Strategy and Theories of Change | Extinction Rebellion

Just this, take a moment to listen...

Dr. Gail Bradbrook | Strategy Based in an Ecology of Theories of Change | Extinction Rebellion


Banksy Brexit mural no more

Banksy's Brexit mural in Dover has been painted over... A white square is replacing it and the rest of the building hasn't even been painted... #BrexitCrisis #LittleEngland

Can we cancel Brexit as well now?

Banksy Brexit mural painted over

A Brexit-themed Banksy mural in England has been covered up with white paint.

The artwork appeared on a former amusements arcade near Dover's busy ferry terminal in May 2017 where it could be seen by lots of passing motorists.

It showed an EU flag with a workman chipping away one of the stars, symbolising Britain leaving the EU.

The mural had been covered up last month and workmen had assembled scaffolding over it.

A local MP Charlie Elphicke has spoken out about its disappearance, saying a group called Historic England should "hang their heads in shame" for not protecting the piece.

The artwork had been valued at £1m in July.

link:  https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/discover/banksy-brexit-mural-painted-over-950218.html#.XXmBJsjIazs.twitter


Emel Mathlouthi - 'Rescuer'

Lots of music these days... I mean, what can heal us and our world in a more southing way...?

Emel Mathlouthi - 'Rescuer' (Official Video)

Official Music Video by Emel Mathlouthi, "Rescuer" 
"Everywhere We Looked Was Burning", new album out Sept 27th


Lyrics: The first rise of the light Is always floating When they all came to the end Of their telling But it tells no one How it all passed Slowly.. slowly.. rescuer of my senses, of my senses Have you ever sank in a state Of not wanting the answer When the echo left your body With no revelation No one, it tells no one How it all passed Slowly.. slowly.. rescuer of my senses, of my senses I feel senseless, I feel senseless

Liz Fraser - 'Teardrop' - 1998/2019

Elizabeth Fraser singing Massive Attack's 'Teardrop' in 1998...

Live on Later With Jools Holland in 1998

... and in 2019:

Massive Attack performs the song "Teardrop" from their album Mezzanine, Live in Concert at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California, September 2019


'Wakers Of The Wind'

Utterly sublime song. One of the most beautiful I've heard in a long time...

Emel Mathlouthi - 'Wakers Of The Wind' - (Official Video)

Her album "Everywhere We Looked Was Burning", will come out on Sept 27th
To pre- order: https://emel.lnk.to/everywhere-we-looked Emel Mathlouthi: Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/e.mathlouthi Twitter : https://twitter.com/mathlouthiemel Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/emelmathlouthi Produced by Little Human Records Directed by Emel Mathlouthi DOP: Alon Koppel Photography www.alonkoppel.com Editing: Donna Madrigal Studio footage: Emel Mathlouthi archive Music and lyrics: Emel Mathlouthi Music Production by Emel Mathlouthi, Steve Moore, Karim Attoumane and Amine Metani Mixed by Chris Tabron, Mastered by Heba Kadry



I have written many times and many ways
But I still don’t know what to say to you

I don’t like this one I see and I don’t like this words that I have come to say to you

Part’s of me you know what it feels like to be near in to be fair
But i hope that I have now come to an easy path

To be who i and and who i like you to see

How and easy to be open to be human for real
And understanding, unpretending

Be who you can draw

I don’t think it’s what you hear or what you feel
I don’t want you to be scared that’s how we're made
The wakers of the wind
The wakers of the wind
I don’t think it’s what you hear or what you feel
I don’t want you to be scared that’s how we're made
The wakers of the wind
The wakers of the wind

'Why our relationship with technology is destroying the planet'

Now, this is more where I stand:

MUST READ: 'Why our relationship with technology is destroying the planet' by @ajwendland. Philosopher Martin Heidegger and @ExtinctionR get important mentions... https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/environment/2019/09/why-our-relationship-technology-destroying-planet


Why our relationship with technology is destroying the planet


Writing shortly after the Second World War, the philosopher Martin Heidegger argued that we must break free from our use of technology to address the climate crisis.

Hardly a day passes without a major news story about climate change and the damage we are doing to our natural habitat. Rising global temperatures, melting arctic sea ice, plastic contamination in the ocean, a steep increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, and mass species extinction epitomise the changes currently taking place on our planet.

Given the threat these transformations pose to life on Earth, environmental activists like Greta Thunberg have called on world leaders to drop the language of “climate change” and instead speak of a “climate crisis” or a “climate emergency”. The Canadian and UK parliaments heeded these calls. But what is causing this crisis? What are the exact consequences? And how are we to respond?

In an influential essay written in the ruins of the Second World War, Martin Heidegger characterised the reduction of the natural world to resources for production and consumption as the crisis of modernity. Heidegger claimed this crisis is rooted in our technological worldview. Its consequences include a loss of the sacred, the violation of nature, and the destruction of our home. To adequately address our climate emergency, Heidegger thought, we need to break free from our self-serving use of technology.

According to Heidegger, our modern technological worldview emerged with the scientific revolution in the 17th century, and is exemplified by the mathematical models of nature we use to manipulate and control our surroundings. The precision with which our scientific and mathematical theories measure and predict natural processes allow us to produce technological devices that are capable of altering or harnessing the natural world for our own ends. As René Descartes famously said in 1637: “[by] knowing the force and the action of fire, water, air, the stars, the heavens, and all other bodies that surround us’ we may render ourselves the ‘masters and possessors of nature”.   

Heidegger, for his part, wrote about the way we use our mathematical representations of nature to divide the world into “calculable bits of matter” and therefore ensure “certainty in governing and planning”. In fact, he thought our application of science and technology reduced the natural world to a stock of resources waiting to be used at our beck and call.

Rivers are transformed into hydro-electric dams; forests are treated as timber for our homes; the wind is harnessed to charge our smartphones; humans themselves are described as resources to be used by public ministries and private corporations. As Heidegger put it, by quantifying nature in this way, we turn the world into “a gigantic petrol station”.

Although he acknowledged that modern science had material benefits, Heidegger worried that its power had blinded us to the dangers of treating the natural world as a resource for production and consumption. A self-serving, perfunctory use of technology, he warned, leads to sacrilege, violence and destruction – the very attitudes our current climate emergency is founded upon. 

It wasn’t always like this. Before the ascendancy of modern technology, the medieval religious order regarded nature as part of a sacred, life-sustaining system – one that isn’t subject to the arbitrary exercise of human will. Although Heidegger wasn’t committed to any given religious doctrine, he saw the life-sustaining power of nature as worthy of respect and thought it should check our wilful self-assertion.

Contemporary attempts to manipulate and control the natural world have eroded our sense of the sacred. And when we use our science and technology to master and possess nature, Heidegger warned, we force nature to “fit the frame of mind of man’s command” – and end up in a world in which man “always and only sees himself”. Today, human activity has led to the astroturfing of the environment: complex ecosystems have been cleared away for monocrops, grasslands paved over, and formerly diverse landscapes poisoned by pesticides. 

This exploitation is a form of violence against the natural world. Taking his example from Aristotle, Heidegger suggested that animals, plants, and geological forces have “ends” of their own. There are, for example, optimal conditions for a pheasant or fir tree to grow, and the unimpeded flow of an estuary balances and supports a host of ecosystems. Yet when we engage in factory farming, clearcutting, or damming, we violate the natural state of pheasants, fir trees, and estuaries. And again, this degradation is achieved through our use of science and technology – and it is done so we can satisfy our own ends.

Ironically, reducing the natural world to resources for human consumption leads to the destruction of our home. Heidegger noted that a home provides us with safety and sustenance, but it can only serve this function if it is well maintained. When it comes to our natural habitat, maintaining it involves respecting and protecting the integrity of our life-sustaining ecosystem. Reducing the planet to a stock of energy brings about the destruction of our habitat, slowly but steadily demolishing our only home. 

Heidegger believed we have become so enthralled with the power of science and technology that our use of nature serves an unquestioned and endless cycle of production and consumption. And this means our first step in response to the climate emergency is to twist ourselves free from this self-serving, uncritical use of technology.
He thought this freedom could be achieved through a form of “wilful non-willing” that releases us from our selfish activities and puts us in a position to interact with nature in a sustainable way. Of course, “wilful non-willing” sounds contradictory, but the basic idea is straightforward: we need to resist the tendency to reduce the natural world to a resource.
The Native American backlash against the Dakota Access Pipeline as well as the Extinction Rebellion protests in London, both epitomise this kind of resistance. Greta Thunberg, too, is a powerful example of how a movement can disrupt the global cycle of production and consumption; in her recent speech at Davos, she demanded business executives do whatever they can to “stop our house from burning”.

Yet resistance and calls to action are only the beginning. What we ultimately need is an alternative to the technological worldview that has governed our interaction with nature since the 17th century. Heidegger accordingly wanted us to engage in various forms of reflective and creative thinking. And while he didn’t work out the details of a new point of view, his diagnosis of the dangers that follow from our use of science and technology does provide a few clues.

A viable alternative to our exploitative worldview is one that protects the integrity of our life-sustaining ecosystems, by respecting the ends of other organisms and checking the arbitrary exercise of human power. Heidegger spoke of “letting things be”, and of shifting our mindset from “masters and possessors of nature” to “shepherds of being”.

This idea of shepherding suggests the policies that simultaneously preserve the natural world and ensure our own well-being; whether those contained in the Paris Climate Agreement or Green New Deal could even begin to adequately protect our life-sustaining ecosystems is an open question. But one thing is clear ahead of the UN’s Climate Action Summit: with rising temperatures and mass extinction, we can no longer afford to reduce nature to a stock of resources waiting to be used at our command. In Heidegger’s words, we need “a new ground and foundation” from which we can “confront the dangers of modern technology”, and “dwell in the world in a totally different way”.


Aaron James Wendland is assistant professor of Philosophy at the Higher School of Economics and the co-editor of Heidegger on Technology. He moderates the New Statesman’s philosophy series Agora, and tweets @ajwendland.   


Photo by myself, taken in Castellorizo, Greece

3D about technology

Robert Del Naja on the technological world of Massive Attack

The Bristol band’s co-founder discusses using technology to create a nostalgia-free retrospective of their classic album Mezzanine

Massive Attack’s Mezzanine was always ahead of its time, and not just musically. When the landmark album was first released in 1998, long before the advent of Spotify and Apple Music, the Bristol band made the record available to stream in full, for free, via the then-cutting edge RealAudio Player. “We were barely getting to grips with the idea of music file sharing and downloading,” the band’s co-founder, Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja, recalls today. “The Winamp MP3 player had been around for about a year, but we obviously had no idea that streaming would totally transform the way we discover and share music. I remember being given a demo of the ‘World Wide Web’ at Peter Gabriel’s studio in the early 90s, and I had zero comprehension that I was staring into the future. I was just happy with my pager and teletext on the TV.”
Today, 21 years after its release, Massive Attack are still using technology to bring Mezzanine to life in unusual ways. They encoded the album into DNA, which was then loaded into a can of spray paint and displayed at the Barbican’s AI: More Than Human exhibition. Elsewhere in the exhibition, they also turned Mezzanine inside out, training a neural network, MAGNet, on the album’s individual track stems (that is, the isolated elements of a track, like a guitar line or a vocal, that make up the entirety of a song when combined), creating a unique new version of the album that remixed itself in real-time in response to whatever movements its audience made. And then of course there was their recent Mezzanine live tour, a collaboration with essayist Adam Curtis that interrogates the past two decades of politics and power in an enormous LED spectacle. It’s a long way from the teletext days.
An embrace of new technology has been part of the Massive Attack project for years, whether that’s using software to incorporate headlines from local news feeds into their live tour visuals, or launching Fantom, an app that creates live remixes of their songs depending on a variety of environmental factors, like the user’s speed of movement or their GPS position. Often, their ideas have been more ambitious than the existing technology of the time allowed – when they released their 1994 album Protection, they commissioned a “Eurochild” build in VR that they’d they planned to install at their shows, but the headsets and computers proved too cumbersome and unreliable to work with. As far back as 1994, The Face were predicting that these ideas could, if they came to fruition, “place Massive Attack at the cutting edge of audio-visual club culture”.
In 2013, Massive Attack appointed Andrew Melchior as Massive Attack’s ‘chief technical officer’. Del Naja says that the job title is basically “just a laugh – we have a good time throwing ideas around”, but it nevertheless reflects the changing shape of the Massive Attack project over the years. “Massive Attack has always been more of an experiment than a band or even a collective,” Del Naja adds. “When we set out, we had no idea we’d even finish our first album and I was still painting with stencils in a pub garage. For me, each subsequent release has presented the opportunity to experiment with new art and emergent technology.”
Earlier this month, Massive Attack kickstarted a series of Mezzanine tour dates in North America, an updated and refined version of the tour exhibited in the UK earlier this year. It’s set to wrap up in New York City on September 27, a few days after they finally release the long-lost Mad Professor dub version of the 1998 album. Against the backdrop of this Mezzanine retrospective, we spoke to Robert Del Naja about Massive Attack’s interest in technology, nostalgia, and power in a series of phone calls and email conversations. Read an edited and condensed version of these interviews below.

You’ve been working with Adam Curtis again on your US tour. What have you been doing differently with it compared to the UK shows?
Robert Del Naja: We’ve had a chance to elaborate on the themes we originally presented. The core idea was to challenge the power of nostalgia – you know, false romantic visions of the past that can be seductive and doom us to repeat historical patterns.
We’re experiencing this now with the normalisation of fringe far-right groups and the regressive spike in hate crime and racism on social media after three years of nationalistic rhetoric in the mainstream. Certain public figures have presented themselves as anti-establishment and are profiting from the social division for their own political ambitions. At first they come across as pantomime villains, it all seems so daft and ridiculous – and, then suddenly, it’s dangerous again, just like it was before. Then there’s the notion that our compulsive behaviour is fed back to us through new, predictive applications, stopping us from imagining anything new.
Ultimately, the show is a ghost story. We resurrect Mezzanine with a promise that we can break free from the data of the past and escape the feedback loops.

You’ve been interested in new technology for years. Did you ever have that techno-utopian belief in its potential to liberate us, or did you always hold a scepticism about it?
Robert Del Naja: (Laughs) It was scepticism, bordering on cynicism. I was obviously always aware that information was powerful, but was never really sure how it was going to play out. In the same way you wouldn’t expect locations in the world which were widely known for their beauty to suddenly be swamped by people wanting to take photos of themselves for Instagram, destroying the very nature of the place they went to in the first place.

Funny you should mention that, I was just reading about this very thing before we got on the phone.
Robert Del Naja: My missus went out to the river yesterday. This place had suddenly become an Instagram hotspot for wild swimming and it was packed full of people. Like, “Oh, right, OK...”

The thing I saw about was about a temple in Bali with this beautiful, shimmering lake underneath it that’s become a very Instagrammable destination. Only it turned out there is no lake, it’s just locals putting a piece of glass under an iPhone camera to make it look like a perfect reflection, and selling it back to tourists. People are still going for photo, even knowing that it’s not real.
Robert Del Naja: Yeah, like Narcissus in the reflecting pool. It’s been well documented how we start to believe in our virtual or digital selves more than our real selves, but it’s strange to think that human behaviour hasn’t really changed at all since that legend was created.

You were recently part of the Barbican’s AI: More Than Human exhibition, where there was an installation created using MAGNet, a neural network that had only been trained on Mezzanine. In the installation, the system responds to the audience’s movements. How did that idea first develop? 
Robert Del Naja: I started working with Andrew Melchior and a procedural remix artist called Robert Thomas on an app we called Fantom. I was intrigued by the concept of our tracks remixing themselves in real-time. Robert created patches in Pure Data from track stems that were triggered by the phone sensors to create dynamic audio mixes. We discussed the possibility of automating this process in real-time using a neural net model via the cloud. Andrew set up a meeting with Mick Grierson at Goldsmiths, who suggested that I work with his graduate students to build a new computer and set up a Python/TensorFlow system at my studio. I soon became aware of how intense and time-consuming the training procedure actually was and handed it back to Mick.

Do you think a lot of this stems from your early interest in remix and sampling culture?
Robert Del Naja: For sure. Samplers defined Massive Attack and are still somewhat central to our methodology. Machine learning feels like an evolutionary step – and, just like sampling, the quality of the output is determined by the eccentricity of the artist.

What comes first with these things – do you have an idea, and then you look for the technology to make that into a reality? Or does the tech come first, and then you come up with a creative idea afterwards?
Robert Del Naja: Often the tech comes first. You discover a new piece of technology, and it then defines the way you think about the next piece of work. If you’re trying to escape the repetition of your own behaviour, the way you do the same thing in the studio each day, it’s great to think, “Oh wow, if we worked with this generative audio system, we could load everything into it, and it would spit out something we’d never imagine.” That’s a nice idea, but ultimately it’s not true. The process can throw up surprises, in the same way that your mistakes can often be some of the best parts of a record – especially when you’re working with a group of people, because ideas are thrown in unexpectedly that can completely change the course of a track.

What first gave you the idea to encode your record into DNA? And what are some of the implications for the technology involved?
Robert Del Naja: I was obsessing about Mezzanine in order to deconstruct it for the live show. Andrew suggested we get the album synthesised as DNA as he knew about the TurboBeads project, and contacted Robert Grass at the lab. It sort of meant we could finally scatter the ashes of the album like digital particles. In practical terms, it takes about a week for a genetic sequencer to read and play back the data, but in the near future, real-time read and playback applications will be commonplace. On a more practical level, DNA as storage also has massive environmental implications because of the vast amount of information you can store and archive without the need for power-hungry server farms.

“Ultimately, the show is a ghost story. We resurrect Mezzanine with a promise that we can break free from the data of the past and escape the feedback loops” – Robert Del Naja, Massive Attack

The DNA lasts pretty much forever, which makes Mezzanine a ‘timeless’ record in a very literal sense.
Robert Del Naja: ‘Timeless’ is a massive compliment for a band that takes an eternity to finish anything.
Some artists feel threatened by AI. What would you tell them?
Robert Del Naja: There is obviously a lot of hype and mythology around robots and AI. I work with a doctor of robotics at the studio. We’ve been designing a painting system using a robot arm that has been modified and engineered to paint. I see it as a progressive step, just like using stencils and hacking into printers and cutters. I approached an AI artist a few years ago and sent him images of my paintings to experiment with using GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks) and style transfer. The result was quite interesting, but very obscure. We agreed he would sell a few privately, but I wondered, how would I ever recognise my original artwork now it had been totally remixed by his GANs? I’d been permanently sampled. But looking at it another way, that’s how the brain creates original ideas, by absorbing other ideas. Great artists can now steal with algorithms. 

If Massive Attack were starting out today, do you think you’d embrace all of these new technological ideas?
Robert Del Naja: New technology would definitely be the catalyst, although culturally, I’m not sure we would have survived this long. Social media has changed everything so that artists have become a product of the platforms they publish on. 
Back in the day, it was very uncool to be so commercially incentivised – you were a ‘sell-out’ if you did ads, for instance. I guess we live in a more vulgar but honest time. Product placement and advertising has become the core business approach; the artist is a brand and a means for collecting revenue. It’s very apparent at festivals, too. They can feel like Instagram hallucinations – artists adapt their shows to the expectations of the audience and the media, as opposed to challenging convention. Festivals used to be a step into the unknown, but they’ve become an industrialised cabaret of singalong guest appearances and mass social media posting opportunities.
We’re all becoming part of a global content subscription ecosystem that feeds back on itself, commercially and creatively. We’re all loyal subscribers and shareholders, exchanging consent for convenience. It’s a powerful system, as it tricks us into thinking that we are behaving as individuals, but in reality, we’re all doing the same thing.

How do your other Massive Attack collaborators feel about the role of technology in the band? Do they share this interest?
Robert Del Naja: Grant is more like, “I’ll let you get on with it,” because I’ve always been wildly curious about this sort of stuff. Ultimately, a lot of the technology that we’re encountering ends up having a positive impact on the design of the shows. During the design of the Mezzanine show, I would often defend the creative potential of neural networks as legitimate artistic editing tools. I asked Mario Klingemann if he would contribute by creating GANs for the show based on data sets that we supplied. He also trained networks to create deepfake videos of Trump and Putin, which I felt was going to be a relevant this year. Adam was sceptical, but our conversations have kept my feet on the ground, and I stopped believing AI to be magic.

Has being immersed in the tech world for the past few years opened your mind to the possibilities of what technology can do any more than usual? Or has learning that AI isn’t magic actually limited your ideas for its uses?
Robert Del Naja: When I was first exposed to it, I bought into some of the hype of the threat of AI – but we’re a long way off from autonomous intelligent machines. It’s been a valuable experience being exposed to the tools via some talented coders, as it’s a costly and time-consuming process. It’s good to demystify things, because you don’t want to be afraid of it. The idea is to be in control of the technology, not the other way around. 

Is there any new technology you’ve seen that you feel could have massive implications on music and art?
Robert Del Naja: I have been messing around with Mixed Reality since being introduced to it at Magic Leap six years ago. It’s been frustrating, because you can easily visualise and imagine trippy future applications, but are stuck with in the present with the technological limitations. Whether everyone will actually want to wear glasses or contact lenses, or we ever split into two separate tribes – who knows. But It does present some mind-bending possibilities where art and music can be shared in a new mirrored multiverse. It will most probably turn into a horrific Keiichi Matsuda advertising and content saturation nightmare, with no escape without disconnecting entirely. It will definitely be a new battleground for IP and ownership of the human gaze and a deeper commodification of our attention. Peak surveillance capital. I think it was Mark Getty who said that data is the new oil.

What other new tech-related projects are Massive Attack working on?
Robert Del Naja: It’s not actually a Massive Attack project, but I have been developing a version of Strauss’s Elektra with Daniel Kramer. Me and Andrew have commissioned an Elektra personality model with neural networks trained on revenge, murder, and obsession – It's a good old-fashioned family drama, and another ghost story. It’s also a continuation of the themes we have been exploring in the Massive Attack live shows, around the information and truth dilemma in an era where we no longer trust or rely on conventional recognised news sources. We’ve been training the models on classical Greek metaphysical superstitions and psychosexual scientific theories plus soap opera scripts. Fate, chance, and the gods, versus free will and choice – a bit like the whole Brexit thing, I suppose.

I have to ask this, while I have you here – is there new Massive Attack music on the horizon? 
Robert Del Naja: Totally. Back in the studio when we get back from the US, new EPs, and more anti-social algorithms.

Massive Attack’s Mezzanine tour runs in North America until September 27




Totally how I feel about this horrendous political mess in the US/UK: Rage.

Massive Attack - 'Rockwrok' - Mezzanine XXI 2019 Tour - San Diego, CA - UCSD 

Massive Attack - Rockwrok - Mezzanine XXI Tour live September 1st, 2019 featuring Elizabeth Fraser from Cocteau Twins. in San Diego California at the Cal Coast Credit Union Amphitheater - 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA 92182 (619) 594-0234. setlist: I Found a Reason (The Velvet Underground cover) Risingson 10:15 Saturday Night (The Cure cover) Man Next Door (w/ Horace Andy) Black Milk (w/ Elizabeth Fraser) Mezzanine Bela Lugosi's Dead (Bauhaus cover) Exchange See a Man's Face - (Horace Andy cover) Dissolved Girl Where Have All the Flowers Gone? (Pete Seeger cover) (w/ Elizabeth Fraser) Inertia Creeps Rockwrok (Ultravox cover) Angel -w/ Horace Andy Teardrop - w/ Elizabeth Fraser Levels (Avicci cover) Group Four -w/ Elizabeth Fraser


“Beyond Borders” - The winner is...

The results of the 4th International Film Festival “Beyond Borders” have been announced:

Best History documentary:
“The Silence of Others” by Almudena Carracedo and Robert Bahar (Spain, USA, 2018, 96’).
Second Award.
«In Mansourah, you separated us” by Dorothée Miriam Kellou (France, 2018, 70’).
Best Social Documentary
“Children Below Deck” by Bettina Henkel (Austria , 2018, 90’)
Second Award
«Hamada» by Eloy Domínguez Serén (Sweden, Norway, Germany, 2018, 88’)

The jury also decided to award three films an honourable mention: «Time to Leave» by Orhan Tekeoglu (Turkey , 2019, 51’).

The Special Award for Mediterranean Friendship (supported by EKOME media) goes to «Heart of Stone» by Claire Billet and Olivier Jobard (France, 2018, 90’).

Warmest Congratulations!! 

Φωτογραφία/Photo: Christos Simatos