Utopia, Now! (audio recordings)

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Utopia, Now! The sixth symposium of the Imaginaries of the Future Leverhulme International Research Network, Chelsea College of Arts, 29th- 31st August 2017

It was fantastic to present at Utopia, Now! and meet fellow Utopians. All the presentations were thought provoking and I wish I had set up my little recorder as soon as I realized nobody was taping. But I had no real equipment and wasn't sure it's going to work, so, I sadly missed a couple presentations. Sorry, Adam Stock, Miranda Iossifidis, Camilla Brueton and Ada Cable. 
The audio quality isn't great, but with headphones it's acceptable. The content is worth it. Hope you enjoy.

Full program with abstracts here:
https://imaginariesofthefuture.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/utopia-now-final-programme1.pdf
 

Playlist on Archive.org    -  Fotos (if you have more pics of slides, please add)


Day 01:

Looking Backwards/Looking Forwards:
Imagining the Future and the Utopian Impulse


Imagining utopia, imagining ruins:
reflections on Imaginaries of the future - Adam Stock

Further Reflections on Being a Utopian in These Times - Tom Moylan

Challenges to Power, Knowledge and Futurity Seeing like a State in a Society of States:

Epistemic authority and the ecological outer limits in the northwards expansion of international society - Justiina Dahl

Limits of the Horizon: Epistemological Paths of Utopia - Noa Cykman

Response: Antonis Balasopoulos
 

Films and Performance:

Title tbc [film] - Miranda Iossifidis
YOU ARE HERE: now, not then [performance lecture] - Camilla Brueton
Refugia [film] - Ada Cable  


Day 02:


Utopian Struggle and Organization Unions as Utopian Spaces:

Narratives of Potentiality in the fight against Marketised Education - Heather McKnight

Plurality in Pursuit of Utopia: tensions in tackling Section 377 in the Commonwealth of Nations - Ibtisam Ahmed

‘Getting On’ and ‘Giving Up’: Dialectics of Subaltern Utopias Patrick Gnanapragasam


Architectural Utopianism Modernism Now:

An Education of Desire - Amy Butt

In Praise of a Utopian Survival for the City that Never Was - Giorgia Aquilar


Utopian Openings, Utopian Methods:

Silly Dreams to Fight the Absurd - Céline Keller

Bad Utopias: the “Dialectical Images” of the Situationist International - Dan Barrow

The 'Same Old' Against a Better Backdrop - Utopia Shouldn't Be Boring - Sam Bunn


How Soon is Now? Utopian Temporalities:

The World is Yours’: Utopian Time as Social Dreaming in Nas’s Illmatic (1994) - Dara Waldron

Let’s pull the breaks and visit Walter Benjamin at Faubourg St. Honoré - A utopian time for the utopian now! - Mikkel Jørgensen
 

Response: Ruth Levitas - Antonis Balasopoulos
 

Musical Performance:

Utopia Dub - Natalie Hyactinth
(This was so great, wish my recorder wouldn't have run out of capacity, and that there had been someone recording the soundboard and the microphones...)


Day 03:


Utopian Gaming: 

Utopoly as Utopian practice - Neil Farnan

Utopia in Tandem: Ludo-Narrative Synchronicity - Eoin Murray


Contemporary Literary Utopianism: 

More than this: utopian anticipation and generic discontinuity in the YA fiction of Patrick Ness - Caroline Edwards

Lines of Flight: The Utopian Escape in Contemporary Speculative Literature - Raphael Kabo


Closing Discussion: Ruth Levitas, Antonis Balasopoulos

Silly Dreams to Fight the Absurd

My talk for Utopia, Now! The sixth symposium of the Imaginaries of the Future Leverhulme International Research Network, Chelsea College of Arts, 29th- 31st August 2017

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'The liar and the truth-teller, both play on opposite sides of the same game'. But 'The Bullshitter doesn't care about the truth. He makes up his own reality'. 

Trump's dream of a wall along the Mexican border was and is a ridiculous idea. But there is no denying that this dream did help him (as he would probably call it: bigly) to get elected. 

Many have laid out in detail all the reasons that proof that his wall is not only ridiculous but also an impossible project. So, why couldn't all these people be convinced or even be bothered by facts? And how could Trump's display of naked disregard for reality and his unbound faith in fantasy' did not make him appear insane and unelectable? Are the people who voted for him really stupid?

Progressives believe that facts are more powerful than fantasies. 
We believe in reason and rationality, because Empiricism freed us from the Church's interpretation of the world. And the Enlightenment did the same for us with divine right and feudalism. 

Yet, today as we live in an age of Bullshit, we might have unparalleled access to information and even instant fact checking is possible, but facts don't seem to matter much. Revealing lies and outing the truth seems to have lost much of its power.

The game has changed. 

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I want to talk to you about Stephen Duncombe and Steve Lambert, founders of the Center for Artistic Activism. They argue that in an age of bullshit, if we want to win, we need to learn to create ethical spectacles to compete with all those bullshit dreams.
And the best tool they found to use and to accomplish that, is Utopia.

The Steves started their journey together a decade ago. Duncombe was frustrated with the standard march, chant, repeat model of most activism. While Lambert was frustrated with political art, which never seemed to reach outside a small, already politically aligned art scene, trapped in commercial galleries. Could both be merged to make activism more creative and art more effective?

They wanted to find out and their first task was researching artistic activism around the world, and they soon realized that people already had been merging arts and activism creatively and effectively for millennia. And during the next years, teaching their findings and learning from artists and activists trying to implement these ideas, they saw proof that approaching activism creatively was indeed a very powerful idea.

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'Imagining Winning' is the exercise they start all of their workshops with. The idea is, that you think of the problem you've been struggling with, and then imagine winning. What would you do if you have unlimited funding and all the help you need? How does the best case scenario look like? What is winning? What do you want?
And after that they make it even harder, telling you: Great, that's done. What's next? What else do you want? What does total success look like? They force the participants of their workshops to really dig deep and actually imagine their Utopia. No restraints.

And what they encounter is tremendous resistance. 'Over and over, participants find themselves struggling to imagine a world where they have succeeded. It is as if they are afraid to allow these thoughts , because acknowledging them might make it too hard and too painful to return to reality.'

But helping these activists and artists to push beyond their resistance and sometimes for the first time, to illustrate the ideal world they are fighting for, they discovered, that from Kenya to Connecticut, regardless of group or issue, these ideal worlds are remarkably similar. They found out that we share common dreams. 
But the way to uncover them may lie in freeing those personal fantasies.

In their forth coming book, 'How To Win: The Art of Activism ' they propose 5 'Lessons from Utopia'. Number one:

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'Thatcher understood that the job of the powers to be is not only, or even primarily, to keep people down. Instead, it is to deny us the possibility of looking up.' So, why do so many people on the left demand with urgency that only the hard realities shall be discussed?Is the biggest problem really getting people to understand that there is something wrong with this world? Don't we all know that?
 

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'Spectacle is our way of making sense in the world. Truth and power belong to those who tell the better story.' (dream p.8) As long as we are unable to imagine alternatives there will be none. And getting rid of a problem won't guarantee a better outcome. Imagine waking up tomorrow and Trump is finally history. Would the bullshit end? Would the spectacle be over?

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There is, of course, a reason we are scared to embrace spectacle as a means for social change. 'Theories of the politics of spectacle and fantasy have steered people to extremely dark places'. What Hitler, Goebbles and even public relations pioneer Edward Bernays did, was going beyond rationality and applying, with horrific effects, what Gustav LeBon had found out about the irrational behavior of crowds. But 'the fact that progressives worry about abusing power before we have any is maybe less a sign of our concern for the responsibility of power than it is a symptom of our reluctance to pursue it.' 

What's necessary then is to create a new dream politics. But a dream politics that is honest. And we can.

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But in times when reason doesn't have the power anymore to bring about social change, we need to do more than only imagine and tell people about the world we want. We need to demonstrate it. Make it seen and felt, maybe even tasted, smelled, touched and heard.
Instead of alternatives to be rationally considered, successful Creative Utopian projects create affect. They can be experienced.

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But that doesn't mean we have to give up our progressive ideals of egalitarianism and politics that values the input of everyone. This is not about media savvy experts of the left handing down dreams to watch, consume and believe.

Instead these ethical spectacles will be participatory:
Dreams that people can mold and shape themselves.

They will be active:
spectacles that only work if people help create them.

They have to be open ended:
setting stages to ask questions and leaving silences to formulate answers.

And they have to be transparent:
dreams that one knows are dreams but which still attract and inspire.

Ethical spectacles will not cover over or replace reality and truth, but perform and amplify it.

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My favorite example of such a demonstration is the 'Future Republic of the Former Republic of Macedonia.' In spring 2014 the C4AA traveled to Skopje to work with activists advocating for the rights of LGTB and Roma people. Facing violence and being actively discriminated against, these people felt themselves pushed out of their own country and they wanted to push back. But with a right wing government selling the fantasy that Roma and Queers were threatening Macedonian society, actions that involved confrontational provocation seemed a rather bad idea. Instead the Steves helped them to come up with a lot of wonderfully silly ideas.

One of them was a response to this young country's search for a historical identity. The nationalist government was trying to accomplish that by spending its resources on countless statues and immense monuments to mythologize the heroes of the Macedonian people. Their newest addition was a 30 meter high gold plated statue of Alexander the Great.

Yet, Alexander is famous for having had male lovers.
Wouldn't it be great then, to stage a queer Alexander the Great talk show on local tv?

Sadly they only had 21 hours to plan, prepare and stage the action, so they had to reject this wonderful idea.  But it didn't matter, through these silly ideas, they reached the kernel of a good one: why not create the country we want Macedonia to be? And so they did.

They created the country of love they wanted to see. They printed passports, and instead of a binary choice for gender, there was a spectrum and pencils with erasers so people could change their minds. And since Macedonia was so full of statues, they build an empty statue podium, on which people could climb and declare themselves everyday heroes and heroines of their country. There was music and food, tables to draw on for the kids, a place for conversation, which was hugely popular. And at the entrance, there were border guards, who would welcome the newcomers with cheers. And the other people would join in.

It was a friendly LGTB advocacy event, but it so wasn't overtly.
You just walked in, experienced love and then maybe happened to see two women holding hands, or guys kissing. And people probably just thought, oh, that must be what happens in a country based on love. It just became normal. And a better normal than the outside reality.

What they achieved is to create for a couple hours a place that people wanted to go with them. And it was not because the activists had demonstrated what they are against but what they are for.

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It's impossible to travel to other places and cultures and not come back with a shifted perspective. Home suddenly looks different. And what used to be normal can now be questioned.

So, 'If one reason to stage Utopia is to urge people to ask the question: What if? Another function is to ask the question: Why not?'

In the 90s Duncombe together with other artists and activists transformed New York City subways in to rolling parties. They met at certain stations at a certain time, and then entered a train en masse. Setting up a boom box or bringing a band, covering advertisements with decorations, passing out drinks, they danced. And for an hour or so the subway car ceased to be merely a means of transportation.

Part of the purpose of these parties was pure fun, but there was also a political objective:
Changing people's perspective about their everyday urban experience.

What mattered most was not what these common New Yorkers experienced during those nights on the party trains, but what happened to them the next day on their morning commute.

'What once seemed normal: being surrounded by advertisements, harsh neon light, and people who refuse to acknowledge on another, would now seem cold, inhumane and absurd compared to the experience of riding the Utopia train.'

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Another of their Art Action Academy projects, was creating an impromptu beach, along one of the unfriendly canals of St. Petersburg .

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They had researched what could be a common dream that people in this gentrified neighborhood were sharing, and it was access to the canals. And they proceeded to make this dream come true, but just for a little while. They made sure Utopia was no place. The goal was not a solution delivered by outsiders but to inspire the people to organize and make their own dreams come true. They used Utopia to stimulate the resident's own imagination about what might be possible to do – and then they turned off their music, rolled up their towels and left.

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Another tactic to stimulate public imagination is to conjure up Utopias so outlandish and silly, that they can never be realized at all.

Steve Lambert and his collaborator Packard Jennings once asked architects, city planners, and transportation engineers, “what would you do if you didn’t have to worry about budgets, bureaucracy, politics, or even physics?” And then they pushed the ideas, resulting from these conversations, to extremes. Designing big posters that were displayed on kiosks on San Francisco's main commercial street.

From transforming the whole city into a wildlife refuge; public bars, libraries and martial arts studios on BART trains; public transit by elephant back, to commuting over the bay by zip line. Each of these proposals was clearly impossible.

But that was the point. These were dreams that people were aware to be just dreams. The fantasy fooled no one.

But standing in front of one of these posters smiling at the silly idea, maybe talking to someone about it, one might start wondering: why doesn't the public transport system cater to any other public desires? Maybe there is something, maybe not so silly, but still awesome, we should have on trains? What could great public transportation look like? And why does the government so often control instead of facilitate our dreams and desires?

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There is a beautiful quote from Eduardo Galeano about Utopia. It goes like this:

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“La Utopía está en el horizonte.
Me acerco dos pasos, ella se aleja dos pasos.
Camino diez pasos y el horizonte
se desplaza diez pasos más allá.
¿Entonces, para qué sirve la utopía?
Para eso: sirve para caminar”


We all know, we will never reach Utopia.
But with Utopia on the horizon, at least we have a reference if we are still heading in the right direction.

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My emotional state in these times of bullshit might maybe be best described as oscillating between hopelessness and anger. I get lost in the abyss of reading the news and find it often hard to actually do something. I am not an activist, I just happened to have found the Steves somewhere online and loved every bit of it. But I can't really imagine how these times must feel for activists involved in the important task of actually changing things. Their frustration of getting things done, trying to change for example legislation. All these little steps they have to fight for, to get a big one done.

But when one feels like giving up, for them as well as people like me, Utopia can be a way to remind us why to get out of bed in the morning.

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Because yes, there is Dystopia. It seems in times of Bullshit, it's more popular than ever. Why then, not use Dystopia for artistic activism? Seems like people are already tuned into that.

Personally, I'd say, because of that getting out of the bed part in the morning.

But it is true, critical Dystopias are very powerful in making visible, looming but still largely invisible horrors. A good example is climate change. But there is a problem to keep in mind.

Dystopias always create a profoundly conservative response. They tell us to move back, back to the present to stop what we were doing. Because if not, it will lead us to that horrible place.
Which in the case of climate change is good thing. We should conserve the environment.
The problem is, Dystopia just tells us to stop, it doesn't tell us where to go instead.

And do people really need to know that there is something wrong with this world? Don't we all know that yet?

I think most people do. We are all drowning in bad news. And many are scared and feeling hopeless. Maybe especially the ones who believe this myth that there is no alternative.

When Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous 'I have a dream' speech, he knew that as important as it was to chronicle the horrors Black people faced every day in the United States, what was crucial for winning, winning converts and mobilizing allies, was also creating a vision.
A vision of an alternative, a dream.

And we in our Bullshit age?
Do we still know how dream?

If the answer is no, I hope work on it. Together.

Thank you.

Thinking about Cory Doctorow's Walkaway

This is just off the top of my head. There is so much more to write about, but I thought, I better quickly write down what bugged me about it. Because, let's be honest, I want to but chances are I might not write that long and polished review:

I finished reading Doctorow's Utopia Walkaway two days ago and liked it but it keeps me thinking. True, that's maybe one of the best things a book can do for you, but in this case, it's also because I struggle with a couple things. There's loads of great stuff. I loved Cory's idea that the difference between Utopia and Dystopia is what happens when things go wrong. That the default state of mind or “beliefs/morals” really matter. There is a lot about that, which is great. And I like how he explores this walkaway philosophy in the first part of the book, as well as the many diverse and female characters. There are, as very often in his books, many explanations of important and interesting concepts webbed into the story as dialog. Which does make Walkaway feel a bit like a young adult novel. But don't get me wrong, I love that. There is something wonderful about this certain kind of seriousness, discovery and passion that seems to be lacking in an adult world filled with cynicism and irony. I find the tech jargon and the loads of action (I am not such a huge fan of) also gives it that feeling. The only two reasons, why it maybe could not be a great YA novel, is sex (though it shouldn't) and thoughts about aging (the same). But those two topics are also the ones that I keep chewing on.

Let's start with sex. Yes, there is lots of sex. I admire Cory for his ability to write very sweet and sincere about feelings, sex and love, but I have to say I still couldn't help consciously noticing that I was reading through a lot of lesbian love scenes written by a man. No, not bad but as a lesbian that is kind of is an interesting topic, because I am sure everybody knows, lesbian themed sex for hetero male porn consumers is quite a thing. Hard to blend that completely out while reading, especially because the lesbian love story, which holds the whole mid part together, kind of fades into the background after, one might say, the lesbian love scenes peaked. The mother theme didn't really help either, but it only got me really uncomfortable at that moment where Gretyl is described as (if I remember well) “She looked old, fat and unloved.” That is, if you haven't read the book yet, Iceweasel's or Natalie's “motherly” lover. Gretyl is at a moment where Natalie has been captured and tortured by her father for months and on top of that she's in the middle of an exploding war on her people, the walkaways, "Mama" doesn't look too hot under stress. Meanwhile Natalie after months of solitary confinement gets rescued by Nadie (young, slim, muscular), who is her former captor and brutally killed some of her friends. But Natalie, finally kind of safe, gets really horny and then those two end up having sex. Maybe Stockholm Syndrome or just understandable after such a long time of suffering and deprivation of human contact. But what I mean is, one of Natalie's (kind of the main character through out the whole book) love stories is framed as having to do with her mother and the other is with someone who is first brutally overpowering her physically and then turns sexy after rescuing her? Hm... I don't know, that seems a bit odd.

Then there's the cut and next time we hear about Natalie and Gretyl, it's years later and they have two sons. We are not as close to them emotionally as we have been before, and it makes it seem a little bit like that love story was a lead up to the sexy stuff. Especially when in the last battle Gretyl is described as (she calls it that way in her own head) having an affair with being part of something important (she's a math genius), while Natalie gets rescued again by Nadie. No, nothing sexy happens but then we are already at the end. The walkaway utopia. Which I won't lie, gave me a bit of the creeps. Natalie (after dying years ago of cancer and her mind having been uploaded as a Sim) wakes up in the real world again. Her mind in a new body. But not without, before opening her eyes, having a sexy dream about making out with Nadie in front of Gretyl. Gretyl we are told, has died years after Natalie (as an old, sad woman if I recall well) , and she is informed that they hope to be able to bring back Gretyl in a year. But at this point it doesn't really seem anymore (like it has been through out the book) that she can't wait to see her lover/wife Gretyl. She's definitely distracted by having that awesome new body and endless time.
There is also a hint of sexyness between her and her old male friend Etcetera. An attraction with which the story started out. But he is Limpopo's lover, whom she used to be also smitten with (there is a lot of crushing and smittenness in the book, which I like, cause well, life and love seems to be that way).  Which I think additionally sign posts the beginning of an utopia of love, where everybody has so much time (and a healthy young body) that jealousy becomes irrelevant. Not that the no jealousy part wouldn't be fantastic, but immortality as the ultimate abundance solving everything? 

I get it, makes sense, but I am not sure I like it. And that feeling was reinforced by aging being the main topic in the last part till the end. There was one male character, who had body problems with aging (Seth), but all that talk about Limpopo's wrinkles?  Somehow for me, that had a different ring (more like the age talk about Gretyl). He was described as feeling young and that his self perception didn't fit his aging body, which his lover, trans Tam, links to her own dysphoria. But with Limpopo it is the terrible life she had which made her look that way. Felt a bit like outside pity. Or maybe I am just allergic against all this already super abundant tajk in our times, that (not only) women's wrinkles and signs of aging are something that you surely should get rid of if you got the money?  But maybe it doesn't really matter, because either way looking old and being old was unmistakably a turn down. And right at that point (not because of the sex) I kind of wouldn't want it to be a YA novel (which I know it's not, but I am such a fan good ones, they do shape the future), because that feels so escapist and shallow. Like this is the one glorious solution to achieve ultimate freedom and happiness: immortality for all.

Doesn't that erase a lot of what seems, at least to me, to make us human? A non-perfect body, an age and with it, experience of change and all kinds of feelings and sensations. It made me sad. Not that I'm a fan of suffering and death at all, but I am pretty sure that would also turn out to be one of those frighteningly boring utopias, if you would have to live it. I mean, I can imagine a couple years of pure play, hedonism and sex might be fun. And sure I imagine that if you wanted to, you could eventually choose bodies, and who wouldn't want to experiment with that for a while? But then? Okay, eating up all the world's knowledge and solving math problems and such, which should be quick with those artificial brains, and then?
But most of all, no matter how hard I try, I just can't imagine that we could ever manage to invent something that is capable of giving us feelings as amazing as skin on skin sometimes does (or a summer wind or anything else for that matter).

So in the end what I liked most about the book (kind of in hindsight), is Dis. The first Sim or uploaded mind and her thoughts on what it means to be "living" like that. And I especially liked her suicidal tendencies. In the mid part, she figures out that killing her rebootable, non human self can make her feel again (albeit for a short momentum), which turns out to be quite addictive. I guess, by the end of the story her new body is supposed to take care of that problem too. But I am not convinced, because, really, this uploaded, immortal mind in artificial body utopia for me sadly flatlined the whole story in the end. I liked the beginning of the book about what walking away means so much better.

And is immortality really the ultimate walkaway?  Or is it maybe just getting trapped? Sure, it's being trapped in endless abundance but I can't help but think that would become pretty quickly a boring loop of feeling stuck. And how do you walk away from being software? What does walking away even mean if it doesn't take courage because you'll never die and therefore have nothing to lose? And what happens to that important state of mind and the walkaway version of a "Christian guilt trip"? Would and could that still be there? Even after a couple loops? 
But most important of all, how do you feel without being vulnerable? 
I think that it might be impossible, and if that's so, I'd much rather be vulnerable than immortal.

So, yes, go read the book, it's good and in it there is so much to think about and needs discussion. This is just what frustrated me the most about it, especially because I was so curious and waiting to read it for quite a while. I was very excited because it is a different (and these days so rare attempt) at writing an utopia. But disappointingly I am not happy with this utopia. There are other things that bug me too, and about which Julia Powels writes in Walking away from hard problems. I just want to add that in times when Burning man principles like 'radical self-reliance' inspire the super rich to prepare for apocalypse (read DOOMSDAY PREP FOR THE SUPER-RICH if you haven't yet), and a double faced Elon Mask (heavens, that's the scary guy! so much more than the kind of men that model Natalie's father -though I liked the exploration of their relation through explaining human weaknesses in the beginning) claims that it's already possible to kind of upload brains and says that this is necessary so humans have the slightest chance to COMPETE with AI and robots taking over. Something a lot of people in the tech world are scaremongering about, while they never seem to talk about what's already happening to our data selfs in an online world. And by that I mean, being almost right less and reduced to and exploited solely on our monetary value. No, I don't believe we are anywhere near for AI taking over, but I am pretty sure we are close (without even really noticing) to selling out on some of our most valuable human rights like for example: privacy. Which again, giving these rights up, right now often gets hailed as utopian solutions especially in education (so scary) by tech billionaires. Where are these people in this book? I think Julia Powels in her essay hits a very valid point in asking that.

It's true, walkaways maintain their own infrastructure but still, even if maybe possible and something we definitely need, right now that seems like a very far away utopia, while the real dystopia is rather pressing. The thought experiment of abundance is extremely important in our world of waste, where we since a long while are at a stage, where nobody would have to starve. And yet, still, so many children keep dying. But I am not sure humanity can win this speed race for turning our future in the already sense able direction of either dys- or utopia by thinking only about distributing abundance, meanwhile our digital identities (which are influencing ever more who we are in life) are seemingly enslaved by technology. The same technology that in this book's vision might free us, if we walk away and take over the task. I just don't why, the reason why we have to do it, is then not more of a topic and explored (apart from maybe in the passage about the problem with back ups). And I think the reason, should not only be about how to protect yourself because you must or are an unjustly declared criminal needing to hide from being caught, but about what rights we would need in a society that lives in the net. Which reminds me of Mark Fisher, when he writes about cynicism, self optimization and therapy, and that the burden of responsibility is now put on each of us us individually, even though we know we don't make a difference in the big game individually. Even if the walkaways solve the network problem by community, how do they deal with privacy? I think that would have been a great thing to explore, especially in contrast to the walkaway onsen culture. (I am such a fan of sauna, and as a German, often amazed that nakedness is such a big deal in for example American culture - there is this great essay about why Europeans and Americans have trouble understanding each other in the discussion about global privacy and data protection laws, because of different cultural values about exactly this...can't find it, anybody remember?).

This way, only talking all the time about encryption and other technical stuff (I don't quite understand) it seems, at least to me, a bit like a phantasy of maybe (sorry if I say so, but it jumps my mind) young male all mightiness? If we just get the encryption right, and are and act smarter than the others, all of this won't be a problem? Also, there don't seem to be any people (apart from Natalie's dad, who doesn't need to because he has money to pay for it) who aren't tech savvy geniuses. I for example, wish I was, but I am not. I read quite a lot about all this technical stuff, I find it interesting and know about it. But yes, I am still one of those people, who don't encrypt and fights with passwords and all this never ending security stuff. I hate it, and am quite happy if I can just work with my machine and I get it to do what I want. I seem to never have the time for the extra effort that would be needed to keep security all up. Maybe I also don't want to have to constantly fight for my privacy? I don't find that at all exciting and adventurous. It's maybe stubbornly simple as that.

So, these are my thoughts, all unpolished and just blurted out. If you want to read more and what other's thought about it, there are 10 essays about it on Crooked Timber.



 

The Utopian Impulse & Its Trouble With Postmodernity (Fredric Jameson) #rp17

I was a speaker of this year's re:publica, which, as every year, was an incredibly inspiring place to be and I will write more about it soon. But for now, I'd like to share my talk about Fredric Jameson's Anti-Anti-Utopianism (below also in text form) and all the further reading materials  with you. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know. Would love to get more feedback and I'm always happy to chat about Utopia.

The biggest challenge we face today seems to be our own imagination. It looks like we gave up on our future, and if we dare to think about it at all, climate catastrophe seems unavoidable. Even science fiction offers no relief. Dystopian visions are all around, and even those seem to have trouble to keep up with the speed of deteriorating reality. So, what to do. How can we get out of this?

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I stole this from recent panel called Apocalypse Buffering 1., but thought I change it just a little bit.

Because I'm here to talk to you about Utopia, not so much as science fiction, but as a thinking tool that can be used by anyone, and that I hope will help us get our future back.

Utopia by definition is a 'good place that is no place'. And if one thinks about it like this, it doesn't sound very alarming, more like a rather harmless exercise of the imagination, a thought experiment. Yet, today a lot of people believe, even if maybe naïve and useless, that such imaginary exploration of difference, if taken seriously, will always and inevitably lead to disaster. If we think about Utopia, we think about it only in negative terms. It's either ridiculous or will lead to the horrors of Stalinism and Nazi Germany. It's this, our rightful fear of its totalizing powers, that made us banish Utopia. And with time it kind of almost became unthinkable.

But what if, being unable to think it, has also made us blind to see it, to recognize Utopia?
What if, nameless and hidden from our view, it still controls the world?
A world, which seems to be quickly changing, into a bad place for people everywhere.
What if, we have been trapped by what we fear?

I want to argue that Utopia is inescapable 2., and that we have indeed been trapped. But that it's not Utopia that we should fear, but our denial of its powers. Because, as I will try to show you, Utopia is not only the cause, it is also the key to get out of what Fukuyama calls the end of history.

But to make my point I first will have to clarify some terminology, because words and their meanings are important to understand the story, I want to tell you afterwards. It's the story of neoliberalism, the most successful utopian ideology to date, yet we never call it that. I will explain why, by taking you back to its beginnings, rooted in Anti Utopianism. And how this curious, but seldom acknowledged connection, resulted in our current state. Locked into the present, seemingly unable to imagine any change, despite knowing that without it, we seem to be destined to perish.

Fredric Jameson calls this predicament 'late capitalism' or Postmodernity. A time that is best described by its rampant cynicism. How to get over it, using what he calls Anti-Anti-Utopianism will be the second part of my talk.

But first let's start with clearing up some common misconceptions about Utopia.
Anti Utopianism's most powerful weapon against Utopia has always been the claim that a perfect society can only be achieved by coercion. Therefore Utopianism will always usher totalitarianism and the use of force and violence against people. 3. But it is important to remember that Utopia, by definition, is a 'good place that is nowhere', it's not supposed to be perfect. It's also very rarely just escapism that tries to deny and dream away all negativity. Far from it, by imagining alternatives, it high lights and brings into focus what it seeks to overcome.

Or as Jameson puts it: “Utopia is not a positive vision of the future so much as it is a negative judgement of the present.” 4.

Utopias are not blueprints to build societies on, they are tools for criticism, opening doors to debates about problems that often didn't even have a name before. And seen in this light, it becomes clear that Utopia has always been the driving force of human development and history. The fact that it is haunted by reversals into its dark side or Dystopia, only helps to underscore that the utopian impulse is a process, a self correcting, critical mechanism, that aims for a better rather than a perfect world.

There is one more thing: the difference between Anti Utopia and Dystopia. Those two terms often get conflated, but there is a distinction between them, and it's important to understand. According to Lyman Tower Sargent, Dystopias are imagined by their authors, to be societies substantially worse than the ones they are living in. The term Anti Utopia in contrast, and I will quote him here: “should be reserved for that large class of works, both fictional and expository, which are directed against Utopia and utopian thought.” 5.

Maybe one could also say, that Anti Utopias are about the dangers of seeing Utopias as blue prints and acting on it. Whereas Dystopias (as well as Utopias) are tools for analysis and criticism on the contemporary. 6. Which especially in our times, because Dystopias are so popular, seems to express a collective yearning for a rupture. A collective desire to somehow break free from an all oppressing, inescapable totality. But yet, this yearning, in its wish for an end and a new beginning, is in itself inherently utopian. It doesn't matter how humble it is in aspirations. It still is a wish for difference.

So, let's look at how we got here? How did we loose our ability to imagine anything beyond the status quo or global capitalism?

It started as a lot of history does, with an utopian desire to change the world. 1938, five years after the first concentration camp was build in Dachau, and at the height of Stalin's Great Purge, two refugees from Austria met at a conference in Paris. It was a gathering of intellectuals who aimed to construct a new liberalism, one strong enough to fight, what they saw as threatening the world, socialism. 7. And it was there, that neoliberalism was born. The two men, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek, went on to define this new ideology through what only can be called a fierce Anti Utopianism. They believed that social democracy and its programs, like Roosevelt's New Deal, were just another form of collectivism that would ultimately lead to the same terrifying results as communism or nazism. For them, any form of state planning could only lead to tragedy and terror. And both went on to write books in which they ridiculed the socialist idea by calling it utopian.

In 'Bureaucracy', published six years later in 1944, von Mises writes:
“Nobody doubts that bureaucracy is thoroughly bad and that it should not exist in a perfect world.” and therefore “socialist utopias are entirely impracticable and must, … result not only in impoverishment for all but in the disintegration of social cooperation---in chaos.”

That same year Hayek's book 'The Road to Serfdom' was published too. It dedicated a whole chapter to attacking utopian thought, and argued that socialism, by destroying individual freedom must always lead to dictatorship. He concludes this chapter with:
“To those who have watched the transition from socialism to fascism at close quarters, the connection between the two systems is obvious. The realization of the socialist program means the destruction of freedom. Democratic socialism, the great utopia of the last few generations, is simply not achievable.”

But during those times their Anti Utopianism was still at the margin of political thought. Or as George Monbiot writes 7., it was still a time when governments tried to achieve “social outcomes without embarrassment.” Not only in the US but in most of Western Europe, full employment and poverty relief were common goals, and pursued by developing new public services, paid for by high taxes on the rich.
It was another economist, John Maynard Keynes, whose policies and ideas were on the rise and became widely adopted. Keynes rejected neoclassical economics, which claimed that the free market would naturally establish full employment, if unfettered by the government. It was an older utopian idea, and Keynes replaced it with his own. Having witnessed the hardships, of the Great Depression, his 'General Theory' stated that the economy could stay trapped in a high state of unemployment if the government didn't help boost consumption or investment. He argued that state intervention was necessary and went as far as to recommend that governments should spent money, on these interventions, even if they didn't have it. That was a radical idea, which Robert Reich later proposed “may have saved capitalism.”

But nowhere is his utopian dreaming more evident than in his conviction, that his new system of state managed capitalism could promote peace rather than war in the world. 8.

And even though the ideas of Hayek and von Mises stayed at the margins for decades to come, the very rich immediately identified the new theory as a promise of freedom from government regulation and those hated taxes. Think Tanks were born and lavishly funded to refine and promote the new ideology through out the world. And It grew and evolved, away from Hayek's belief that the state still had a role to play in preventing monopolies, to Milton Friedman, who saw them as a reward for efficiency. Those were decades at the margins but they were not spent idly.

And then it happened, something that according to Keynes, shouldn't be possible. High inflation and high unemployment at the very same time. It was the 70s and his dreams of a crisis-free 'transformed' capitalism hit a brick wall, and those who had been waiting, seized their opportunity.

Friedman recalls : “when the time came that you had to change...there was an alternative ready.” 9. Astonishingly, though, this alternative had already started to loose its name. And maybe what's odd about that slogan with which it, a couple years later under Reagan and Thatcher, finally came to power, is not only that it promoted freedom and choice by claiming that “there is no alternative” 10., but that the slogan itself celebrated something nameless.

And this namelessness, turned out to be a brilliant marketing idea. It played on gut feelings instead of trying to explain a new theory. And what, in rough times when people are disoriented and scared, could feel better than a bit of common sense? Because if something is not even worth mentioning, surely somehow that must be common sense. So, the namelessness enabled Neoliberalism to present itself as the answer to what they successfully sold as a natural law. A law that reduced humanity to self-interest and competition. Its theory then, was just like a cherry on top, the way one had to deal with the facts. In a spectacular reversal the blueprint on which to build societies on, which Anti utopians had spent years denouncing as the root of all evil, became nature itself and therefore was already given. Just like that, Anti Utopianism achieved the impossible. In one ingenious move, Utopia, this time as the best of all possible worlds, was not only declared and established but also hidden from view. Because not surprisingly, those Anti Utopians didn't claim that their Utopia was a perfect world. Instead it was merely the best and all that we could hope for. All-encompassing but not a place, this utopian enclosure was grander than any ever before. And it placed its new borders, firmly, in the nowhere of our minds.

But as any Utopia, recognized or not, it started to become haunted by strange reversals. If the world was one big competition, it was essential to figure out who was winning. Everything needed to be compared and quantified. And, suddenly the bureaucracy that von Mises had so despised and wanted to eliminate, became the foundation not only of economics but of everything.

And even worse, once privatized, banks and public services, turned out to be too vital or too big to fail, making it obvious that competition didn't ensure efficiency. But by 2008, when neoliberalism should have lost all credibility, bailing out banks while still maintaining that the same couldn't be done for actual people, it seemed that we simply couldn't imagine anything else anymore. What had been a slogan had become reality. There really was no alternative. Neoliberalism's utopian enclosure, the big wall in our heads, didn't allow for one. And almost ten years later, there still isn't.

This is where we are now, and it seems a political crisis even bigger than the economic one. We all know that it can not go on like this, but neoliberalism's Anti-Utopianism, exactly because it is Utopianism in disguise, has colonized our future. The only way to get it back, is overcoming our cynicism that things can not be otherwise.

So, let's turn to Jameson's Anti-Anti-Utopianism and see how it might help free our imagination.

Instead of explaining, I want to show you how it works by comparing it to one of the few examples of political ideas today, that still express some utopian longing. And that I am sure you are all familiar with: UBI or Universal Basic Income.

According to Jameson the radical difference of Utopia is achieved by two processes. One he calls Utopian Imagination, the other Utopian Fancy. The former builds on the reason why we set out to imagine it, and the latter how such an Utopia could be achieved. Utopian Imagination, as a kind of wish fulfillment, identifies a root of evil and imagines a world without of it, while Utopian Fancy, is the construction of this world, the details or what in a traditional literary Utopia would have been demonstrated by the guided tour. 11.

The Utopian Imagination of UBI, as a reaction to technology's achievements, identifies automatization as the root of evil and proposes a solution. The argument goes that automatization will obliterate the need for most of human labor, and that to deal with it, governments should pay each citizen unconditionally a monthly fee to cover their basic needs. But to find out if this solution could in fact produce systemic change, we have to ask if it would result in a truly different world. And the moment we look at the Utopian Fancy of UBI or the details of how this world is supposed to work, we look at a problem.

UBI lacks a global vision in a globalized world. Its Utopian Enclosure is, at least for now, envisioned and proposed depending on national or regional borders. The same borders right wing politics, ignoring the complexities and interdependencies of an already globalized world, is so fond of emphasizing today. And in times when refugees die at those very same borders, when they are seen as a threat, not as people we need to protect, could UBI, without a global vision, really accomplish systemic change? Or is it just a patch for the same old system, a prolongation of what we already have?

Despite that UBI as political program feels quite utopian, it still seems to keep our imagination trapped.

In contrast Fredric Jameson, admitting that all political programs today are destined to fail, because they have to work inside the system, doesn't even aspire to imagine one. Instead he simply sets out on a thought experiment and asks himself what the most radical demand on our system would be, that could not be fulfilled without transforming the system beyond recognition.
And he comes up with an old answer: full employment. 12.

As economists will frankly admit, capitalism runs on profits and eternal growth, and needs its masses of the unemployed to keep inflation in low. 13. If workers weren't threatened by cheaper unemployed competition they would start to demand fair share of those profits, and therefore full employment, would no doubt, transform the system radically.
But one rather quickly comes to realize that the system would have to be changed in advance, for such a change to ever take place.

And it looks like a vicious circle with no escape. But still, imagining such a future allows us to read the dark spots of our current situation as symptoms of that root of evil we identified. Jameson writes: crime, war, degraded mass culture, drugs, violence, boredom, the lust for power, the lust for distraction, sexism, racism – all can be diagnosed as results of a society unable to accommodate the productiveness of all its citizens. 14.

But what's the difference then to UBI you might ask? Doesn't UBI want to solve the same problem? It does, but the difference becomes clear when we look at the main arguments brought forward by its proponents from the left and the right. And which can be summed up to something that sounds rather familiar: There is no alternative. The focus lies not on the value of all human beings for society 15. but on an inevitable progress that simply can not be stopped.

The left might highlight the promise of new, social productiveness unleashed by the freedom of not having to worry about food or a roof over your head, but the discussions always seem to end up at the same question: Could we afford the freeloaders? The people that can't or won't compete to proof their value.

I really want UBI to rid us from our belief in this fake human nature of self interest and competition, that neoliberalism so successfully implanted in our brains and hearts, but how could this be achieved, if UBI won't change the system itself?

I believe what most of us hope, is that UBI could create alternative spaces for collaboration inside the system. But the problem becomes painfully visible, when even its defenders admit, that its success depends on the amount of money that will be handed out. Could that ever work, in times of global inflation? And even if the money will help us build those collectives and co-ops. Wouldn't we still end up being forced to compete with each other? Measuring human value by economic gains?

So, although Jameson's proposal of full employment also misses global aspirations and seems less likely than UBI to ever come true, it still offers something that UBI does not.
It makes us realize much more clearly those walls in our heads. And once we seen them, we can start to examine what they are made of and wonder if there might be any cracks.

If the problem seems to be that we can't imagine a society where all humans have value, then a good crack to start with, might be the realization that our cynicism is just the frank acknowledgement of exactly that. Because the truth is, that even if we still try to believe in them, we lost all our values by replacing them with money.

And if that's so, it might be a great idea to return to and ponder one of the oldest utopian dreams: abolishing money, and imagining a life without of it. 16. Because even if seemingly impossible, the mere thought experiment of it, not only brings an immediate aesthetic relief but unmasks all kinds of individual and social relationships, that have been disguised by the abstraction of value through money. Imagining a world without it makes visible the immense, often already unpaid human collaboration on which even our system rests. And instead of the deadlock that a supposed human nature based on competition used to create, the utopian impulse finally is released to imagine other forms of being.

What Jameson's Anti-Anti-Utopianism proposes is, that the answer to our conviction that no alternative is possible, is the utopian form itself. Not by offering a blueprint or a plan, but by insisting that difference is possible and that the break is necessary.

In our times where we are at the stage of massive protests and demonstrations, but without any conception of how a globalized transformation might proceed. Where we want to act but we don't know how. And where any political program currently offered only fuels our cynicism.
Our state of mind might be best reflected by Utopia's radical break from reality.

It's former weakness, lack of agency and plans for a working political transition, paradoxically now turn into a power. Forcing us, to concentrate on, and to think the break itself.

Anti-Anti-Utopianism does not offer immediate solutions for the problems of our globalized world, but it also isn't cynicism or capitulation and hopelessness. Instead much stronger than any rhetoric about the future of our children ever could, it helps us see what keeps us locked in the present and through it develop a fear of losing the future by locating it directly within ourselves.
It's grasping and rattling the bars of our cage in an intense spiritual preparation for an impossible future that yet has to arrive.

We may feel helpless and we don't have a plan, but we do have power.
The system of money making and profits may not need us to believe in it,
but it still needs us to believe in its eternal permanence.

1. Recommend checking out this wonderful recent panel from #TtW17 Apocalypse Buffering Thank you Ingrid Burrington for the awesome gif idea!

2. Another idea I thought I had writing without realizing that I heard it before.
Lucy Sargisson - "Utopianism in the twenty-first century"

3. Tom Moylan - Scraps of the Untainted Sky p.75 (Lyman Tower Sargent)

4. Sean Homer, Anti Anti Utopianism - Imagining Alternative Spaces (Fredric Jameson)

5. Tom Moylan - Scraps of the Untainted Sky p.72 (Lyman Tower Sargent)

6. For further reading on this I recommend all books by Tom Moylan who coined the terms: critical utopia and critical dystopia.

7. In this part of the talk I rely heavily on a fantastic essay by George Monbiot I highly recommend reading: Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

or directly get his book about the topic How Did We Get into This Mess?: Politics, Equality, Nature

8. To really see Keynes Utopian Dreaming in action, do yourself a favour and read him in his own wordsJohn Maynard Keynes, Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren (1930)* and here is a quote from it,that I think shows the reason why his approach was destined to fail.
There are also various fantastic blogs and articles about Keynes online but I recommend The Ideas of John Maynard Keynes by Sam Williams who also touches on the dark sides, namely Eugenics which was a very widely accepted and promoted idea during those times

9. George Monbiot The Zombie Doctrine"

10. If I can make you read one book, let it be this: Mark Fisher - Capitalist realism: Is there no alternative?

11. If I can make you read two books, read also the one this whole talk is based on. It's fantastic and also the reason why my talk ran on the Science Fiction track, eventhough in the end because of time and to not make it too confusing (this is packed with ideas and thoughts you can chew on for years to come) I had to constrain myself and talk only politics and economics.
Fredric Jameson, The Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia

12. Jameson always argued that Utopia is incredible important but not possible, but lately been working on concepts how to make it happen anyhow. This is my favorite talk by him and I am pretty sure you'd enjoy it too.
An American Utopia: Fredric Jameson"

13. John Henley - What does full employment mean?

14. Fredric Jameson - ARCHAEOLOGIES. OF THE FUTURE. The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions p.147

15. Peter Fleming - What is human capital? Human capital theory was invented as an ideological weapon in the Cold War. Now it is helping to Uberise the world of work

16. Fredric Jameson - ARCHAEOLOGIES. OF THE FUTURE. The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions p.229


Further reading materials on Fredric Jameson and Anti-Anti-Utopianism:

Fredric Jameson - Archaeologies of the Future - The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions

Thomas More’s Utopia - in it's free and open online edition by Stephen Duncombe

Fredric Jameson - The Politics of Utopia  

Fredric Jameson - Utopia and Failure

Fredric Jameson - The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism  

Fredric Jameson - In Hyperspace

Fredric Jameson - Cognitive Mapping

Sean Homer - Anti Anti-Utopianism: Imagining Alternative Spaces

Another World - Michelle Kuo talks with David Graeber

The New Utopians - Kim Stanley Robinson and the novelists who want to build a better future through science fiction. Solarpunk

Liam A. O’Donnell - Preserving the Possibility of the Impossible  

Mark Fisher - READING THE IMPERCEPTIBLE TREMORS OF AN UNIMAGINABLE FUTURE

Pekka Kilpeläinen -Reading Politically: Fredric Jameson, Ideology, and Utopia

Pekka Kilpeläinen - In Search of a Postcategorical Utopia: James Baldwin and the Politics of "race" and Sexuality

Robert T. Tally Jr.  - Power to the Educated Imagination!: Northrop Frye and the Utopian Impulse

Hyong-jun Moon -The Post-Apocalyptic Turn: a Study of Contemporary Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Narrative

John J. Morrell - THE DIALECTIC OF CLIMATE CHANGE: APOCALYPSE, UTOPIA AND THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMAGINATION  

Ralph Dumain (autodidact project) - Science Fiction & Utopia Research Resources:
A Selective Work in Progress


Positing Futurity: The Possibilities of Utopology

Utopia, Dystopia, and the Myth of Neoliberalism

Demanding the Impossible: Utopia, Dystopia and Science-Fiction  

Joshua Glenn - Back to utopia - Can the antidote to today's neoliberal triumphalism be found in the pages of far-out science fiction?

The Golden Age of Creativity

Last year I was invited to hold a short speech and be part of a panel discussion about IP exploitation at TheArts+ Frankfurter Book Fair. Thought I post what I had to say:


A Golden Age of Creativity?

Hello and thank you all very much for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today.

I am one of the many freelance creators, that could be called the foundation of the creative industries.

Our numbers are exploding but in the discussions about IP our voices are almost never heard.

One reason is, we all work alone, and there is no organization yet representing us.

But I think, the main reason is, that IP in our day to day work life is almost irrelevant.

How could that be?

The biggest problem creatives face is precarious work, or the gig economy.

As a creative I provide a service. I offer my skills, expertise and labour to create customized, mostly one-off products.
An animation, an advertisement, a website.

But my customers don't see me as a service provider, they buy products. Why does it matter?

In my field a good example would be the countless explainer video start ups. Competition is fierce and prices have been falling dramatically.

They are so low now, that fixed prices are offered,
often with guarantees that the clients will get the product they want, no matter how many changes will be necessary.

That's the value crisis as it looks like from my perspective. Work hours have been decoupled from the prices of products, that are really service work.

IP as a freelance creative is irrelevant to me, because almost always work for hire excludes me having any claim on IP.

Contracts are mostly take it or leave it.
And I usually don't have the commercial negotiating power, nor the funds for a lawyer, or the time to achieve the legal skills necessary to defend myself.

So why don't I start creating original work and license my IP? Platforms to do this already exist.

But to make money on graphic river or any other online market place, I have to invest my labour & expertise, expensive equipment, time to learn about and conform my files to the platforms standards.

And I will still have to read pages and pages of technical legal language, I do not understand.

In the end I will have spent days for a product, I don't even have the right to set a price for.

In fact, the pages on how those platforms calculate what I will earn are the most difficult to understand. But I guess the gist is, prices are set quite arbitrarily, the percentages I get are tiny, hard to calculate and sprinkled with fees. And the only way to earn more than pennies is to become what they call an exclusive. Meaning my work will be locked into a platform that isn't even transparent about their algorithm. The algorithm that decides if and who gets to see my work.

And you know what, these companies won't even protect me from others infringing my work. Graphic river states on its help page about piracy:

that they have to be "realistic about not being able to deal with all piracy."

What it means is, that they won't help me if somebody uses my files without paying. They only take legal actions against big infringer sites.

You might understand by now that the golden age of creativity doesn't look so golden to me.

But at least creative work is safe from automatization, right?

I spent lots of time learning and perfecting skills that today one can do with a single click.

And there are already things like Jukedeck.
Trained deep neural networks writing original music. You can customise the resulting track with the touch of a button, download it and use it completely royalty-free.

The price for a track? 99cents

So, Is this the dawn of a golden age of creativity?

I do believe so.

I work as a freelance creative but I am also an artist.
Arists have always worked in the precarious world of the gig economy.

There are many of us, and very few ever succeed. Even fewer get rich. But that doesn't stop us, we just have to create.

We share this trait now with everybody. We are all artists and creators now.

We do it daily. We use software to edit our photos and family movies, style our profiles and presentations, post on instagram and facebook.

And truly amazing things happen when we collaborate.
I am still amazed that wikipedia is possible, or that twitter revolutionized how the news get reported.

But if you think about it, most platforms owe their success in huge part to their users unpaid work.

Even if there was a way to implement strong IP protection without breaking the web, it could never recover the value lost by all this unpaid work.

But just because a value isn't monetized doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Wall street might think twitter has failed, but its users do not.

That's why those users are trying to buy twitter now. And platform cooperatives are on the rise.

The business model of collaborative work is creating value for society.

That’s why in the future we won't measure growth,
We will measure collective value created for and by communities.

If the creative industries wants to benefit from this mayor emerging value shift, we all have to explore new ways of being useful to society.

The future is not about IP transactions but collective intelligence.

And it's not our finished products but our services that this future needs. Open Innovation, Co-design, call it what ever you want, but it needs mediators who have experience in how to combine, express and translate ideas.

Who, if not the creatives, are better equipped to work with ideas on such an incredible scale?

We could help governments and companies communicate with their citizens and users. We could lead the way in implementing the resulting changes.

We could be the facilitators in a process that will lead us, eventually, to the sustainable socio-economic models we all know, we need.

All of us could really matter. Thank you.