• New: Abstract Art by Mark Gould – February 2015

    Using vector illustration applications to draw has always felt a bit like there’s math going on under my pen; sometimes following my instructions, sometimes leading me in unexpected directions. In this way my mathematic collaborator creates those happy surprises that are a constant source of joy. I also have learned when to know it’s finished!

    My work is often driven by the speed in which code can generate beautiful mathematical representations for rendering at any resolution. One iteration after another, I can pick one that has the composition I’m looking for. These new generative art tools have evolved the concept of digital artifacts and the rendering of data driven creative processes.

    Limited edition of 20 prints available for exhibit and purchase at Daylighted:

    morning-hurries-mark-gould-2015

    Morning Hurries, limited edition print, 2015

    fractal-afternoon-3s

    Fractals In The Afternoon, limited edition print, 2015

  • Ads, Disguised As News (VIDEO) John Oliver Goes After “Native Advertising”

    by Mark Gould
    SAN FRANCISCO February 14, 2015

    Sometimes you have to look pretty hard to see it, because it’s intentionally camouflaged to fit right into the flow of news on the page. It goes by different names, sponsored content, content marketing, branded content or promoted news, but these days most people in the trade are calling it “native advertising.”

    The rise of this phenomenon has largely to do with the fact that few people click on banner ads online. Almost everyone recognizes that it’s an ad, and someone wants to sell you something. So by it’s very definition native advertising involves some level of, let’s call it what it is, deception:

    It’s made to look as though it’s not just advertising but part of the news, and produced by advertisers and marketers with tools designed by news organizations to help the branded content fit in
    it’s made to look as though it’s not just advertising but part of the news, and produced by advertisers and marketers with tools designed by news organizations to help the branded content fit in, with the same look and feel as the news, to increase the chances that readers will read it. There are varying degrees of trickery, camouflaging or integration at work, of course, depending on whose news you are reading. But make no mistake about it, sponsored content has arrived in a big way. The biggest U.S. news organizations, including the New York Times and The Washington Post are doing it. So it becomes a matter of how they are doing it, how the content is labeled and how clearly the reader can tell whether what they’re looking at is news, advertising or some combination of both.

    There are a lot of discussions going on between corporate media and their advertisers about how to achieve this mimicking of content and style with “transparency,” meaning that the intent is to make sure that this content is labeled clearly enough that readers will understand what’s being presented. It’s become a matter of news ethics, and trust, a commodity dear to long established news organizations who don’t want to see precious credibility undermined. Damaris Colhoun writes for Columbia Journalism Review,

    “They’ve also attempted to sidestep the critique that sponsored content compromises a news brand by putting language like “storytelling” and “content,” rather than “advertising,” at the fore. To critics, this amounts to false labeling. In the same way “enhanced interrogation techniques” became a code word for torture, “storytelling” and “storytellers” have become code words for corporatized news.”

    Even those involved in content marketing technology have done research and understand that most readers have felt deceived by sponsored content (Contently) According to one survey 50% of respondents said they could not tell the difference between the sponsored content and the news they were reading.

    Study: Most Readers Have Felt Deceived by Sponsored Content - July 14, 2014

    If you wonder how this all got started, it’s because long established paid subscription models have almost completely gone away. News organizations have been struggling to survive because in large part, people want good, interesting, objective and trustworthy news, they just aren’t willing to pay for it. Editorial divisions of news organizations in many cases have been forced to collaborate with advertising divisions to come up with a sustainable revenue model – for years many news organizations been struggling to survive, giving their news product away online without a way to pay for it.

    It hasn’t happened overnight. Trends like this started 30 to 40 years ago when “infomercials” and “advertorials” made money in the 1970’s on late night cable television, when advertisers started buying entire programs and tried their hardest to make them look just like news.

    This being the state of affairs, John Oliver was convinced this was getting to be a serious enough problem for him to dedicate over 10 minutes to cover native advertising on Last Week Tonight:

     

    Related Stories:

    Study: Most Readers Have Felt Deceived by Sponsored Content: Contently

    Washington Post’s sponsored content launch suggests advertorials are here to stay: World News Publishing Focus

    How news organizations can sell sponsored content without lowering their standards: Poynter.org

    Disguising ads as stories – Columbia Journalism Review

    Are Desperate Publishers Selling Their Souls With Native Advertising?

     

  • Avaaz: the World’s Most Powerful NGO

    February 11, 2015

    A Culture of Imbeciles

    Patel (to the left of Al Gore) delivers a petition to UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon at the People’s Climate March in New York City, Sept. 21, 2014
    ++

    In his classic orientation to American politics, Indispensable Enemies, Walter Karp described conflict between the two national political parties as largely a game of charades–choreographed by Wall Street. While party loyalists are quick to point out differences over religion and civil rights, the point Karp makes is that they both serve Wall Street, which means America is now a bi-partisan fascist oligarchy.

    Since the Reagan administration, both parties have worked overtime to privatize public wealth, and to manipulate social movements to their advantage. While it is well-known that the Wise Use Movement, Christian Coalition and the Tea Party used bigotry to advance Republican interests, little attention has been paid to social engineering by the Democrats.

    As affiliated entities, MoveOn, 1Sky, Avaaz, Ceres, Purpose and 350 enable the Democratic Party to market itself as a friend of the environment and supporter of democracy, while simultaneously serving Wall Street’s agenda. What those familiar with serious fraud might call “the long con”.

    NYSE-WCW-morning3

    4993854353_a258ef01b0_z

    Jeremy Heimans (co-founder of Avaaz and Purpose) at The Economist’s Ideas Economy: Human Potential conference. | Photo: Taylor Davidson

    Short cons include “humanitarian war” and carbon market schemes like fossil fuel divestment, that support American imperialism by consolidating Wall Street control of institutions, markets and NGOs. Using foundations as intermediaries, the fascist oligarchy on the Democrat side has a legal money laundry for promoting such fraud as the “new economy”.

    As Cory Morningstar described The Art of Social Engineering by Avaaz, “Funded by the ruling class oligarchy, the role they serve for their funders is not unlike that of corporate media. Yet, it appears that global society is paralyzed in a collective hypnosis – rejecting universal social interests, thus rejecting reason, to instead fall in line with the position of the powerful minority that has seized control, a minority that systematically favours corporate interests.”

    Meanwhile, sister organizations of Avaaz work with elites like Rockefeller, Gates and Soros in “shaping global society by utilizing and building upon strategic psychological marketing, soft power, technology and social media.” “More importantly,” notes Morningstar, “The non-profit industrial complex must be understood as a mainspring and the instrument of power, the very support and foundation of imperial domination.”

    As Morningstar continues, ‘Global society has been, and continues to be, manipulated to believe that NGOs are representative of “civil society” which has allowed the “humanitarian industrial complex” to become missionaries of empire.’ In this brave new world, NGOs like Avaaz, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch lead civil society in supporting American hegemony through military intervention.

    In Imperialist Pimps of Militarism, Morningstar reports that Avaaz is the operational name of the Global Engagement and Organizing Fund, a non-profit organization incorporated in 2006. Founded by ResPublica and the Democratic Party front group MoveOn, the core purpose of Avaaz was to build US influence in the Middle East and Asia. ResPublica is led by Tom Perriello, Ricken Patel, and Tom Pravda.

    Open Society Institute – created by convicted hedge fund inside trader George Soros – is a major funder of Avaaz, MoveOn and Human Rights Watch. Avaaz destabilization campaigns in Libya, Syria and Bolivia demonstrate the value of NGOs in exercising “soft power” to overthrow foreign regimes hostile to American dominance. As a close friend of President Obama, Perriello was one of the most pro-war Democrats in Congress.

    Obama&Perriello

    In Welcome to the Brave New World, Morningstar examines Perriello’s career and relationship with war criminals like Obama and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Both Avaaz and 350 board members supported the attack on Syria.) Avaaz, says Morningstar, is arguably “the world’s most powerful NGO.”

    Recommended Reading: AVAAZ: IMPERIALIST PIMPS OF MILITARISM, PROTECTORS OF THE OLIGARCHY, TRUSTED FACILITATORS OF WAR | PART I, SECTION I

     

  • From On The Media: NAMING THE SHOOTER, THE LAW OF THE INTERNET, AND MORE

    From WNYC, NY – On The Media

    On the narratives we expect after a terrorist event, double standards for free speech in France, and the eerie technology of Black Mirror’s not-so-distant future.

    (LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)

    (LAURIE DIEFFEMBACQ/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Consumers Union Advocacy – Stop Comcast’s California domination plan. UPDATE: FCC Ruling In February

    This is worth your time in addition to the upcoming FCC ruling on open internet “net-nuetrality” rules, the CA PUC will vote on a Comcast – Time Warner merger giving Comcast the biggest share of cable media and internet markets in California. Please consider voting in favor of the Consumers’ Union petition urging California’s PUC Commissioners to deny the merger because in part, Comcast would be the biggest distribution markets in California, deciding which programs are carried and decision making authority over whether to carry diversity programming and by controlling access to the internet, deciding who is able to see what programming and where.

    Read the entire Consumers’ Union recommendations to the Public Utilities Commission and sign your name to the petition to preserve an open internet and equal access to all program and networks.

    To satisfy federal court rulings the FCC must decide in February whether to define broadband internet networks as “common carriers” under pre-existing federal rules classifying and regulating traffic across phone, radio and television broadcast spectrum. Many say this is the key area where FCC oversight is needed to preserve equal access to the media, news and information delivery systems, whether they are phone, cable or internet bandwidth networks, they all provide free and open access. Government oversight (as advocates for the public interest) must be in place as an adjunct for political forces and elected officials who up until now, have helped put in place and preserve the status of cable and internet environment of today. And as we know this system already favors mergers, acquisitions, consolidated control of the networks by a few corporate executives, and preserving control by a few giant media companies. They’re already deciding what you can watch and when you can watch it, unless you’re paying for a package of services that costs upwards of $150 a month.

    Please consider adding your name to the petition.

    The California PUC will decide the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger within weeks. PUC Commissioners and Attorney General Kamala Harris need to hear that Californians want real choices for their cable and Internet, not a faceless, giant conglomerate!

    This Consumers Union graphic shows how much of California would be controlled by Comcast-Time Warner if the merger is approved.

    Comcast-Tim Warner merger map in California - Consumers Untion

     

    Link: Consumers Union Advocacy – Stop Comcast’s California domination plan! via secure.consumersunion.org

  • Kate Nichols: 2015 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellow

    January 27, 2015

    (press release via artandeducation.net)

    http://www.katenicholsstudio.com

    San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is pleased to announce artist Kate Nichols as the recipient of the 2015 Richard Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship. Established in 1998 by the family of renowned painter Richard Diebenkorn, who studied and taught at SFAI beginning in the 1940s, the fellowship makes it possible for a contemporary artist to both teach at SFAI and pursue independent studio work.

    Nichols will teach two courses during the fall 2015 semester, give a public lecture in the Visiting Artists and Scholars lecture series, and engage with the SFAI community through individual student critiques and other academic activities.

    Nichols comments: “I’m delighted to be counted among the accomplished painters who have received the Diebenkorn Teaching Fellowship over the years. My hope is to do for SFAI students what various teachers have done for me—provide a glimpse of the exciting possibilities that come from engaging with ideas embedded in materials and processes.”

    full press release details >>

    from KQED Quest: Science on the SPOT: Color By Nano – The Art of Kate Nichols

  • The Dryansky Gallery Announces Boundaries: An Exhibition of Color Photographs by David Mitchell

    David Mitchell: Boundaries

    January 29, 2015 – March 12, 2015
    2120 Union Street (between Webster & Fillmore)
    San Francisco, CA 94123

    Opening Reception: Thursday, January 29, 6:00–8:00 pm

    David Mitchell: Boundaries  Dryansky Gallery San Francisco January 29, 2015 – March 12, 2015

    Boundaries marks David Mitchell’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast, featuring non-objective photographs selected from the artist’s on-going Abstract bodies of work. Prints from his 2012 series and new works from his 2014 series are being shown for the first time. The geometric nature of these works aligns with his interest in urban form, planes and space where he employs his own abstracted and reductive aesthetic language, incorporating his fantastic sense of color, line and shape that reaches beyond the confines of reality. In Boundaries, the conventional notion of photography being about representation is replaced with contemporary non-objectivity and draws on the imagination, challenging what we have known photography to be.
    “He does not make metaphors, as conventional photographers unavoidably do. He strives for an impossible transparency… David Mitchell, a photographer unique among his contemporaries.” — Lyle Rexer, critic, curator, and columnist for Photograph Magazine

    Media Contact: Danielle Smith
    daniellesmithpr@gmail.com | 415-860-0767

  • Touch Of Grey: Lecturing to retired Deadheads: Crosscurrents Radio

    Peter Richardson, a lecturer at San Francisco State, was teaching a course on the Grateful Dead at a school for adults over 50. A cultural history class where the students were likely part of both the culture and the history? Fascinating, right? But would I leave the class a “Deadhead?” Read the full description.

    feature image from wikimedia commonsHypnotica Studios Infinite from Toms River, New Jersey, USA

  • Communication: the Invisible Environment

    (editor’s note: Jay Taber is an author, essayist, philosopher and activist among many other pursuits. Taber leads the Public Good Project, a volunteer-run research and education network of activists, analysts, journalists and editors conducting investigative research since 1994.)

    Commentary JAN 22 2015

    by Jay Taber Publicgood.org

    In his 1985 book Amusing Ourselves to Death, Neil Postman — American media theorist, humanist and cultural critic — noted that “new technology can never substitute for human values.”

    In American society today, our social amusements have come to occupy not only our pastimes, but everything about our lives, politics, values and beliefs. Even our most heartfelt emotions and concerns have been hijacked by the amusement industry, penetrating so deeply into our collective psyche, that we have become social robots.

    Capitalizing on this corrosion of civil society, Wall Street marketing agencies like Purpose and Avaaz — sponsors of campaigns to support “humanitarian war” and the “new economy” — have designed and exploited an advertising niche to make money from this social pathology.

    While American faith about the truth in advertising might suffer as a result of these amusements, the deaths that result take place mostly in the Third and Fourth World. As Americans are herded into waving signs and marching around Manhattan wearing the color blue, millions around the world are dying from starvation, disease and murder resulting from American consumerism.

    As a professor of Culture and Communication, Postman taught a course called Communication: the Invisible Environment. While he was concerned primarily with the decline in the ability of mass communications to share serious ideas, Postman was aware that the turning of complex ideas into superficial images — that become a form of entertainment — leads to a society where information is a commodity, bought and sold for entertainment, or to enhance one’s status. In contemporary society, mediated by technology, individuals will literally believe anything.

    originally published at: The Public Good Project

  • Media Arts Notes, January 20, 2015

    M. Lamar, NEGROGOTHIC, Warhol Foundation Gives $4 Million To Grantees, and Art From a Techno-ecological Perspective

    A quite timely exhibit opening January 30th at the San Francisco Art Institute’s Walter and McBean Galleries through February 28M 2015 that explores topics of race, equality, violence and optimism. The exhibit is curated by Hesse McGraw, Vice President for Exhibitions and Public Programs.

    M. Lamar’s exhibition NEGROGOTHIC strips the American enterprise to its hardcore components of race, sexuality, violence, and optimism. In imagery that links the histories of slavery and Robert Mapplethorpe, and through sound that connects Lamar’s operatic counter-tenor with doom metal, the artist offers a searing and soaring portrait of the contemporary United States. This expansive multimedia exhibit contains an immersive video projection, a haunting soundtrack, large-scale prints, and sculptural props, in which Lamar unveils a stunning, epic vision of black male figures in transition.

    M-Lamar exhibit at SFAI

    M. Lamar, Discipline 2, 2014. Video still from Badass Nigga, the Charlie Looker of Psalm Zero Remix, 2013. HD video, sound, 5 minutes. San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) is a place for new questions and adventurous ideas.

    From artnet news: Warhol Foundation Gives $4 Million to More Than 40 Grantees
    Brian Boucher, Tuesday, January 13, 2015

    Exhibitions devoted to Alberto Burri, R.H. Quaytman, Walid Raad and Arlene Shechet are among the beneficiaries of the latest round of funding from New York’s Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. The $4 million in grants goes to more than 40 organizations, ranging from New York museums like the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim (organizers of the Raad and Burri shows, respectively) to scrappy nonprofits like Atlanta’s Burnaway, which publishes an art magazine that trains young writers, and Squeaky Wheel/Buffalo Media Resources, in Buffalo, New York, which promotes and supports film, video and new media arts. The biggest winners, taking home $150,000 each, are San Francisco’s National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture (NAMAC), which “fosters and fortifies the culture and business of independent media arts,” and Washington, D.C.’s New Venture Fund, which supports public interest projects. The New Venture Fund will use the dough to support its Media Democracy Fund. Among the 11 first-time grantees, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.  full story at artnet  —>

    Warhol Foundation Gives $4 Million to More Than 40 Grantees

     

     

    As both technology and artistic vision evolves, media artists are experimenting with data, and what once might have been termed media art, digital art or art and technology is emerging to the point that not one of those terms works as a label anymore:

    from PSFK: Media Artists Use Art to Expose Real Truths Behind Big Data

    A New York Based research group is bridging the divide between technology and art- approaching new questions by means of artistic visualization. In 2015, big data will continue to play an increasingly important role in business strategy and consumer insights. 9 billion devices are predicted to be connected to the Internet by the year 2018- indicating that managers and consumers will be actively participating in data aggregation on a daily basis. To make data more accessible and engaging for managers and everyday consumers, Media artists from the Office of Creative Research are designing complex softwares and installations that represent information in a highly visual manner.

    The founding members of OCR are also artists-in-residence at MoMA

    The second in a series of publications with papers from artists, curators and academics.

    from we make money not art: Techno-Ecologies II. Acoustic Space #12

    Techno-Ecologies II. Acoustic Space #12, edited by Rasa SmiteArmin Medosch and Raitis Smits.(available on amazon USA or by ordering directly from RIXC via e-mail: rixc @ rixc.lv.)

    …directions in contemporary discourses are part of a larger paradigm shift from new media to post-media art. A range of practices which were once subsumed under terms such as media art, digital art, art and technology or art and science, have experienced such growth and diversification that no single term can work as as a label any more. Traditionally separated domains are brought together to become contextual seedbeds for ideas and practices that aim to overcome the crisis of the present and to invent new avenues for future developments. The publication is as deep and as wide-ranging as the Riga show was. Its content also echoes many of the current conversations that makes media art such an exciting field to follow: DIY culture vs ‘black box’ technology, digital archiving, continued influence of early locative art, funding models for the digital culture, reconciliation between sciences and humanities, etc.

    Techno-Ecologies 2

    This is the 2nd volume in the Acoustic Space series that continues to build a ‘techno-ecological’ perspective whereby new artistic practices are discussed that combine ecological, social, scientific and artistic inquiries.

    read the full review at we make money not art ->

     

     

     

  • THE ILLOGIC OF THE CLIMATEERS

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    A Culture of Imbeciles  EDITORIAL

    January 16, 2015

    Cults — religious or secular — involve dissemination of core beliefs by their agents. Whether priests or public relations provocateurs, these agents are the vectors by which recruiting and indoctrination are accomplished. In order to maintain the cult, ideological doctrine — when founded on nonsense — become mantras that prevent critical thought.

    The illogic of the climateers cult — of which Naomi Klein is the primary prophet — finds fertile ground in the political illiteracy of privileged first world progressives–fallen prey to institutional propaganda and market advertising. The hoax is made possible by a combination of hopelessness, magical thinking, and media consolidation.

    In a world where warmongers are given the Nobel Peace Prize, and revolutions are won by throngs in blue taking selfies while eating pizza provided by Wall Street, anything is possible. Anything, that is, except social change.

    Above: “Honourable’” Hilary M. Weston presents the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction to Naomi Klein, board member of 350.org.  Photo: The Writers’ Trust of Canada, October 15, 2014 [Source

    In a culture of imbeciles, secular cults flourish according to the amount of Wall Street derivatives flowing through foundations into the non-profit industrial complex. After that, it’s a simple matter of echoing mantras on YouTube and TV talk shows.

    The art of social engineering, while dependent on high finance, also requires a politically illiterate audience. In a society like the United States, the charms of Naomi are amplified by progressive ignorance, and sustained by imperial civil society.

    Simulating an Orwellian ministry of truth, the magic of Naomi — funded by Wall Street — becomes revolutionary in ways envisioned in the novel 1984. As a maverick in her own mind, Klein has become the progressives’ Sarah Palin.

    Progressive self-delusion, from hope and change to this changes everything, is grounded in hysteria. The climateers Kool-Aid keeps reality at bay.

  • POSTER: SAN FRANCISCO MAYOR ANNOUNCES HOUSING PLAN

    by Mark Gould  JAN 15 2015

    I don’t knock these illustrations out in a day anymore; it’s taken me a few months to get this one in shape. But it’s a work in progress and still not finished. I wanted to put something online though, since today San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee formally announced the specifics of his new housing program, focused on creating affordable housing into the future for low income and middle class city residents. The concept for the poster speaks for itself. It seemed like a clever idea I hadn’t seen and I’m pretty happy with where it’s going so far.

    Some of the illustrations I do are very detailed and take me a lot of time – the work is very rewarding but it can also be tedious. Finishing up I’ll be drawing several more buildings, add some San Francisco iconic architecture and create some title text for it but all of that will take some more work. As of today the illustration has not been bought or commissioned and is available in several print or digital formats and a choice of licensing options. Contact me  for additional information.

     

    San Francisco - City Housing Plan 2015

    San Francisco – City Housing Plan 2015

  • San Francisco: Art and Culture Notes for January 13, 2015

    by Mark Gould JAN 13, 2015

    Paradise Turns to Parking Lot Then Into a Parklet, Tryin’ to Keep What You Got Before It’s Gone

    Tensions between the local art community and the forces of economic growth in San Francisco are now running high on a regular basis, and making the news with some frequency. Last week Courthouse News reported that eight artists have filed a lawsuit against Zephyr Rreal Estate for reproducing their mural art in a 2013 promotional calendar.

    San Francisco Mission Murals - photography by Mark Gould

    The story named the plaintiffs in the suit as Francisco Aquino, Mona Caron, Susan Kelk Cervantes, Jetro Martinez, Sirron Norris, Henry Sultan, Jennifer Badger Sultan and Martin Travers.

       “These murals represent community, history, culture,” Erick Arguello, president of the Calle 24 Latino Cultural District in the Mission, said in an interview with Courthouse News. Now they’re “being used to sell the neighborhood.”

    Aside from all of the other issues involved, now there may be a court ruling that addresses  intellectual property rights and the liability of anyone publishing a picture of outdoor street art without permission or reimbursing the original artist in some way. SF Weekly reports that images of the work were taken from sfmuralarts.com, a free local website dedicated to preserving the history of street art in San Francisco. Lawyers for the artists told SF Weekly writer  they easily might have licensed the use of the artwork if they were asked:

    “All of these artists have a history of licensing,” Oliver said. “They’re professionals, they make money off their artwork. It’s not a problem to license their artwork, but in this instance to use their artwork to sell luxury homes is what’s objectionable.”

    All of which leads The Daily Dot via The Week to ask:

    Is Silicon Valley about to turn San Francisco‘s South of Market (SoMa) region into the new Versailles, a gilded castle filled with an elite who are so completely abstracted from reality that they eventually trigger a revolt of the commoners?”

    These reoccurrences are part of a seismic shift in the local art community, and of course, not all of the changes are bad. Some writers are starting to take notice that younger tech professionals are beginning to nurture artists with a certain, shall we say, “new media” aesthetic that fits their personal and professional lifestyle. And at the same time, many artists have been forced out of the city by skyrocketing rents ongoing for years now, with some older properties sold or taken down and replaced with what many locals think are nearly identical looking high glass towers.  Spiraling towers, spiraling rents. The Daily Dot, among others, is not pleased:

    NEMA, which named itself after the newly-branded neighborhood it’s trying to create, considers itself a luxury development, and it comes with the prices to match. The “fully wired” complex features everything a tech-head could dream of — in many ways, it’s reminiscent of the first tech bubble at the height of its gilded monstrosity, complete with 24/7 private spa treatments for residents, interior design consultations, dogwalking services, a 24/7 concierge, and much, much more. Be sure to enjoy the fitness center — and try to avoid the peasants calling for your head.”

    What building in any city isn’t “fully wired” at this point? And why wouldn’t people who work in high tech want a place to live or hang art on the wall that’s part of their world, part of who they are?

    Relax, there’s a startup for that. MIT/Sloan Management grads Kim Gordon and Shambhavi Kadam have raised funding and created Depict, which has created a digital frame with a proprietary 4K display that can be controlled with a smartphone app, as well as a cloud-based marketplace for digital art.

    The women’s mission is “to connect people with the work they love, and .. provide an income to artists.” About Depict, they say,

    “We started depict because we saw an opportunity to bring the amazing artwork that is being created digitally online into our homes, and to bring creativity back into our physical spaces. None of us could afford to drop thousands of dollars on physical paintings, and we wanted everyone to have the opportunity to own something unique and beautiful.

    We don’t believe that art and technology are at opposite ends of a spectrum, and we don’t believe that technology is just a tool for making our lives faster and more efficient. We’re using technology as a medium to make art and creativity ubiquitous in our homes and lives.

    At the same time another company, Daylighted, in involved in another effort to bring new media art to new audiences. This San Francisco startup’s founders say,

     We joined around our common passion for photography and entrepreneurship and decided to tackle the challenge of changing the way people discover, enjoy and consume photography. We believe that the photography and art industries have to adapt to today’s world, and WOW people in their everyday life. That’s why we bring photographs closer to people, helping them discover new artists and their artworks throughout the world.

    carousel1

    They are paving paradise, ((credits and a tip of the hat to Joni Mitchell)) but instead of putting up parking lots, well, sometimes, they’re turning parking spaces into works of art.  As the New York Times took note of last week.

    “Don’t it always seem to go you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone They took all the trees  Put ‘em in a tree museum, And they charged the people  A dollar and a half just to see ‘em.  Trying to Keep Hold of What We Got Before Its Gone!

  • McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street

    (editor’s note: Acclaimed investigative reporter Cory Morningstar (Wrong Kind of Green) continues her series of reports on the state of the super infrastructure of the global “Non-Profit Industrial Complex,” in which she explains step by step, how paradigms such as “environmental stewardship” and “socially responsible investments” have resulted in a commodification of non-fossil fuel energy production, orchestrated by NGO’s, private foundations, and Wall Street.)


    original publication at this link

    January 9, 2015

    By Cory Morningstar

    [Part I of this series, McKibben’s Divestment Tour – Brought to You by Wall Street, can be found here. Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII]


    “Of all our studies, it is history that is best qualified to reward our research.” — Malcolm X

     

    Prologue: A Coup d’État of Nature – Led by the Non-Profit Industrial Complex

    [dropcap_2]I[/dropcap_2]t is somewhat ironic that anti-REDD climate activists, organizations (legitimate grassroots organizations do exist) and self-proclaimed environmentalists, who consider themselves progressive, while speaking out against the commodification of nature’s natural resources also simultaneously promote the divestment campaign. It’s ironic because the divestment campaign will result (succeed) in a colossal injection of money shifting over to the very portfolios heavily invested in, thus dependent upon, the intense commodification and privatization of Earth’s last remaining forests (via REDD), water, etc. (environmental “markets“). This tour de force will be executed with cunning precision under the guise of environmental stewardship and “internalising negative externalities through appropriate pricing.” Thus, ironically (if in appearances only), the greatest surge in the ultimate corporate capture of Earth’s final remaining resources is being led, and will be accomplished, by the very environmentalists and environmental groups that claim to oppose such corporate domination and capture.

    Beyond shelling out billions of (tax-exempt) dollars (i.e., investments) to those most accommodating in the non-profit industrial complex (via their foundations), the corporations need not lift a finger; the feat is being carried out by both the legitimate and the faux environmentalists in tandem with an unsuspecting public … a public with almost no comprehension of 1. the magnitude of our ecological crisis, 2. the root causes of the planetary crisis, or 3. the non-profit industrial complex as an instrument of hegemony.

    The commodification of the commons will represent the greatest, and most cunning, coup d’état in the history of corporate dominance – a fait accompli extraordinaire of unparalleled scale, with unparalleled repercussions for humanity and all life.

    Further, it matters little whether or not the money is moved from direct investments in fossil fuel corporations to so-called “socially responsible investments.” The fact of the matter is, all corporations on the planet (thus all investments on the planet) do and will continue to require massive amounts of energies (including fossil fuels) in order to continue to grow and expand ad infinitum – as required by the industrialized capitalist economic system.

    The windmills and solar panels serve as the beautiful (marketing) imagery, yet they are somewhat illusory – the veneer for the commodification of the commons, which is the fundamental objective of Wall Street, the very advisers of the divestment campaign.

    Thus we find ourselves unwilling to acknowledge the necessity to dismantle the industrialized capitalist economic system, choosing instead to embrace an illusion designed by corporate power.

    +++

    Ceres: “The Social Capitalists”

    The Clinton Foundation, along with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, was an integral participant in the creation of 1Sky. 1Sky (which officially merged with 350.org in 2011) was, in fact, an incubator project of the Rockefeller fund at its inception. Like 1Sky, Ceres would also receive accolades from the Clinton administration:

    “It is immensely gratifying that our unique skills and leadership are being noticed. Our project with Yale and Marsh was saluted this fall by former President Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative and this month Ceres received a prestigious Social Capitalist Award from Fast Company magazine. We also were honored to receive a 2006 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.” [Source: 2006 Ceres annual report]

    Note that in 2009 (as disclosed in the SKOLL FUND CO SILICON VALLEY COMMUNITY FOUNDATION 990) the Skoll Foundation awarded Ceres with a $2,000,000 grant for the “Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship.”

    Ceres Key Partnership: The World Climate Summit

    “The World Climate Summit provides a unique opportunity to build collaboration among investors, businesses and governments on the steps needed to enable the necessary flows of private capital to achieve a low-carbon global economy.” — Mindy Lubber, President, Ceres and Director, Investor Network on Climate Risk.

    Ceres’s INCR is a founding industry partner of The World Climate Summit (WCS) (2010) [1], now operating under the auspices of World Climate Ltd, a private company registered in England and Wales (No. 07186968) [Doha: World Climate Summit 2012 | 2012 Partners] WCS founding partners include the planet’s most powerful corporations and institutions with access to more than 60 industry associations, 100 chambers of commerce, 2,500 corporations, and more than 530 investors representing more than $64 trillion in assets under management. [See screenshot below: UNEP FI Soft Launch: Conference in Cancun]

    [Video: Climate Solutions – World Climate Summit 2013 – COP19 – Interview with Ursula Mathar – BMW]

    Ceres Key Partnership: The United Nations

    Since 2003, Ceres, the United Nations and the United Nations Fund for International Partnerships has hosted a bi-annual Investor Summit (on climate risk & energy “solutions”). The Investor Summit convenes over 520 global investors controlling tens of trillions of dollars in assets from four continents “who understand that climate change creates enormous economic risks and also know that it represents one of the great financial opportunities of our time.” [Source]

    64 trillion

    World Business Council for Sustainable Development

    “Another major policy planning group emerged in the mid-1990s with an increased focus on environmental issues, called the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which ‘instantly became the pre-eminent business voice on the environment’ with a 1997 membership of 123 top corporate executives, tasked with bringing the ‘voice’ of big business to the process of international efforts to address environmental concerns (and thus, to secure their own interests).” [Source: “Global Power Project, Part 2: Identifying the Institutions of Control”] Sourcewatch states: WBCSD was officially “formed in January 1995 through a merger between the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) in Geneva and the World Industry Council for the Environment (WICE) in Paris,” both of which were founded by billionaire industrialist Stephan Schmidheiny and Maurice Strong. “According to critics, this group was part of a strategy to dislodge the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations as it moved towards enforceable rules governing the operations of multinational corporations.” [Source: Taking Strong Action For Capitalist-Led Environmental Destruction]

    WBCSD’s corporate partnerships are extensive. Major WBCSD water partnerships include but are not limited to: Ceres, AquaFed, the international federation of private water operators, CEO Water Mandate, GEMI , International Water Association, IPIECA, the global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, Stockholm International Water Institute, UN Water and World Resources Institute.

    “WBCSD collaborated with Ceres to develop a publicly available framework to help investors understand how water-intensive companies are positioned to manage water-related risks and opportunities.”

    The WBCSD governance is comprised of individuals representing Unilever (chairman), ACCIONA, Toshiba, Royal Dutch Shell (vice chairmen). Members includes representatives of Toyota, Infosys, Lafarge France, Fibria Brazil and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec). Stephan Schmidheiny serves as honorary chairman.

    In 2012 Schmidheiny, heir, former executive and key shareholder in construction firm Eternit, was found guilty of negligent behavior in exposing Eternit’s workers and citizens to asbestos that resulted in over 3,000 asbestos-related deaths blamed on contamination. The guilty verdict resulted in a 16-year prison sentence. Schmidheiny failed to present himself in court during the two-year long trial and was not present for the verdict. In 2013 a third appeal upheld the conviction. The court increased the prison term to 18 years from the 16-year prison term handed down by a lower court in 2012 and awarded victims €88 million in damages. Again Schmidheiny appealed. On November 20, 2014 the Italian Supreme Court acquitted the convicted Schmidheiny and overturned his 18-year prison sentence stating the evidence in the case was out of date. His acquittal has set a precedent for other corporations whose CEOs are currently being held responsible for environmental and health damages.

    “With this verdict, money and power won again. Eternit’s flagrant disregard for public health and the environment is reprehensible and criminal.” — Linda Reinstein, President of the US-based Asbestos Disease Awareness Organisation

    Watch: Background: Looking back at the Eternit case:

    http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/embedded/looking-back-at-the-eternit-case/41124758

    In an October 2014 interview with Joppe Cramwinckel (WBCSD) in response to the question “In Europe there has recently been a strong campaign for public water supply: what is your position? Do you think it is right to privatize the management of a resource like water? If so why?”

    WBCSD makes it clear the shared intent on the commoditization of Earth’s natural resources (by both corporations and the non-profit industrial complex (NPIC) under the guise of corporate responsibility via careful linguistics:

    “We don’t have an opinion about privatizing water services, that is a choice individual countries have to make. We do believe however that a key approach to improve water management is ‘water valuation’ coupled with charging the ‘full cost’ of using water through better pricing policies. Government regulations may also enforce, or at least encourage, valuation of water. In addition, growing stakeholder and supply chain demands are likely to grow as perceptions evolve in relation to growing sustainability awareness. This whole movement towards better understanding and pricing the true value of water will have significant implications for all businesses – both in terms of risks and opportunities.”

    WBCSD Members:

    wbcsd org member banner

    Higher Fuel Economy Standards = More Growth

    In February 2008, Ceres and the United Nations Foundation brought together 450 global investors managing $22 trillion in assets to a 3rd Investor Summit on Climate Risk. [2][3] One of the highlights that came from this summit was a joint Citi/INCR research report (2007) that highlighted the growth opportunities for U.S. automakers based on higher fuel economy standards.

    “In July Ceres, along with a dozen other nonprofit partners, was an invited guest at the White House ceremony where President Obama announced stronger fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for new cars and trucks. Increasing fleet average fuel economy standards to 54.5 miles per gallon for cars and light-duty trucks by model year 2025 will make a significant difference for the environment and our economy.” (2010-2011 annual report)

    Obama announces in 2008 that stronger fuel-efficiency that will come into effect in 2025? Seventeen years into the future? Who cares!? To add insult to injury, consider that in 1908, the gas efficiency of a Ford Model T was 25 MPG, while in 2008, 100 years later, the EPA average of fuel efficiency on all cars was 21 MPG. Further, the EPA figure was inflated, as “most drivers achieve only about 75 percent of the [EPA mileage] figures.”

    Ceres – Teeming with Religious Entities

    “However, to read last week that the head of the Catholic Church, His Holiness the Pope, has cautioned mankind against greed while urging world leaders to tackle the problem of climate change was so surprising that I was sure I was reading a parody of events.… Large investments with everyone from the Rothschilds of America, Britain and France to some of the most powerful multinational corporations like Shell and General Motors, the Catholic Church has and still does benefit from a free market global economy that is solely motivated by profit. — Left Foot Forward, November 28, 2014

    If 350.org really wants divestment he should start with the Catholic Church. [May 31, 2011: Catholic Church has billions invested in BPI, Philex, San Miguel.] To suggest that 350.org target religious entities about divestment first and foremost is not without reason. The fact is that 350.org’s “friends on Wall Street” (Ceres) are actually teeming with wealthy religious organizations. Ceres faith-based coalition members include religious organizations such as Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, National Ministries, American Baptist Churches, Presbyterian Church (USA) and United Methodist Church, Board of Pension and Health Benefits (2003). Ceres’s faith-based board of directors includes representation from The United Methodist Church, Mission Responsibility Through Investment, Presbyterian Church (USA) and many others. [View all religious affiliations 2001-2010: 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010]

    “Among our most valuable coalition members is the United Methodist Church General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, one of the nation’s largest denominational pension funds representing 74,000 clergy and lay members with over $14 billion in assets.” [CERES 2008 Annual Report]

    Surely the churches need no convincing by 350.org nor any other NGO on the virtues of morality and ethics … so why is it they have not already divested from fossil fuels? The investments held by the Catholic Church demonstrate that religious entities are just as guilty of rapacious greed and racism as the corporation itself, which is easily defined as having the very same characteristics of a full-blown psychopath.

    350.org, McKibben, Ceres, Nike and Friends | Ego Uber Alles

    Bill McKibben (founder and former chair of 350.org) has been an esteemed guest of Ceres conferences in 2007, and again in 2013.

    An example of 350.org’s delusional idea of environmentalism from its inception is the continuous accolades for corporate social responsibility (as if there were such a thing) such as the “greening” of Nike. This is the same Nike that exploits sweatshop workers in Southeast Asia (April 20, 2011):

    “Today from 12-1pm EST, ClimateCounts.org, Ceres.org and 350.org are supporting the Bard Center for Environmental Policy’s Campus to Corporation (C2C) campaign by tweeting during Bard’s open dialogue with Sarah Severn, Stakeholder Mobilization Director of Sustainable Business and Innovation at Nike Inc.

     

    “For the third year in a row Nike topped the ClimateCounts.org scorecard and last year made headlines by resigning from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Board over climate disputes.

     

    “In December of 2010 at the release of the latest ClimateCounts.org scores, Wood Turner, ClimateCounts.org Executive Director, noted that, ‘There’s an emerging top tier of innovative companies leading on climate.’ Turner went on to state that ‘Climate action may have bogged down in Washington, but these companies know they can build successful businesses while tackling the climate crisis.’

     

    “ClimateCounts.org and partners will be encouraging climate-conscious consumers to join the open dialogue today and tweet using the #Nike hashtag to learn more about the climate action Nike is taking.”

    March 8, 2012:

    ” …according to War on Want, an anti-poverty charity accusing the sportswear giants of exploiting their workers in Bangladesh. In Race to the Bottom, a report released on Monday, the organization documents evidence of illegal work hours, dismal wages, sexual harassment, and physical violence in six factories contracted by Adidas, Nike, or Puma.”

    In stark contrast to 350.org et al, the UK Feminista group took to the streets when it observed such exploitation:

    “The group is asking people to stand in solidarity with the women producing Nike’s sportswear for the 2012 Olympics who are systematically being denied their rights. New research released by War on Want shows that Bangladeshi garment workers, 85% of whom are women, are being cheated of their maternity rights, face sexual harassment, and receive poverty pay.”

    Yet this should be of little surprise. The NPIC is patriarchal; those at the helm could care less that women suffer the most under the industrialized global capitalist system. Those exploited the most, and in particular women, will suffer the most as climate impacts intensify. There is a reason 350.org no longer uses the term “climate justice.” The reality is that climate and justice will not and cannot coincide under the current economic system, as violence and exploitation are inherently built into the system.

    Capitalism Doesn’t Care if Anyone Divests

    “At Ceres, we understand that capitalism and sustainability are deeply and increasingly interrelated. Whether it’s energy and water needs, workplace conditions or nutrition, businesses must pay attention. These issues pose risks that must be managed proactively. They present opportunities that must be leveraged immediately.” Ceres Annual Report 2005 & Beyond, Ceres, 2006

     

    “The essence of capitalism is to turn nature into commodities and commodities into capital. The live green earth is transformed into dead gold bricks, with luxury items for the few and toxic slag heaps for the many. The glittering mansion overlooks a vast sprawl of shanty towns, wherein a desperate, demoralized humanity is kept in line with drugs, television, and armed force.” ? Against Empire

     

    All money, like water, will flow somewhere. Meaning that at the end of the day even (“direct”) divestment from fossil fuels (asked to take place within a 5-year time frame) will only change the flow of investments. Examples include divesting from traditional fossil fuels to investing in the exploitation/drilling of “green” methane hydrates, rapid expansion of bio-fuels and other dangerous false solutions. The divestment campaign is of no threat to the fossil fuel industry at large because it has and will continue to expand into all the niche markets under the paradigm of the illusory “new economy.”

    Campaigns of Distraction

    Fossil fuel corporations will continue to rake in billions of dollars in revenues and profit. Investment funds understand that these stocks are secure. No risk. The notion of a carbon bubble in this respect … essentially referring to fossil fuels that cannot be burned – is laughable. Who is going to say no to the consumption of these fossil fuels because they are no longer part of our “carbon budget” – the U.S. military perhaps? We have not stopped on our own since climate talks began in 1979 (February 12-23, 1979 in Geneva); meaning, we’ve had 35 years to stop, and instead, only massively accelerated our consumption – an imperative under our suicidal economic system simply because the system would collapse with perpetual/infinite growth. One would be delusional to believe that we will in the future, on our own accord, make any meaningful attempt to address our consumption fetish – even as resources disappear at an accelerated rate. In the United States of Megalomania, and beyond, new generations are indoctrinated by design to be super-consumers – almost from the moment they can walk. The system demands it. Today, like deadly cancer cells, the western culture is permeating most all other cultures on our finite planet. Why would an investment firm (or their stockholders) believe that continued investment in fossil fuels would place their investments at risk when the American anthem “we will not apologize for our way of life” has become the empty dream to aspire to around the globe? The fossil fuel it takes to run an industrialized global economy built upon (and dependent upon) planned obsolescence is absolutely massive. Americans cannot even begin to comprehend the amount of fossil fuel necessary to allow such consumption to continue.

    There is a reason such discussion and comments, such as the one which appears below, are highlighted on the Ceres website:

    “Now, some people’s response is to demand that we end all coal production now – they say “End Coal.” Never mind that such a thing is simply not going to happen – there is no substitute now for metallurgical coal and if we stopped burning coal this afternoon and cut the power in the U.S. grid by 50 percent, as Mayor Bloomberg advocates, he’d be reading handwritten memos by candlelight this evening.”

    We can cry “stop the Keystone XL!” and “Save the planet!” and “Action on climate change!” all we want. Yet, until we are willing to completely and collectively starve the corporate-machine that hums beneath our capitalist system, we remain chained to our demise. This includes but is in no way limited to: the most minimal amount of community-owned/cooperative energy (as clean and safe as possible) to meet only our most very basic needs; local and regenerative plant-based agriculture based on permaculture principles; trade/cooperative banking, etc. etc. etc. Yet, here there is a critical distinction that must be made.

    Is “community-owned/cooperative energy (as clean and safe as possible) to meet only our most very basic needs” better than what we have at present? Yes. It would be difficult to argue otherwise. And yet, the question that arises is this: why are we looking (through tunnel vision) at (a global proliferation of) renewable energy infrastructure (the creation, transporting of and maintenance of, all dependent on fossil fuels) when the very societies (predominantly Euro-American) marketing/advocating the 100% renewable energy campaigns (via NGOs), the same societies creating 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, have not even succeeded, let alone even attempted, to cut our current consumption/emissions by at least half? (50% being a starting point only). After all, renewable energy infrastructure on a global scale is further ecological destruction (on a massive scale) to a planet in which planetary boundaries, feedbacks and tipping points have already being crossed.

    Massively cutting our energy consumption for essentials such as heat will be very difficult if not impossible. Virtual zero carbon emissions would appear to be no easy feat. But deep and immediate cuts in emissions would be achievable simply by the eradication of, or even the collective rejection of, energy-intensive products, flying [critical][4] and energy-intensive food sources. Think no more “Black Friday.” Think the relinquishing of air conditioners, personal automobiles, fast food, flying, gadgets and everything else we believe we need, but which are in reality, for the most part, no more than short-sighted wants.

    Considering that a massive amount of all energy is unnecessarily wasted (over 40% in the U.S.) while over 50% of all global greenhouse gas emissions are from industrialized factory farming, this could perhaps be achieved – but the fact is that we have not done so. Industrialized factory farming is perhaps the most taboo subject (along with the lethal military-industrial complex) among the liberal left and in particular the NPIC, much to the detriment of our children and billions of other sentient beings. Also not spoken of is the multitude of health benefits (let alone the immense environmental benefits) of a collective transition to a plant-based diet. We don’t talk about it despite a frightening epidemic of childhood diabetes (due to obesity) in America. One in three children born today in the U.S. is expected to develop diabetes in her/his lifetime, with black and Hispanic children having the highest risk.] Of course, such a transition (which requires no legislation) will never be championed by the NPIC simply because 1) it costs people nothing (therefore there is no profit to be made), 2) it threatens corporate power (leaving factory farming a reprehensible act of the past), and finally, 3) such a transition would leave the pharmaceutical industrial complex in the cold. Why prevent disease when we can “treat” it, further lining the pockets of big pharma? What foundations would fund such nonsense? The same foundations financing the national campaign to cut your consumption by 50%: none. Another barrier is the fact that 350.org et al, as well as the NPIC as a whole, understand their target audience well. Middle class, privileged, predominantly white. The NPIC employs and depends upon multi-million-dollar marketing companies to poll reactions – more importantly, reactions to specific language and phrases – prior to launching any campaign. They don’t “lead” with progressive/radical ideologies – they cater to corporate-driven and celebrated individualism. In other words, they give the people what the people want to hear. And to suggest to the American populace that it would be in their best interest to not eat dead animals three times a day or to consume/purchase only what is vitally necessary is to risk being nailed to a stake and burned alive.

    One must question how it is at all sensible to believe the solution is “green” energy, when there have been zero attempts to curb our consumption to date. More is simply more. It is a fact that as all new “renewable” energies have come online, the end result has been more energy consumed. Perhaps one could argue for (or even believe) in “100% energy for 100% of the people” if we had achieved massive cuts in our emissions/consumption to date or even if such a process was now being taken on with war-time mobilization efforts. But they have not and are not. No doubt one will argue that once the renewable infrastructure is in place, we will de-commission all the fossil fuel plants. Yet what evidence is there that at any time we (the 1% creating 50% of the GHG emissions) will give up any energy – or anything at all? If we haven’t by now, and we certainly haven’t, why would the future be any different? The illusion of a future that runs on “clean,” “renewable” energy (by 2050) is allowing us to ignore (and continue) our rapacious consumption today. The “100% renewable” campaign serves the same purpose as the carbon “budget” (30 more years to “safely” burn) and the zero emissions by 2050 “goal.” The carefully constructed phrases, marketed and normalized by the tentacles of empire, deliberately serve the illusion that we can keep consuming, keep burning, keep killing, keep growing, as per usual. Today’s emergency is kept locked away in the future. It is easy to promise zero in 2050 when by this time the Earth will likely be uninhabitable, with little to no life, human or otherwise.

    100-per-cent-for-the-one-percent-lg

    The slogan that appeared for the “People’s Climate March” – “100% energy for the 100%” – is nothing but a phrase that serves to alleviate guilt. A sign/phrase based on reality would read “100% energy for the 1-3%” (the 1% being anyone who can afford to get on an airplane). Most all “renewable” energies will flow to the very same people who have always had the energy since the beginning of the industrial revolution: the empire states, the Annex I states, the privileged few. As an example, the October 29, 2014 article “Solar Power Plant in Africa to Supply Europe” states that “by 2018, a large solar power plant in the Tunisian part of the Sahara desert may start sending power to energy-hungry Western Europe.” This is nothing new. This is the norm. This is imperialism – the highest stage of capitalism. Beautiful Africa, the most resource-rich continent on Earth, ravaged and terrorized for her abundant wealth, her people purposely impoverished by colonial and imperial states. Consider that nearly 97% of the people on the planet that are without access to electricity live in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia – and then ask yourself why African solar is being transported to Europe, part of the 1% that already creates 50% of the GHG emissions.

    It’s not what we need to add to “the existing” that should be our initial effort. Our initial effort/focus should be on what we can live without. An extraordinarily massive amount LESS. The relinquishing of what we don’t need is far more important than using what little remains of Earth’s natural resources to create additional infrastructure. The planet has already been raped and pillaged to the max. Climate science aside, humans are rapidly exhausting all Earth’s natural resources. July 7, 2002: “Earth’s population will be forced to colonise two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, according to a report out this week… In a damning condemnation of Western society’s high consumption levels, it adds that the extra planets (the equivalent size of Earth) will be required by the year 2050 as existing resources are exhausted. The report, based on scientific data from across the world, reveals that more than a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans over the past three decades.” October, 2010: “…our demand on natural resources has doubled since 1966 and we’re using the equivalent of 1.5 planets to support our activities. If we continue living beyond the Earth’s limits, by 2030 we’ll need the equivalent of two planets’ productive capacity to meet our annual demands.” Is it any surprise we would rather focus all of our energies on how much more/what more we need in order to be “sustainable” (an oxymoron if there ever was one), rather than focus on what we can cut out of our lives in an attempt to be sustainable … starting today. Not because it will save us, but simply because it is the right thing to do. The fact that we do not do so and will not do so reveals much about our western societies and ourselves… perhaps more than we can bear to look at. Is this critical? Consider the response by Administrator of NASA, Charles Bolden speaking at the Humans to Mars summit: “If this species is to survive indefinitely we need to become a multi-planet species. We need to go to Mars, and Mars is a stepping stone to other solar systems.” (Note that the quest to place greenhouses on and colonize Mars is well underway.)

    A transition from our suicidal economic system to a system in which knowledge, dignity, courage and compassion serve as our shared foundation is paramount. We must start somewhere. Even if the beginning of such a transition is shared collectively in ideology alone, this would represent a true turning point toward a society grounded in humility and decency with purpose.

    Until we do, we remain modern day slaves numbly intoxicated with 21st century soma. Our actions speak louder than words, “likes” and clicks.

    Quiet Now

    Illustration: Social media. Attached were the words from a daughter to her father: “love this daddy” to which the father replied: “[Y]our girl will do this someday.”

    The only way to stop an uncaged monster hurtling us towards oblivion faster than the speed of light is to starve it. This requires the participation of the masses – led by those at the margins. Together, we must starve the monster to the best of our ability, until it loses strength. At this point, when the system is weak and on its knees, in a valiant and united effort, we must do everything in our power to destroy it, shifting the existing power structures back to where they belong: with the people.

     

    Good for people – bad for Wall Street.

     

     

    +++++++++++++

     

    [Cory Morningstar is an independent investigative journalist, writer and environmental activist, focusing on global ecological collapse and political analysis of the non-profit industrial complex. She resides in Canada. Her recent writings can be found on Wrong Kind of Green, The Art of Annihilation, Political Context, Counterpunch, Canadians for Action on Climate Change and Countercurrents. Her writing has also been published by Bolivia Rising and Cambio, the official newspaper of the Plurinational State of Bolivia.]

     

    Endnotes:

    [1] Established in 2010, the World Climate Summit (WCS) worked with three categories of partners: Founding, Industry and Media Partners. “WCS is building the most comprehensive coalition of companies, investment, government, industry and media partners to come to the Summit during UNFCCC COP 16.” WCS founding partners are TIME, CNN International, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal Europe, Dow Jones, The Prince of Wales Corporate Leaders Group [a  TckTckTck partner that is no longer made public on the tcktcktck.org website], The Climate Group [a Rockefeller NGO], UN Global Compact, Bright Green, United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), The World Bank, The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Club of Beijing, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room, and the support of the Mexican Government’s Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, ProMexico. The World Climate Summit held access to more than 60 industry associations, 100 chambers of commerce, 2,500 corporations, and more than 530 investors representing more than $64 trillion of assets under management.

    [2] “Ceres’ investor and NGO partners are already channeling the Roadmap into concrete action, including dozens of face-to-face meetings with companies. Our recent UN climate summit brought together investors who manage $22 trillion, many of whom called on the U.S. and other countries to move quickly to reduce global carbon emissions.” (2009-2010 annual report)

    [3] INCR brought together 450 investors representing $22 trillion at the United Nations for the fourth Investor Summit on Climate Risk in 2010 – a fifth Ceres-sponsored Investor Summit is coming to the U.N. in January 2012. (2010-2011 annual report)

    [4] Particulates, not CO2, are perhaps the greatest contributor to the melting of the Arctic. Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering in Stanford’s Atmosphere and Energy Program, believes that soot is the primary cause of melting arctic ice, stating that “[C]ontrolling soot may be the only way to significantly slow Arctic warming over the next two decades.” In a study published in 2012 Jacobson led a team of scientists to calculate the monetary cost to reroute the flights around the Arctic circle. The study found rerouting would increase costs by approx. one hundred million dollars a year in higher fuel and operating costs (47 to 55 times less than the global warming costs to the U.S. alone which would occur without doing so). The result of rerouting would be the reduction of the jet fuel emissions of black carbon by approx. 83% in the Arctic Circle. This would not only delay the loss of the Arctic sea ice but also reduce warming worldwide on a global average by 2%. [Source]

    “Air traffic is the biggest source of pollution in the Arctic. Ever since cross-polar flights became commonplace in the late 1990s, flights crossing the Arctic Circle have risen steadily, surpassing 50,000 in 2010. While cross-polar flights account for only a tiny percent of total global emissions from aviation, the standard cruising altitude for commercial planes in the Arctic is the stratosphere, an extremely stable layer of the atmosphere. Black carbon and other emissions get trapped in this layer and as a result remain in the atmosphere longer, causing far more damage than emissions from flights at lower latitudes, scientists say. The research team gathered emissions data from 40,399 cross-polar flights in 2006 and used computer simulations to compare what would happen over the next 22 years if those flights skirted the Arctic rather than following their current routes.” [2012 New York Times]

     

     

  • San Francisco – The Only Way To Go Is Up (photo essay)

    A few images from downtown – Transbay and The Embarcadero. Sometimes it seems that new construction pops up every day.

    sf-transbay-embarcadero-markgould-008 sf-transbay-embarcadero-007 sf-embarcadero-transbay-markgould-009-2015 transbay-embarcadero-markgould-006 transbay-embarcardero-markgould-005 transbay3-004
  • Art and Culture Links – Saturday, January 10

    Google’s new bus is for the people

    SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS – By Matt O’Brien, 1/09/15

    MOUNTAIN VIEW — Meet a kinder, gentler Google bus — not the sleek and occasionally despised charter service that transports thousands of Googlers to the company’s suburban headquarters each morning, but a free public shuttle that launched here this week.

    The electric-powered Mountain View Community Shuttle is Google’s gift to a hometown still grappling with the weight of being the corporate hub for a global Internet giant. The two-year pilot program also helps the company sustain its do-gooder image amid rising anxiety over the Bay Area’s real estate prices and economic inequality, both frequently blamed on the meteoric incomes of tech workers.

    full story ->

  • San Francisco – City Art and Culture Notes: January 10, 2015

    Artists File Lawsuit For Publishing Images of Their Murals, ““San Francisco Feels Like The Center Of The World,” And 4K HD Art Frames From Depict

    Artists Fight Commercialization of Their Murals in San Francisco

    published at Courthouse News

    travers-mural -Courthouse News Service

    SAN JOSE (CN) – In a lawsuit that spotlights tensions over soaring prices and gentrification in San Francisco, the creators of several iconic city murals sued a real estate company for using their art to advertise “luxury homes.”

    Eight artists accuse Zephyr Real Estate, the city’s largest independent real estate firm, of infringing on their copyrights by reproducing their work in a 2013 promotional calendar without asking for permission…

    But due to a constellation of other forces at play, galleries in the Tenderloin are attracting new potential buyers, many flooding in thanks to the second technology boom. In fact, exponentially larger than the dot-com wave.

    As San Francisco Booms, So Does its Gallery Scene

    by Joseph Akel, New York Times, January 9, 2015

    copyright 2015 New York Times

    San Francisco, as has been well documented, is undergoing seismic cultural shifts. The second technology boom has brought an influx of wealth, investors and start-up prospectors to the city, drawing parallels with the gold rush of 1849. Now, as members of the newly well-heeled tech elite look to invest their money, the city’s small but thriving gallery scene is finding itself the recipient of their attention.

    “San Francisco feels like the center of the world,” says Sabrina Buell, formerly the director of New York’s Matthew Marks Gallery, who is now a partner in the art advisory firm Zlot Buell + Associates. Buell, a Stanford graduate, helps successful start-up founders – many of them her former college classmates – begin collecting. “The tech community is in many ways defining culture,” she says.

    On any given opening night at Jessica Silverman‘s namesake space in the city’s gritty Tenderloin neighborhood (488 Ellis St.), the crowd is likely to include luminaries of the industry such as the Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger or the Jawbone creator Yves Béhar (Buell’s partner), with whom Silverman collaborated on a curatorial project, “Fused Space,” at his Potrero Hill design studio. “The tech community includes a lot of philanthropic intellectuals that are open to visual experimentation,” Silverman says.

    As San Francisco Booms, So Does its Gallery Scene

    The work of Dashiell Manley opened last week on exhibit.

    The show’s title, “Time seems sometimes to stop,” is from an essay by Hollis Frampton about the representation of time in Eadweard Muybridge’s photographs. Both Frampton and Muybridge are key figures for Manley as time is a longstanding theme in his work. In this exhibition, the artist explores the fleeting quality of the news, the historically specific medium of the newspaper, and the decline of print journalism in the digital age.

    Dashiell Manley - Time seems sometimes to stop January 9–February 21, 2015

     

     Dashiell Manley

    Selected Works Exhibitions CV Press

    Dashiell Manley - \

    Meantime, there’s a renewed effort to identify and support the work of longtime local artists here.

    As Wealth Changes the Tenderloin, a Move to Preserve Artistic ‘Gems’

    The influx of wealth in and near the Tenderloin has one group working to identify and recognize the work of longtime local artists, hoping to promote and preserve their work, as  writes,

    ..The goal is to take a small stand against gentrification, casting a positive light on the people most likely to be displaced by the wealthy. Lately, more than a dozen technology companies, including Twitter, have relocated alongside the impoverished neighborhood, some buoyed by city tax breaks. The prospective changes to the Tenderloin — a noirish haunt of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade and arguably the central city’s last working-class neighborhood — have given rise to a new nickname: the Twitterloin.

     

    As Wealth Changes the Tenderloin, a Move to Preserve Artistic ‘Gems’

     

    full story at the New York Times ->

  • Art and Technology News – January 10, 2015

    Guide to Art In Motion 2015 – Singapore Art Week via BLOUINARTINFO

    During Singapore Art Week later this month from January 16 through 25, ART IN MOTION will showcase the programs of 18 leading contemporary art galleries based in the city-state. Organized and presented by the Art Galleries Association Singapore, ART IN MOTION is an open studios kind of event, and some of the work will showcase moving multimedia portraits made possible by a combination of photography, video projection, and painting techniques.

    Also located in the Distripark is Ikkan Art Gallery, which will be presenting “Moving Light, Roving Sight,” a selection of digital new media, video, and sound pieces by 9 renowned internationally active artists including teamLab, Jenny Holzer, Teppei Kaneuji, Haegue Yang, and Naoko Tosa.

    Your Guide to ART IN MOTION 2015

     

    From the Creator’s Project:

    Hacked Photoshop Tools Lead to Chaotically Manipulated Digital Art

    Brooklyn-based artist Zach Nader has long been interested in using software to cause “breakdowns” in everyday photographic imagery and distribution, particularly of the advertising variety. With his latest project, channel surf, debuting this Friday at Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn, Nader offers up inkjet prints and videos in which he misapplies, overuses, and overemphasizes image creation tools as a way to “break open everyday, ubiquitous images,” according to the artist.

    Nader showed The Creators Project how he deconstructs images using easily accessible tools, as opposed to coding in other works of this kind to achieve a fragmented, juxtaposed or “glitch art” visualization. Nader has been working on these images for some time now and some of his video works recently appeared on Times Square digital billboards as part of the Moving Image Art Fair.

    Midnight Moment March 2014: Zach Nader

    International Conference on Live Coding 2015

    International Conference on Live Coding - 13-15th July 2015

    This conference follows a long line of international events on liveness in computer programming; the Changing Grammars live audio programming symposium in Hamburg 2004, the LOSS Livecode festival in Sheffield 2007, the annual Vivo festivals in Mexico City from 2012, the live.code.festival in Karlsruhe, the LIVE workshop at ICSE on live programming, and Dagstuhl Seminar 13382 on Collaboration and Learning through Live Coding in 2013, as well as numerous workshops, concerts, algoraves and conference special sessions. It also follows a series of Live Coding Research Network symposia on diverse topics, and the activities of the TOPLAP community since 2004. We hope that this conference will act as a confluence for all this work, helping establish live coding as an interdisciplinary field, exploring liveness in symbolic abstractions, and understanding the perceptual, creative, productive, philosophical and cultural consequences.

    Art by Code (Gallery Opening)

    CODAME presents “Art by Code” in conjunction with Roll up Gallery.

    “Art by Code” is a triumph of human ingenuity and a tribute to artists who dare to imagine, invent, and test the limits creating art generated by code.

    Open Gallery: January 9th, 2015 with Music from DJ HARBOUR, full body 3D scans with Modbod3D, be captured by the IOIO plotter and PIXEL ART LED Displays.

    Where: Roll up Gallery at The Public Works SF, 161 Erie St, San Francisco, CA  (map)

    CODAME presents Art by Code January 9th

     

     

  • Katharina Grosse, “Fiction” via Art21

    I think you will be as delighted as I was to see Katharina Grosse at work with her team creating her enormous and colorful work in the most recent installment of PBS’ art21 “Fiction,”  which features artists who “explore the virtues of ambiguity, mix genres, and merge aesthetic disciplines to discern not simply what stories mean, but how and why they come to have meaning.”

    Some people paint landscapes on canvas; Katharina paints in the landscape “or on it or in it or with it, “as she says, to create large-scale sculptural environments and smaller wall works.

    By uniting a fluid perception of landscape with the ordered hierarchy of painting, Grosse treats both architecture and the natural world as an armature for expressive compositions of dreamy abandon, humorous juxtaposition, and futuristic flair.

    art21-katharina-grosse-3

     

    art21-katharina-grosse-4

    I love everything that Art21 produces, but was especially taken by Katharina’s artwork. Her huge, brightly colored works that pierce through architecture and the world, changing everything in the process are stunning and her process, creating a metamorphosis from colliding worlds,  is absolutely stunning.

    See the segment from Season 7 of ART21 “Art in the Twenty-First Century”

     art21-katharina-grosse-2

    art21-katharina-grosse-1

  • Walter Benjamin: The Work of Art and Reproduction

    Walter Benjamin has had a profound effect on my thinking about art and mass media and on a lot of other people studying philosophical aspects of these subjects. Benjamin’s thoughts on language, journalism, graphic design, mass communication, art, photography were both radical and ahead of its time. His ideas about authorship, production and reproduction were brilliant and prophetic, and have had an important, lasting effect on the interpretations of future theorists to come after him.

    (the original source page of the document posted on Scribd)

    This translation into English from the original German was published in 2008 by The President and Fellows of Harvard College.

    sfsthetik-walter-benjamin-2

    Essential to Benjamin’s As written in the Introduction by Alexandra Urdea, Benjamin’s genius was to transcend all of those subjects using a Marxist, semiotic examination of the circumstance that any work of art from whatever period is today susceptible to technological reproducibility which have enormous consequences not just for its mass reception but for its inmost qualities as well. Urdea writes,

    Reproducibility is thus finally a political capacity of the work of art; its very reproducibility shatters its aura and enables a reception of a very different kind in a very different spectatorial space: itprecisely the shattering of the aura that enables the construction.

    (Entire PDF book is downloading into this page and will take a minute or two depending on your connection)

    Benjamin, Walter-Work of Art in the Age of Its Technological Reproducibility, And Other Writings on Media 2… by Alexandra Urdea