Climate change in the last twenty years has…


Climate change in the last twenty years has continuously imposed itself into our lives as a “guest of stone.” While climate skeptics continue to deny this reality, there are those who think that man is responsible for this new reality. Droughts,...

Climate change in the last twenty years has continuously imposed itself into our lives as a “guest of stone.” While climate skeptics continue to deny this reality, there are those who think that man is responsible for this new reality. Droughts, hurricanes of greater intensity, strange weather patterns and the new phenomena of melting polar ice is raising sea levels at an alarming rate that tells us the situation continues to deteriorate.

The planet Earth, our common home, along with its human inhabitants have been the subject of stories by members of the VII Photo agency over several decades.

On the eve of the international conference on climate change, COP 21, to be held in Paris, France from November 30 to December 11, VII Photo will post a photo a day that narrate events related to climate change or human action which both directly and indirectly have had a decisive influence on the environment.

Please join us on our Instagram feed to learn more about how our climate and therefore our reality is changing.

Photo by @donaldweber / VII. Sula Qunangat, 25, and Todd-Robert, ten years old.

In the Arctic language, there is a word, “quniqjuk,” which means the indistinct horizon of the unknown future. Standing in the snow, amidst this indistinct horizon, renowned Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk, in his soft spoken, yet very blunt way, offered this: “The Inuit are the only people to go from the Stone Age to the Digital Age in one generation.” What happens in one generation, what happens when “The System” (as Zach called it) makes it’s appearance at the proverbial ice edge? A once semi-nomadic tribe, subsumed by the light of the global future – iPad’s, mobile phones, televisions – this new light, not the light of the seal oil lamps so favored by Robert Flaherty in the 1920s, has come. What is the new Inuit reality? [..continued in comments] by viiphoto http://ift.tt/1TjxQKP

The Internet of Kings

The Internet of Kings

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The Veiled Prophet of Khorassan was an impostor. J.L. Borges describes him as a masked avenger of unbearable beauty but in actual fact the man whose name was Hakim, born in the land of Turkestan, a desert man, of voice so sweet for it contrasted with the gruesome mask, who once promised to reveal the face when every man on Earth professed the new law, turned out to be an ugly, cowardly, and defenseless surprise. The kind you squash with vigorous rigor and immediately forget, and go along with your daily business. This might indeed be the case of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The rise or emergence of “vertically-integrated global software companies used by millions” has been recently used as a template for understanding what has become of the techno-economic paradigms of the early century. This novel arrangement of the prevailing orders defies the use of old metaphors, this is what confronts any definition of actuality, what pits tribal federations against big cartels and if you look at it sideways you can see how it will be defined in the future, what it really is: Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Tencent.

The Internet of Kings is a political regime formally structured and stratified on the basis of territorial tenure and the varieties thereof, built on top of and powered by the “accidental megastructure” of global communication networks.

Kings have dashboards. Their relationship to science is the same as that of government to economics, they have enough resources to acquire personality, or a hint of character, an odor, an impression made upon the new methods to devise the new. They can observe and grant favor to certain trends, certain people. Kings influence what is around them to the point of global literacy or access, they are able to impress blindness upon their enemies, their devoted and their servants. Kings demand allegiances, they protect their own from external forces, a valuable gift in a new system without effective supervision and with only a sketch of rudimentary justice.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who shall never travel to Jordan or Saudi Arabia, silent about Guantanamo, never once heard uttering the word Gaza, impostor, wearer of Rolex, may well be a mercenary or a meaningless punishment with no staying power – at best – but he sure is plausible.

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The establishment of the Caliphate brings home the fact that a successful, rapid and somewhat incomprehensible armed attempt to reorganize the maps is a sign not of possible madness but of the global repercussions that political opportunity can have in the early twenty-first century.Approval ratings for tyrants soar: it’s not only the hungry and the destitute that want to say yes to a new dress, that welcome the arrival of exponential growth made flesh, of a horizon where events are truly unpredictable and therefore completely overwhelming and irresistible. Capitalist democracies aren’t even able to withstand the attack of bullies, let alone the onset of a new mode of vassalage, pregnant with possibility.

The shift we are witnessing in the twenty-teens is an accelerated version of the transformation of the open-field system into a regime of enclosure. Gone are the commons and the original digital utopias, here are the times when “traditional Westphalian modes of political geography, jurisdiction, and sovereignty” are distorted and deformed by above and below to the point of ridicule. The effort to understand the current geopolitics of informationalism can only benefit from a closer look at the Sovereigns and their vision, at the underlying implications of the establishment of parasitic microsovereignties which are at the same time too interconnected and too eager to emancipate themselves from the governance models of the 20th century.

The Internet of Kings is thus the software and hardware equivalent of something like the Caliphate, an eruption of new laws and new borders, new territories that will owe their stability and legitimacy not to the authority of our legacy systems but to the specifics and the power of each kingdom as it establishes itself against the background of capitalist democracies. An eruption of new leaders.

In the wildness of the digital universe live many fabulous and powerful creatures. It is not intelligence that simmers just below the visible structure and calling it artificial perpetuates a mistake that some cultures have been wise to avoid: in this imaginary landscape of castles made of light, of royalty and wizardry made of code, how could there not be a dark forest of mysterious qualities, a forbidden and uncharted night where metabolism and replication are left to evolve the kind of brutal fauna that inspires legends and dreams of colonialism?

Google’s acquisition of DeepMind, Nest and Dropcam felt like a quiet announcement of such kind of presence in the realm. Kings have armies, but really wise Kings invest in long-term education, they hire tutors. Video games, temperature and sight are important concepts for a young, distributed and knowledge-hungry learning machine – for that kind of being, companies are the equivalent of books. The truth is that some of the mutant forest creatures grow under the severe or benign tutelage of the global internet stacks and Larry Page, Gothic high-tech mogul, capable of arguing in a concise and prescient manner about the necessity of redistributing labor, able to call the bluff on the European Austerity, believer in Calfornian Abundance, turns out to be quite specific on the political importance of long-term strategic thinking. He is not alone.

Kings do not want to be subjected to election cycles because they are haunted by visions.


Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to manorialism. It was a condition of bondage which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted in some countries until the mid-19th century. 

Serfs who occupied a plot of land were required to work for the Lord of the Manor who owned that land, and in return were entitled to protection, justice and the right to exploit certain fields within the manor to maintain their own subsistence.Serfs were often required not only to work on the lord’s fields, but also his mines, forests and roads. 

The manor formed the basic unit of feudal society and the Lord of the Manor and his serfs were bound legally, economically, and socially. Serfs formed the lowest social class of feudal society.”


The Secret of Primitive Accumulation is an ancient tale about freedom and bondage, it tells us about how the two apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other like hot and cold, light and dark, people and money. Once, goes the tale, the means of production were violently privatized and taken away from the many by the few. “In letters of blood and fire”, this expropriation created a new class of homeless and landless travelers who roamed the Earth looking for work. It is called primitive because it signals the genesis of a new world. The many were to become the recombinant DNA of this sudden and abundant species. It is called a secret because this monstrosity operates by means of a liberation, a revolution if you will, a turn of the key that unlocks the shackles only to become the instrument of a locked door.

People become measurable entities when, homeless and landless and divorced from the means of production, they are left to roam the Internet of Kings under the unblinking eye of the forest creatures. Predictive data analytics is just one of the many spells cast upon the city dwellers as they make their way through the comprehensive battle-space of a billion sensors and capacitors, through the haze of statistical layers that will make up the future’s urban smartness. Cattle is said to suffer a similar fate.

Hakim, The Veiled Prophet, was not the first to observe that the universe as we know it is a mistake, “an incompetent parody” from which we should do well to escape when seeking a better life. Perhaps his fictional recipe of disgust, or nausea, can be used as a sharp reminder of the vast array of tactics at our disposal for the fabrication of a better history.

Kings die, and in their wake often arises a new class of lesser men.

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This essay was originally published by Yuri Sousa Lopes Pereira on stress.fm

The Water Cycle: transformation and invisibility…

The Water Cycle: transformation and invisibility in digital communications

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The Water Cycle is a research and experimentation project about the properties and behaviors of the digital medium. It interrogates the dominant metaphors that guide the design and creative uses of software by exploring the fluidity, circularity, and invisibility of digital communications.

Metaphors matter. They shape and control the ways in which we think about the world, how we perceive and in turn construct our realities. The digital medium, because of its infancy, is still mostly defined according to legacy concepts from previous dominant media such as books, newspapers, or film. We speak of web pages and bookmarks, but our days are spent looking at timelines. We use paper clip and camera icons to refer to actions taken by numbers. We speak about phones and clouds, but we are only connected to computers. We need new metaphors.

The Water Cycle thinks about the digital as a shapeless liquid substance, like water. It adopts several processes of the hydrological cycle as guiding metaphors for a transformation of digital media content. Infiltration, evaporation, condensation and precipitation are some of the key concepts used to explore the potential of networked software and the idea of invisible communications. Digital media flows, it crashes, it disappears. Its shape is defined by whatever device or environment it happens to be in. It is made by people, places, and machines.

The project makes use of various online applications to produce, publish and transform sounds, words, and images. It then generates a circular flow of content that moves through the internet, evolving, mutating and being affected by external conditions such as location or the weather. Through the use of social media, algorithms and human input, a story is told about the transitions and the meanings of our creative expression. The Water Cycle is a method of visualizing flows, a strategy for generating ideas, a narrative device that speaks through code.

What happens between and behind the clicking of buttons, the flickering of screens, the transmission of messages across the network? How can cities provide the geographical and cultural background for the unfolding of semi-autonomous media streams? Where are the gaps in the digital universe and why do we need them?

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Process:

The cycle begins with the weather. An algorithm is set up to look for temperature fluctuations and other climate changes in Lisbon, and to publish them on the web. These events trigger a search in major European newspapers for any news about the city. Add sound: when someone uploads a track that is connected to the city, that audio enters the cycle. A tweet is sent out with a specific hashtag, which in turn activates a search for geo-tagged images.

 Those images are sent by email to five recipients. One of them goes on the dark web and posts the image on an invisible forum, generating tags that are sent as a reply. Those tags become tweets which then become search terms for relevant videos. They provide the context for an interview, a text, a live radio broadcast. It’s raining in Lisbon, the cycle begins again.

Resources:
water.stress.fm, Tor, Tumblr, Soundcloud, Twitter, Yahoo! Pipes, If This Then That, Blogger, Facebook, Evernote, Instagram, Flickr, Gmail, BBC Weather Services, Yahoo! Finance, RSS, Delicious, YouTube, Samsung Galaxy S III, Zoom H1 voice recorder, Nikon D5100, Asus laptop.

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References:

Adams, P. “Design Futures 1: Creating Systems Not Destinations”. Intercom 2014.http://blog.intercom.io/design-futures-1-creating-systems-not-products/ 

Adams, P. “The End of Apps as We Know Them”. Intercom 2014. http://blog.intercom.io/the-end-of-apps-as-we-know-them/

Arnall, T. “Revealing Reality.” Talk delivered at Improving Reality, Lighthouse. Brighton Dome Studio Theatre 5 September 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nr78tQd82Nk

Bratton, B. “The Black Stack.” E-flux Journal #53 March 2014. http://www.e-flux.com/journal/the-black-stack/

Dodge, M. and Kitchin, R. 2011. Code/Space: Software and Everyday Life. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Fluid mechanics. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluid_mechanics

Gelernter, D. “The End of the Web, Search, and Computer as We Know It”. Wired 3 February 2013.http://www.wired.com/2013/02/the-end-of-the-web-computers-and-search-as-we-know-it/

“Invisible Fields”. Exhibition. 14 October 2011 – 4 March 2012. Lighthouse http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/invisible-fields

Johnson, M. and Lakoff, G. 1980. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

MacKenzie, A. “Wirelessness as Experience of Transition”. The Fibreculture Journal issue 13, 2008.http://thirteen.fibreculturejournal.org/fcj-085-wirelessness-as-experience-of-transition/

Manovich, L. “Media After Software.” Software Studies November 2012.http://softwarestudies.com/cultural_analytics/Manovich.Media_after_software.2012.pdf

Manovich, L. “Software is the Message.” Journal of Visual Culture Forthcoming Spring 2014.http://lab.softwarestudies.com/2013/12/software-is-message-new-mini-article.html

Mitchell, W. 2004. Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Murray, J. 2011. Inventing the Medium. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Sorgatz, R. “Surfing, Drowning, Diving: A Brief History of Inventing New Media”. Medium, 12 November 2014. https://medium.com/message/surfing-drowning-diving-122612314fa8

Terranova, T. “Free Labor: Producing Culture for the Digital Economy.” Electronic Book Review 20 June 2003. http://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/technocapitalism/voluntary

Water cycle. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_cycle

This essay was originally published by Yuri Sousa Lopes Pereira on stress.fm