New guest bloggers: TiamatsVision and Danny Chaoflux

Please welcome TiamatsVision and Danny Chaoflux to Technoccult. Danny is the designer of the Technoccult logo, and my co-conspirator for both Portland Occulture and Esozone. And you probably know TiamatsVision for her prolific commenting here at Technoccult. I’m looking forward to seeing what they share with us.

Virtual Esozone

The designer reality festival Esozone is just around the corner, but many primates (like myself) can’t make the event due to lack of funds, the atlantic or just general bad karmic energy.

So luckily the lovely people at Someday Lounge have put on a virtual stream that you can catch from the comfort of your own altar.

If you haven’t heard of Esozone (seriously where have you been?) then check out the fantastic website here.

Economies of Design and Other Adventures in Nomad Economics

Economies of Design and Other Adventures in Nomad Economics

I just finished reading Abe Burmeister’s master’s thesis, Economies of Design and Other Adventures in Nomad Economics. It’s available as a free pdf or as a printed book. This is the “public draft.” It’s still pretty rough, but still quite good.

This book is very straight forward and easy to read. I don’t have much of a background in economics, but I found Abe’s writing clear and accessible. Abe’s a designer by trade, not an economist, and this book/paper was written for the Interactive Telecommunications Program, not for an econ program.

Abe seems to be mostly inspired by this quote by Manuel De Landa:

I believe that the main task for today’s left is to create a new political economy (the resources are all there: Max Weber, T.B. Veblen and the old institutionalists, John Kenneth Galbraith, Fernand Braudel, some of the new institutionalists, like Douglass North; redefinitions of the market, like those of Herbert Simon etc) based as you acknowledged before, on a non-equilibrium view of the matter? But how can we do this if we continue to believe that Marxists got it right, that it is just a matter of tinkering with the basic ideas? At any rate, concepts like “mode of production” do not fit a flat ontology of individuals as far as I can tell.

Abe takes this and runs with it. This book lays the ground work. He doesn’t have all the answers yet (he’s mentioned he’s already working on a complete re-write), but this is a great starting point. Abe’s mostly focused on designers, but this book would be a good starting point for anyone interested in the idea of “economic hacking” – activists, artists, and yes, magicians.

More links:

Abe’s research blog.

His main blog.

Bonus: More “edge” economics.

Don’t call it a come back

Daniel Pinchbeck, and the fine folks at FutureHi, are starting a project called Metacine: a Magazine for the New Edge. It’s about stuff like Burning Man and, like Future Hi, “new” psychedelic culture.

It sounds a lot like Mondo 2000, a magazine for the new edge that ran sporadically from the late 80s (under the title Reality Hackers) until around 1997. It had articles about Burning Man, raves, designer drugs, smart drugs, etc. and basically spawned the magazine Wired. Burning Man’s been going for nearly 2 decades now. Nothing new there. All the sustainable bio future stuff they’re talking about on the Metacine web site? Sounds like Mother Earth News or the Whole Earth Catalog.

So what’s “new edge” about all of this? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with any of what they’re doing. I’m excited about all of it, honestly. But trying to package it up as some sort of new movement sounds like journalese to me. I’ve been as guilty as anyone else about this. Just look through the Technoccult archives and you’ll find plenty of evidence.

Why this obsession with doing “new” things? Finding the trends, the edge, blah blah blah blah blah. Seems like we’re all still stuck in the past, rambling about sustainable energy and Leary’s 8 circuit model and all that. But is that really such a bad thing?

Then there’s Jason Louv’s attempt to create a new occult ultraculture. Rather than trying to document a new culture, Jason’s trying to will a new one into existence with his book. I admire what he’s doing, and I know he’s doing it for the right reasons. He wants to see a new generation of socially consciousness occultists. It actually reminds me a lot of Terrence McKenna’s stuff though, about the role of shaman as a healer for the community. McKenna called his vision of the future an “archaic revival,” because everything he expected to occur was actually ancient.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of respect for Jason and for the Future-Hi cats, and I’m sure Pinchbeck has the best intentions. I’ll be pre-ordered Generation Hex and will probably be a Metacine subscriber. But I’m worried that an obsession with novelty and “the next big thing” will only hurt all our long term goals, stunt our personal development by making us trend whores, and blind us to realms of less glamorous possibility.

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