It’s been too long since our last letters; it’s been a world! The good news is that I have had my two vaccine doses, and the bad news is, well, everything else, hahaha. The other time a friend told me that, in contrast with the world and, in particular, with the new crises that Latin America is going through, Chile and its constitutional process was a hope. Is it? I didn’t tell him, but if Chile is the hope, then we’re really doomed. We have to listen to the best non-Chilean Chilean in the world, Raul Ruiz, when he said that “Chile is not and will never be a great country, and I think that is fantastic.”
By the way, how terrible it must be to live in a “great country.” What will it be like to wake up and think that your way of life is the best? I am serious. It doesn’t fit in my head as an inhabitant of this corridor of land in South America. Take, for example, the words of John Kerry, who is Biden’s special envoy to deal with the climate crisis, who said that the American “quality of life” should not be given up because of the climate crisis. He is sure that 50% of the carbon reductions needed to get to net-zero will come from, ahem, technologies that have not yet been invented. Keep the faith, as Jon Bon Jovi (?) would say.
Is it ideological deformation, simple ignorance, or just a form of climate change denialism? By the way, scientists have come out to disprove his words, with arguments that are even more depressing than Kerry’s view: all new energy infrastructure technologies have taken between 30 and 100 years from invention to 5% penetration of existing markets.
I suppose the demand on the anti-colonial look at the climate crisis also points to this idea of believing that there is a form of quality of life that must be defended at the expense of carbon emissions. So we will continue with empty efforts and leaps of faith regarding the most significant crisis the entire planet has ever faced, so that the gringos – instead of sitting in their super polluting SUVs – now put their buttocks in electric cars that, by the way, will multiply the demand for minerals which also endangers the leap of faith of betting 100% on green energies. Wait: how about investing in real solutions that do not depend on technological inventions such as stimulating the use of public transportation? Yes, sure. Our super white males will come up with something. By the way, my friend JF launched a lovely project called Formando Rutas (also in English), which seeks precisely to problematize the bet on electric cars and lithium extraction.
On a side note, I wanted to tell you that I am reading “The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty” by Benjamin Bratton because I think he gives a fascinating perspective on the multiple blind spots of the human rights approach to data and, by the way, on the role of technologies in the climate crisis. He believes that many of the technologies that we separately study today (from artificial intelligence, the internet of things, smart cities, satellites, etc.) are part – unintentionally – of a planetary-scale computational apparatus that forms a sort of cognitive layer on the planet. This has several consequences, one of which could be digital surveillance, but above all – he explains in this lengthy interview – the toxic idea of concentrating on extracting data from individuals as if individuals “were the most interesting thing.” At the other extreme of its existence, thanks to its data collection and processing level, this computational apparatus has precisely allowed the emergence of an epistemologically revolutionary concept: climate change.
Not bad for a conversation over an imaginary beer in a fictional bar, isn’t it?
My friend, I send you a kiss and write me soon.
I’m begging you.
The letters are back! I’m so happy about it! I guess the thing is that in the recent weeks we’ve been dedicated to other affairs of the Gato.Earth holding such as our participation in the last edition of the Global Information Society Watch report with our article about climate crisis and the agenda of digital rights’ organizations. I think we did a fantastic job with that text. Moreover, I feel like a pioneer when I see that the connection between climate and technology that we started exploring almost two years ago, now it has way more visibility.
In my regular gatito research I have found the same old nonsense: Twitter’s founder saying that bitcoin incentivizes renewable energies, or this news in Reuters about the corporation Lunding Energy announcing that it will start selling “carbon neutral oil”.
A counterpart of this ecological desolation is the existence of the friends from Rotterdam and their brilliant artworks, for example this exhibition in A Tale of a Tub I attended the other day called Trade Winds in the Age of Underwater Currents which is about the phenomena of deep sea mining, coastal ecology and underwater cable networks. I’m also very excited because Niekolaas Lekkerkerk, rotterdammer curator, just founded in the city of Delft a space called RADIUS which will be centered in the relation between contemporary art and ecology. I hope I can contribute with that project soon!
And I’m super happy because the Zapatista tour in Europe is ongoing and the first squad already arrived in Spain, theirs is such a powerful adventure, I’m truly joyful about it. I think is a case that connects perfectly with these mega inspiring words by Ochy Curiel, feminist scholar from Dominican Republic, who makes this strong critique to the concept of intersectionality. She explains that it is nothing but a buzzword that is popular between corporations, NGOs and university theses, just “un canto a la bandera” that is meaningless and does not endanger material abuses such as extractivism. Therefore, our proposal as feminists must be the end of systems of oppression and not vindicate the recognition of differences as an end in itself. I believe that Curiel’s vision must be central at the moment of working around the topic of the climate emergency.
Well, all my love for you. To be honest, here with the Euro Cup, the summer and the vaccine, I have started seeing things with a nicer lens 🙂
Your non-Chilean Chilean friend,
*Have this frame of a video I made the other day, is Andrés’ cat and some poetry from the Communist Manifesto <3