|John Hopkins on Sat, 2 Nov 2019 16:55:35 +0100 (CET)|
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|Re: <nettime> The Watershed in Your Head|
As an addenda to Brian's work -- w/ kudos to him -- I would highly recommend the work of The Center for Land Use Interpretation in the US (West, and elsewhere). Founded by Matt Coolidge in 1994, they have focused on precisely this issue of the spatial manifestations (not only of capitalism) but with an early focus on (the military-industrial complex in the western US as well as moving through many many other 'systems'). "The Lay of the Land" is their publication http://clui.org/newsletter/archive%20 worth reading, all 33 volumes, for a deeper understanding of, to most people, the invisible infrastructures that bring you your entire 'lifestyle'. My formal work currently includes being the archivist for, among many other items, the maps of now-abandoned coal and metal mines in the state of Colorado. The state is literally riddled with holes -- somewhere around 25,000 abandoned mines alone, not to mention huundreds of thousands of hydrocarbon and water wells. Brian's pipeline mapping project only scratches the surface of such manifestations, they are practically fractal, given that anyone using natural gas has a pipeline right to their house, and so on. Historical coal mining in the 'Front Range' of Colorado is present under many of the modern suburbs,causing all kinds of problems in the grand scale of things. Thankfully, there is only one or two operational coal mines left in the state, at least most of the power stations have shifted to natural gas.
And, yes, the hydrocarbon infrastructure is ... everywhere. Many local, state, and federal agencies engage in conflicting impulses to both hide information about such infrastructures in the name of state security, whilemuch of it is available online (if you know where to look) via the movement to GIS mapping that is then shunted to the cloud for network consumption. And with 90% of that controlled by esri.com, a privately-held corporation driving the mapping of these 'territories'.
While these historical resources and current-use maps are of import to understanding what kind of fragile existence we have on the planet, there are many more worrying developments -- for example, with groundwater issues -- I am preparing, with colleagues, a deep survey of Colorado groundwater. The only wordI can use to characterize it is "grim". And Colorado is relatively well-off compared to many other locations on the planet where groundwater supplies (as the *only* local source of water) are being overdrawn by 4-500%. We are making this information available to the public, though at the cost of participating in 'cloud computing' which should be an anathema, given its energy cost. (see, for example http://neoscenes.net/blog/77439-the-energy-of-archive-re-membering-the-cloud) These kinds of conundrums are evidence that we yet have not fully understood where we stand as a species, thinking that we stand separate from everything else.
The fight to 'deal' with how we live, how we overdraw our most critical resources, is something that the wider earth system will set the conditions on, as we are mostly *not* dealing with it, despite our best efforts. Brian's work begins to reveal the complexity of what we have 'achieved' as a species, but also that all those achievements are predicated on access to hydrocarbons. One crucial point, though, is that 'other world' is not 'other' in any sense except within the space of our own ignorance -- it is inextricably *ours*. Our ignorance of what Brian labels 'political ecology' is monumental. And when he proposes the 'banality of economics' as a impediment to understanding, it is only a proxy for what I would propose: that a deep look at how one perceives their own usage of energy (in *all* forms - food, transport, housing, lighting, water, thought, embodied action) will begin to reveal our dependencies, and thus will also mandate a political pathway where the paradigm "the most efficient use of energy is energy *not* used" will ground all actions. (And those 'actions', which themselves use energy to express, will reflect and be consequent at all levels of our participation in all levels of the planetary system.)
And esthetics -- languages and methods of making this other worldvisible -- are an important aspect in this struggle that can only succeed if it finds a language that informs action, a language to express multiplicity (of actors, and of cultures) and belonging (that is, a kind ofcare for the place in which one finds oneself) at the same time.
JH -- ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD hanging on to the Laramide Orogeny http://tech-no-mad.net/blog/ ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ # distributed via <nettime>: no commercial use without permission # <nettime> is a moderated mailing list for net criticism, # collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets # more info: http://mx.kein.org/mailman/listinfo/nettime-l # archive: http://www.nettime.org contact: firstname.lastname@example.org # @nettime_bot tweets mail w/ sender unless #ANON is in Subject: