and now, for the final installment (once again, will post now and correct later):
Michael Light (photographer and pooky)
Not a scientist or historian, but a visual artist. feels like a journalist, in that he can do everythign but not in great depth. Conference is a heavy load, taking away alot. As artists, atrracted to very vast spaces. Practices invlves two starins. One is looking at images that have been alread made by others. Going through archives. The other is making his own images, mostly aerial. Is a pilot.
Photo: of Mike in cockpit of his plane with his 20 pound 4x5 camera. Planetary images, vast desert landscapes.
Explorer of what we as a people are doing to our landscapes. Settleed and unsettled landscsapes. larger project called SOME DRY SPACE.
Makes books. Large book projects, book as a project. They're the beginning of the project, handmade artists books.
2003 100 suns book.
Meditative look at the view from the imperial veranda. Images from 100 nuclear detonations. Came to it from a landscape perspective.
Edward Teller, dark grandfather laughing at us all. Image of first hydrogen bomb detonation. Changes everything. Up til that point the sublime was the province of the gods, until now humans ignited their own small stars. Arguably the greatest moment of civilization, tool-bearing humans setting off their own stars. We are the architect of our own sublime. Immense implications.
Becomes possessive of photos other people made.
Pilgrimage to Bikini Atolll, image of Mike detonation.
Image of bravo detonation, largest test we ever detonated. 15 megatons. Bikini remains uninhabitable from Bravo blowback.
Creepy, tropical, only evidence left is the undersea craters.
Briefly Full Moon, 1999.
Used NASA apollo archive to view the moon not as an event but as a place. Truism what we really got out of apollo was perspective on Earth.
Bingham Mine/Garfield Stack
Bingham Mine is largest human excavation. Outside of Salt Lake City, metaphor for geomanipulation.
Planet now utterly geomanipulated. It's now a human park. No more wilderness. Gardening? Anthropocene. Humans are larger force than erosion and rain.
Snow articulates architecture. City in reverse. Roman amphitheater. Mine was capitalized by Guggenheims, in metals. copper.
Often shoots into the sun, comes from lunar work, and meditations on the bomb.
vaginal mine, tailings looking like a glaciar.
Garfield stack, largest free standing structure west of what? Image shows highwater mark of great salt lake.
Big book, on automobile infrastructure in L.A.
More recent work over Phoenix, Sun City, first planned retirement community.
A kind of terraforming. A kind of lunar or Martian colony.
Importnat for artist to hang on to feeling of being alien on this planet, viewin thrings from an alien eye.
Helicopter work. Hard to photograph. Corporate purpose-built communities dropped wholesale.
Sacred architecture, cloverleaf pass.
Trailer park with date palms. and the other end of socio economic scale, Camelback mountain.
Architecture as a reflection of people's views on the sublime.
Newest work. Phoenix and Vegas are stepchildren of L.A. shooting now in Vegas. Lake Las Vegas, artificial lake.
Connection between mining and extractive industries, and residential and inhabiting stuff. Same processes.
A kind of geomanipulation.
Gregory Benford (astronomer and sf writer)
Observations about geoengineering
20th anniversary of National Academy of Sciences report on geoengineering.
first time somebody tried to suppress a publication after it had been issued. B/c they felt it was wrong. Huge battle.
2 major issues:
- Climate change itself
- Acidification of Oceans.
These things will take place w/in a few decades to a half century
Carbon restriction will fail. The time to turn around fossil fuel industry is about a century. Economics: $30-50 trillion, a major fraction of world GDP. Has to be replaced by something else, and will cost a lot.
War on alcohol failed (15 years) war on drugs has failed (39 years), war on carbon is not going to be won for a long time. Most people don't feel bad when they get into their car. Asking for an enormous change in a short time.
War metaphor is limited. If you keep thinking it's a moral problem and addressing it with policies, but it has a large engineering component. Must be thought of as an engineering problem.
Arctic: thawing permafrost releases methane. About a thousand gigatons of methane in arctic tundra.
Projections always have a come-to-Jesus moment in about 20 years. Tragedy of commons writ large. Dealing with a substance which, until recently, was fine with everyone.
If you could decrease the sunlight by 1%, you would solve the warming problems for about a century. Unnoticeable to ordinary eye.
the only planes that could carry aerosols are the fighter jet refuelers. But we have a great number of them. This craft can fly into the stratosphere in the arctic, and it's built to take fluids. We don't have an aircraft that can fly into stratosphere in tropics. This all means U.S. has a horse in this race.
Policy: climate change is a national security issue - new declaration? Seven nations in the Arctic circle. Governance is going to be a big problem because of coal burning in India. India will quadruple its coal burning by 2020.
He's in favor of doing labwork now, b/c we don't know when we'll need it. We're running out of time. dithered for two decades and gotten nowhere. He thinks case for geoengineering has become obvious. No other real option. Others think carbon restriction is the way to go. The adversary is the natural world. the problem comes from the biosphere, which is reacting to what we've been doing. There's no way to interact with the biosphere. It doesn't want what we want.
Boy oh boy, he couldn't have modeled the male dominant attitude any better.
Andrew Matthews (anthro UCSC)
Gathering threads of the last two days.
Use the word "imagination":
- Ways imagination works for us
- Imagination -> politics
- Value of the worst kind of imaginations
The kind of imaginations that go into successful modeling. Ken Caldeira. Surprising quality of the world. Writing is also a surprising business. Importance of writing that kind of surprise and resistance. Commonalities imagination, surprise, resistance.
Power of imagination. Just thinking about geoengineering gets ppl scared. Just saying has the possibility of escaping the particular place and getting out into the larger world. Questions of when it becomes reasonable to collaborate. In policy, it makes no sense to commit to carbon reduction, b/c they pay the cost, others get the benefit. But in a geoengineering world, it makes sense, b/c you deploy the technology, get the benefit, and maybe don't even pay the cost. New form of rationality.
Who has power? Assymetry of imagination. Some people's imaginations matter and some don't. It's good to think about who is "we"? When we have more kinds of imaginations going in, more is coming out. When we construct knowledge about the world, we're also constructing some kind of authority/agency that will control the world we have described. Anytime we're constructing knowledge but not thinking about that other half, we run grave risks. Legitimacy of state in the face of climate change. Construct the kind of political authority that could respond to climate change in that way. Political imagination at work among deniers and skeptics. Sees the state itself as fundamentally illegitimate. Imagining a state that speaks to more people, and more kinds of imaginations.
Nightmares. s.th. different between scientists of 50s and now. Scientist like Ken Caldeira speaking about divided heart is a new thing. Sheila Jassinov? Technologies of humility. We do know that we're not going to get it right right away. How do we keep an eye open for unforeseen consequences? Retaining humility about technologies. Legitimacy of science. Nobody's going to trust us if we say "trust me, It'll be alright." Grave decline of legitimacy of state as a result of nuclear testing.
Gardening and terraformations. Soil radiation management comes from failed air conditioning. Maybe environmental justice, family planning etc. Geoengineering coming from above vs. gardening. But we do need a way to sign up for big projects that are not horrible and destructive.
We tend to think about the ways citizens and publics are excluded from decisionmaking. Instead let's think about the ways they are included. The public attitudes are already present and having an effect on how these technologies are discussed and made.
I'm going to sign off here, because my hands and wrists hurt. Conclusions from me later.