1. People looooooooooove EV’s! James from Traction EV has copped a bit of flak from petrol heads over the last few years, but out there, at an event organised by people who encourage cooperation, respect and appreciation for and with each other, with the fully electric SHOCKR there in its clean, slick, understated glory with its twin electric motors that look like some kind of alien V8, Continue reading What I learnt at the Mighty Car Mods meetup
There are several awesome things about OBSOLETE! Press – especially, obviously, that their latest issue from February 2017 is on Solarpunk.
I immensely enjoyed their About page, so I’ll just go ahead an quote a couple of t why the name OBSOLETE!?
In post-post-post-modern society even the term “obsolete” is becoming obsolete- products are obsolete before they hit the market-place, technology is only good as long as its replacement is in beta-testing.
And this beautiful explanation of why a zine in print form was created in the information age of digital everything, where knowledge does not equal wisdom and cultural rigidity is indeed more ripe than we like to admit.
In the early part of the 20th century, Harold Innis, a Canadian media theorist and predecessor of Marshall McCluhan, postulated that great civilizations were those that balanced “time-binding” media (which retain ideas and history), and “space-binding” media (which allows ideas to travel rapidly). He felt, back in the 50’s, that western society was relying too much on space-binding media like radio and television, and that the over-exposure was leading to a culture where “…The emphasis on change is the only permanent characteristic.” He felt that this trend would kill shared experience and local identity and create and atmosphere of paranoia and rigid political militarization. No one knows what Innis would have thought of the internet, but despite all of the great gifts of modern technology, some of Innis’ warnings seem to be coming true. Despite the gushing flow of “free” information, cultural rigidity appears to be setting in.
And lastly, spoken by true Solarpunks:
The books we publish reflect our love for the physical world and the DIY aesthetic.
I’ll add here that digital versions are also available as the good OBSOLETE! peops recognises the digital media!
Peace yo, and keep up the good work!
Still not many reposts on this blog, even though it is such a convenient (7/11!) way of adding relevant content and spreading ideas.
So here is a repost of an article (called: Utopia now: why there’s never been a more urgent time to dream of a better world) by all-around rad power woman Laurie Penny about our need for more Solarpunk (well, she calls it utopia, but we’ll forgive her that oversight considering how magically underground Solarpunk still is, and gather motivation and determination to nurture Solarpunk into a force for good to be reckoned with).
It’s so worth a read, but if you are strapped for time, here are some standout quotes:
Utopias require that we do the difficult, necessary work of
envisioning a better world. This is why imagination is the first,
best weapon of radicals and progressives.
Fredric Jameson observed, “It is easier to imagine the end of
the world than the end of capitalism” – and the reason for that
is not that capitalism is the inevitable destiny of humankind
but that we have spent our lives being told that even thinking
about any other future makes us ridiculous.
Right now, the future seems dark and frightening and it is
precisely now that we must continue to imagine other worlds
and then plot ways to get there. In the midst of multiple global
crises, the only truly ridiculous proposition is that things are
going to stay exactly the same.
**Image from https://www.facebook.com/utopianowband/
There is plenty of art out there that could be “classified” as Solarpunk, but the genre is still so underground that not many identify with it (yet).
So I will introduce some artists who I would love to label as Solarpunks, even though labels don’t usually sit well with me…more on that in future posts. In the context of Solarpunk though, I am more than happy to label and be labelled, and hopefully so will these wonderfully inspiring individuals that currently form the centre of my artivism focus!
Making art and fashion – pardon me, I meant of course – trashion out of “junk” collected on beaches is how Marina DeBris encourages us to re-think, re-use and re-cycle stuff.
What an excellent, Solarpunky way to question how we use stuff and what happens to it when we are done with it.
There is plenty of art out there that could be “classified” as Solarpunk, but the genre is still so underground that not many identify with it (yet).
So I will introduce some artists who I would love to label as Solarpunks, even though labels don’t usually sit well with me…more on that in future posts. In the context of Solarpunk though, I am more than happy to label and be labelled, and hopefully so will these wonderfully inspiring individuals that presently form the centre of my artivism focus!
Just arrived back in Brisbane town this afternoon – whoosh – 2 months gone!
But what a beautiful, intense time it’s been! About 5 weeks ago I decided to focus on the most important part of my trip- spending precious time with loved ones. That is why it has – yet again – been so quiet on the Solarpunkcity blog.
If I’m not careful these 2 months end up just being summarised in a measly 6 words: I visited my family in Germany. Now that would be a shame!
However, I filled 120 A4 pages with a mixture of notes, observations, dot points, rants and personal journal, capturing what I saw, heard and experienced while it was still fresh in my mind.
While most of these scribbles have not made it into the laptop, I have high hopes that I will yet develop a stronger streak of discipline in order to get some words out there on the state of things in Europe. I realise that I do have a slight problem with authority, even my own, making it tough for this solarpunk in the old productivity department…
And now for diving into the wonderful world of sleepless jetlagged nights with plenty of time for reading, reflecting, writing and of course some crazy dreams…
Big Love and Peace
…no, not those ‘giants’! Right now, the bikes I ride are actually gigantic – they weigh little less than half my own body weight and are about as long as a car with a turning circle rivalling that of a council bus. Nonetheless, these gentle giants gather speed quickly, like a draft horse, and float along the pavement steadily. The pedal brake feels rather unfamiliar yet my spine is straight, my neck relaxed and my hair flowing in the Northern Sea breeze as Germany is no nanny state and helmet-wearing not law…we do have designated bike paths on most (busy) roads which are separated with a curb thought – while Germany might be no nanny state, cyclist safety is paramount, most likely why and also because there are so may of them.
So as I get on this Gentle step-through Giant and start riding down the road I can’t help but laugh with joy and slight giddiness. It’s impossible (in my books) to be unhappy while riding a bike. Bike riding is balm for the soul. And after riding a mountain bike on and off-road for the last six years, it’s pure joy to be back on a ‘Hollandrad’.
I get to the Chinese Restaurant way too quickly and then have to wait – I should have just cruised an extra round around the block. But so I have a few minutes to kill by meditating and watching the plentiful goldfish tank. A young boy, about 2 or 3 years old, joins me and my observations. Minutes pass, with no words exchanged. Every now and then he looks at me and I look back and smile before turning back to the tank. He does not return the smile, but stays standing there, watching the fish. Once he looks my up and down, in that curious, non-judgmental way kids stare at you. I’m in colourful hippy pants, a hoodie and Birkenstox and wonder if this experience will shape him somehow?
On the way home I turn a corner when Father Sun makes my breath stop. Hanging just above the horizon, his fiery orange brilliance mixes with my base happy giddiness and out comes gratitude once more. What a treat! Thank you, Universum – Danke, Merci und Gracias!
It’s the next day and I am hunting for food once more, but this time at the supermarket. As you can see, transporting 30 Euros worth of food by bike becomes a breeze with Mr Giant and his two baskets. Also the lunch time beers with my fave cuzzie sis have made me feel ready for some adventure…
I walk towards my gate (well, my flight’s gate) to make sure it exists. There it is, but there is a bunch of finely featured, ebony-skinned people sitting there who do not much look like they are off to Vienna. Not that I make assumptions easily, but it turns out that this is a flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka. The next gate is full of sun-burned Europeans waiting for their flight to Frankfurt and I reflect how the boarding gates act as filters for the cultural currents flowing through the airport.
I walk a little ways as there are barely any seats here and as the gate is not yet open, I want to sit down to do some writing and capture. All the strands of language. All these different features in people.
And then I see him – the biggest mullet I have seen in a long time. It adorns an older man’s head and is long enough to throw a few waves down his neck. Impressive! His shirt is bright blue with some sort of cartoon character on it and I definitely judge him and his wife to be Aussies. But I don’t really feel like small (or deep or really any) talk right now and keep walking to an empty row of five seats.
I am also kind of hungry and not feeling as stuffed as usually after a nine-hour plane ride, so while writing down my airport musings, I savour my precious Vegan Superfood Bar (cacao and ginger nut). I had saved it for a special hungry occasion and judge it worth every one of the $5 I paid for it back in Brisbane (even made on the Gold Coast – nice!).
When I next look up, I see the mullet man again, on his own now, and looking kind of lost, standing there at the railing. Then I notice his blind man stick. He looks towards me and I look at him and I smile, acknowledge. He might not be completely blind, rather just vision impaired, and in any case his other senses will be much sharper than most people’s. After a minute he walks over and sits down near me, leaving two seats free between us. I say hello and he mumbles something back. He is shy! I like that. I still don’t really feel up to a conversation but my urge to connect, spread love, make him feel comfortable and shine some light into his life by way of my sunny nature, wins out this time.
‘Wow, an airport would be an interesting place when you can’t see well.’
‘Yes…’ he smiles now. Good. ‘Very confusing.’ he goes on after a moment, ‘And this place is so big.’
‘Yes, it is. And all these different languages you would pick up on the way…’
‘Yes!’ he nods.
The conversation is slow, a bit of work as he speaks so quietly, mumbly, but turns out his wife is from Northern Germany and they are visiting family near Hanover.
‘Oh great! I will chat more when she gets back. I want to get some more writing done.’
He smiles a “no worries” and we each get back to our bubbles.
Then an a-hole arrives.
Off the plane in Bangkok. My suitcase/backpack transformer wheelie thing follows behind me like a loyal dog. It’s my first trip with one of these (thanks Casey!) as carry-on luggage and I am definitely in love. No yanking a backpack on and off for the umpteenth time, no sore shoulders, wheels that wheel smoother than velvet, easy access to all my gear…
An electric cart heads right for me as I’m cutting across to the bathroom. I stop and make eye contact with the driver – what is the right of way procedure here, please? – and she changes course and whizzes past me.
I have heaps of time, the flight to Vienna is right at the end of four screens of departures to all kinds of places. To Tashkent, for example. Did you have any idea that Uzbekistan has its own airline? Uzbekistan Airways! With really colourful planes!
It’s 500 meters to the transfer desk which is probably where I need to go. I bumble along, unhurried, looking around, absorbing the place and ignoring the travelators spanning Suvarnabhumi’s looooong corridors. In the midst of 30 hours of mostly cramped sitting I am very happy to use my legs for a bit (especially because it’s so enjoyable to walk my wheelie thingy…really, I can’t believe I am now one of ‘those’ people…).
I keep walking past chattering travel groups in matching shirts and flags, excited toddlers (who are way past their bed time) getting chased around by their parents and narrowly avoid a pile of spew. The guy at the health desk looks bored, checking his phone (no one is interested in the facts on ebola, zika and co at this time of night), the ladies at the money exchange are chatting and drinking tea.
Then the transfer desk sign tells me to do a U-turn?! Oh right, just around the travelator and into the doorway and another security check. I realise that I won’t be able to take my freshly filled water bottle, so I take a break and ex about half a liter in under 30 seconds. Feels great, plus you really can’t drink enough on a day like this, especially if there is plenty of time before boarding.
Then the old game again – shoes off, belt off, pull apart the hand luggage, step into the very futuristic looking body scanner, arms up…. I don’t care. After all it is a privilege to be here. I just smile 🙂 and thank them all.
Even when my toothpaste gets confiscated…it’s almost empty and the tube only 10mls over the magical 100ml limit, a fact that the Brisbane staff either didn’t pick up on or just assumed that ‘She’ll be right’. I don’t argue. No point. More smiles. I know I broke the rules there… I just thought, if I can take an empty water bottle, surely I can take a near-empty tube of toothpaste? But I stand corrected. At least I had just brushed my teeth. He’s just doing his job. Just keeping us all safe. At least my water bottle can stay with me. And my faithful transformer wheelie thingy.
Whenever I step foot in an airport as a traveller, I get the niggling feeling that I might like to write a book about them someday…I kind of enjoy hanging around at airports, can’t bring myself to complain (much) about those largely empty and uneventful hours spent in transit, on uncomfortable seats or hard floors or dusty carpets that make you cough when you get too close while doing some stretches to alleviate your aching butt and body. There is just something about airports that makes me feel … comfortable I guess, maybe even at peace. Possibly it is because everybody is on their best behaviour. Tolerance levels are increased during transit, because at the airport we all kinda have to get along. At the airport we are all the same – we are all travellers.
As travellers we all share the same odd dead time in transit where there is nothing much to do but eating, reading, chatting, watching movies or people, using free WiFi, walking around more or less aimlessly, enjoying the comfort of a normal toilet (unless you are stuck at an airport with squat toilets…) shopping (if you are into that…) and trying to nap. [Actually that’s quite a lot of things to do but we are in transit and likely tired and grumpy and not feeling like doing many (if any) of those things. Either way, airports only offer a limited range of really basic stuff to do.]
During transit we share the same space, the seats and toilets, we all hurry up and wait in numerous queues, go through the same security measures where we take off our belts, shoes and bulky jumpers, pack and unpack our hand luggage various times, have water bottles and toothpaste confiscated and put up our hands (in the air like we just don’t care) while we get body scanned. We all get confused, rushed and sometimes panicked while figuring out where to go next. And then we are all crammed into the same planes, where we are looked after by the same crew, eating the same food, sharing extremely limited space and air while flying across our home planet Earth, which we all share also.
Again and again it strikes me as an absolute marvel how this eclectic mix of cultural currents flows through the place. Gratitude lingers as I pick up strands of conversation in dozens of languages, sometimes familiar but mostly unintelligible (to me) and exotic.
The Solarpunkster sits, stands and walks around, constantly observing and taking in the different looks, styles of dress, sounds and vibes, quietly wishing that she had the means to find out everyone’s story.
At times I feel almost breathless – there are so many of us here, on our way to somewhere, and I wonder how many of us realise how incredibly fortunate we are to be part of the upper class (in a relative, global sense) that is able and allowed and rich enough to travel by plane…