April 23, 2020

"so fierce that the phrase buggy-whip maker became a business simile for loser"


I've been thinking about this quote regularly since I first read it in 2015:

"In 1915, as the American economy boomed, the huge supply chain that supported horse-drawn transport—harnesses and horseshoes, wagons and buggies makers (13,000 of them), farriers and blacksmiths, hay balers and feedmills—looked like a robust and vital segment for deploying capital. 1920 was the year of “Peak Horse” in the U.S.. By 1940 it was gone. This was not “low-cost”, incremental progress. It was an economic disruption so fierce that the phrase “buggy-whip maker” became a business simile for loser."

And I thought of it again the other day when I read the headline:

The day oil was worth less than $0 — and nobody wanted it

And then, a few days later, this headline:

Big Banks Pull Financing, Prepare To Seize Assets From Collapsing Oil and Gas Industry

If environmentalists, meaning (I believe or at least hope) the majority of us, find as many ways as possible to seize the moment, I don't see why this couldn't be the beginning of the end for the fossil fuel industry.

[The first quote is from Carl Pope's 2015 article Get Ready for Ugly as "Free Markets" Begin to Deal With Climate Crisis.]


April 19, 2020

"Those are really my people."


"I often say I don’t necessarily relate to people who make art, performance, or literature, but I do relate to people who make art, performance, and literature who think of quitting every fifteen seconds. Those are really my people. I call us the boy-who-cried wolf set, since we always announce we’re quitting but never do, and therefore no one believes us anymore. It seems to me that anyone who works in the arts today and doesn’t have serious, ongoing doubts as to the validity or efficacy of the situation is not facing all of the current, inherent problems and questions with open eyes."

- an excerpt from Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART


April 13, 2020

And it's the exact same virus.


There's something I've been thinking about a lot. In Germany the fatality rate is estimated to be around 1%. And in Italy the fatality rate is somewhere over 10%. And it's the exact same virus.

The virus is one thing, but political factors surrounding it - the ways governments and societies handle the situation - really seem to have a rather large role.

I might have known this before but I never quite understood it in such a visceral way.


April 9, 2020

Last night I couldn't sleep...


Last night I couldn't sleep. And I started thinking about how, in the early months of 2020, before the lockdown, I went to a series of cultural events that, each in their own way, completely blew me away. It felt like I was on a roll. There were four amazing Drawn & Quarterly book launches: Lisa RobertsonKai Cheng ThomDesmond Cole and Kaie Kellough. Each of these events was completely packed, almost too packed, and each of these writers said so many things, almost too many things, I found so thought-provoking and moving. And then there was Le Short & Sweet recyclé XXL, which also was an almost never-ending stream of artists and moments where it continuously felt like something was really happening. Then the last event I went to, the bilingual reading Épiques Voices, that also just had so much striking and performative work in both languages. And since then I have not been in a single over-crowded room. Already it all seems so long ago.