TagTemporary Autonomous Zones

The Sudden Stardom of the Third-World City

This brings us to the most perverse suspicion of all. Perhaps the Third-World city is more than simply the source of the things that will define the future, but actually is the future of the western city. Perhaps some of those tourists who look to the Third World for an image of their own past are reflecting uneasily on how all the basic realities of the Third-World city are already becoming more pronounced in their own cities: vast gulfs between sectors of the population across which almost no sympathetic intelligence can flow, gleaming gated communities, parallel economies and legal systems, growing numbers of people who have almost no desire or ability to participate in official systems, innovations in residential housing involving corrugated iron and tarpaulin. Is it going too far to suggest that our sudden interest in books and films about the Third-World city stems from the sense that they may provide effective preparation for our future survival in London, New York or Paris?

Full Story: Rana Dasgupta.

(via Abstract Dynamics).

I hadn’t really thought of it quite like this, but yes I think some of my own interest in 3rd world megalopolisis is in gaining some insight about what the future may look like for all of us.

See also: Feral Cities, Grim Meathook Future, Biopunk: the biotechnology black market, and Adam Greenfield’s Design Engaged 2005 presentation (does anyone have better notes for this?).

Burning Man founder Larry Harvey interview

Wired News interviews Burning Man founder Larry Harvey:

Harvey: Ultimately, yes. I think that our event is necessary and will be for a while yet. Because as we come to see it, it’s an initiation into a larger world. I’ll take a risk by comparing it to the hajj. It is part of Muslim religion. It doesn’t imply terrorism, but people have an obligation to go to Mecca once in their lives and to be inspired. And they march around a big rock. Well, you gotta put something at the center, and they’ve got a big rock, left over from pre-Muslim days. That’s why they go.

Or, it’s like, let’s say, Paris. Go to Paris, see what can be done, not because it will dwarf you, make you feel futile, but because if you have the wit to look — and I think the majority of our people do have that ability, to look beyond the spectacle, and say, “Well, how did you do this?” It’s true, someone just coming for the first time for two days won’t ask that, might not. But if they come the second, the third time, they’ll be asking it, because they themselves are going to have to organize communally with others, to get something done.

Full Story: Wired News: Burning Man’s Founder Looks Ahead

Greening the Ghetto

In opposition to the debasing welfare programs of both church and state stands EcoVillage Farm just outside the heart of Richmond, CA’s inner city. For anyone who has never been to Richmond, VA don’t think South Bronx- think Gary, IN, Springfield, MA, “the Bricks”, Compton, &c. Richmond resembles many other forgotten post-industrial towns whose residents have committed the ultimate crime of being poor in America.

Which seems only one reason why EcoVillage farm represents such a revolutionary attack on the status quo. Food no longer comes in plastic wrapped packages which cannot be smelled or handled but out of the soil and the toil of those tilling. “Ownership society” falls in the category of “phrases GWB perverts into right-wing bullshit.” However EcoVillage farm seems to represent an “ownership society” that anyone with a brain could get behind. Far from just another bourgeois “organic” farm stand, EcoVillage not only provides food but relevant skills.

This type of social welfare contains more tangible benefits than I can name. First, it puts food on people’s plates. Secondly, the co-op teaches useful skills which instill a sense of pride. Few things make a person hold their head up higher than the knowledge “I can produce something.”

Terrain Magazine Article: Shabaka’s Seedlings

Northern Light

Tony was in town, I found out through his blog too late, but we managed to hook up for drinks and healing herbs before he took the plane back up to his northern abode. We should have taken it a sign when our cosmo-personal speculations interpretations and effusions were interrupted by a swarm of speed-daters and were cast out into the night pulled along by Tony’s dog Aurora that our meeting would end fuzzed out by beer and the voices of karaoke angels.

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.

Burning Man artists petition

I’m not active enough in the BM culture to have an opinion on this, but some people might find it interesting.

We Have a Dream Petition

(via Zen Werewolf)

Designing Black Rock City

The “urban design” of a temporary autonomous zone.

Burning Man: Evolution of Black Rock City.

Daniel Pinchbeck: The Reality of the Psyche

Recent Arthur Magazine article republished on FutureHi:

One of the most beautiful aspects of Burning Man is the wide-open expanse of the desert itself, which seems to represent the infinite potential available to the liberated human imagination. While I was bicycling across the playa one night, enjoying the laser lights and carnival displays of the festival from a distance, I thought that the shift to a new planetary culture, and a new form of nonhierarchical social organization matching our new level of mind, does not have to be a cataclysmic or destructive one. The transition could occur in a manner similar to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Empire ? a sudden piffle, and a shocking surrender. However, for this to happen, the new paradigm must already be in place, at least as an undercurrent. Lacking a model or an imprint, the collapse of the current system will result in a world resembling that of the Road Warrior films, without the occasional flickers of irony.

Future Hi: The Reality of the Psyche.

Upcoming events

A couple things I’d love to go to, but can’t:

Phoenix Festival is back again this year! This year they’ve got Jello Biafra, Blackalicious, and Saul Williams, among others. (Southern Washington)

Everything You Know is Wrong seems almost like Disinfo Con 2. It’s to feature workshops by Howard Bloom, Paul Laffoley, Richard Metzger, Grant Morrison, and Douglas Rushkoff. (New York State)

Thousands Gather for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

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More Photos: Yahoo News: Thousands Gather for Summer Solstice at Stonehenge

(via Wes)

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