Riding out the winter (decline) of industrial civilization
-- winter departure
Craigslist SF—potential riding partners—decide if female makes sense
“preferably speaks French.” Pick a good width for the vimeo window then base the site width on that Ran is providing a good model at the moment with his cross-country trip.
Guy just asked if I was “using all these chairs” then gestured at the four empty chairs in front of me.
Collecting evidence of the state of the empire (Kunster does this when he travels too—in fact you have to travel to get a better picture of what’s occurring)
Signs of decay, decline as well as signs of a new order growing up through the cracks (in the pavement) Consider writing about indirectly linked artistic concerns—see Carson’s email.
Riding with her at night—laughing really hard—that’s happiness
Don’t make too many promises about the frequency of anything—you’ll report when there’s news—not a travel diary. Family video shorts
University parking structure at night
Park behind emerson, top of the rise
Headstand in a country road
Medium side/front/back shots
DVD also have selection of recent shorts
Email to Catherine immediately when things are decided—how much work You should consider switching café’s if you end-up going back
The one south on western
The one north on damen “Life has left no marks on him because he hasn’t paid much attention to it.”
deer in the works
The perks of surviving the war. 15 percent off your cell phone bill
California location visits:
Rancho Seco Abandoned nuclear power plant—a place where a huge piece of outdated infrastructure—infrastructure meant to rot—has been left as part of a ‘natural’ landscape basically said it doesn’t matter aesthetically. It might even help—add some interest to the horizon.
South Sacramento neighborhood hit hardest with home foreclosures
Santa Barbara Women’s Car Park—middle class people living out of their cars—
Explaining shoplifting and why it’s OK to steal from corporations. Urban hunting and gathering. See days of war, nights of love for help
The project will have elements that border on survivalist—(but nothing too crazy because we’re going for longevity)—the necessity to steal food is one of them This practice is not difficult to rationalize morally: Only take from corporate entities
No stealing from individuals—no mom and pop markets—there aren’t any left anyway
[wall-mart, Albertsons, Walgreen’s, Fred-Meyer, Whole Foods, etc.] Theses are large faceless money making machines designed to maximize profits for the shareholders, they are not your friends, they don’t care who you are (no matter how much their advertising disagrees), they want only to separate you from your money—and by extension, the precious irreplaceable hours of your life (taken in the form of hours spent in wage labor to earn the money to purchase their products). Remember, they’ve stolen from you as well: The advertising they bombard you with steals precious seconds from your finite life—the images and messages of which are stored in and clutter your finite mental space. [no matter how much you tell yourself you can filter it out, you can’t filter everything—the stream is overwhelming. They wouldn’t spend so much on the practice if it didn’t work]
Their giant stores and vast parking lagoons occupy land that should be controlled by those who can say it’s part of their land-base—especially true it the land can be made productive—it should sustain it’s inhabitants more directly. The middleman separates the inhabitants from their land-bases, forcing them into humiliating and degrading wage labor to earn the money to buy, essentially, what the land beneath their feet should provide for free.
The architecture of these stores, built as quickly and cheaply as possible, are almost completely devoid of redeeming qualities. They are each another piece of trash set into the ugly suburban sprawl landscape that so much of this country has become. Making the landscape sterile and robbing it of its inherent beauty and dignity also robs every person of the richness that should accompany spending time in and moving through the landscape where they live.
Their corporate structure with its several thousand mile long supply chains—trucks rumbling endlessly down interstate highways-- is greatly contributing to the further diminishment of the natural world. No stealing for profit—food only—demonstrating a survivalist technique Books to add to reading list:
Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That Is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich
—nothing groundbreaking here but a good summary of related ideas
Keep in mind the word ‘simplicity’ is deceptive because it’s only materially more simple…
Ecodefense—largely a historical document although the chapter on security is full of good stuff
Welcome to the Monkey house—selections:
‘Deer in the Works’ and…
“…Too many people!” and her words cackled and gabbled and died in a thousand asphalt paved, skyscraper-walled courtyards.
“Well you’ve got to realize, the world wouldn’t be able to support twelve billion people if it wasn’t for processed seaweed and sawdust. I mean, it’s a wonderful thing, really. I guess. That’s what they say.”
Our love is like the size of this fucking NASA balloon
In the news—Ukraine and Russia fighting over gas—including hording and withholding of supplies- using energy resources at leverage to further a political agenda—a long established practice destined to be increasingly common in coming years.
Many forecast and preoccupy over a catastrophic collapse because it seems more exciting than the meaningless lives most of us currently lead. How to reconcile this with… Thirty-five years of finance, insurance, and real estate/(construction of the suburban environment and its support and service sectors) (FIRE). This period is coming to an end. Difference between now and the previous decade long depression: less industrial capacity, and rapidly declining energy resources. The dollar has been the world’s reserve currency long enough for us to accumulate staggering debt—if those with large holdings begin to doubt our ability to repay our debs we’re in trouble.
We are leaving the era of economic growth—endless growth on a finite planet now seems a ridiculous assumption, especially now that we’re beginning to experience the physical limits to economic growth (peak oil, species extinction do to habitat destruction (to support human activities—agriculture), the dieing of the oceans, etc. Welcome to a new paradigm—that age of shrinking numbers, the age of contraction—watch the old huge complex systems we’ve come to rely on fall away one at a time. Watch the new support systems, come up through the cracks. We’ve been sucking more and more things into the money economy—things that have for much of history remained outside it. Examples—forests, childcare, health care to some extent—we’re now at a limit to what can be absorbed and these things will now begin to drop out of the money economy—document them as they do. Watch the world become de-commodified once again—(note—strong anti-advertising tie in) the consumer economy is dieing. The propaganda (advertising) that seeks to maintain the status qoe. should be viewed as increasingly insidious. The effectiveness of such messages should be challenged/undermined at every opportunity.
(see adbusters one line quote)
A big one: the money tied up in suburban home building is drying up fast—this sector virtually blowing away
The crash in the price of oil took everyone by surprise—the tsunami metaphor
A note on bicycling as a less energy intensive form of travel—perhaps the most energy efficient form humans have been able to come up with—good tie in for energy related components of the project. Nonprofits and their reliance on people’s generosity—people’s wealth goes down and they don’t have money to share—emphasis on reducing the need for financial resources (and the skills involved) using innovation, adaptation, and frugality Voluntary simplicity—misleading term because it leads to much that is more complex—relationships—exchanges of goods—(barter systems and gift economies) mutual aid
Those living farther into the future than most of us are already behaving in a more tribal manner in terms of the way they help each other out—not keeping track of how much is being given. Going to have to work harder outside the context of the money economy. Community efficiency not self-sufficiency Local political movements to try and allow people in suburban environments to do more agriculture—farming and the raising of livestock—anything that promotes local self-sufficiency.
Shakeout of the tech system as less useful and energy intensive technologies drop out while efficient and useful ones continue and are refined--
Full social safety net—no one goes without their basic needs being met—Ecotopia where artists choose to live at the edge of this net. What happens to this prospect during economic collapse?
How is the cost of heath care going to go down unless the system collapses catastrophically? There is no mechanism programmed into it for the price to go down to a reasonable level. This is a serious problem.
Five years ago it was difficult to find models/images of the future that didn’t involve apocalypse (every generation believes they’re at “the end of history”) or technology taking the current paradigm and projecting it into a groovy future of flying cars. Now there are other visions (including yours). Imagine the end of the world in moderation. Imagine a slow long-term decline. Watch for subtle gradual changes. Robot stairway failure.
Watch the decline unfold—observe and report on autonomous events—places—people—things that together might create a picture of where we’re headed. Watch us create our future collectively. You’re astonishing. What constellation are the moles on your face? Do you speak French? That’s ok.
But you’re too tall.
Makes me think about the way things are--about the way they could be.
But the density of city life doesn't just make it harder to focus: It also interferes with our self-control. In that stroll down Newbury, the brain is also assaulted with temptations -- caramel lattes, iPods, discounted cashmere sweaters, and high-heeled shoes. Resisting these temptations requires us to flex the prefrontal cortex, a nub of brain just behind the eyes. Unfortunately, this is the same brain area that's responsible for directed attention, which means that it's already been depleted from walking around the city. As a result, it's less able to exert self-control, which means we're more likely to splurge on the latte and those shoes we don't really need. While the human brain possesses incredible computational powers, it's surprisingly easy to short-circuit: all it takes is a hectic city street.
More than half the world’s population now lives in cities.
Compassion in the abstract is almost always a self-deception
Local/small scale economies
Economies of reciprocation and social exchange
Community gardens The Age of Memory—Archdruid
Among his least popular arguments is the suggestion that modern Western culture – Faustian culture, as he called it – finished its creative age in the nineteenth century.
Even within a Faustian perspective, the completion of the Western world’s cultural trajectory has potentials that need to be recognized.
As culture gives way to civilization, a ruthless winnowing of cultural heritage typically begins, and those creative works and techniques that survive the process become basic to the arts, crafts, and sciences of the mature society. From there, they move past the periphery of the civilization and become part of the common cultural heritage of humankind.
This is the phase toward which Spengler saw the Western world advancing. Whether his scheme makes sense of the broader phenomenon of historical change he hoped to clarify, it provides a perspective crucial to our own time. The end of the age of cheap energy has many implications, but one of the most important – and most daunting – is that it marks the end of the road for nearly all the cultural trends that have guided the industrial world since the paired industrial and political revolutions of the eighteenth century. Those trends pursued greater size, greater speed, greater power; the replacement of human capacities with ever more intricate machines, demanding ever more abundant energy and resource inputs; an escape from the interdependence of living nature into an artificial world transparent to the human mind and obedient to the human will.That way to the future is no longer open. The nations of the industrial world could pursue it as far as they did only because abundant reserves of fossil fuels and other natural resources were available to power Faustian culture along its trajectory. The waning of those reserves and, more broadly, the collision between the pursuit of unlimited economic growth and the hard limits of a finite planet, marks the end of those dreams. It may also mark the beginning of a time in which we can sort through the results of the last three centuries, discard the ones that worked poorly or demand conditions that no longer exist, and keep what still has value.(Identify these things, document them- what is to be saved)
Thus the faith that unchecked rationality is a ticket to Utopia, or the only hope of the human future, or whatever other set of religious ideas might be assigned to it, is wearing very thin these days, and the decline of today’s technological infrastructure in the wake of peak oil may just put paid to it. Reason will doubtless retain an active role in our collective life, just as faith has done, but other forces will likely take the lead in the decades and centuries ahead of us.
Thus it may not be inappropriate to suggest that in a very real sense, the Age of Reason is ending. If Spengler is right, what will follow it is an Age of Memory, where the collective imagination of the West turns back to contemplate its own past and extract the most useful elements from a thousand years of innovation. To have yourself removed from the illuminated thread mailing list you must provide three valid reasons for the request—the validity of which will be determined by B.
Going to be putting myself as far into the future as I can comfortably go—obviously explain what this means—the limits of what is “comfortable” should stretch with time spent on the road. Explain the future you’re projecting yourself into and what you consider to be the type skills necessary to survive there. Intuition, ingenuity, adaptability. Sell framed double diploma and letter on eBay—reserve price: $1500 Re-watch Nostalgia for rainy interior shot resembling Dixie Square and a potentially great speech ending in self-immolation.
Pitch residency to the University of Corsica: the island as a model of local/artisan economy, self-sufficiency, and sustainability in the coming age of energy scarcity. (More research required on the island’s energy requirements and trade with mainland Europe.) Course might include multi-week bicycle tour of the island to see key features (conducive to self-sufficiency) first hand. Which department?
Pitch it to UCD art department
Design a class for a city college
Read the Cannon manual cover to cover before February departure.
Mail package to the Frank
Ask Brett if Aerojet would sponsor a long distance bike tour.
Read “Sculpting in time” before departure
Web address stamp for business cards More places to hit:
Abandoned sugar beet factory town on highway one
Abandoned Naval Shipyard, SF
Abandoned urban reservoir, SF
Nuclear Plant south of San Diego
E-waste drop off sites
Car park for women who have lost their homes—Santa Barbara
Stockton foreclosed properties—framed as good places for squatters
Unsanctioned Communities/homeless camps-- off the grid—
Santa Susana Field Laboratory—Los Angeles
Ontario, CA tent city
Sea Ports of LA county—busiest in the nation
San Diego’s Coronado island commute switch and the shanty town view from the giant Victorian
hotel—as well as the disjointed hodgepodge of architectural styles
California’s Largest Parking lots, including Disneyland’s parking garage.
Richmond Shipyards? Port parking lot where imported cars are being held indefinitely
Use google earth tour to present sites
“And what are moments of illumination if not momentarily felt truth.”
-from Sculpting in Time (place in with current reading?)The purpose behind the thread is to collect pieces of a puzzle—the image that is emerging/evolving is one of a post industrial future—the slow collapse of empire as it progresses through successive stages of deterioration. It’s an image constantly in flux, never static, always just over the horizon. Sometimes it look steampunk…
Another goal is to develop the ride into a sustainable organism—the object is not to get somewhere, some glorious moment of climactic arrival, it’s to keep moving/playing (as in the fantasy video game). Keep building and adapting the model of the future as it continually evolves. Try not to be preoccupied with a resolution/conclusion. Bring people into your world, share your vision, Establish what is you’d like to say about this world and our changing circumstances and the form of expression should become obvious Teapot drawing with accompanying story as donation gift item Peripheral projects section on BTF:
solar flight documentary/artistic direction
‘dream locations’ video project
‘Dream locations’ notes:
Snippets of conversations/exchanges/scenes (not explicitly related to choice locations)
In the proposal and on the BTF site have detailed descriptions of locations and their significance as well as images in a standardized size and format. Notes on the threads that tie them all together—the continuity
train episode—Anime like Japanese woman, tall, well-dressed (black jacket with white stitching, white silk blouse with scarf like tie around the neck—black slacks and black slip in flats, flashy diamond engagement ring, expensive watch), perfect lips, big eyes. She talks to her father on her mobile—details of a honeymoon in planning. Male cross isle to look out the window during a particularly beautiful stretch. Sun, the south bay—the train passes an old salt factory and an abandoned town sinking into the marsh. Male stretches out on the two seats—lays on his back with head on the armrest. He intrudes ever so slightly into the shared space of the isle —plays with his hair a bit—looks at the sun—a white dot in the grey clouds. Both are listening to I-pods, hers is new and red, his is smaller and older. There is some energy flowing between them but they make no actual contact. No conversation occurs.
Solar flight video from eric:
Flight simulator—loops over Calvi
Eric interview clips—edited down to remove negative comments and to include other images and video clips
Hand drawn of retro looking photomontage images/diagrams of each advert neutralization technique
Modification (culture jamming)—BP billboard
Obliteration (burn/fell)—selections from ecodefense and my own design for resin/acid interior cutting—with diagram
Mission: to provide tools and working models for individuals wishing to take back public roads/spaces.
Quote: “Adbusters…the damage done by advertising”
The goal of having enough funding to pay others to realize certain aspects of my own projects—outsourcing
E-waste turn in day:
An economy in decline doesn’t produce such waste—it becomes preoccupied with recycling and salvage. Things are made to be repairable not disposable and scenes such as this would fade into history
Do adverts for second leg of I-thread:
BTF Main—symbols of pictograms replaced by explanation text upon mouseover
“Please disseminate as you see fit”- for I-Tread return email
from Kunstler’s Jan. 26 blog:
We've arrived at a moment when a lot of people have a hard time imagining the future. This includes especially the mainstream media, which has reached a state of zombification parallel to that of the banks. But even in the mighty blogosphere, with its thousands of voices unconstrained by craven advertisers or pandering managing editors, the view forward dims as a dark and ominous fog rolls over the landscape of possibilities.
I know it is difficult for Americans at every level to imagine a different way-of-life, but we'd better start tuning up our imaginations, because endless motoring is not our destiny anymore.
Junked car lot photo montage—collect google earth screen shots of auto junk yards—collage together to form one giant poster size image. (Donation gift)
Refer to international monetary fund’s prediction for world economic growth—(lowest in 60 years)
how are we going to reform the way we live in this country and what will be the physical manifestation of how we live in the decades to come.
Work for Davis—pre departure.
Giant concrete slab—site of tomato processing industrial complex.
Extensive grass growing up through the cracks. Possible source material for the “reinvention of nature” piece.
Sunrise over cracked pavement--
Use all the available functions of the camera including recording programs: sunrise, backlight correction, etc. also, try darker lens cover for concrete sunrise shot
Training advert—pushups and sit-ups outside with under armor bottoms, cutoffs and moccasins. Cut to shirtless.
Can’t use dr. Seuss unless image taken beyond reconcilability—updated with contemporary design elements.
Sound of boots on wet pavement, multiplied then offset by a single frame, layered many times.
Tie in with concrete slab, approaching off camera from really far away, gets louder of quieter
Rumor of a giant parking lot—many miles across—like the rumor of a giant floating island of plastic—something that shouldn’t be difficult to confirm but for some reason is. We provide satellite imagery as well as eye level images—all falsified but still terrifying.
Animate parking lot zoom out—to emphasize scale and refer to the look and movement of google earth.
Where unsold cars are being held at port. Try using just the audio of the bar telephone conversation somewhere
Keep working on appropriate audio for waterfall—boots, slowed down turbine hum, etc.
“I have a responsibility to try and create the reality I see best living in”—needs work mobilize eastern European villages toward self-sufficiency. If not the entire island of Corsica beginning with a class at the university—popular in a town that’s the center of the separatist movement.
More I-thread details:
Maybe get another microphone for this leg
Write craigslist ad for ride collaborator—SF
Note that content will not only be energy/industry related but will also include anything I find interesting—broad parameters.
Note to readers, be prepared for the project to move slower in terms of miles traveled—this wont be the sprint that the last one was—no longer being chased by weather—the weather will actually be improving