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inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #126 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 9 Jan 11 09:49
    
*French leak-clone wannabe attempts suicide.

http://www.lemonde.fr/societe/article/2011/01/09/le-createur-du-site-wikileaks
13-tente-de-se-suicider_1463078_3224.html

*This leaking stuff isn't for sissies.

*Fifteen young men found decapitated in abandoned cars in Acapulco. 
There's a society with some violence issues.  I wonder where they came
from, and what they did to give offense.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #127 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 9 Jan 11 09:53
    
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/weather/nasa-satellites-capture-amazing-pict
ures-of-queensland-floods-20110106-19gql.html

*Australian CO2-mining district under water.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #128 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 9 Jan 11 10:26
    
<53> "The monkeys in our heads are rattled, they're bouncing and
swinging
out of control. Streams of thought block awareness of the moment.
We're
somnambulists in a world of persistent dreams that are not necessarily
our own. The voices in our heads are not inherently our own, and not
inherently friendly. And there are so many of them."

As usual you two are hop,skip and jumping through so many ideas it's
going to take months to digest.

Rereading the conversation and this just leaps out. That is beautiful
prose Jon and totally nails it, for my head at least.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #129 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 9 Jan 11 10:48
    
<94>*When "your information medium, communication medium, and social
medium are all precisely the same," you are looking at the world
through a pinhole.  It may well be that certain aspects of
"information, communication and sociality" are converging through
TCP/IP right now, but that situation won't last.  

Been thinking about this for days. Your pinhole analogy is apt and
scary. And I'm glad it won't last. But for now, it's truly being
manipulated by the media and spin masters. It's like they focus that
pinhole as a laser beam to warp and weave those voices Jon is talking
about. And the speed with which this stuff gets disseminated is unreal.

Sarah Palin has already wiped her website: RT @sarabethbrooks: quick
scrub of @sarahpalinusa's website no longer lists @Rep_Giffords , it
did an hr ago: (from Twitter).

So much for owning your own words.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #130 of 156: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 9 Jan 11 11:04
    
The crazy doesn't stop. 

Fred Phelps says "God sent the shooter... mouthy witch Sarah Palin had
Representative Giffords in the crosshairs on her website. She quick
took it down, however, because she's a cowardly brute like the rest of
you. The crosshairs to worry about are God's... and he's put you in
his, and your destruction is upon you. You should have obeyed. This
nation of violent murderers is in full rebellion against God. God
avenged himself on you today by a marvelous work in Tucson. He sits in
heaven and laughs at you in your affliction. Westboro Baptist Church
prays for more shooters, more violent veterans, and more dead. Praise
God for his righteous judgments in this earth..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qpkxoql4xz0
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #131 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 9 Jan 11 12:10
    
RT @dangillmor: Today's mediastorm is a reminder of @cshirky's great
line: Fact checking is down, but after-the-fact checking is way up

Another from Twitter.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #132 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 9 Jan 11 12:12
    
*The Right deserves a scolding for their culture war, but the killer
was a longhaired, pot-smoking science fiction reader.  Hope they don't
round 'em all up.

*If everybody Sarah Palin targeted gets shot, that sure would mean a
bunch of dead Republicans.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #133 of 156: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 9 Jan 11 12:13
    
#116: I've already seen people say that since he has Mein Kampf listed
as a book, he must be a Socialist, because Nazis are the National
*Socialist* party.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #134 of 156: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 9 Jan 11 12:46
    
And they're quick to point out that Fred Phelps is a Democrat.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #135 of 156: Julie Sherman (julieswn) Sun 9 Jan 11 16:45
    
From julian.bond@voidstar.com:

There's been a certain amount of discussion so far about the past and 
especially past literature. This is not strictly in the same area but 
I'll toss it out and see if it sticks.

I'm interested in Bruce's thoughts on History/Futurology in these
times of rapid growth as someone who's turned their hand to factual
futurology occasionally. The most thought provoking event I went to
last year was Doctorow vs Gibson where Gibson talked a lot about the
contraction of now. Back in the 50s, "Now" seemed to be at least 5
years long. That allowed people to think in terms of predicting the
future 20 years or so out. Sometimes it seems these days that "now" is
more like 5 months long and future prediction is only remotely reliable
2 years out.

A few datapoints. Last year was probably the first year when the total
information in the world doubled in under 12 months. Bizarrely,
there'snot enough long term storage to store it all so a lot of that
information is in short term storage and will be forgotten. That 
information generation is still accelerating. Another one. Most of 
China's provinces expect >10% growth next year but central gov is 
telling them to slow down for energy supply and environmental reasons.
This level of growth is not exclusively Chinese and is happening in
other pockets as well. Much to think about here. Not least of which is
the hierarchy of control in China and it's inability to actually
control what's happening. The provincial governments are just as much
bystanders in this game as the central one when it's the burgeoning
middle class and entrepreneurial companies that are driving it
forwards.

We humans have a hard time understanding high rates of compound
exponential growth. It makes history irrelevant when what happened 3
doubling periods ago is now only 7% of the total. It makes the future
hard to see when today is going to be only 7% of the total in 3
doubling period's time. When the doubling period is under one year,
that's only a 6 year window. To make the example more extreme, the
total information at the end of this year will be 7 times the total at
the beginning of last year. That's a 24 month window. When I say
history is becoming irrelevant, I'm not talking so much about the
nuggets of great art or the important events but things like people's
personal photos / blogs / diaries.

I'm trying hard not to fall into the Singularity or 2012 delusion here
but this feels like a sound barrier like shockwave that we're 
accelerating towards. The problem is that in many areas we're on the 
steep part of the S-curve. While we can see the peak and it's
associated slow down or overshoot/crash, in many cases (energy supply,
pollution limits) it still feels like it's a long way off. But that's
the understanding exponential growth problem. When you're down to 50%
of remaining resources it still feels intuitively like there's plenty
of head room, but actually you're only one doubling period or less away
from running out if the rate of use is roughly the same order as the
size of resource. The end of the runway a mile away has a way of
sneaking up on you when you've hit 100mph and you've still got your
foot hard on the gas.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #136 of 156: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sun 9 Jan 11 21:13
    
When the "Y2K bug" was acknowledged, and I was working on a mitigation
project, I was talking to a nontechnical friend of mine who was ready
to move to the desert with stores of food and guns, convinced disaster
was certain. And it might've been rough - but mitigation teams all over
the world were aware of the problem, doing the analysis, making the
necessary adjustments.

The Y2K problem was clear, discrete, easy to understand, and
solveable. That's a good problem to have.

Julian is talking about wicked problems. A wicked problem is "a
problem that is difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete,
contradictory, and changing requirements that are often difficult to
recognize. Moreover, because of complex interdependencies, the effort
to solve one aspect of a wicked problem may reveal or create other
problems."
(https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Wicked_problem)

Global climate change is wicked problem, hard to solve because it's
not well understood, and there are conflicting and contradictory
interests creating a fog of information, disinformation, and
misinformation. 

But...

What Julian says in that last post, and what I've said so far in this
one, is more shadow than light - concepts and abstractions obscuring
what's real.

The deeper we get into the fog, the less real we are, the harder it is
to solve the wicked problems.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #137 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 04:51
    
http://thismodernworld.com/archives/5557

*I wouldn't claim there's no American political violence lately, but
really, by the Red-State Blue-State standards of Chickamauga and
Gettysburg, it's been very low-key.  Even this particular horrid
incidents ranks as a "tragedy" rather than some incipient coup.  It'll
fade like most other American lone-gunman massacres.  Unless it turns
out the guy had an accomplice, which I doubt.

My favorite Twitter barometer, @SarahPalinUSA keeping a low profile
lately.  When this thing blows over like that indignation over
Columbine, she'll be back.  Not to demand blood or anything, because
Sarah's not violent.  She'll be reassuming her favorite role as
innocent Christian martyr to the Liberal LameStream Media lynch mob.

Of course every fellow "common sense conservative" knows Sarah had
nothing to do with the trigger pulled on a fellow female American
politician.  The more that partisan lightning falls on her, the more it
affirms her cultural importance.  She's the woman who resigned from
elective office to assume the role of the Tea Party Joan of Arc.  

Sarah's opponents keep thinking that the smell of loathsome opprobrium
will drive her out of American public life.  That's what the Right
thought about Bill Clinton.

Sarah is here to stay.  Unless, that is, somebody shoots Sarah.  Then
there will be hell to pay.  And the likelihood of that?  It just shot
way, way up.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #138 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 04:53
    
Well, we're cruising to a close in a bloody haze of maniacal gunfire,
so I want to write a little concluding essay here,  about a certain
Brazilian pop musician, and why she makes me eagerly anticipate what
comes next.

I happen to be quite the Cibelle Cavalli devotee, and it's not because
of her music (although her music is pretty good, if you like exotic
Brazilian electronica with diva vocals).   Pop stars are always
interesting to me, while musicians interest me only on occasion. 
Musicians create works of music.  Popstars create wannabes.  Musicians
can be very private people, while popstars are public media figures who
inspire some social emulation.  

Here I think Cibelle has rather a lot to offer,  as a contemporary
working artist in a 21st-century avant-garde position.  

I surmise that this decade is gonna reveal a lot more people who are
doing what Cibelle is doing -- following her strategy, although, likely
not quite in the way she is doing it.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #139 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 04:54
    
First, she's offshored.  She's based in London (to the extent that
she's based anywhere), although she's originally from Sao Paulo.  So
she represents Brazilian Globalization.  She's not American, yet her
fan-base is extensively globalized (her record label is Belgian.  She
tours Turkey, Europe, and the US).

Second, she's electronic and digital. She's got a band, or at least
some London guys willing to accompany her in some of her
peregrinations, but as her career has advanced since 2003, she's gotten
steadily more network-centric and hardware-centric -- less pretty-girl
with acoustic guitar, way more techno DJ on the net.

Third, Cibelle does elaborate, artsy, even vaudeville-style
performances with lighting, props and costumes.  "You had to be there,"
and that's the point.   That's how you get people to pay to come in
the door.  Musicians can't sell music now; journalists can't sell
journalism.  So "events are the new magazines."  
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #140 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 04:57
    
Fourth, Cibelle has a cluster of allies who support her, and these
people are not musicians.  They're the "Abravanista" movement, based in
Sao Paulo.  Cibelle sometimes refers to herself as an "Abravanista
activist," and if you think of her as a Sao Paulo Abravanista
evangelist instead of some crooning diva with a guitar, all of a sudden
her seemingly scattered activities get a lot more coherent.  

The Abravanista people are difficult for me to describe.  I don't yet
understand them.  They're very Brazilian, and deeply into performance
art, video, painting, couture, and gay liberation.  Trying to sum them
up in a few words of American English is like trying to sum up the
Brazilian Tropicalia movement.  

You kinda know the Abravana crowd when you see them, because they're
long-haired big-city disco people with glitter clothes, neon and body
paint.  Yet they're  into a headspace that lacks a non-Brazilian
equivalent.

Interestingly, and maybe kind of synchronistically, the art term
"Abravana" comes from a famous young woman who was a  Patty Hearst
kidnapping figure in a huge Brazilian  political-violence scandal. 
Patricia Abravanel was dazed, and suffering Stockholm syndrome from her
week-long kidnapping ordeal, so after this colossal, televised fracas,
she cheerily told the media that nothing had threatened or scared her,
and that she felt great.  

So Abravana means, basically, "Fuck it."   It means, "no matter how
personally and politically awful this is, I won't allow myself to
engage with this and be traumatized."   So the Abravanista crowd are a
kind of "oh fuck off" counterculture who have gone into a vibrant,
post-traumatic creative scene.  It's this air of surreal nihilism that
puts some iron in their bones.  It's why I take them seriously and
consider them global-scale trend-setters as an art movement.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #141 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 05:02
    

I got interested in Cibelle, because she sings in English, and is big
on Twitter and seemed approachable and aware of her online fan base. 
She's easier to parse than most Brazilian artists.  So, nowadays, we do
 know one another, although we've never met.  I closely follow her
doings.  I do that mostly because, I must say, she cheers me up.   She
leads by example.

Americans, over our dual histories, have commonly looked on our
cousins the  Brazilians as a cheery, colorful, exotic and perky
society.   They're not, but that something that they offer us that we
Americans understand.  Can't be helped, there.  It's like Americans, a
historically fortunate society, being known worldwide for our moaning,
downtrodden blues music.

In point of fact, the Brazilians have an exceedingly dark history,
with every kind of marauding and torment and hunger and fearsome Third
World suffering.   Brazilian musicians in particular tend to get
harassed by the blinkered authorities.   Mellow, perky Brazilian
musicians have a mortality-rate like you wouldn't believe.  

I went to Sao Paulo and I asked around for Cibelle records.  They all
knew who she was, but they all assured me that Cibelle was much
better-known in London.  She's become a foreign-guy's pop star.  So,
wow, maybe I should go to Dalston in London to get the real deal? How
convenient.

I know that sounds ironic, but frankly, I admire that situation.  That
was a gutsy choice for her to make, as opposed to hanging out in the
neighborhood, trying to make the ultimate Brazilian Female Vocalist
National Vinyl LP.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #142 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 05:02
    

Fifth, (I'm still counting)  Cibelle has got a theorist angle. 
Cibelle hangs out with painters and installation people, and is
therefore keen on art manifestos.  I had only the vaguest idea what
"anthropophagy" and "Brazilian syncretism" were all about, but I
listened to thoughtful  people she was listening to, and, well, now I'm
starting to get it.  

Only a really, really big, young, multiracial, multiethnic country
like Brazil or the USA could get behind some anthropophagic syncretism.
  It's an alternative model for a global, rootless, massive culture. 
It's like magic-realist globalization.   I've never yet done any
anthropophagic Abravanista syncretism, but I'm pretty into Postmodern
subjectivity fragmentation.  Gimme enough cachaca and lime juice, and
hey, I might be able to hold my breath and get over there from here.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #143 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 05:07
    
As a sixth and final twist -- and it's something I can't resist -- 
Cibelle practices folk design-fiction.  In her performance alter-ego as
"Sonja Khalecallon," Cibelle creates elaborate fake video ads for fake
consumer products.  The "Anti-Skeptic Lotion," the "Fresh Eye-Drops,"
and the all-too-apt "Fuck-It Button," a wall-mounted device which
transforms you into an instant Abravanista.   

Cibelle also has a non-fake, genuine alliance with Melissa, a with-it
Brazilian shoe company that makes plastic designer shoes.

Popstars have been doing product-support for ages now.  The Spice
Girls were all over that, and Posh Spice in particular is moving into
couture retail, rather like Jade Jagger and Stella McCartney.  But
Cibelle is the first pop-star I've seen who has moved into that mode of
earning a living and just, well, syncretically cannibalized it.  

She's become a "multiartist" rather than a musician, mostly by soaking
up these various changes in culture and media and trying to personify
them.  She's like a sponge in a bucket-full of paints. 
 
She'll never be Lady Gaga, and M.I.A. is a lot  more politically edgy
if that's what you're looking for, but Cibelle, for me, is the
avant-garde.  Not in her music so much as her cultural activities, her
global position. 
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #144 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 05:08
    

So: you wanna know what a plausible pop-star looks like ten, fifteen
years from now?  She's very into performance, dress shoes and clothes. 
She's cloud-centric and globally mobile.  She comes from a social
movement rather than a recording label or a publishing house.  She's a
syncretic multi-artist model-actress web personality,  with a catchy
soundtrack.  Her fans are her participants.  And she's female, young,
and Brazilian.

That's the scenario.  And you know, it's not that bad.  It's okay. 
That somebody who personifies a culture we don't quite have yet.  It
could be a pretty good culture, if its activists know what they are
doing.

I look at Cibelle and I get the reassured feeling that I get from
Brian Eno.  It's not that I love everything that guy creates, or that I
embrace every idea among Eno's many skyrocketing ideas, but, y'know,
Brian Eno has fucking got it going on.  As a creative, you can see or
hear stuff that Brian Eno was doing thirty years ago, and you can
think, "Hey, that might work right now.  I should try that."    The
guy's lived example makes you want to get out of bed in the morning.

And if you keep getting out of bed, hey, you'll live long enough to
sum up another year.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #145 of 156: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 10 Jan 11 06:41
    
I just shared that essay with my fellow Plutopians... members of the
team at Plutopia Productions, http://plutopiaproductions.com, where I'm
Chief Digital Officer (a title we ran across that so fits my
predilections). 

A few posts back, Julian Bond commented on the accelerating future
(nodding to John Smart), the contraction of "now," singularity,
resource depletion, hitting a wall (actually, his metaphor was about
reaching the end of the runway)... the existential anxiety you feel
when you're MacGruber and you see the tock ticking down on the time
bomb in the vault of your experience. Plutopia emerged from my
conversations with Derek Woodgate (now Chief Creative Officer for
Plutopia Productions), from our various salons about culture and the
future and our thoughts about experimenting with the event form,
creating a new kind of event - what derek calls a "sense event." I say
a new kind of event - similar things are happening in Europe, events
like V2 and Crossing Borders and Ars Electronica are probably similar
to the kind of events we're assembling... your term "anthropophagic
syncretism" is probably an apt description for the kind of deeply
integrated technology-focused multicultural experiences we're creating.
(Just thought of Liza Sabater's - @blogdiva's - label "culture
kitchen" - maybe we're a cultural Kitchen Aid, real MixMasters.) In our
world the ticking time bomb is transformed into a metronome, every
tick a celebration of possibility; every end a new beginning, a kind of
radical optimism about human resilience and culture. Our next Plutopia
event (March 14 during SXSW Interactive in Austin,
http://plutopia.org) is themed "the future of play," a celebration of
*homo ludens,* an experiential ludic manifesto.

In the very worst of times, you can't break the cycle with despair.
The Abravanistas have it right: "she cheerily told the media that
nothing had threatened or scared her,
and that she felt great... fuck it!"
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #146 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 10 Jan 11 07:03
    
Cyber Yippies, woohoo!
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #147 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 08:04
    
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2375444,00.asp

Lady Gaga, creative director at Polaroid and industrial design maven.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #148 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 08:08
    
*I just renewed my FlickR "Pro" account for another year.

*Last time, though, I renewed it for *two* years.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #149 of 156: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Mon 10 Jan 11 08:08
    
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0A73IEtM5I

*Cibelle in Sao Paulo visually backed-up by the Abravanista clique.
  
inkwell.vue.400 : State of the World 2011: Bruce Sterling and Jon Lebkowsky
permalink #150 of 156: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Mon 10 Jan 11 08:19
    
Hoping we get to talk about SXSW and Plutopia on Inkvue.well sometime
soon. Austin is one of the 'nodes' for creatives and it would be great
to have your inputs about what's happening and some historical
perspective as well.
  

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