On Monday I attended “Now London London Is A City Farm” the second of four workshops from Algorithmic Food Justice .
The workshop series is exploring and prototyping new systems to serve the needs of humans and non-humans (such as seeds, soil and water). The project is from UCL in partnership with Spitalfields City Farm, Furtherfield, and Gaia Foundation.
The workshop itself was a 3 hour LARP/Roleplay with the following conceit:
“It’s 2035, fifteen years after The Great Food Emergency. Londoners discuss their roles in recreating the great metropolis as a city farm.”
During the workshop we each adopted a human character and a companion species that we had to speak for/with during the workshop. I choose sensors in the city wide sensor grid as mine.
We were split randomly into two groups:
- The Greater London City Farm Authority GLCFA -- responsible for London-wide decisions
- E1 City Farm Assembly (E1CFA) -- the community that is organising locally, around the old Spitalfield City Farm
And then we began. Later we came together to cross pollinate the groups and did a mapping exercise.
I don’t want to give too much away around the LARP construction and the events of the day excetera as I attended the prototype. However: The best part of the day hands down was the committee meeting.
I took on the role of coordinator for the E1CFA. I took loads of notes during the meeting, and had to contribute several times.
I also live tweeted some of the best bits of the discussion. Replicating them here below:
“We’ve been getting complaints from the soil bacteria”
“The bees have gone on strike and the hand pollinators are feeling undervalued”
“My electric solar powered milk and water van”
What exactly is the structure of our multispecies assemblies?
“We now use genomic smart sequencing to ascertain crop lineage right at the farm bed.”
“there’s 250k people marching down from Birmingham, the Army went rogue and the M25 is a DMZ with Tanks! Tanks”
“Perhaps we could have a travelling West End Bee musical”
“Can we Re-use Old/Closed Heathrow’s body scanners to prevent pumpkin smuggling?”
“King Charles’ Green Park Permaculture Demonstration Site”
“The bee keepers think they have a higher status just because the insects now have all the wealth”
“We have responsibility for Community Care AND Calibration”
It was interesting being part of a LARP with people who had never participated in one before. There was a lot of nervousness in the beginning, but more experienced people (like me) jumped right in and set the tone and the mood of the meeting. The familiar setting of a committee meeting also really helped to ease people into the roleplay.
I think once it has gone round a few more rounds of play testing, this workshop will be a great tool for helping policy makers etc get their heads around and inside multispecies cities and thinking. Looking forward to the next workshop which is on sensors and blockchain.
Attending this was a good sync actually, as I have just stared ploughing though the 720 page “Playing At The World” by Jon Peterson (associated blog).
It was recommended to me by Benedict Singleton when I saw him the other week at Holly’s show at the Barbican. As he said to me “Its as much a work of philosophy as it is history”. I’m only 50 pages in and that is already apparent.
Todays blog has got pretty long but I’d like to recommend this radio show on English Folk Horror that was just on BBC Radio 4. Huw Lemmey sent it over.
Documentary maker Simon Hollis explores the darker underside of the pastoral idyll and the traditions of Folk Horror being revived by a new generation of writers, musicians and filmmakers.
Saints & Souls
All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
Humanising invisible companions
Necromantic Bone Cults
Staying with the trouble
Ancestors as a complicated story
This podcast was nearly 1m 10s over length after the first edit. I cut A LOT out. Hope it still makes sense.
But Lesson learnt: 2 essays in 301 seconds is … hard.
Permanently moved is a personal podcast 301 seconds in length, written and recorded in one hour by @thejaymo
This actually took me over 90mins to make. 🙁 I made the whole episode in the usual time, but after the first edit it was 1m 10secs over my time budget. This is the most I’ve ever been (usually its 10 seconds) which can easily be found in the second pass audio edit.
I basically attempted too much in one episode. Two short/dense chapters each with a three act structure plus two audio samples is HARD. I basically bit off more than I could chew. But, it was a really useful learning experience. If I do a christianity based start select reset I’ll put the full transcript in that.
As I said a few weeks ago, I’m trying to push myself and make more interesting and ambitions work with the show. I feel like the inclusion of my brother in the last episode and this one are steps towards that. I had quite a few people sharing it straight away, including people I didn’t know were listening along!
Dipping the Stacks
I start a big project on Monday (henceforth names as PROJECT NOVA).
I’m doing it for free, but I will write it up and add it to the website once its over. PROJECT NOVA is probably the most important project I’ve worked on in my life -- ever this point. I’ll be super busy with that until Mid-December at the earliest. I sent a 9 page pitch earlier in the week and they said “yup”.
I’ll obviously speak in shadows about this for a little while.
Because NOVA is kicking off, I did a lot of prep for Nanowrimo. I’m not writing a novel this year. But i do have a clear plan about what i want to get written and get finished before the end of November.
I read Dante this week. It’s the prequel(?) novel to the Devastation of Baal. Dante is one of the most famous characters in the lore and has been around as a model since I was a kid. This novel contextualised some of the personal moments in the second book. It was also interesting to learn more about the Blood Angels homeworlds and what life as a human is like on these worlds. The book follows Dante’s journey as a kid from a salt trading clan, his trek across the rad wastes of the long devastated moon and documents his trials to become a space marine. It’s not a book for people new to the universe but I enjoyed it.
I also started what some people consider to be the best 40k war novel -- Helsreach by Adam Dembski Bowden. Set during the third war for Armageddon a global gaming event that happened in real life when I was a teenager.
The story is full of characters with real depth to them facing impossible odds. The battle for Helsreach is basically a grimdark siege of Leningrad senario. If someone wanted to get into the world of warhammer 40k, and space marine novels this is not a bad place to start.
As previously mentioned I’m also reading Playing At The World.
I’ve been listening to a load of Italo this week because i’ve been working. Mainly Modern Talking. Most of their songs kinda sound the same: kick, snare, kick, snare.
Here’s Brother Louie, if you haven’t heard it you probably should. If you go anywhere in Southern Europe they will definitely play this in the club at some point in the night.