I’ll be in Seattle this weekend, showing some of my recent photo work (like above) as well as hocking tintypes. Come get your portrait taken! Or just come hang out with me and fellow host Libby Bulloff!
The show will be open 2pm till 7 or so on Sunday, September 23.
Margaret Killjoy (SteamPunk Magazine, Mythmakers & Lawbreakers) and Libby Bulloff (The Steampunk Bible, Exoskeleton Cabaret) will be presenting a gallery show of unique portraits and adventure photography.
We will also be offering one-time-only affordable tintype portrait sessions during the art show in which we will be shooting and developing metal photos using an antique camera.
Sittings are free–successful tintypes are $50 and can be taken home 30 minutes after the sitting.
Tintype sessions are first-come, first-serve and materials are limited! Don’t miss out!
’57 Biscayne Artist Studios, #5
110 Cherry, Seattle, WA
Anyone who claims to know much about the gods of the trash is lying. The lore regarding these deities is obscure and has largely been fabricated. This article is, of course, as guilty as any other.
But humans evolved to be scavengers, and we’ve been pantheists and polytheists a lot longer than we’ve been atheists. Metaphorical or not, there are gods of refuse and waste. Their whim determines when and what a scavenger may eat.
In the civilized world, we’re offered an order, a consistency in life, that one rarely gets outside of polite society. It’s also probably why so many of us are so bored and depressed. At the risk of sounding banal, civilization is god to most people these days; it is the single provider of all of their needs. It’s the illusory force that people have chosen to sink their faith into.
It’s fascinating to watch the atheist veneer peel away from people who choose or are forced to live off the excess of society. An ironic superstition turns to half-earnest prayer within months. Ask most us: whether or not we actually believe in the gods of the trash is immaterial. We still worship them.
But the label isn’t really what matters. What does a city that’s not a city look like? That’s where it gets interesting.
The settlement of cities is one of the primary traits that distinguishes a civilization from other forms of societal structuring, like a band or a tribe. And if we’re looking to move past civilization (which is the core theme of my column), we’d better take a closer look at cities themselves.
My dictionary told me that a city is a large town. That didn’t do me much good, so I turned to town: “an urban area that has a name, defined boundaries, and local government….” And immediately, a lot of the problems with cities are apparent.
Government is an easy one for me to dismiss: I’m an anarchist. I don’t believe in “the State” or what is traditionally construed as government. I don’t like the idea of one central body that makes all the decisions. And I don’t like being told that all I get to do is pick the person who makes the decisions for me. I’m much more interested in community and individual self-governance. There’s that old cliche: democracy is two sheep and three wolves deciding what to have for dinner. Well, at least that’s a cliche in the circles I run in.
I’m proud of it because it, like the Occupy movement itself, is inspiring and diverse, with contributors who are academics, activists, creatives, and just people who were swept up by the movement. What sets this book aside from all the Occupy books coming out is that this book contains contributions pretty much exclusively from folks who were a part of the movement. This is not some book written by professional activists or theoreticians standing aside trying to tell of us what to do. This book was written by people who were at the general assemblies and general strikes. I was particularly happy to work with folks who aren’t professional writers to get their movement stories included.
So we’ve been working on A Steampunk’s Guide to Sex for months now and we’re at the point where we’re looking to find the funding to print it. So we put up a kickstarter.
This is the first time anyone will have a chance to buy the tintypes I’ve been making, what’s more.
Anyhow, I’m really excited about this project. The people writing for it are really damn smart… Professor Calamity seems to know and have access to an immense amount of information on all things 19th century, even stuff that isn’t on the internet. And Alan Moore is one of the smartest wingnuts I’ve ever spoken with, so he’s got amazing shit to say. Luna writes what she knows and does it well, and Miriam Roček has a way with words I’ve never before encountered. Hell yeah.
The first thing to know about surviving the apocalypse is this: you’re not going to survive the apocalypse. You’re not special. If everyone dies? That includes you. If the ecological crisis that triggers the collapse (my money is on runaway global warming, personally) doesn’t get you, then the further militarization of our society probably will.
If you want to survive, and I cannot express this strongly enough, you should not go run and hide in your little isolated cabin somewhere by yourself or with five of your friends! (Unless there are zombies.) If you simply retreat and wait for the world to right itself, you’re a coward and not even a very bright one; if you leave all of the work to other people, things aren’t going to come out so pretty. It is this sort of cowardice, this individualistic gusto, that arguably got us into this trouble in the first place. If you stand idly by and watch a fascistic army take control, you will, in the end, die. If you don’t try to organize with people to kickstart a permacultured agriculture to feed people, you will, in the end, die. If you live with two other people and never see another living soul again in your life? You might survive, but you might very well wish you hadn’t. When your appendix ruptures and whoops you forgot that your brother isn’t a surgeon? You will die.
Like it or not, humans are social animals. Our best hope to stay alive, and furthermore, to thrive, after an apocalyptic event is to discover social solutions.
Congratulations! You’ve decided to reject civilization! There are so many reasons why you might have done so.
Maybe you’ve watched so many post-apocalypse movies or read so many books and comics that you really wish the world would hurry up and end so you can get on with living as you’d like to. Maybe you’ve intellectually come to understand the horrors of the modern political system, and have determined that its roots run all the way back to when some folks started locking up food and only giving it out in exchange for labor. Maybe you’ve looked to the world around you and decided that the monstrous evils being perpetuated against the natural earth really are unforgivable, and the complex of societies that has allowed that to happen ought to be destroyed—or at best ignored. Maybe you just like harvesting wild food but don’t see why we have to give up living in cities.
Whatever your reasoning, we’re quite happy to have you in the ranks of the post-civilized.
“We have no more interest in repairing civilization than a scrapyard does in repairing cars. When you see a roadkill deer, you don’t attempt emergency breathing–you skin and eat it. Well, if you eat meat.”
In the previous issue, I laid out the basics of post-civilization theory (affectionately referred to by most people I know as “post-civ”). The really, really short version of it is: we don’t like civilization, but we’re not primitivists either. Oh sure, we learned a lot from our relationship with civilization, but in the end, it was just too abusive. It’s time to break up, it’s time to move on.
In this issue, we’re going to take a close look at post-civilized approaches to production and highlight a possible way to undermine the capitalist economic system.
I was a columnist for Alan Moore’s Dodgem Logic, a UK magazine of comics, anarchy, and all-around weirdness. It ran for a bit over a year and I contributed to all but the first issue. I’m going to start publishing my articles here over the next couple of weeks. This was my first article, publishing in Dodgem Logic #2 in 2010, and is essentially a slightly longer rewrite of post-civ!, a collaboratively written introduction published by Strangers In A Tangled Wilderness 2008.
Well, that civilization thing was interesting, now wasn’t it? I mean, it certainly seemed worth a shot. We got a lot out of it: telescopes, wheelchairs, wikipedia. But we also just about took out the natural world. Science, agriculture, and specialization have done a lot for expanding cultural ideas and communication, but they’ve done even more for genocide and ecocide.
So it’s time we gave up the noble, failed experiment altogether and moved on to something new.