Sunday, 4 January 2015

The Meadow Walk - Day 36

Day 36 (5th January 2015)
36 gallons equate to a Standard Barrel of beer
(in UK measures - i.e. just under 164 litres)

Illustration from late 13th century manuscript depicting
a monk sneaking an extra cup of ale for himself.
(c) British Library Board, Sloane 2435
Today's post is from the awesome Neil Usher - philosopher, poet, thinker, rebel and Workplace Director for Sky. He is at the forefront of current thinking as to what the future of work should and will be like. I love Neil's blog, workessence.comit always makes me think. His handle on Twitter is @workessence.

When I first read it, Neil's post (below) reminded me of the film Blade Runner and also brought to mind the following quote by Albert Camus:
"Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being."
Welcome to the path leading to Neil's dystopian vision...


Memories of the Marxist Digital Revision, its arrival and viral adoption had faded from Rebellia's overburdened memory. The abolition of acronyms had been more abrupt - one day they were ubiquitous, the next every idea, institution and unwieldy expression was laid bare, choking communication and rendering brevity an accident of history.

As she pondered the realignment of her relationship with technology and its moral neutralisation, she swilled the remnants of her second flask of chicory and let the bitterness jolt the back of her throat. Coffee was a faint memory, more prevalent the recollection of the viral destruction of the globe's entire crop in one of the most celebrated acts of social terrorism.
Hydroponic production of chicory
All disruption was art.

Disruption 2, Gregory Thielker, 2010
oil on inkjet prints
Rebellia earned the Regular Wage, paid to all but members of The Administration, an amount based on cognitive mapping. It allowed a carefully balanced life, with some luxuries. There wasn't much to be desired that was unattainable, to some degree.

Yet the gradual but wholesale suffocation of deviance left almost no channels for expression but the imagination. Platforms that had once proliferated and allowed ordinary voices to bristle had become irrelevant, washed away by the tide they themselves created. Rebellia had a window into the stories and neuroses of friends and strangers alike, as they had into her's. She wore her heart like a badge.

The only remaining avenue of deviance was the Meadow Walk, a passage through the conurbation that had been left blank, untouched, carpeted by the shoots from the few seeds still carried on the wind. 

Surrealistic image by photographer Erik Johansson
Countless attempts to smother the path with concrete, steel and glass all failed, the earth softening like tear-stained cheeks. Rebellia walked in silence against the ebb, brushing shoulders, catching and dispensing glances.
Germinated seeds pushing through asphalt
The disarming innocence was an illusion. The Meadow Walk was the last harbour of deviance, self-contained and terrifying. In the only swathe of true earth remaining in the conurbation was played out the unthinkable and the unuttered, so neutralised by mediocrity and transparency had lives become. Rebellia's eyes burned beneath her hood, and in her pocket she spun the barrel of her last ink pen she had hidden from the amnesty.

She dreamed the Meadow Walk Her secrets were safe, but blunt. No-one was to blame, it just happened that way.

Kraftwerk: "Metropolis", off The Machine Man, 1978

WILCO "Side with the Seeds", 2010

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