The thread increasingly surrounded by darkness Riding out the winter (decline) of industrial civilization


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The Long Emergency:

Increasingly and intensely local and smaller scale

The scale of all human enterprises will contract
Project goal: (in vision section)

An attempt to stave off the “collective paralysis, indecision, and cognitive dissonance” likely to be commonplace in the years ahead.
The fate of megastructures
The end of nonstop marketing. P257

“What we live in” on the fate of various types of structures. P260

riding the interstate highway system into its twilight. P266
Sunset in the Sunbelt: p275

Habitable solely because of cheap energy

Explosive growth phase—last 50 years.

Exceeded its natural carrying capacity by such a degree that even mild to moderate disruptions in the energy supply system will be disastrous.

Southwestern cities will painfully discover that they exist in deserts (having been able to forget this)
“A region built on the conquest of vast distances by the automobile, the conquest of unbearable heat by air conditioning, and the conquest of thirst by heroic water diversion projects will find itself hot, thirsty, and stranded.”
Sunbelt cities will never again support the populations that were possible during the height of the cheap oil blowoff. P279
A barely habitable arid scrubland filled with abandoned tract housing, deserted freeways, vacated strip malls, decommissioned fast-food emporiums, and all the rest of the equipment that could be of use only in a cheap energy economy.

(the Salton sea provides a glimpse into this future.)

the metaphysical vanities of contemporary architecture

implied superiority: that material progress has provoked a parallel evolution of human nature.


A tragic view of life is likely to re-assert itself

Keenly aware of the limitations of human nature.

Life getting much more real.
Irony, hipness, cutting-edge coolness will seem either quaint or utterly inexplicable to people struggling to produce enough food to get through the winter. P303
The idea of beauty will surely return from it’s modernist exile, as one of the few consolations in the years ahead will be our ability to consciously craft things for reasons other than to merely shock and astonish.
What to call it: a.k.a pick one of these.

The Long Emengency—(Kunstler)

Post-cheap-oil-and-gas world

Post-peak oil era

The Long Descent—(Greer) the declining arc of industrial civilization’s trajectory through time.

The Long Decline

The age of limits

The age of Contraction

The age of post-exuberance (The post-exuberant age)

The Deindustrial age

The Deindustrial revolution

The twilight of industrial society

The end of the industrial adventure

To Dad:

I mean what is your hope for this because I’ve never been happier; I’ve never had such a high level of personal satisfaction and fulfillment. I’ve never felt this much value in what I’m doing. I’ve never been healthier or had less stress. I feel like I’m on the right path. You’re asking me to derail these trends by wasting precious time in wage labor where I’d be using my intelligence at a fraction of how I’m using it now.

I don’t subscribe to the belief that hard work is inherently virtuous
Collapse preparedness in eccentricity—I certainly don’t mind and actually quite like being poor. I’m not about to spend my life earning tokens I don’t particularly need.
Notes: 30 September, a Wednesday
New Donation Gifts:

Audio CD with 12 of my mother’s all time favorite songs

I’ve been doing a little driving lately and noticed on a recent trip between Davis and Sacramento 15 miles away, that I found myself drifting into complacency. Could have something to do with the squishy smooth ride and the easy chair feel of my mom’s car, Or that the car practically drives itself, But it was an experience quite different from the certain level of alertness and vigilance that’s required to pilot a bicycle. I don’t like the idea of complacency when operating…
So some shitty stuff is happening in Africa right now. Link to forest drought article. The plan is to kick everybody off their land and replant the forest. I’m pretty sure the corrupt politicians that illegally sold those parcels should go to jail.
Care package for Katie:

Mix CD: Beach house, the XX, wave machines

Remaining Chocolate Cigarettes

Stage 1/2 DVD

Stage three postcard

“heard the dream had taken you to a city far from home so I thought I’d send you a care package.” Track jacket for biking,

Yellow postcards should go to art departments, past donors, etc.

“to request a potential donor packet, see ____.

Link to resume video but don’t embed it?

Wildlife magazine postcards—pick the best design and work with that one.

Great how having a stack of Wildlife art magazines around went from being something of a burden, to a limited resource as soon a way to exploit them was discovered.

Eagle with the twin towers to DOVA with a post request—slow connections beware

Change fall to winter
Search Sacramento area industrial ruins for a possible overnight.
Welcome post when adverts do out—if you’re overwhelmed, I suggest you look at ____ for starters. Also, if you want a potential donor packet or stage two DVD mailed to your home or office, send me an email.
“New” gift designator.
Start cropping corner images better—it’s just too easy to do with photoshop
Colossal Land Vehicles: the real and the fantastic
I found this image (left) of a German bucket-wheel excavator and imagined discovering the hulking mass rusting in some played out strip mine a hundred years from now. The 13,500-ton mobile mining machine is pictured here crossing a road during a fourteen-mile journey that took three weeks to complete. A friend remarked that it looks “steampunk” and Howl’s Moving Castle came to mind. The 2004 Miyazaki film features a magic fortress that wanders the countryside on four improbably scrawny legs.
While the Bagger 288 is powered by 16.56 megawatts of externally supplied electricity, a fire demon by the name of Calcifer keeps the castle in motion. As real and fantastic versions of colossal terrestrial vehicles, the pair embodies that all-important duality: the everyday versus the supernatural. One is the cursed home of a narcissistic wizard, the other a product of an energy hungry society. If the thread makes it to Germany, “The Bagger” will be high on the list to visit.

Currently used in German strip mining operations for coal.

Will definitely make stop at whatever coal mine it’s currently digging.

Brought to mind Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle—the real and fictional version of colossal terrestrial vehicles.


Differences—while one is designed for tearing away the landscape, the castle is the magical mobile home of an attractive but vain and immature wizard. The front door is a porthole that leads to a handful of other places.

One powered by a fire demon named Calcifer

Calcifer is a fallen star who was caught by Howl. Calcifer didn't want to die, so he struck a deal with the wizard. Calcifer got Howl's heart and a prolonged life, and Howl received full access to all of Calcifer's considerable powers.

Discovers that the front door is a magic portal leading to several places

and operated by an attractive but vain and immature wizard named Howl.

.[1] It can travel 2 to 10 m (6.6 to 33 ft) per minute (0.1 to 0.6 km/h)

It can move 240,000 cubic metres (8.475 million cubic feet) of earth per day (same as Bagger 288).

terrestial vehicle in the Guinness Book of Records

largest and heaviest land vehicle.

Alternate history-- Various modern utilitarian objects have been modded by individual artisans into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical "steampunk" style, and a number of visual and musical artists have been described as steampunk.

Corporate Wasteland notes:
Industrial landmarks were once the proud symbols of human progress and modernity.

The birth of a new American Landscape, a deindustrial one.

…interrogating the cultural meaning of industrial ruins…

…evocative people-less landscapes of dereliction…

The Deindustrial Sublime

There has been a rush to photograph these transitional places before they fall victim to the wrecker’s ball.

Abandoned industrial sites also appeal as “ruins.”

The aesthetics of industrial dereliction: “modern gothic”

Abandoned mills and factories provide space for leisure, adventure, cultivation, acquisition, shelter, and art.

The popular belief that the industrial era is ending is reinforced by the orderly demolition of former economic landmarks…

There is no mistaking the ritualistic nature of these public demolitions.
Re: demolition montage piece

The message seemed to be that there was no going back. If industrial demolition served to confirm this transformation at a local level, its message was communicated far and wide by the media and the Internet. The cultural meaning of deindustrialization is embedded in these universalized images of falling smokestacks and imploding factories.
To enter an abandoned site is, in some small way, to cross an imaginative divide separating the post-industrial present from the industrial past.

“deindustrial sublime”: a sense of being swept away by the beauty and terror of economic change.

Plant closings and their subsequent demolition are secular rituals that dramatize North America’s transition from industrialism to post-industrialism.

Not just about the inevitability of change, but about the obsolescence of the past.


The post-industrial ethos is graphically represented by the “wrecking ball,” the falling smokestack, the pulverized grain elevator, and the shattering implosion.

Falling smokestacks

Many of the cultural symbols, beliefs, and values that once fortified a sense of industrial order were cast into doubt by the demolition of industrial landmarks.

Public spectacle, festive mood, visual drama

But this innate appeal does not fully explain the continued facination.

“provide the occasion for an important kind of ritual communication.”

A ritualized marker of economic change.

In viewing industrial demolition as a sign of social progress. Falling smokestacks, like other ritualized moments marking the economic transformation underway, are thus contested symbols.

Falling smokestacks have marked the triumph of the post-industrial era.


They make North America’s transition from industrialism to post-industrialism appear natural and inevitable.
Could this assertion be adapted to mean that they make the end of the industrial age appear natural and inevitable. Maybe such an assertion isn’t contested—it’s what comes next that is disagreed on. Your argument being that what comes next is a kind of post-industrial dark age, not an information age with a service economy.
***The importance of appearing honest and earnest***
…an established order must make its world view appear taken for granted.

The toppling of large industrial structures—the “visual signatures” of industrialism—signals the transformation underway.

Urban Exploration and the Aesthetics of Deindustrialization.

Dark tourism

Loss and nostalgia

Abandonment is a powerful cultural motif in the modern world.

Some postmodern version of Fodor’s

“partitioned space” that was set apart from society and outside the usual dictates of time.

Among the most authentic and exciting playgrounds on earth.

Popular with young adults unhappy with the “spatial homogeneity” and commercialism of the modern city.

Provide a rare authentic experience

Higher purpose: to record abandoned buildings before they are demolished or converted to other uses

The aesthetic categories of the picturesque and the sublime—understanding the magnetism of the industrial ruins

The search for the sublime in the built environment is at EU’s very core.

“truly decay at its finest”

The genre of travel narrative

Urban explorers regularly compare industrial ruins to the natural world.

Values: the intensity of emotion and sensation that these places inspire

Urban explorers may not have traveled great physical distances (you are the exception), but they have traveled great social distances—
To enter an abandoned site is, in some small way, to cross the imaginative divide separating the perceived post-industrial present from the industrial past.

…political potential of urban exploration to reclaim our cities for people, and of industrial ruins to subvert notions of social “progress.”

It’s assumed our material progress has been paralleled by a social progress—that as our stuff has improved we’ve become better people (kunstler)—industrial ruins subvert this notion
Industrial Ruins (via Corporate Wasteland): wild places of tremendous beauty and freedom

Politics often ambiguous

Engaged in the mystification of former industrial sites, transforming them into mythic ruins.

In reminding us that nothing lasts forever, he believes that the site of ruined industry raises questions about the “persistent myth of progress.” These industrial ruins thus “tempered the optimism of modern industrial development.”

Industrial ruins rebuke visions of progress. (?) or are they more likely to confirm notions of progress? (as opposed to subverting them)—by confirming the inevitability of change.
Then he goes on to assert because they are places of play that they are inherently apolitical. Also because the changes are assumed to be inevitable and rarely questioned by urban explorers

Just urban tourism?

“empty picturesque”

a consumption of “the little differences in the lanscape”

reexamine our motivation for poking around such places, once drawn by the prospect of an authentic experience, now merely looking for a good picture.
Most only value the intensity of emotion and sensation that these abandoned places afford them. Little more than post-industrial playgrounds. Nostalgia takes a back seat to the thrill of transgression.
This certainly describes the experiences with the Betteravia and the refinery. But with the play comes a kind of spiritual communion as well—touching the deindustrial sublime.

Karla’s birthday—the 6th of October

Proper name for stage three—referring to the desert

Document causeway as rugged post collapse structure

More evenings spent in candlelight

To description for ‘a place to settle’ gift—a better name, plus a reference to it being a good place to weather the deindustrial age

DVD to anyone that wants one post—maybe in with announcement post
To do tonight/tomorrow:
Edit moonrise and waterfall
Build DVD menus
Export for upload:


End civ



Dixie square skate

Dixie square the zone

Burn and preview DVD test copy
Audio CDs for karla and Katie
Collect addresses and mail DVDs
Welcome video for kickstarter
Finish DVD mailings
New donation gifts—take images, write descriptions.
Bagger 288 post
Read and process ‘industrial ruins’
Continue work on project description
Map for upper left
Re-do funding need list—recalculate

(What about a recent donations area?)
Update current reading—pull quotes
Add friends (and to thank you list stage 2)

Ana Gonzales

Eric Lentz—much help in planning

Amanda-- $30

Add email addresses to mailing list

DVD post including links to vids discovered during housecleaning
Artfest images from Wendy—post
Write ‘sleeping in ruined space’ post
Write sound post
Check in at the university
Stage three corner map
Link to apocalypse vintage
Add bigger continuation links at the bottom of the page

Steampunk as a romanticized do-over, a setting back of the clock. A merging of Victorian ideals (the fetishization of the hand crafted object) with the early steam technology that launched the industrial age.

Why biking is so great (yet another reason):

It’s not subject to the same regulation and ordering that keeps automobiles channeled in narrow grooves. There is much more improvisation, room for different kinds of maneuvers, use of different surface types—navigation of narrower spaces, against the regular flows—things that if you tried in a car you’d probably kill somebody, or at least end up in their living room.
Improvised use of space means turning when you want to, in whatever direction, going against sanctioned or established flows within the urban environment.
Skateboarders and rollerbladers enjoy a similar freedom from regimented use of urban space.
I like having an intimate knowledge of the cracks and bumps in the pavement along the paths and streets I use most often. This is a kind of tactile knowledge that doesn’t accompany driving.—this goes along with the awareness while riding thing.
Car post support—industrial ruins page 84
Sensual experiences while riding—the smells of food—passing through urban space—the Chicago and Davis at dinner time.

On being attracted to the Jehova’s witness that comes to the door—how often does someone come to you wanting to discuss the existence of a soul—death, big life questions? These conversations normally come up between individuals with an established intimacy—not between perfect strangers.

A defense of critical mass: (she did work on the 14 floor of a glass tower in the middle of a large city)

But what does is actually accomplish if people just get back into their cars the next day?

An interruption of flows within the city—vehicular flows translate to flows of money as stuff isn’t delivered, people don’t make it to meetings, people don’t shop when their trapped in their cars, man hours are lost—this throws a wrench in the system.

Plus, since the events are scheduled for the same day each month, maybe some drivers choose to not drive on those days. Also, it serves as a reminder that bikes use the same road surfaces—we’re here, don’t forget us.

Normalcy isn’t exactly normal—in a capitalist society it’s a manufactured condition.
Regarding the removal and reintroduction of archaeological items from abandoned industrial sites:

By claiming these items and reintroducing them into the world as commodified items with an assigned value—recovered from the trash heap—They have already passed through the process of becoming waste but then are re-figured, re-categorized as valuable “found sculpture” proving obsolescence can be a somewhat fluid category.
Industrial ruins critique of progress page 101
What insight is gained through watching the structures we’ve built fall apart (return to the earth)? I thing first, it becomes apparent how much energy went into keeping them from falling apart: constant maintenance, painting, cleaning, etc.
Official title for desert leg:

The desert: out of sight/out of mind, a place without a future.

Email to T. Ednsor:

Besides intruding your project with links to the most applicable vids, turn him onto stalker as a unique way industrial ruins are used in cinema. Of course inquire about funding.

You should write more about how the spaces are coded for certain behavior, uses, who’s there now? Animals? The incredible value of a disordered space.

Earnest—resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction, is the work entirely without cynicism?
The perfect commercial for apple’s i-phone: paul trying to break his phone so that his employer replaces it with a newer version—but it doesn’t break no matter how poorly he treats it.
When it’s a chore to get to the end of the notebook, you know you’ve been working.
Leading stalker-esque tours into the brownlands—guiding people through ‘the passage’
Could have a Chicago version that’s also a donation gift. Guide you through the place—inform you of the hazards—point out what’s there—take you safely to the room that’s rumored to grant one their innermost desire. Frame this as a kind of anti-tourism—draw heavily from ‘industrial ruins’—this might need its own main page post.

Experience the intense materiality and strange juztapostions of displaced/disordered objects in a space that is vastly unlike the highly ordered/coded spaces in which we spend most of our time. Lay out the itinerary—mention that you’ll fly to Chicago—give the tour.

If one is able to make it appear that one isn’t impinging on anyone else’s pursuit of happiness (difficult in an age of ever scarcer resources) then one is less likely to be the target of misguided malicious mischief.
The cyclist that carries his shelter with him, can live cheaply, cover long distances, and not adapt to a variety of people and situations is the most well adapted character type in a collapse scenario—highly evolved for the age of contraction—this goes in with the evolution post. Survivability is everything when it comes down to it.
Frame Edith as a collector—the first major benefactor, the first major ‘collector’ of your work.
You’ve aligned things rather well for yourself—you just have to have some follow-through.

The peculiarity of private aviation—being able to assemble the resources that would allow one to be able to fly through the air in a contraption that uses highly refined fuel, etc.

An amendment to the film—someone discovers a bunker full of something really special—like giant rolls of sandpaper—the “lost” industrial material is introduced in a low energy, future, well into collapse and sets of a renaissance in something—perhaps woodworking.
Also—if you knew anyone who might be into the project—I can send them to anyone with an address—they make a lovely gift.
You should probably just make that industrial ruins book your bible.

…and is currently my bible. (liberated from the library)

comes highly recommended.
You might be able to fit a few of those black and white screen shots into an image that makes them look like printed, matted, framed—packaged for sale—ready to hang.
Memory and dereliction
I’m going to miss you until I see you again.


Yes, actively.

Project goal number five can be explained in a post that’s relatively short and sweet—basically: tried it, it didn’t work, lets try something else—lets get ready for what’s coming next. Well we tried it guys—turns out trying to turn everything around us into money just isn’t a practice compatible with a healthy planet. Now lets get on with it and turn our attention to what’s next.

Make the offer to send a DVD a large part of the welcome post
What about stenciling the water tower—is it appropriate to leave your mark on something you often treat as a specimen for study—practice leave no trace?
Record high-resolution wave file of water tower performance—with binaurels—as a test recording for the microphones and for the recorder. Maybe add some texture—have someone climbing down or up the ladder.
You’re starting with your core then expanding out from there.

Tonight: emails to Chicago crew

Patrick Holbrook—any documentation of the forces of nature show?

Joseph Miller

Jason Pallas

Catherine Sullivan

Heather Haley

Valerie Snobeck

Christopher Smith

Julia Hectman

Scott Wolniak
On bringing the use of sound in your practice to the level of the visual. Edith giving you that book. The world is never without sound—the sound of the universe—coming from every atom
To both heather and Erica—our relationships are romantic because the passions remain unfulfilled—direct Erica to that scene in that film with the strangers at the train station.
The history of television advertising is like a historical document outlining which industries were enjoying success at any given time in history. Also, what do the products for sale tell us about us as a culture? Sounds like an assignment for a freshmen level college class
Subjecting a bunch of dumb eighteen year old would be models to the horrors of the LA streets—traffic jams, parking, miles of intimidating urban fabric—hilarious and clearly the most difficult part of the ‘challenge’

The passage as donation gift?

Brett Tracy MFA BTW


I’ve argued in previous posts here that the industrial age is in some sense the ultimate speculative bubble, a three-century-long binge driven by the fantasy of infinite economic growth on a finite planet with even more finite supplies of cheap abundant energy.

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