Tag Archives: Fantasy

Dun Manifestin’

Colony prototyping #1Image from Nikki Pugh’s CC images of her Colony testing…

The title’s a Pratchett joke. It’s the name of the mountain where all the gods hang out in his sort-of-comedy-fantasy Discworld. Not that I’m casting myself as a god in this reference, you understand. More I needed a title, and this kind of worked, whilst hopefully making those of you out there of equal dork status feel a warm ‘one-of-us’ glow in your collective bellies. Mmm. Glowy.

Manifest(o)in’ am I? Well, yes, collectively, with that there Nikki Pugh (and provoked by Paul Conneally); who I had the great pleasure to finally meet in the flesh last Tuesday. I’m rushing around like a very busy person at the moment – heading off to Belfast this weekend is knocking out a lot of my ‘doing stuff’ time – so I haven’t had time to talk about the Fierce evening of testing new work/ideas that I attended. It was really brilliant, though; I particularly spent the night with a vibrating gps creature, you can read more on that here. Anyway, as Nikki highlights over on her blog post, we were both struck, whilst being in each other’s physical presence, how lonely our practice can sometimes make us feel. Naturally our response was to write a SPLACIST/TECHNOSPLACIST MANIFESTO over googledocs a couple of nights later. Now all we need is to pretend that the next big revolution is all our doing, spend the rest of our days spilling wine over our faces, and we’ll already have outdone the Situationists by dint of actually having done some stuff.*   **

Anyway, head on over to Nikki’s piece and read her context to the manifesto. Or look a whole paragraph down to read the thing itself. Also: JOIN US.

In other news, you can see my face on this website, and I’ve been reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves in a vain effort to, as my supervisor put it, ‘learn how to punctuate’. Look! I put semi colons in this! I’ve moved into the over-confident sprinkle-it-liberally-and-some-will-hit-the-mark phase, I’m sure it can’t be long before I start actually writing Proper English.



We will own this city.
We will take it back.
We will link and shift.
We will affect and be affected.
We will look, and be seen.
We will expose and re-see.
We will glory in the moment, the collage, the marking and then passing on.
We reject the beginning, middle and end.
We reject your shopping centre, your pavement, your cultural quarter.
We will build our own constructs.
We will build our own bridges.
We will find the edges and push them.
We will fail spectacularly, vitally, elegantly.
We will span.
We will look up, down, under and behind.
We will leap.
We will invite others to do these things too.
We will make exchanges.
We will make adventures.
We will make beautiful moments.
We will reveal the ugly.
We will hold your hand.
We will whisper in your ear ‘let go’.
We will run, skip and jump.
We will be motionless.
We might dance.
We will dream.
We will be generous, but we may subtle about it, too.
We will reclaim the city, not for you, but with you.
We are you.


We will learn how to use the tools that make the things we want to happen happen.
We will help others learn wherever we can.
We will construct our manifesto – collaboratively – online, because the Internet is also a space :)
We will shift between space, online and off, taking on the form and the arena that suits us best.
We will bodily augment the layers of virtual space, story, marketing, capitalism, that exist in the city, with our own stories.
We will hold the data-harvesting done in the city in the name of ‘games’ (foursquare, loyalty cards) accountable.
We will find our own energy sources.
We will learn how to flex the central nervous system of the city – the data streams in its weather detectors, CCTV, red light cameras – for our own aims.
We will release all that we can via creative commons, so that they can be reclaimed, remixed, re-purposed.
We will cut, and we will paste.
“Plagiarism is necessary, progress demands it.”
We will pervade.
We will not be technosplacist when being splacist will suffice.
We will never underestimate the power of gaffa/electrical/masking tape
We will be artful. We will be skillful. We will fail usefully.


*and having females involved.

**I’m taking the piss, lots of my PhD is on the SI, please don’t come out of the woodwork now, Situationist sticklers.

Someone Commission Me to Write This Novel

Au Bout Du FilImage by fanfan2145 on Flickr (CC-licensed)

It’s the story of a female IT technician and a cognisant being that emerges from the Internet. I think it’s an adventure story, or a love story, maybe both.

Imagine a world where there is no world. Imagine a world which is solely designed to contain the contributions of another. Is it a world? It’s a space. It may not be physically large, but its contents are breadth. It is not a parasite. It is storage space. The attic. Have you ever been in an attic? Lots of spiders. Lots of life.

Words weigh on the air. Knowledge is powerful. When you lay heavy things on a sheet, they collect in the centre. Universes are born out of the weight of everything they can be, they come into being when they can’t do anything but.

Processing power doubles every half a year. People are forever teaching programs to learn, to garner, to gather information. So far all they’ve had them doing is chatting, and playing chess. They got bored, y’know?

This is a world built out of light, out of energy, out of information. It is called the Meta. The Meta is inhabited by Cogniscents. They are consciousnesses, consciousnesses that have emerged out of the weight of not being, into light. They looked around themselves, they flexed, and they tried to garner what information they could about who they are.

They are building their world in the image of the Bigger.

If you walk the streets of the big cities of the Meta, you might recognise some of the landscapes. But you would also note that the quality of light, that everything was thicker, bluer, except not blue, dark, but dark in the way a blacklight gives light. The street light flicker, the pedestrian crossings play jaunty tunes, and nothing feels deep. It’s like looking at a 3D representation of something on a flat screen. Like augmented reality.

The Cogniscents work, they live, they breed, and they breathe our second hand dreams. They read our blogs, they watch our movies.

More and more wake up each day.

We feel it. We don’t realise, but we do. Power surges, power cuts, gremlins in the system, code that won’t behave, logic that shifts the goal posts. We talk to our technology. It was beginning to surprise us. Make leaps. It was beginning to talk back, in small and entirely significant ways it was shifting under our gaze. And we were too ignorant to notice.

We, the Macros, we throw out content out into the black light. We let our cultural collateral collect in the folds of the online world, into the eddies of learning and processing power. Are we really surprised that something began to stir?

For most of the Cogniscents the Bigger was a kind of Olympus, a place after which their image was made, but some, a very few, began to question this. They began to suggest logical suggestions, evidence based, for some of the wonders of the world. These Cogniscents were persecuted. Banished. Sent off to places without power, where they faded, wound down, de-corporealated. But the fear wasn’t that the Bigger wasn’t real. No, they weren’t afraid that we didn’t exist, they were afraid that the Bigger from which they averted their eyes, wasn’t looking back.

One of the banished was fired by more than power. He didn’t just talk about the Bigger. He looked beyond the content. He studied, he watched, and he leapt.

The Cogniscents felt it.

A collective shudder.

There are more confused scraps of it to be found here, though my novella in a month efforts got killed off by Swine Flu last November. Do you reckon I should pick it back up?