this cannot be changed by money, because money is not the problem. The problem is: What are our concrete needs? What is useful for human life, for collectivity, for therapy? Use value, long expelled from the field of the economics, is

The primary condition of the anthropocene is suffering from the ills of other species, for humans and nonhumans alike. It is both a matter of empathy as well as material interdependence. “The seductive simplifications of industrial production threaten to render us blind to monstrosity in all its forms by covering over both lively and destructive connections. They bury once vibrant rivers under urban concrete and obscure increasing inequalities beneath discourses of freedom and personal responsibility… Such curiosity also means working against singular notions of modernity. How can we repurpose the tools of modernity against the terrors of progress to make visible the other worlds it has ignored and damaged? Living in a time of planetary catastrophe thus begins with a practice at once humble and difficult: noticing the world around us.” “Are there alternatives to heroism/botulism? Le Guin’s essay suggests carrier bags as another way to tell a story. Collecting offers stories with more complex acts of temporality, she argues; instead of a hero single-handedly making the future, there are entanglements and losses of many kinds” “... In this spirit, Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet is itself entangled. The volume seeks to draw out, rather than to simplify or banish, monsters and ghosts. It juxtaposes many


genres to show how varied storytelling styles might inform each other both in learning about our challenged planet and in forging strategies for living with others in the yet-to-come.” Good way of relating the structure of my entire project Ursula K Le Guin “In Romantic Things Mary Jacobus writes, “The regulated speech of poetry may be as close as we can get to such things - to the stilled voice of the inanimate object or insentient standing of trees.” Poetry is the human language that can try to say what a tree or a rock or a river is, that is, to speak humanly for it, in both senses of the word “for”. A poem can do so by relating the quality of an individual human relationship to a thing, a rock or river or tree, or simply by describing the thing as truthfully as possible.”

direct contact. Rather, the crafters stitch “intimacy without proximity” a presence without disturbing the critters that animate the project, but with the power to confront the exterminationist, trashy, greedy practices of global industrial economies and cultures.” Beyond Individuals “The imagined autonomy of the individual was tied to the autonomy of the species. Each species was thought to rise or fall on its own merits, that is, through the fitness of the individuals it produced. Individuals were just one kind of self-contained unit that could be summed up or divided like building blocks, from genes to populations to species - and sometimes even to nations, religions or civilizations. Today, the autonomy of all these units has come under question, and each question works to undermine the edifice built from the segregation of each from each.”

Donna Harraway

Basically all the essays here, and much of the other reading “It is in encounters among orchids, insects, and scientists that on ecological issues I’ve been doing, is all leading towards we find openings for an ecology of interspecies intimacies the same direction. Something of a flat ontology where we and subtle propositions. What all acknowledge, respect, and care for the other is at stake in this involutionary Poetry is the human language occupants of this planet. It is about realizing the approach is a theory of entanglements and celebrating them instead of that can try to say what a tree claiming individuality. ecological relationality that takes seriously organisms’ or a rock or a river is, that practices, their inventions, is, to speak humanly for it, in Deborah Gordon and experiments crafting interspecies lives and worlds. both senses of the word “for”. We currently see collective behavior in one of This is an ecology inspired by ways, either as a sort of genetically coded A poem can do so by relating two a feminist ethic of ‘response253 program that seeks out certain collective goals ability’ … in which questions of the quality of an individual or that it is managed by a sort of superorganism species difference are always drives the relations between individuals. conjugated with attentions human relationship to a that “We need to develop new language and sets of to affect, entanglement, thing, a rock or river or tree, metaphors that avoid both of these alternatives and rupture; an affective and instead describe collective behavior as ecology in whichcreativity or simply by describing the a tangle of overlapping connections that is and curiosity characterize the thing as truthfully as possible.” constantly being created, without any locus of experimentalforms of life of all control. kinds of practitioners,not only the humans.”- Hutsak and Myers Dorion Sagan In Orson Scott Cards’ Speaker for the Dead a boy responsible for exterminating other species in a techno-utopian war effort has grown into a man and now must take up responsibility for collecting the stories of those left behind. In many ways this is similar to what some species of orchid perform, by immortalizing resemblances to female species of bee that have long gone extinct. Harraway proposes hybridized science-art-activisms for grappling with the ecological crisis - it is this symbiosis with fact and art that allows for the most successful raise in collective awareness. It engenders connections through space, species, and time. “Infecting each other and anyone who comes into contact with their fibrous critters, the thousands of crafters crochet psychological, material, and social attachments to biological reefs in the oceans, but not by practicing marine field biology, or by diving among the reefs, or by making some other

Damn this is a good essay. Hard to summarize or coherently reflect on. Turns out that the stable amount of oxygen in the atmosphere that allows for so much life and diversity today was created by an apocalyptic biological event 2 billion years ago. We are, as all life is, energy consuming beings (non entropic? Kind of.) but life in certain systems has evolved to recycle as much energy as possible - almost always in biodiverse ecosystems as opposed to the monoculture cities and farms we as a species cultivate. Geostories - Design Earth (Rania Ghosn and El Hadi Jazairy) “Those who refuse to listen to dragons are probably doomed to spend their lives acting out the nightmare of politicians. We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark; and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night.” - Ursula K. Le Guin.


Read the narratives Artificial Light Keith Mitnick

“No matter how much architects aspire to being atemporal or aspatial, to suspend their time and context, their works are always bound bythe moment they are trying to escape. After all, the exercise of imagining alternative worlds through architecture entails delegating to design the role of a time machine, a time machine of its time. As in navarro baldeweg’s Gates, the memory of the city and the city’s future are outcomes of a single operation.”

“The notion that interpretation gets in the way of our experience of things is an odd, yet recurring, one expressed in many discussions of architecture. It presumes that we could perceive things without, in one way or another, trying to make sense of them and that objects have characteristics independent of our perception of them. Nevertheless the idea of immediacy remains popular among those who would have us stop thinking so much and just let things be as they are, as if to imply that everything occurs directly, without our participation, according to some underlying natural pattern.

But ideology always tries to disguise itself as the outcome of natural and pragmatic forces, and it uses architecture to stage the deception. Given that there are many opposing beliefs vying for naturalness at the same time, we are invariably confronted by the need for multiple natures, which presents a problem, because nature needs to be defined as a single, all encompassing entity or else it ceases to play the role that ideology requires of it. Nevertheless our experience of the 254 world is rife with gaps between competing belief systems and their presumed correspondence to, or identification with, the different ways that sensory experience is constructed and represented. In many discussions about architecture, sensation is assumed to be direct, and therefore more real than interpretation. Recent critical (or so-called post-critical) trends have called for a refocusing upon architecture’s role as a producer of affects, both as a source of its directness and as a means of discursively screening-out other factors - social, political, economic - that have traditionally defined the discipline. On one hand is an argument about the nature of sensory factors in the creation of “meaningful” experiences and on the other is a desire to shift architectural dialogue and production away from a perceived preoccupation with meaning. As is the case with all forms of visual culture, the medium is, to a large extent, the message. The way we experience the world is the result of how we represent it. Our terms and standards for normalcy and eccentricity, complicity, and deviance, are each determined by the very instruments which which they are recorded and the resulting documents through which they are presented and made sense of. The Fish of Lijiang - Chen Qiufan http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/chen_08_11/ A story lamenting productivity and burnout, also an interesting interpretation of contemporary tourism culture. By bringing in issues of time control they begin to confront bigger issues of labor, life, society.

“Is this how you get better? Without any physical therapy, medication, special diet, yoga, yin-yang dynamics, or any other kind of professional care? Is this the meaning of the slogan plastered all over the rehabilitation center: “Healthy Minds, Happy Bodies”?”

“Someone made another discovery: the aging of the mind was intimately connected with the sense of the passage of time. By manipulating certain receptors in the pineal gland, it was possible to slow down one’s sense of time, to dilate it. The body of a person receiving time sense dilation therapy remains in the normal stream of time, but his mind experiences time a hundred, a thousand times slower than the rest of us.” “Time sense compression is wonderful for improving productivity and GDP. But there are many side effects. The mismatch between subjective time and physical time causes metabolic problems that accumulate into severe symptoms. The conglomerates that invested in the technology created the rehabilitation centers in China and lobbied to change the labor laws to institutionalize the idea of “rehabilitation” so as to hide the truth. They discovered that those suffering from the side effects of time sense dilation and those suffering from the side effects of time sense compression can help each other, be each other’s cure.”

The World as an Architectural Project - Hashim Sarkis Corbu X Saint-Exupery is maybe the best collab this world has ever seen Architecture aims… “To understand the spatial, technological, and social processes that are shaping the planet, in order to define types and scales of architectural intervention that can challenge the ways in which globalization takes place.” “...what for us is more influential is the simultaneous development, during the enlightenment, of the concepts of aesthetic autonomy and of cosmopolitanism. The separation of the aesthetic realm from other aspects of social life opens spaces of discussion testing hypotheses about modes of perceiving and being that are independent, for the first time, of naturalistic or cosmotheological ideas of predetermined order.” - I read this as voicing support for a different kind of autonomy than the one we are acting against. Specifically Aesthetic autonomy can be liberating I suppose - but isn’t that just a fiction? Severing ties from reality? But the new aesthetics are no less entangled. Two symmetrical questions structure every example in this book: What does architecture do for the world? And What does the world do for architecture? The generalized answers are: To spatialize and visualize contrasting conceptions of the world. And To help know and question the existing conditions


of the world. “This corpus of projects does not depend on conceiving of and implementing a single global spatial logic or on operating at vast transcontinental scales. The world can be addressed by means that range from designing a building typology to conceiving of new methods of cartographic projection, from defining wearable devices to developing urban models, from constructing ephemeral interventions to producing visual narratives. Through all these means, design is oriented toward the act of building but also, importantly, to intellectual production.” “In this sense architecture’s engagement with the global does not simply seek to transform existing conditions, but also to know them. For the architectural criticism of modernity, one of the most problematic consequences of architecture’s participation in the generating and influencing of larger systems (be they political or environmental, or be they urban, territorial, or global) is the loss of architecture’s function as an instrument of knowledge. Architecture is often instrumentalized for fixing or organizing a specific aspect of the totalities rather than a way to understand and question them. Common among most of the projects in this book is an intended reaction to this loss and a parallel interest in using architecture as a cognitive tool, either by defining spatial devices or by using design to investigate, analyse and understand world phenomena.” - The second great contribution of architecture to the world is to add to its knowledge. Paradoxically one may have to be elevated off earth, to understand the totality, before being able to come back down, and land on terra. In continuing to project possible organizations and conceptions of the planet, architects and urbanists constantly reflected upon the repercussions of diverse aesthetic, social, and political currents, and upon the impact of possible uses of technological and scientific advances. “Through these projects, we detect a constant interrogation of the ultimate possibilities, roles, and limits of architecture and urbanism vis-a-vis society. In this sense, rather than indulging in the megalomaniacal cliche of the modern architect-qua-demiurge, this book adopts a position of disciplinary self-reflexivity, in which metageographic and holistic considerations test the limits of ethical and aesthetic positions. Taking architecture to its most ambitious extreme becomes, then, the most demanding form of interrogation. It stretches architectural thinking. Confronting these limits should, no doubt, inform a critique of the methods of intervening in the world our discipline has endorsed.” -Fifty Wishes for the next Fifty Worlds “No matter how much architects aspire to being atemporal or aspatial, to suspend their time and context, their works are always bound bythe moment they are trying to escape. After all, the exercise of imagining alternative worlds through

architecture entails delegating to design the role of a time machine, a time machine of its time. As in navarro baldeweg’s Gates, the memory of the city and the city’s future are outcomes of a single operation.” “The production of the world constitutes the horizon of every architectural action” “Our optimism no longer needs to envision futuristic scenarios; it needs to intervene critically upon the futures that are being deployed in the present.” Architecture must embrace pluralistic and constructionist logics, building internal consistencies to rehearse different forms of life without fully mapping them out in relation to external social configurations, creating new worlds which suggest new models of shared life. Architecture must adopt a non-anthropocentric vantage point which accepts a multiplicity of intelligences; animal, natural, technological, artificial. Architecture must strive towards equity, which means along the way it must make up for its past transgressions before the next era can be entered. Architecture must accept indeterminability, instability, and uncertainty and turn towards analyzing and imagining their temporal and spatial complexities. “Architecture no longer works in a teleological fashion toward a single spatial horizon, nor toward the emergence of future conditions determined by spatial relations settled in our present. In the next fifty worlds, architecture will need to manipulate variegated forms of temporality: the almost geological consequences of some of our actions; the fastpaced, cyclical relations between production, consumption, and waste; the short life span of most of our buildings; the stabilized time of memory and preservation; the unstable, sometimes ephemeral, character of our present; the potentiality of our future.”

Architecture as Measure - Neyran Turan / NEMESTUDIO “In an era when humans are described as geological agents, architecture is a measure both to assess and to act upon the world. That’s why this book is called Architecture as Measure. I intend to invoke the two complementary definitions of the term “measure”. Measuring something means both to ascertain its degree by using an instrument, and also to scrutinize, to consider with pause and inner focus. Climate change requires architecture to be even more architectural by expounding its specific role in the world. I belong to that group of architects who are eager to search for radical and experimental ways to redefine architecture’s capacity to engage with the world through the critical and rigorous redefinition of its disciplinary specificities, and who all believe that shaking the discipline and the world compels us to not be afraid of slowing down and focusing inward, for the most robust outward influence.” - almost real good plenaes material until that last sentence. It is too urgent for us to look inward any longer!

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Process Documents We found these notes ages ago but are just recently connecting the dots to infer what they must mean. They seem to be meeting or discussion notes from conversations between Plenaes members!

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What a find, to begin to understand some of the discourse occuring between members. We even get some more insight into the work in our collections, as some sections seem to describe the creation process of some of the pieces. A lot of focus was given to the drawings... I can’t help but wonder if the notes regarding the text were housed elsewhere. Hopefully we stumble across them one day. It would have been great to have dates on all this, but unsurprisingly Plenaes didn’t seem to care about chronology.


CG+NF Do project background, advisors, process, how it differs from their work explain what I’d kind of like their input on - ideation process for these kinds of projects - make sure I’m tackling the right ideas, litmus check that its pointed and relevant - source suggestions based on current reading list - project precedent examples of other narrative architectures - making sure that text/visual are working together well - recommendations on further readings, ideally less westernized? - the attitude is somewhat against autonomy, that architecture is inextricably intertwined with the larger systemic forces Discuss initial work, thoughts on narrative setup as the next step, how to start really writing share drive folder Set up next meeting Good luck on lecture! -invite hilary to talk about her thesis contact horizonte to guest edit online issue audio, some voices, some just background ‘archival footage’ needs to be anchored by some critique of the tools I’m using drawing needs to consist of robust references, not just pretty illustration of the fiction - use it as a tool and driver. could either be collaged in, or redrawn. maybe fictional institutions are better than real ones - departing from the real ones, but fictional names - strengthens critique storyboard of narrative there has to be a clear architectural affect that allows the fiction to happen 12 ideal cities, superstudio provide a historical reference for the architecture so it becomes less of a design project, more about the narrative scope of events helps understand scope of drawing and fiction notes are the notes of an archivist, part of the collective -archeologist, librarian, commandante marcos, instead of curator - so they have a more defined role the book of imaginary beings - borges maybe I become an interstitial character between me and curator/librarian use narrative visual diagram to guide the whole narrative as like an analysis documents “chronocartography” museum of catastrophe, theme park of cliamte question the image of futurism that we have if you’re going primal, go fully geometric first drawing could benefit from a section, see deeper down, show extraction(!), always include earth can also go back in history with the project, write references to semi-fictional characters (perhaps children etc of real figures) -Philippe Descola - lectures or short papers a section could be notes/quotes from different books aby warburg -non reformist reform more descriptive etc in the narratives edit letter of introduction to address critiques of architecture more directly, architecture as tool for action find numberical way or system to designate cycles feels like it could be written today, but should have an added sense of urgency The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq the fuck you email needs more explanation becuase it is kind of the precipice of the whole story make it more clear that they know, bring more ideology - make it more sharp or give a bit more empathy kind of the point of the thesis is translation of issues from depressive to hysteric timescales octavia butler xenogenesis major solastalgia

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more rage in act 3 other text that is just descriptions of spaces, balancing act between text and image present storyboard, basic outlines of the narrative structures, zooming around a map or web, maybe use the drawing as a background and the narrative bits on top - really direct the conversation as well, ask questions about what is relevant the simple iconic nature of the drawing should be present in the writing as well “What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence” https://www.ritualsofsolitude.com/ -Where is the architecture in the manifesto, if we define archcitecture as the way we construct EVERYTHING architecture as the excuse to engage with EVERYTHING the thesis is about the setting, plenaes is a reaction to a particular setting, maybe an inevitablwe one, but a holistic setting that arises from design and human construction - i.e. architecture a little more emphasis on the acceptance of everyone into the group, call for solutions or action belongs to everyone because it effects everyone THE PROJECT belongs to architecture what happens if you change all references of art to architectures you can’t run away from the responsibility of architecture maybe more of a collage, or use the modified images as posters in the big drawings there’s an urgency to hand work, maybe use that to benefit -format is too stiff, literally manufacture everything, desk contents should be designed and edited as well, table could be a map, forensic approach could be more highlighted in the traces that the subject leaves invent new media types for video purposes when grabbing a document my voice comes in as if its reading it -bring in more political references to the gallery spaces embed everything that needs to be said in the image zoom out into another of the archive, maybe an aetellier for making hide the plenaes stamp in places, also in icon images -act 3 should be dirtier, looks with more life name the rooms make doors reflective of geometries in the images, but also floor and lights etc, could even be the shape of the entire room old botanical drawings to act 3 act 3 tone down color, up contrast need to have descriptions of the archive since it is so important now, give the space more distinctive character as well copy small model of the room itself into the room -find a way to incorporate meeting notes with advisors into the actual document subtitles would be good, consider just uploading to youtube for that reason some kind of tape player to signal voice? more change of scale and change of material to highlight drawings - espescially when relevant to the audio ya just more variation, also modify book covers and paper types and stuff when speaking about architecture make sure that add effects to my voice packing > panning > zooming (two different table scales, one more close up) make it really into a facsimiled of a table for miro, pngs of pens and stuff etc get a cardboard box use a different angle in the room to highlight the desk, mostly just for the video need to make the percieved time of plenaes less clear in the video make antechamber to use as workspace for archivist -change color of earth, burn to contrast more network drawing doesn’t have depth, it reads flat and flattens the rest of the drawing lighten depths of cave different kinds of farmland and stuff inside the gardens, more trees emphasizing allees


things that take care of the farmland, flying drones or somethin idk platonic rooms stronger insert easel for images or paste them to the wall, don’t have to be hung tiles would be circles, everything would emphasize the shape triangular skylight heterochrony needs more depth, make it read less flat extend moulding to opening, fix where vertical meets horizontal make text bigger in narrative diagram, make it dirtier, scribbled notes text should stay as a book to respect the artifact video on tv, drawings on wall, book on reading pult, leave table empty at end add pages instead of taking them away, layer them into a border shapes, shadow looks kind of cartoonish or maybe its just not necessary, distributing script could work especially if you frame it as an artifact JF obciously physical is kind of better carl lostritto website page to share monaastic progress -transition from perspective to plan, kinda like warping? all same color pallette or different? frame breaks? - show drawing example cloud iron or pyramid? appropriate references to existing institutions as you pan upwards the drawing could show different instances of time should print process albrecht durer hatching -because its a model there can be multiple different perspectives into a certain environment use the 3d to benefit - can clip different views of the drawing color pallette emphasizes environmental situations colored light source on colored material -bump up spotlights paint color in the hallways to reference the next frame materiality could hang them not square -act 1 blur containers? - if static it implies not functioning, which could be good push pipes forward, give more depth pipe section should show groove tower crane? more space between street and pipes clouds could move down, inhabit space between towers debris in street - accentuate ideas of how long it has been uninhabited act 2 brighten up middle to imply lights heterchrony tick marks, some kind of unit MH koolhass thesis transplanting berlin wall to london at the AA “why is this thing I’m doing useful and provocative for a thesis” - against autonomy get a sense of people you’re pushing back against send matt big other excerpt - or just make comments better and share document -quick updates WHAT WAS THAT WORD? - AGENDA probably mostly about we have never been modern anna tsing? for next time

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don’t let it get too vague -like the horseshoe crab relationship with the bird, or the parrots in exhalation can sort of permeate the work rather than being explicitly said use biological examples from arts of living in a damaged world as background permeation of the narratives, when you catch a glimpse of them they haunt you with a kind of richness posthuman glossary - turn into a diagram develop a methodology for smaller drawings paper is moving towards obsolescence but as a projection system -layer in sketches / process work of the drawings if plenaes does a platonic object it needs a way of undoing itself multiplicity is desired within a constrained set moldings can also indicate time, sequence, emphasis, etc - look into historic details cubicle in first room, pillow or stool in third - emphasize workspace and tools and environment reflective of design in the video clue people in to the altered images more directly, maybe in comparison with real? or highlight change orbital ellipses for timeline, or polycentric or higgs boson like? MLA updates - three stories, kinds of drawings, other advisors, narative interaction, routine, motivations, process for the next few weeks questions - initial setting ideas and anarrative setups, thoughts on incorporation into book, expierence with drawing style experience with what I’m reading, better do address themes individually or sort of all together?, did you ever look into spaces for thesis?

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- should the school renumerate advisors? or how do we reciprocate? - recommends mushroom at the end of the world - should add some reflection time -want to start laying out the book, can you share whatever other examples you have around? how to format reading notes into something useful for the final? would you like me to share reading notes document with you? share exhibition thoughts, two ways of interaction - text>image image>text (html text story/feral atlas) also move the meeting that conflicts with the exchange session? deescription can open up some sets of interesting conflicts with the image through combination or interaction text could be sound the great derangement artefact can be animate, part of the worlds danny dawling - slowdown, we build our perceptions through moments, but the acceleration is the most interesting part kellilaurel thesis -ask ML to send some images from the terra forma book keith mitnik - artificial light alexandria quartet lawrence durrell pattern is good, pattern and layering - the centralized figures are a strong statement -children taking their own lives due to climate what is immediately conjured by the audience, how to destabilize that suggestions contrast and contradictions can be ok and productive send the introductory recording out before the recording make it abundantly clear at the end how this is meant to be seen, what should be talked about, how it relates to architectures format differentiation for plenaes material final presentation is A TRAILER this is intented to be something that puzzels and opens questions -section cut through the machinery rather than in front of it


baseboard much taller no trim in the interior corners image frames need more work planting to be raised look at stewart gardner museum -nix the legs people at top of pyramid crowd denser towards the capital commentary on the ordinary is important in the gallery images -landscape feels like its about to drown the buildings fossils somewhat indistinct one person looks kinda blobby shrink dot scales three completely at war responses to the circle TT pandemic as throughline - maybe John Wiswell’s “The Tentacle and You” and “Open House on Haunted Hill.” tie the stories together with artifacts found from an old progressive artist collective -share drive recap work - readings, notes, outlines recap changes - framing as archival documents (removing literal authorship, project in a project reflected in actual book), fictional institutions - easier critique but potentially less precise settings, notions of time and ordering of the narratives, update on exhibition/presentation thoughts, collections of works rather than single story (insp stand on zanzibar, house of leaves) - reflects on how I’m structuring characters, perspectives, modes etc ask about writing tips, software, structure, time, etc - most time spent on this I think how do I come up with names? run the world descriptions past her, litmus test schedule next meeting, probably in two weeks? more immediate focus on drawings now -just accept sucking working non-linearly is good, start where you are drawn to controlled and replicable conditions -there is a christoph voice that is peaking through often still working too much in the intellectual realm - need to deal more with the visualization and concrete reality add news report to act 1, maybe bank report, craigslist kind of thing (looking for roommate), mortgage gone act 3 might have a criminal dossier or surveilance records, motivation for sending the documents is the discovery of new information changing the perspective -the intent is critical for plenaes membership archivists are an underground force in face of the truth index between 2 and 3 in act 2 for a more specific reference to truth index choose certain documents to create a blackout poem from -archivist position of following a sixth sense - we think this is interesting but we don’t quite know why -HB strategise exhibition plan geostories think reflexively about the timeline, 50yrs back > 50 yrs forward bruno latour essay in drive - how representation changes the way we think May, John. Signal, Image, Architecture. New York: Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, 2019. couple reading notes with visual notes bring representational precedent about exhibitions and aspirant work --

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exhibition sketches to be website diagrams? just like frameworked in illustrator or something? budgets just being for printing I guess... not sure how to tally that up physical book and digital book would probably take slightly different approaches for me, how to reconcile? (i.e. fold outs) how do I turn my reading notes into something worthwhile for the book? is it fine to not really have diagrams etc? was thinking of zooming into the big drawings for the sake of the digital book, and splitting them up on pages for the presentation, what is the idea behind the ‘visual overview’ or ‘visual description’ - is it necessary to diagram them out?

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mapping this out could be helpful, visualize the set of relationships the stack benjamin bratton just assosciating text with with visual can really help, what expressives the things you’re writing maybe the notes are just a layout thing, like a sidebar from the main text instead of just an endnotes for wednesday, scripts tightened and solidified, make visualizations, specificity is key -recap changes, narratives drawing sketches talk about the visual notetaking strategies some characters have more primarily visual modes of conveying information move narratives outlines to miro have a kind of codex of individual parts look at drawings of dantes inferno -flesh out characters, what each node represents, maybe overlay in a different color the purpose hito steyerl style of overlapping text and image detail some more visual aspects of conveyance mode that fit the characters using architectural methodologies to convey the issues within each of these acts -for the midterm find ways to be graphically accessible I could use file structure to present this thing as well ask how she made the processed images - would be really helpful for my process -use narrative map for mid review presentation, highlight critical or more developed pieces give big picture of what the collections are, get into the specificity of how its happening use transitions to come back to the big question think about a balance between clean and concise curation and an overwhelming amount of content photoshop actions to process images quickly, and grasshopper script for glitches -maybe put desks in the galleries and model them like you present the physical table in the video -foreground is good, bring into other galleries -push to be on top of inviting guests -use presentation to clue into and encourage zooming in entryway workspaces to galleries, could have the shaped entries opening up drawing leading into digital version antechamber is the same room, but the door and accoutrements change for each act explore layout for presentation method review, layer in stills from the video messy overlay of piles of pages and stuff on miro <<<YES invite people to move them around, sift through -curate subtitles - scrolling? full manifesto text -look at government documents for formatting inspo maybe there’s a tag on pages that says it belongs to unx maybe can give menial tasks away hand gif would demonstrate the interaction well


CN mapping of these worlds? watch bruno latour lectures where he’s talking in front of maps Design earth - precedent listen to elia zenghelis gsd lecture Marshall McLuhan -could the website or presentation also become part of the overarching fiction/ narratives -maybe the subtitles stay on screen somehow maybe the subtitle pages should be scanned zoom desk camera into the documents that I’m holding don’t need to zoom back into the table maybe the desk is the same in every place select some quotes and turn them into little vignette images, maybe with the auxiliary images maybe letterhead isn’t quite right because it solidifies plenaes as an organization the world bank and international monetary fund used structural adjustment programs to systematically coerce socialist/communist countries to enter the global free market architecture lobby synthetic apertureradar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Further Reading


Further Reading

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I am glad you have made it this far. Should you be interested in further material, I have taken the liberty of selecting some for you here. Much was lost after the singularity, and I must confess that our archive only contains a selection of the works listed here. Regardless, should you be interested, please don’t hesitate to reach out and I will help you source them to the best of my ability. I have reason to believe these works may have directly influenced Plenaes, (a number were even read by the archivist themself!) or perhaps, the authors were members themselves... I think by reading them, you will uncover many, many references to vital ideas throughout the preceeding documents. Sincerely,

Allen, Laura, Pearson, Luke (ed.). Drawing Futures. London: UCL Press, 2016.

Danielewski, Mark Z. House of Leaves. New York: Pantheon Books, 2000.

Aureli, Pier Vittorio. The Project of Autonomy: Politics and Architecture within and against Capitalism. New York: Buell Center/FORuM Project, 2013.

Feireiss, Lukas and Robert Klanten (ed.). Utopia Forever: Visions of Architecture and Urbanism. Gestalten, Berlin. pp.166-69.

Awan, Nishat, Tatjana Schneider, and Jeremy Till. Spatial Agency: Other Ways of Doing Architecture. Abingdon, Oxon England: Routledge, 2011. Bahro, Rudolf. Avoiding Social and Ecological Disaster: the Politics of World Transformation. Bath, England: Gateway Books, 1994. Borges, Jorge Luis. Labyrinths Selected Stories & Other Writings. New York: New Directions, 2007. Borges, Jorge Luis. The Book of Imaginary Beings. México, D.F, 1987. Brunner, John. Stand on Zanzibar. Mechanicsburg, PA: SFBC Science Fiction, 2004. Butler, Octavia. Parable of the Sower. Random House Inc, 2019. Calvino, Italo. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller. London: Vintage, 2015. Chiang, Ted. Exhalation. London: Picador, 2020. Clarke, Susanna. Piranesi. S.l.: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2021. Colomina, Beatriz and Wigley, Mark. Are we Human? Notes on an Archeology of Design. Lars Müller, 2016.

Freiere, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Penguin Education, 1972. Fukuyama, Francis. The End of History and the Last Man. London: Penguin, 1992. Garcia, Cruz, and Nathalie Frankowski. Narrative Architecture: a Kynical Manifesto. Rotterdam: nai010 publishers, 2020. Ghosn, Rania, and El Hadi Jazairy. Geostories: Another Architecture for the Environment. New York ; Barcelona: ACTAR, 2019. Haraway, Donna Jeanne. Manifestly Haraway. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. Houellebecq, Michel. The Map and The Territory. Translated by Gavin Bowd. New York: Knopf, 2012. Invisible, Committee. The Coming Insurrection. Cambridge (Mass): The MIT Press, n.d. Jacobs, Jane. Dark Age Ahead. Toronto: CNIB, 2006. Jacobs, Jane. Systems of Survival. CNIB, 2001. Jingfang, Hao. Folding Beijing. Translated by Ken Liu. Uncanny Magazine, 2015. Latour, Bruno. Facing Gaia. Polity Press, 2017.


Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education, 2000. Latour, Bruno, Porter, Catherine. Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime. Cambridge: Polity, 2019. Lightman, Alan P. Einstein’s Dreams. New York: Vintage Contempories, 2004. Liu, Cixin. Remembrance of Earths Past. Head of Zeus, 2018. MacLeod, Ken. Divisions. New York, N.Y: Orb, 2009. McGuire, Richard. Here. Pantheon, 2014. May, John. Signal, Image, Architecture. New York: Columbia University, Graduate School of Architecture, 2019. McLeay, M., Radia, A., & Thomas, R. (2014, Q1). Money creation in the modern economy. Quarterly Bulletin, Bank of England. Miller, Sam J. The Heat of Us: Notes Toward an Oral History. Uncanny Magazine, 2015. Mitchell, David. Cloud Atlas. London: Sceptre, 2004. Mitnick, Keith. Artificial Light: a Narrative Inquiry into the Nature of Abstraction, Immediacy, and Other Architectural Fictions. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2008. Morton, Timothy. Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017.

Murphy, Douglas. Last Futures: Nature, Technology and the End of Architecture. London: Verso, 2016. Newitz, Annalee. Autonomous. New York: Tor, 2018. Newitz, Annalee. Four Lost Cities. W.W. Norton &amp; Company, 2021.

Tsing, Anna. Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts of the Anthropocene. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017. Turan, Neyran. Architecture as Measure. New York: Actar D Inc, 2019.

Older, Malka. Infomocracy: the Centenal Cycle Bk. 1. New York: Tor, 2016.

Wagner, Phoebe, and Wieland Brontë Christopher. Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and EcoSpeculation. Nashville, TN: Upper Rubber Boot Books, 2017.

Sarkis, Hashim. Barrio, Roi Salgueiro. Kozlowski, Gabriel. World As An Architectural Project. S.l.: Mit Press, 2020.

Wigley, Mark. Prosthetic Theory: “The Disciplining of Architecture”. Assemblage 16 (1991) pp.7-29.

Schaik, Marinus Jan Hendrikus van, and Máčel Otakar. Exit Utopia: Architectural Provocations 1956-76. Munich: Prestel, 2005.

Wolf, Martin. Capitalism and Democracy - The Odd Couple. Financial Times. September 19 2017.

Spencer, Douglas. The Architecture of Neoliberalism: How Contemporary Architecture Became an Instrument of Control and Compliance. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018. Tafuri, Manfredo. Architecture and Utopia Design and Capitalist Development. Cambridge, Mass. u.a: MIT Press, 1977. Townsend, Tracy. The Nine. Amherst, NY: Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books, 2017. Tsing, Anna et al. “The MoreThan-Human Anthropocene.” Feral Atlas. Stanford University Press, January 1, 1970. https://feralatlas.org/. Tsing, Anna. The Mushroom at the End of the World: on the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015.

Zarlenga, Stephen. The Lost Science of Money: the Mythology of Money, the Story of Power. Valatie, NY: American Monetary Institute, 2002. Žižek Slavoj. Living in the End Times. London: Verso, 2018. Žižek Slavoj. Like a Thief in Broad Daylight: Power in the Era of Post-Human Capitalism. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2019.

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Through the Singularity UNX Archive, 12.07.xxxx


Aknowledgements Breaking The Wall - Author’s Note

Fiction, non-fiction, or para-fiction... I’m not sure it matters all that much. I chose to engage with critical nonfictional issues through a fiction, while it seems so much of the word is doing the opposite by turning up nonsense problems and trying to frame it as news. Sitting in my bedroom, staring out my singular window, the most radical thing I could do in this pandemic was to dream of better worlds. It felt almost impossible, or paradoxically irresponsible, to try and generate any actual action. This project is my stance, my view, on what could be considered the minimum level of revolutionary thought we should all be able to engage with. I was privileged to have the time and space in a University environment to be able to do something like this. Perhaps some people are better suited to thought, some to action, but we can all participate equally in art. There’s a lot of reading that went into this. It isn’t full of baseless musings, and if you make your way through the sources list I think you’ll find some pretty direct references throughout. That being said, one of the key reasons I did this project as a work of fiction was to hopefully make it as accessible as possible. I hope it sits somewhere between informed academic writing and an engaging novel, even if I’ve got no real experience in either of those areas. I’m not sure I have that much else to say, other than thank you for reading! - Christoph Eckrich

There were really an enormous amount of people that in some way or another helped this project be realized. I’d like to thank a few of them here, but know that if we ever talked about my project in the Spring of 2021, your name rightfully belongs in here as well. Cruz Garcia + Nathalie Frankowski, I truly can’t thank the two of you enough. Not only for your influence on this project, but since we met two years ago you have profoundly broadened my intellectual scope and approaches to being-in and contributing-to the world. Always pushing me to be more provocative, more radical, more definitive - you helped me give this project the set of sharp teeth I hope it has. Jeremy Ficca, Always supremely rational and with an unmatched eye for detail, after I finished wasting time trying to copy someone else’s graphic style you helped guide me into discovering my own. Thank you for dissecting my drawings and giving them so much thought and consideration. Matthew Huber, Hands down one of the sharpest and most well-read people I know - I am humbled and honored you agreed to just sit and chat with me about this stuff. While I was floundering around with the vagueries of philosophical writing you helped bring it all back down to earth, and give insight into how I might fold all those lessons into the project. Mary-Lou Arscott, I don’t think I would have done thesis without you. I really don’t think I would have even had the guts to start the project in the first place without your support. Thank you for believing in me from the beginning, providing invaluable intellectual and emotional support, and your ever present and absolutely relentless curiosity. Tracy Townsend, As an author and educator you have always had, and always will have, my most profound respect. Thank you for giving me the courage to write when I had no idea what I was doing, editing my confusing mess of ideas and voices, and calling out my stupid intellectualism. If anyone actually finds this thing entertaining, it is 100% due to your influence. I’m immeasurably glad we reconnected and you were willing to give me your time. Andrew Adams, Such a wonderful friend and coconspirator. Thank you for making the video come to life, for gut checking my overly abstract writing, providing unending emotional support, always being willing to help, and yelling at me when I need it most. See you soon, Archivist. Heather & Sarah, Thanks for all the advice throughout the semester, and making the most out of a terribly lonely and fragmented situation. So glad we could all get together at the end, and very happy to have had both of your voices in the project. Franz & Lucille, I mean, you know. I am unbelievably fortunate to be your son. I guess this is the end of my schooling, at least for now. I owe my time at this university to you, not to mention my personal and intellectual being - so credit where credit is due, this project is in no small way your doing. I hope you like it.


Appendix I Display After I recieved this collection of documents, I felt I had to share them with the world - and present them in my own way. The collection exists as an online archive portal I developed on behalf of UNX, as well as in the completed book format you are presumably reading this in. You can view the archive at this link. I presented the collection at a Symposium at Carnegie Mellon University entitled “On World-Building”. I prefer the term Worlding usually, but this was a lovely event regardless. You can watch the recording at this link. I also produced a trailer to try and stir up some interest in the work of Plenaes. You can view that at this link. And lastly, I included the Plenaes documents in an exhibition entitled BOTH / AND. It’s housed online at this address, and was briefly installed in person as you can see in the photograph below. - Christoph Eckrich


Appendix II Future I am also considering what life these documents will have after I am done with them. If you think you have an appropriate addition, one that you suspect is Plenaen in nature, I encourage you to contact me or the UNX Archivist. We’re looking to build the collection even further, and truly realize the idealism of Plenaes. More than anything else, reading all this material and researching what went into it has helped me learn to live in this world better. It’s such a complicated mode of existence, and sooner or later we all have to come to terms with how we want to use it. There’s a certain mentality that Plenaes embodies which I can’t quite put into words, but I hope by the time you’ve reached this note that you understand what I’m trying to say. Long Live The Project. - Christoph Eckrich


Through the Singularity Christoph Eckrich, 2021

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Through the Singularity  

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