With part six, the “Dangerous Days” essay is now complete. A once vague idea which crossed the mind many years ago, took shape during my first visit to Japan in 2016. It quickly became clear why the film “Blade Runner” (directed by Ridley Scott, 1982) which portrays Los Angeles in 2019, contains more than a few references to Japan. As a Westerner in a Japanese city one inevitably feels like being fast forwarded into a near future scenario. What I wound up with was an abundance of material which consisted of a total of 11k photos shot during five visits, from which 1.738 images were edited and about 600 chosen. The essence of approx. 300 audio field recordings taken, served the producers to build the tracks on. For part two, a 360 degree video was made from actual frames of an MRI scan which I had to undertake, when a tropical virus messed with the optic nerves inside my brain. Furthermore, an experimental short video was created for the finale. Writing and narrowing down countless pages of text and hundreds of notes, sure kept this project challenging.
German fine artist, music producer and DJ Phillip Sollmann aka Efdemin, crafted an invaluable, spectacular finale to say the least. My message to all musicians who contributed to this project: I submerge into your dimensions of sound, well aware of your proximity to perfection. Many thanks to Oliver Kargl aka RNDM, Grimes Adhesif, Stewart Walker, S Katz, Jamaica Suk and Phillip Sollmann aka Efdemin, who all surpassed my expectations by far and made excellent use of the recorded material provided. Audio will remain online for a a few weeks only. A limited edition vinyl release as well as a “Dangerous Days” event with live performances is considered.
The portfolio of problems we accumulated outweighs the achievements by far and puts us in a state of great imbalance. Thoroughly discussed and analyzed, with even good ideas and solutions to many problems at hand, we have nevertheless proven incapable of applying them by coming to terms in a timely manner. Now, the consequences have to be met and undeniably, stormier times lie ahead. The question is how stormy and what caused the deadlock to begin with? Could the perception and expectation of one’s significance be a cause? Is there any significance at all? To exploit uncertainty and fear, which is human nature, some people got inventive a while back and came up with quite wacky fairy tales. Promises of gods and angels awaiting you in the heavenly gardens, if you did good or devils and demons eternally punishing in a fiery hell of pain, those who did bad is just as outlandish as being born into a caste, just to reincarnate for as long as it takes to “turn good”. Is it not clear that this very ability to host and recognize both forces within one spirit, is what should be cherished and not fought? If the universe/god provides access to both forces, it’s an invitation to try to balance them. This presupposes, that energy in all its states of aggregation, is understood and accepted as one.
In Sir David Attenborough’s documentary “The Empire Of The Ants” true progress can be witnessed. On one side of the Jura mountains, a large number of ant colonies stay on course doing things the “proven” way like it has always been. Meaning that only the colony an ant is born into counts, while all others have to be fought and defeated. On the other side of that same mauntain, a new, huge and far advanced empire has astonishingly formed by means of cooperation. It became the largest animal society in the world, incorporating over a billion individuals from formerly rival colonies. To make this work, all participants had to agree on new terms which required each empress to share the throne as well as mate with other males from and for other colonies alike. It also required all members of that new empire to accept and obey the new given. The exchange of chemically based code between the colonies (language), enabled exactly that. While the conservative, right-wing colonies who are constantly at war, remain as weak in their appearance, limited in their abilities and short in life-span as ever, the super colony of ants (known to be the first of its kind) is flourishing by favoring progress.
A miraculous development which raises the question what initiated this witty move? With currently 52 dictatorships “governing” and a sheer endless list of ongoing armed conflicts, you already know on which side of the Jura mountains we’d reside. The inability to reflect and adapt has created a world full of anxiety, senseless greed and confusion. Overcrowded, absurd and packed with people who don’t know what they are doing, what to believe in and think, our tiny dimension is a frightening place. A “reality” where one can declare the opposite of a fact to be true and by doing so, win over the presidency of the United States of America. Even if that individual is an orange colored maniac, an error of galactic proportions bound to be corrected, through emphatic and swift termination by the algorithm of evolution.
The consistency of hyper-expensive armed conflicts is a tough nut to crack. Most are in fact initiated and fueled by the globally operating “Military Industrial Complex“, making sure that plenty of wars are raging at any given time. It’s a condition if you want to keep the biggest money machine there is, running smoothly. As soon as things tend to calm down, the M.I.C. initiates new wars or prolongs others in order to generate the desired weapons sales. The nukes thrown on Japan would not have been necessary at all. The military involved just wanted to see how their new technological achievement would perform in “real life conditions”. It was never OK to throw nukes anywhere except in your own backyard, if you really have to. Neither the folks from Bikini nor from any other location which involuntarily “served” as testing ground for weapon experiments carried out by both the East and West, had any interest in playing a part in the insane atomic game. It’s the pattern of typical, obnoxious colonizers’ behavior which has not changed a bit ever since it started. I doubt autonomous weapon systems are a good idea.
The civil use of nuclear turned sour too, becoming the only industry in history, whose business is to split worthless material for horrendous cost just to get more worthless material which costs even more. How much, nobody knows. Today neither Uranium nor Plutonium can be sold. You have to pay to get rid of it. So what to do if you run a nuclear reprocessing plant like the one in La Hague, France, producing a never ending stream of the most problematic stuff out there? Simple, just create “MOX”, a lucrative idea which is nothing less than the most hazardous fuel ever thought of. A mix of ‘U’ and ‘Pu’ which is sold alongside the nuclear power plants designed to burn it. ‘Pu’ is the last thing you should use to fuel anything to begin with and it seems like a no brainier to avoid installing such a device on earthquake shaken soil, like Japan. Yet it’s exactly what happened. We have created a logic that can’t be escaped from anymore, entrapped in an ever costlier vicious circle where the nuclear industry makes enormous profits by first contaminating and then trying to decontaminate entire regions. The goat has become the gardener except that this goat leaves other shit behind. A growing, deadly pile of it. You won’t even find more than a few traces of Plutonium in nature. The amounts we produce were never meant to come into existence. It is an incomparably toxic problem that won’t go away. A half-lifespan beyond comprehension is one beyond control.
Almost everything in our late-modern world is more about making money for corporations and their shareholders rather than providing services in anything approaching an efficient, fair and equitable manner that is good for physical, mental, social and planetary health. Agriculture has turned into “agribusiness”. Healthcare has turned into “health-business” and the same goes for education and most everything else. By measuring and calculating solely in money as the parameter of measurement, is primitive and limiting because there are other parameters which belong into the equation, defining what fauna and flora, raw materials, water and food, shelter, ideas, rights, success, happiness and even life itself are really worth. Or what extinction, death or damage to a person or property, area-wide poisoning and toxic wastelands should be worth.
The devaluation of our entire world through means of speculation, was a big mistake and has the potential of bringing an end to capitalism as we know it. Money systems on which our economies rely and run on must never be a casino. The idea behind weighing real values at 1:1 against its fictional proof, was to have an assurance that a transaction is secure. This proof came in a compact and compatible format, a widely accepted and standardized certificate you carried with you in the shape of coins and later also paper, acting as trustworthy documents which guaranteed ownership of goods and services. Trading goods directly was and still is a good system but it’s also a highly impractical one, for obvious reasons. What the brilliant Phoenicians invented in 1500 BC – the concept of money – has turned into a nightmare of an omnipresent and extremely negative force. Money has become the tool for modern slavery. An electronic whip made out of nothing more than an idea. It got ugly once money itself became the product in the form of dept, interest and bets. Does “effortless” money which supposedly and miraculously multiplies without you having to do anything for it, sound too good to be true?
It’s not interest that is working for creditors, it’s debtors. While in ancient Greece, a possible collapse of the system was prevented by declaring debtor-bondage illegal, the Roman Empire on the other hand, eventually collapsed on exactly that. Debt and interest is what brought it down and not it’s size. Today we have gone way more radical with the “Gorilla” type of trader. It was the gorilla who declared that “He wants to rip his opponent’s heart out and eat it” (Quote: Richard S. Fuld Jr., CEO at Lehman Brothers). But supercomputers do the trading in 2022, operating entirely autonomous to fight each other to the core. They compete by means of ultra fast processing and interpretation of information. Advantages are gained via ever faster networks, better written code and hardware featuring secret, technological novelties. Most importantly though is the proximity to what was once called the “trading floor” and now is, for instance NASDAQ or (OSE) Hercules.
Supercomputers are massive data-centers hidden away behind windowless walls and positioned anywhere favorable. Billions of dollars change ownership in split seconds, on networks and servers sometimes located in the poorest neighborhoods you can set foot on, merely because of their ideal Geo location. “HFT” (High Frequency Trading) has a mind of its own and can cause “flash-crashes” which have the potential to down entire currencies and nations for no apparent, plausible reason. It’s artificial intelligence at work. One of the trading bots installed for Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, Germany, just kept going during the last flash-crash, disobeying the script which should have forced a shut down. The programmer never found out how “it” bypassed his correctly implemented security measures.
The appreciation of all life and all things is crucial. Water and food, a piece of cloth, a camera or computer, steel structure, plastic bag, a concrete building or data are made of energy which can’t be created, consumed or deleted. Energy can only transform and flow and that has to be be the guideline. Tying down energy by trashing artificial material and compounds which we have produced and which therefore require a much longer decomposition time, is locked energy we’re in dire need of. Arresting energy by ways of fast and senseless consumption cycles with extremely short product life spans, is a brainless and ignorant way of doing business and an empty-headed way to consume. Cheap products eventually cost much more than initially pricier, higher quality ones.
A plastic cup for example, requires too much energy for a mere 5 minute end use. It takes 450 years to decompose, if it’s not recycled or burned. The energy we put into that cup won’t be available elsewhere for the entire period, if the item winds up where it shouldn’t. Such as in the woods or in the sea for instance. Furthermore illegal dumping causes a rat tail of other issues like micro-plastic which is part of everyone and everything already. Using higher quality materials and quitting the disposable habits feels better too. Extending the lease of life on an item by means of repair is an extremely satisfying and rewarding experience. And a much less expensive one. Fix what can be fixed, upgrade what can be upgraded and don’t believe the hype. It’s the technical specifications of a piece of equipment which are relevant. Find your own style and quit being a consumption and fashion victim. The longer and more often an item is used, the more it’s worth.
Inuit: “To hunt is to breathe. You breathe in your culture and take only what you need. It’s a gift and not a matter of course. Respect means being sensible and efficient. Nothing is thrown out. There simply is no waste at all. You cannot own nature.” A powerful message also shared by Native American and other nomad tribes. There is a crystal clear message here, pointing out the impossibility of owning property. Imagine listening to mayflies talking about signing a contract on the transfer of ownership of your apartment. How ridiculous that would be, with both of them dead before the next sunrise. We have been granted temporary access to this space along a chance to make something out of it. But no property is owned and no planet will ever need or want us to save it, or call it mother for that matter. No one cares what we think we can do, important is only what’s done. The boundaries of space and time can be overcome in spheres where ideas, art and love reside at, not at a bank or on a piece of land.
Cherishing your privacy and maintaining your data means protecting your freedom. It’s amazing how many exhibitionists there are these days. Doing things you wouldn’t otherwise do, unless you’re a stripper or into it but then again, you’d do it differently and not use your real name, telling the whole world, where exactly you are right now and with whom. One self portrait per year is sufficient. Or why exactly do people feel the need to constantly publish photos of themselves and their private moments? As if it they were a Michael Angelo. Have some dignity and show some pride and be aware what you are giving away. Entire personalities and detailed profiles including complete activity timelines and emotional curricula, are up for grabs. It might soon be easier to upload such a profile to a robot’s memory than creating it from scratch. Never forget that what can be done, will be done.
Researchers exploring the subatomic realm are collaborating with astrophysics to share their findings about how everything might indeed be connected. What scientists at the LHC (Large Hadron Collider, CERN, Geneva) have been publishing is mind-blowing and directly ties into the questions physicists have about the history of the universe. Observations of particles which do not obey the known laws of physics point towards an ultimate, master theory. Why does this matter? We have no idea what “everything” means because only about 5% of all matter is known to us. The rest is a mystery and thus named “dark matter”. Just as puzzling is the understanding of the beginning and end of time. Therefore we can’t even know whether we live in a base reality or in a simulation. Well advised are those who accept that homo sapiens might just be another step on a Darwinian latter. It’s not set in stone on what kind of system, the “GAI” (General Artificial Intelligence) has to function on. In the end it doesn’t matter whether an intelligence runs on a biological or an artificial network. Over time, the more advanced will emerge, with its offspring thankfully looking back at the Anthropocene.
Putting things in perspective often reveals where the wrong questions are asked. One of my favorites is “Are we alone?” It’s never been IF but WHEN other intelligent life forms exist. Our appearance in the tiny book of life on earth which holds a thousand pages, is no more than a stroke in the last character of the last word. We can’t even be read yet. The overall probability of us being alone is zero, looking at the numbers of galaxies and star systems in the known universe. But the probability of meeting other intelligent life forms during our time is also zero. We can go places though because when an inventive mind meets a curious one, there is no stopping. In some aspects we surpassed the visions which were put in silver salts with “Blade Runner” (1982), while remaining behind on others. Sociologically close to what was predicted, escaping to an exoplanet is still more than a stretch away. But the persistence and capabilities with which for instance Space X tirelessly works on getting us to Mars, are clearly mapping out where we’re headed. And if flying cars are in fact drones, it’s fine with me. Just look at the “SD-XX”, designed by Tokyo based SkyDrive Inc., what a beauty. Tbc in 2049.
Concept, design, text, photos, video, audio field-recordings: Oliver Lins, Berlin (AT)
“Dangerous Days 06 | Outlook – The Future” by Efdemin aka Phillip Sollmann, Berlin (DE)
Nuclear bomb effects computer: The Lovelace Foundation (GH)
LHC Atlas detector; particle collisions sequence (video): CERN, Geneva (CH)
SD-XX flying car: Skydrive Inc. Tokyo (JP)
Red planet: NASA (US)
NGC-6380 globular cluster (video): ESA/Hubble (EU) & NASA (US)
Thank you for your support.
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OLEX – Oliver Lins