The inter-connected systems of global civilisation are now so vast and complex that we, as in we of the developed and growing western world, have no real idea what goes into making our consumption-based lifestyles possible.
Tim Maughan and Unknown Fields took a journey into the ‘invisible network that keeps the world running’ and then kept going until they reached the place where the dream of technological liberation has brought a dystopian nightmare.
Click on the links above to read the articles and view slideshows, and watch the film here >>
“The people who are ditching their Kindles and savoring books as physical objects, brewing their own beer and resurrecting other old arts and crafts, reformatting their lives in the modes of a past decade, or spending their spare time reconnecting with the customs and technologies of an earlier time — these people aren’t doing any of those things out of some passion for self-denial. They’re doing them because these things bring them delights that the shoddy mass-produced lifestyles of the consumer economy can’t match.”
For John Michael Greer, blogger, commentator on the disintegration of civilisation and Grand Archdruid of the Ancient Order of Druids in America, the way forward is not a ‘Butlerian jihad’ (a reference to the revolt against technology in Frank Herbert’s Dune) – but a Butlerian Carnival.
He argues we need a sensuous celebration of the living world, outside the cubicle farms and the glass screens, drawing raw materials from eras, technologies, and customs of the past which don’t require the extravagant energy and resource inputs that the modern consumer economy demands. Such a carnival way of life will be better suited to a future defined by scarce energy and resources… Read his full essay here >>>
KKK, Sony, Xbox… Hacking has never been so “en vogue”, whether the motivation is political, criminal, exposing the system – or “just for the LULZ.” But hacktivism and codebreaking are of course not new, having been around since the very technologies they use…
Image by Jeff Nishinaka (paper sculpture) / Scott Dunbar (photograph)
“We live in a different now than has ever been known. Now is not the now of your grandma’s careful attention to detail and rhythm. Today, the world pours in through our beeping mobile device’s calendar, emails, text messages, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more. The frantic attempt to respond to all this everything creates what Douglas Rushkoff has dubbed “present shock,” a condition in which we’re assaulted by a present that we ceaselessly grasp to obtain and never quite live in. Not entirely opposed to our technologies, Rushkoff questions how they can better complement our basic rhythms of presence.”
Keenly-contemplated meditation on time, technology and consciousness by Douglass Rushkoff: click play to watch the vid. (just under 8mins)
Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations have made it clear that American citizens, not to mention those of all Western democracies, are under blanket surveillance. This report by Thomas Gorton outlines one rather surreal mechanism of this 21st-century Orwellianism: Cessna light planes imitating mobile phone towers in order to intercept conversations and data. Read more >>
A company which started as a bookseller now runs a cloud system running over 2 million servers; essentially amounting to the biggest computer in the world.
A man called Jack Clark gives us the mind-bending numbers >>
Whilst Social Media sites like Facebook and Twitter are under strict censorship, Internet users in China are circulating news on the protests in Hong Kong by copying and pasting articles into notes that can be shared as webpages or put into “notebooks” that users can subscribe to. Report by Lily Kuo and Ning Hui.
Read more >>