Years in the making, the Soundtrack to Postcards from Babylon brings the project into a new dimension, at a time when many of the themes of PfB have intensified and grown in mainstream awareness. Weaving together Alex Forster’s evocative music and Christian de Sousa’s spoken-word renditions of texts drawn from the book, the album takes us on a visceral journey through the physical and virtual landscapes of capitalist civilisation, searching for understanding, change and liberation.
When a place is hit by a natural (or manmade) disaster, who gets out or gets taken care of and who gets left behind or has to fend for themselves? Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer often has something to do with who has money.
This article by Abe Streep explores the adrenalinised mission and ethical edges of Global Rescue, a subscription service for global adventurers who can pay for access to a fast exit in case of need. The story relates intense and uncomfortable events in the aftermath of the recent earthquake in Nepal, and offers both a microcosm and a metaphor of how global capitalism structures access to resources. It also offers an interesting glimmer of humanity in concluding with how the GR operative in Kathmandu subsequently left to set-up no-cost non-profit healthcare in Africa. Read the article >> .
The London Metropolitan Police spends millions of pounds a year delivering its PR message to Londoners with, of course, a certain spin on the content. A team of unknown interventionists felt the Met’s communication was lacking factual balance and have been offering alternative perspectives… Read Mike Urban’s report and see more pictures >>
A London Inheritance is a photography blog exploring London’s vanished landscapes and forgotten communities. This post presents images from the 1980s on the eroding last traces and disappearing worlds of independent shops, hand-painted signs – and pre-“streetart” graffiti. View the post >>
Squatting is now illegal in the UK, as is ‘skipping’ (salvaging waste food to feed oneself or others) But the Free Milk collective spent several months using both practices to set-up and host an autonomous community space. Their intention: to feed and support homeless people and to bring awareness to the absurd fact that the number of empty houses in the UK (over half a million) significantly exceeds the number of homeless people… Read the report here >>
[Dispatch posted by the Bureau for Agent G in the field]
Martin Luther famously once said, “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would fall to pieces, I would still plant an apple tree.”
Since 1979 Jadav Payeng has been planting trees to make sure that his world would not fall to pieces – on Majuli, a constantly-eroding island in the Brahmaputra river in Assam, India. To date he has single-handedly planted, and nurtured, a forest larger than New York’s Central Park – a forest that now hosts elephants, rhinos, vultures and even tigers. Forest Man tells his story >>
[Dispatch posted by the Bureau for Agent Stephen in the field.]
Tired of reportages depicting favela kids in poverty-stricken misery, Iris Della Roca decided to ask the children how they wanted to be photographed. The results are inspiring, poignant and complex. See the images >>
Walking for change; marching to make a difference…
In the small but politically important American state of New Hampshire, hundreds gathered on a wintry day, many at the end of a 150mile long, 11-day march across the state in freezing temperatures. This movement, led by the reformer and law academic Lawrence Lessig, sees itself as one of the front lines in the battle against the continuing corporatization of our world. At the rally in front of the State House in Concord, NH, 15 year old Ella McGrail delivers this rousing and impressive speech for the reclamation of democracy.
[Dispatch posted by the Bureau for Agent Aa in the field]
In Oakland, California, container homes are banned as urban blight. But what if they were made into art? Sarah Beckstrom created this house last year attempting to demonstrate how a search for alternative styles of urban living can mix utility, efficiency and art. See the whole project >>
[Dispatch posted by the Bureau for Agent A in the field] .
The intriguingly-titledInstitute for Precarious Consciousnessoffers a succinct resumé of the evolution of Capitalism’s ‘dominant affects’ and the corresponding changing responses by resistance movements. The Institute’s proposed tactical 1-2-3 for responding to the current affect of all-pervading anxiety seems helpful… Read more >>
[Dispatch posted by the Bureau for Agent Penfold in the field.]
Postcard: image & text based missive sent to friends by travelers. Babylon: (1) capital of Babylonia in 2nd century B.C, often considered the first city. (2) Rastafarian term for capitalist civilisation. Liberation:the process of seeking and embodying freedom for, and by, all peoples