“The Third Floor: Free Speech Zone” is an exhibition curated by Arteco in collaboration with the International University College Student Association in Turin. Recommended.

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“[…] A lot of people think we were facing our last century as a viable civilization, maybe even as a species. Global warming, overpopulation, the death of the seas, the loss of arable land, the proliferation of disease, the threat of nuclear or biological warfare…”
“We might have destroyed ourselves, but at least it would have been our own fault.”
“Would it, though? Whose fault exactly? Yours? Mine? No, it would have been the result of several billion human beings making relatively innocuous choices: to have kids, drive a car to work, keep their job, solve the short-term problems first: When you reach the point at which even the most trivial acts are punishable by the death of the species, then obviously, obviously, you’re at a critical juncture, a different kind of point of no return.”
Robert Charles Wilson, Spin.

What does it take for France to get used to fascist junk? Claude Guéant, France’s minister of the interior, provides some help whit that question: “French people have the feeling that uncontrolled migratory flows change their environment, they are not xenophobic but they want France to remain France” (“Claude Géant: Les Français veulent que la France reste la France”, Le Monde, 15 March 2011, linked in “A Paris, Le FN défile ‘en l’honneur des travailleurs'”, Le Monde, 1 May 2011). But what about the French people who do not have that feeling at all? Easy: they are not truly French.

Salt

Another plug: Clara Montoya (more here) will be displaying an important piece (of salt and wood 49 x 49 x 180 cm) also in Madrid at Galería Marta Cervera (vernissage tomorrow).

Pool

Plug: blog readers in Madrid might want to pop up at Tom Skipp‘s exhibition at Espacio Menosuno (vernissage tomorrow).

In the midst of all commentaries on the current state of nucleocracy, this one was just spotted and quoted here for the sake of debate:

“Science, as a method of experimenting, researching and testing aspects of reality, and its application to the question of producing energy, has to be realised by the masses of individuals in a social revolution that destroys the capitalist aims and function of science as we have known it. As part of that project we must dismantle nuclear power at the same time as re-organise our energy needs so as to express the global desires of a community without the State (without which nuclear power could never develop) and without money and the world market (without which nuclear power would never have been chosen as a method of warfare or energy production). This is something the George Monbiots and the nuclear lobbyists of the world have no understanding of whatsoever.” (Comment by TonyPancake, 27 March 2011, to Robin McKie,  “Chernobyl 25 years on: a poisoned landscape”, The Guardian, 27 March 2011.)

A bit of an exaggeration, though. But it starts pretty well.

On Your Marks

How Goldman Sachs was ahead of the market, or perhaps led the market to a very dark place. No Tahrir squares where to stand against this?

The Age of Innocence

The naïve environmentally-minded sociologist said: “in the end, your pyramid of derivatives is tied to things like pig manure and oil in the Arctic”.
The seasoned, self-assured Hayekian economist replied: “We don’t deal in physical reality anymore. Actually, we do not need it anymore”.
DerivArt pre-exhibition debate, La Casa Encendida, Madrid, june 2006.

The Silence of the Models

Economic models of climate change impacts cannot cope with planet-sized shocks. Say, if the thermohaline circulation shuts down, what’s the predicted next year GDP? There is no GDP. Well, the model just remains silent and stares blankly into its algorithms.

When economists run into the limitations of their models, they tend to heed the Wittgensteinian injunction: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. They don’t feel comfortable making policy recommendations without solid modeling to back it up. Giving counsel in the face gigantic, unquantifiable risks starts to feel less like science and more like an exercise in politics or ethics. Heaven forbid.

As David Roberts puts it, “when I see scientists panicking and economists telling me not to panic … my palms start sweating”.

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