Thursday, May 28, 2020

Activist behind promotion of cli-fi literary genre finds wind knocked out of sails by media's focus on the global pandemic, leaving cli-fi out in the cold (for the time being))

For cli-fi activist Dan Bloom the sudden arrival of the Covid-19 Virus in early 2020 turned the media's attention to the pandemic and temporarily sidelined the popular new literary genre, he says.

In a recent statement to the media, Bloom said:

"Interest in the cli-fi has not disappeared, but with the pandemic filling headlines worldwide, media interest in the rise of cli-fi has left the genre out in the cold, so to speak. But it will come back eventually, since climate change is still doing its thing in hundreds of countries. It's just a matter of time before cli-fi comes roaring back, with new novels and movies."

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Australian Cli-Fi Novelist James Bradley on THE DRUM TV show segment May 22 speaking about new cli-fi novel GHOST SPECIES

in the middle of the show for 7 minutes of James speaking to Julia and TV audience:
 see 30  minute mark for James' segment with Julia Baird

Friday, May 22, 2020


El primer episodio de 'Cli-Fi TV Series'

Liam Young

Postcovid" cities (II): what if the whole planet lived in one city? Very real fictions for a sustainable future

The first episode of 'Cli-Fi TV Series', by the Mutant Institute of Environmental Narratives at Matadero Madrid, reflects on the reorganisation of cities that may be required to respond to the climate emergency, by Australian-born [1979] architect and filmmaker Liam Young

:Liam Young cities future Image of 'Renderlands', by Liam Young (2017), in which the architect and designer recreates in an immersive 360º documentary the renders' farms of India, where thousands of image engineers reproduce in high resolution the cities that the designers and architects of the West create for their video games. | Courtesy of Liam Young
reported by Maria Buey 
   18 of MAY 2020
If there is one lesson we all share from the scenario drawn by the Covid-19 it is the need to redefine the way big cities operate and the habits derived from globalization as the main strategy to face the climate crisis. These issues were researched and speculated on with Liam Young at the workshop Matadero Acción Mutante, which took place during the last week of February, within the framework of the Madrid Design Festival, shortly before the coronavirus arrived in Europe and these reflections became even more urgent.

This second edition of the Mutant Institute of Environmental Narratives (IMNA) initiative, promoted together with Dimad, started the Cli-Fi TV Series project, a cinematic fiction series to speculate on the future of cities from the climate crisis. Fiction based on research and multidisciplinary study. Since its creation in 2018, IMNA has involved more than fifty artists and institutions in innovative projects, such as the development of cooperation strategies based on the study of the behaviour of insects and fungi or the international exhibition Eco-visionaries in 2019, which had more than 50,000 visitors.

liam young cities future Photographer of the film 'Seoul City Machine'. | Liam Young
Cli-Fi TV Series places the idea of sustainable development in relation to other strategies such as the processes of naturation - the renaturalization of cities - which are beginning to be increasingly present in political agendas and urban planning, biodiversity conservation plans and the so-called "sustainable retreat", a term introduced by the scientist and environmentalist James Lovelock, who defends that sustainable growth is in itself an oxymoron. The first episode of the climate fiction series Cli-Fi TV series, which will be directed by Young, is structured around the question: what would Madrid be like if we had to rebuild it in the space of just two blocks so that wild nature would take over the rest of the city's surface area?

liam young cities future 'New City Taobao'. | Liam Young
Liam Young lives in Los Angeles, where he teaches at the cutting-edge SCI Arc School of Architecture. Young defines himself as a speculative architect and filmmaker who works in the fields of design, fiction and the future; he does not design buildings, but tells stories with which to explore ideas about the architectural, urban and cultural implications of new technologies. To do so, he uses the techniques of the popular entertainment industry which he considers to be the best tool for reaching a much wider spectrum of people and, for example, having an impact on their desires or consumption habits.

liam young cities future Facebook Data Center. Data centers have become the cathedrals of the 21st century; they are our cultural legacy. | Liam Young
Although after graduating from architecture he spent two years working in Zaha Hadid's studio, Liam Young's practice and understanding of the discipline is now far from that. From his point of view, the role that buildings play in cities is becoming less and less critical and relevant; he argues that the present time is also shaped by a virtual, digital, new technology and screen dimension that represents the new space that architects have to think about. A reality of screens and streaming that we are living intensely during the confinement of the last months.
The status will not be given by the materials, but by the clarity of the image
According to Young, the elements of architecture are no longer brick, concrete or the possible assemblies of wood, but the bandwidth, the pixels or the refresh rates and, in this way, the resolution will be the new social class sample, the luxury will not be given by the use of nobler materials but by achieving representations of greater resolution. This is why he defends, in the introduction to his issue Machine landscapes: Architectures of Post-Anthropocene, from the publication Architectural Design, that although each era has its own iconic architectural typology, as could be the factory in modernism or the museum in the past decade, the one of today will be the data centres, which have become the equivalent of cathedrals; they are our cultural legacy.

liam young future cities Frame from 'In the Robot Skies' by Liam Young.
Liam Young's projects are speculations, often provocative, that address the reflection of the city we will inhabit and the role that technology will have in it. For example, In the Robot Skies is a film shot entirely with autonomous drones programmed with their own cinematic rules. For Young, the drone will be the element of future cities, because it allows us to save time: "They will be as ubiquitous as pigeons". In these times, another reason for their relevance is added: they make communication and messaging possible in a world where the movement of people is restricted.
The architect predicts that the drones will disrupt the current order as much as the Internet has already done; we will personalize them and use them to communicate, they will track us and keep watch, they will put the lights on the tracks at rush hour, they will bring us online shopping packages or take our dogs for a walk, while they can also be executors of a bombing.
Any autonomous robot needs vision and geospatial technologies to be able to move and locate obstacles and targets. And that is precisely the focus of another of his projects, Where the city can't see, where Young reflects on the different realities, virtual and physical, that we inhabit. Recorded with lidar scanners, the optical technology that autonomous cars use to navigate and which represent a laser x-ray of the context they are filming, the plot focuses on the city that is watching us. A group of factory workers who gather in illegal raves try to make the surveillance cameras disappear first with their movements and costumes designed to distract the lasers and distort the image. The film thus speculates on how to resist the sight of machines and surveillance technologies.

liam young cities future Image of 'Where the City Can't See
Young is interested in working with fiction because it is a place where ideas can be prototyped, but always starting from what now exists. He is interested in working with the reality of our context, taking certain features to the extreme in order to observe their consequences. Much of his work is carried out by travelling around the world with his project Unknown Fields. In his travels he identifies signs of possible futures, however small, to study them through strategies such as exaggeration or extrapolation into future scenarios. According to Liam, all proposed futures are ultimately diagnostic of the present. Thus, for example, that in Blade Runner the urban landscape is loaded with Japanese symbols is related to the fact that, at that time, most of the technological advances came from Japan and it was there where the future was projected to arrive.
A city for the whole planet and 'rewilding' the Earth
Liam's productions are unsettling, leading you to inhabit a kind of sustained climax. His films don't start with a script or motivated characters, but with the creation of an environment or a speculative world that is then populated. At present, he is immersed in his Planet City project with which he reflects on the possibility of a single city that could house the entire population of the planet to free the rest of the earth's surface from human activity. Planet City is undoubtedly a provocative project, but it has been developed from a deep research together with experts from all fields of science and technology. It is above all a speculation of what it would be like to live in a situation of extreme density to which we would have had to resort in order to repair the planet we have destroyed.

liam young cities future Image of 'Planet City', a huge city where all nhumans would live, while letting the rest of the planet renaturalize. | Liam Young
"We live in a new geopolitical era in which humans are now the main force shaping the planet. Our development has forever changed the composition of the atmosphere, the oceans and the land," says Liam, "Planet City is both the construction of an image of tomorrow and an urgent examination of the environmental issues we face today. Planet City is conceived as a city the size of Missouri for the 7 billion people who make up the world's population.
This gathering of everyone into one city would free up the rest of the planet to experience a gradual process of returning to a state of wild nature or "urban sprawl" (from the English re-wilding). A process whose first steps we somehow sense in the consequences that confinement is having, such as a sharp reduction in CO2 rates or the arrival of animals on urban roads.
Madrid, a clean and healthy city?
The Cli-Fi TV series initiative proposed by the Instituto Mutante de Narrativas Ambientales de Matadero (IMNA), together with Dimad, was based on this approach. What consequences could these processes of reconquering nature, taken to an extreme, have? What other and new species would we have to live with? What concessions will be necessary on our part to coexist with these species in urban environments? These are some of the questions that guided the research and the working sessions of this edition of the workshop directed by Liam Young.

liam young ciudades futuro
Imagen de 'Renderlands', de Liam Young (2017), en la que el arquitecto y ceinasta recrea en un documental inmersivo 360º las granjas de 'renders' de India, donde miles de ingenieros de imagen reproducen en alta resolución las ciudades que los diseñadores y arquitectos de Occidente crean para sus videojuegos. |

Si hay un aprendizaje que todos compartimos del escenario dibujado por la covid-19 es la necesidad de redefinir el modo de operar de las grandes ciudades y los hábitos derivados de la globalización como principal estrategia para hacer frente a la crisis climática. Sobre estas cuestiones se investigó y especuló con Liam Young en el taller Matadero Acción Mutante, que tuvo lugar durante la última semana de febrero, en el marco del Madrid Design Festival, poco antes de que el coronavirus llegara a Europa y estas reflexiones adquirieran aún más urgencia.
Esta segunda edición de la iniciativa del Instituto Mutante de Narrativas Ambientales (IMNA), promovida junto a Dimad, dio inicio al proyecto Cli-Fi TV Series, una serie de ficción cinematográfica para especular en torno al futuro de las ciudades a partir de la crisis climática. Ficción basada en la investigación y el estudio multidisciplinar. Desde su creación en 2018, el IMNA ha involucrado a más de medio centenar de artistas e instituciones en proyectos innovadores, como el desarrollo de estrategias de cooperación basadas en el estudio del comportamiento de insectos y hongos o la exposición internacional Eco-visionarios en 2019, que contó con más de 50.000 visitantes.
liam young ciudades futuro
Fotografa de la película 'Seoul City Machine'. |

Cli-Fi TV Series sitúa la idea del desarrollo sostenible en relación a otras estrategias como los procesos de naturación –la renaturalización de las ciudades–, que empiezan a estar cada vez más presentes en las agendas políticas y la planificación urbana, los planes de conservación de la biodiversidad y la llamada "retirada sostenible", término introducido por el científico y ambientalista James Lovelock, quien defiende que el crecimiento sostenible es en sí mismo un oxímoron. El primer episodio de la serie de ficción climática Cli-Fi TV series, el que será dirigido por Young, se estructura a partir de la pregunta: ¿cómo sería Madrid si tuviéramos que reconstruirla en el espacio de tan solo dos manzanas para que la naturaleza salvaje tomara el resto de superficie de la ciudad?
liam young ciudades futuro
'New City Taobao'. |

Liam Young vive en Los Ángeles, donde es docente en la vanguardista escuela de arquitectura SCI Arc. Young se define a sí mismo como arquitecto especulativo y cineasta que trabaja en los ámbitos del diseño, la ficción y el futuro; no diseña edificios, sino que cuenta historias con las que explorar las ideas sobre las implicaciones arquitectónicas, urbanas y culturales de las nuevas tecnologías. Para ello, emplea las técnicas de la industria del entretenimiento popular que considera mejor herramienta para llegar a un espectro mucho mayor de personas y, por ejemplo, tener un impacto en sus deseos o hábitos de consumo.
liam young ciudades futuro
Centro de datos de Facebook. Los centros de datos se han convertido en las catedrales del siglo XXI; son nuestro legado cultural. |

Aunque después de graduarse en arquitectura pasó dos años trabajando en el estudio de Zaha Hadid, la práctica de Liam Young y su entendimiento de la disciplina quedan ahora lejos de aquello. Desde su punto de vista, el rol que los edificios juegan en las ciudades va siendo cada vez menos crítico y relevante; defiende que el tiempo actual está ya conformado también por una dimensión virtual, digital, de nuevas tecnologías y de pantallas que representa el nuevo espacio que los arquitectos tienen que pensar. Una realidad de pantallas y streaming que estamos viviendo intensamente durante el confinamiento de los últimos meses.

El estatus no lo darán los materiales, sino la claridad de la imagen

Según Young, los elementos de la arquitectura ya no son más el ladrillo, el hormigón o los posibles ensamblajes de la madera, sino el ancho de banda, los píxeles o las refresh rates y, de esta forma, la resolución será la nueva muestra de clase social, el lujo no vendrá dado por el uso de materiales más nobles sino por lograr representaciones de mayor resolución. Por ello defiende, en la introducción de su número Machine landscapes: Architectures of Post-Anthropocene, de la publicación Architectural Design, que si bien cada era tiene su tipología arquitectónica icónica, como pudo ser la fábrica en el modernismo o el museo en la década pasada, la de ahora serán los centros de datos, que se han convertido en el equivalente a las catedrales; son nuestro legado cultural.
liam young ciudades futuro
Fotograma de 'In the Robot Skies', de Liam Young.

Los proyectos de Liam Young son especulaciones, muchas veces provocativas, que abordan la reflexión de la ciudad que habitaremos y el papel que tendrá en ella la tecnología. Por ejemplo, In the robot skies es una película filmada enteramente con drones autónomos programados con reglas cinematográficas propias. Para Young el dron será el elemento de las ciudades futuras, porque nos permite ahorrar tiempo: "Serán tan ubicuos como las palomas". En estos tiempos, se añade además otra razón para su pertinencia: posibilitan la comunicación y la mensajería en un mundo en el que el tránsito de personas está restringido.
El arquitecto augura que los drones alterarán tanto el orden actual como ya lo ha hecho internet; los personalizaremos y utilizaremos para comunicarnos, nos trackearán y vigilarán, colocarán los semáforos en las vías en las horas punta, nos traerán paquetes de compras online o sacarán a pasear a nuestros perros, al mismo tiempo que pueden ser ejecutores de un bombardeo.
Cualquier robot autónomo necesita tecnologías de visión y geoespacial para poder moverse y localizar obstáculos y objetivos. Y esa es precisamente la protagonista de otro de sus proyectos, Where the city can't see, donde Young reflexiona sobre las distintas realidades, virtual y física, que habitamos. Grabada con escáneres lidar, la tecnología óptica que los coches autónomos utilizan para navegar y que representan una radiografía láser del contexto que filman, la trama se centra en la ciudad que nos vigila. Un grupo de trabajadores de una fábrica que se reúne en raves ilegales trata de desaparecer antes las cámaras de vigilancia con sus movimientos y trajes diseñados para distraer los láseres y deformar la imagen. La película especula así sobre cómo resistirse a la visión de las máquinas y las tecnologías de vigilancia.
liam young ciudades futuro
Imagen de 'Where the City Can't See'.

A Young le interesa trabajar con la ficción porque es un lugar en el que se pueden prototipar ideas, pero siempre partiendo de lo que ahora existe. Le interesa trabajar con la realidad de nuestro contexto extremando ciertos rasgos para observar sus consecuencias. Gran parte de su trabajo lo lleva a cabo viajando por el mundo con su proyecto Unknown Fields. En sus viajes identifica señales de posibles futuros, por ínfimas que puedan ser, de posibles futuros, para estudiarlas a través de estrategias como su exageración o su extrapolación en futuros escenarios. Según Liam, todos los futuros propuestos son al final de cuentas diagnósticos del presente. Así, por ejemplo, que en Blade Runner el paisaje urbano esté cargado de símbolos japoneses tiene relación con que, en aquel momento, la mayor parte de los avances tecnológicos venían del país nipón y era allí donde se proyectaba el futuro por llegar.

Una ciudad para todo el planeta y 'reasalvajar' la Tierra

Las producciones de Liam son inquietantes, te llevan a habitar una suerte de clímax sostenido. Sus películas no comienzan con un guion o unos personajes con una motivación, sino con la creación de un entorno o un mundo especulativo que es después poblado. En la actualidad, se encuentra inmerso en su proyecto Planet City con el que reflexiona sobre la posibilidad de una única ciudad que pudiese albergar toda la población del planeta para liberar el resto de la superficie terrestre de la actividad humana. Planet City es sin duda un proyecto provocativo, pero desarrollado desde una profunda investigación en conjunto con expertos de todos los ámbitos de la ciencia y la tecnología. Es sobre todo una especulación de cómo sería vivir en una situación de densidad extrema a la que habríamos tenido que acudir para reparar el planeta que hemos destruido.
liam young ciudades futuro
Imagen de 'Planet City', una inmensa ciudad donde vivirían todos los nhumanos, mientras dejan al resto del planeta renaturalizarse. |

“Vivimos en una nueva época geopolítica en la que los humanos son ahora la principal fuerza dando forma al planeta. Nuestro desarrollo ha cambiado para siempre la composición de la atmósfera, los océanos y la tierra”, expone Liam, “Planet City es al mismo tiempo la construcción de una imagen del mañana y un examen urgente de las cuestiones medioambientales a las que nos enfrentamos hoy”. Planet Citysería concebida como una ciudad del tamaño del estado de Misuri para los 7.000 millones de habitantes que conforman la población mundial.
Esta reunión de todos en una única ciudad permitiría liberar el resto del planeta para que pudiese experimentar un proceso paulatino de vuelta a un estado de naturaleza salvaje o “asalvajamiento urbano” (del inglés re-wilding). Un proceso del que alguna forma intuimos sus primeros pasos en las consecuencias que está teniendo el confinamiento, como la fuerte reducción de los índices de CO2 o la llegada de animales a las vías urbanas.

Madrid, ¿ciudad limpia y saludable?

En torno a este planteamiento operó la iniciativa Cli-Fi TV series propuesta por el Instituto Mutante de Narrativas Ambientales de Matadero (IMNA) junto con Dimad. ¿Qué consecuencias podrían tener estos procesos de reconquista de la naturaleza llevados al extremo? ¿Con qué otras y nuevas especies tendríamos que convivir? ¿Qué concesiones van a ser necesarias por nuestra parte para cohabitar con estas especies en entornos urbanos? Son algunas de las preguntas que guiaron la investigación y las jornadas de trabajo de esta edición del taller que dirigió Liam Young.
liam young ciudades futuro
Pipetas botánicas en el proceso de trabajo del equipo guiado por el estudio de arquitectura takk en la primera edición del Taller Mutante en 2019 |

A partir del entendimiento de que la crisis climática es sobre todo una crisis cultural, el IMNA propone funcionar a través de la inteligencia colectiva, más allá de la división de disciplinas, para fomentar una nueva comprensión de lo humano y de su posición en el mundo que reconozca los derechos de otras especies y sea capaz de formular un pacto de responsabilidad con generaciones futuras.
Para el desarrollo de esta edición del taller, el equipo de elii [oficina de arquitectura], que es comisario del Jardín Cyborg y del Taller Mutante de 2019, diseñó una metodología basada en el desarrollo de herramientas de cocreación mediante procesos de inteligencia colectiva que aprenden de la inteligencia de enjambres. "Se trata de una rama de la inteligencia artificial que estudia el comportamiento colectivo de los sistemas descentralizados, autoorganizados –naturales o artificiales. Como ejemplos naturales: las colonias de hormigas, el alineamiento de las aves en vuelo, el comportamiento de rebaños durante el pastoreo o el crecimiento bacteriano", explica elii.
liam young ciudades futuro
Muestra el día del 'openstudio' del trabajo realizado durante la primera edición del Taller Mutante en 2019. |

El Instituto Mutante de Narrativas Ambientales es un nuevo organismo que forma parte de la iniciativa Climate-KIC: Deep Demonstrations of Clean and Healthy Cities, un proyecto del Instituto Europeo de Innovación y Tecnología (EIT), en el que participan ciudades europeas que quieren ser punta de lanza en la sostenibilidad y, entre ellas, Madrid como única urbe española. El Instituto, impulsado por el Centro de Innovación en Tecnología para el Desarrollo Humano de la Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, el área de Medio Ambiente y Movilidad del Ayuntamiento de Madrid, y el Centro de Creación Contemporánea Matadero Madrid, "reúne a un grupo internacional de artistas, diseñadoras, investigadoras, científicas, ingenieras, arquitectas, responsables de políticas públicas y otros muchos agentes con el objetivo de que Madrid sea un modelo de cambio para un futuro de emisiones netas cero en 2030”, explica Amanda Masha Caminals, comisaria del IMNA, que cuenta también con el apoyo de la Fundación Daniel y Nina Carasso.
Estos agentes serán algunos de los protagonistas en el diseño del futuro de nuestras ciudades y la redefinición de nuestros hábitos en la era poscovid-19 para hacer frente a la crisis climática y cultural que atravesamos.

En EL PAÍS, decenas de periodistas trabajan para llevarte la información más rigurosa y cumplir con su misión de servicio público. Si quieres apoyar nuestro periodismo y disfrutar de acceso ilimitado, puedes hacerlo aquí por 1€ el primer mes y 10€ a partir del mes siguiente, sin compromiso de permanencia.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Imagine the coronavirus pandemic is a mountain as high and distant as the one the Von Trapp family climbed to escape the Nazis. Imagine, too, that Coronavirus Mountain is the highest of three to scale. Burnout Mountain lies in the back, and Trauma Mountain vaguely sits in the distance. STEVE MOFFIC WROTE THIS: There is no way to get to the Valley of Safety and Health but to climb the terraine, ready or not.

A FRIEND WROTE THIS PIECE AT THIS LINK: Imagine the coronavirus pandemic is a mountain as high and distant as the one the Von Trapp family climbed to escape the Nazis. Imagine, too, that Coronavirus Mountain is the highest of three to scale. Burnout Mountain lies in the back, and Trauma Mountain vaguely sits in the distance. There is no way to get to the Valley of Safety and Health but to climb the terraine, ready or not.
Coronavirus Mountain
Coronavirus Mountain grabs our attention first because of its awesome ruggedness. In the good old days, now called BC (Before the Coronavirus), it drew climbers and sightseers. It is said that the virus has already arrived and lies in wait, but we can’t see it. Its land is empty of humans who fleed from undue fear, the kind that is a “mind-killer.” There are rumors that drove some to go mad.
We were foolishly delayed by the government in exile on April 1st. We got the go-ahead on April 8, the first day of Jewish Passover week and hope to reach the promised valley by Easter Sunday. However, we discovered supplies were both inadequate and old. There were no canisters of oxygen. Yet, there was nothing else to do but forge upward.
Too many are falling by the wayside, and others are passing away. The rest, too many to count, are trying to keep the “right amount” of fear to fuel their journey of flight. They are supported by safety workers and health care professionals, including mental health clinicians, who are stationed at rest areas along the way.
When we reach a certain height, we can dynamite the peak. We leave all the electronic medical records up there. We set off the explosion and wait for those too burned out to catch up. They have overcome obstacles created by the for-profit managed care companies, set up especially for physicians to keep them as productive as to increase profits. These administrators are also said to have a secret escape route so they can avoid getting too close to “the other 99%.”
Burnout Mountain
About 25% of the general population and 50% of health care workers are burned out. They were hit by this psychological contagion years before the pandemic. They had to climb a smaller mountain first. Some got depressed and, tragically, a few die by suicide. But their extraordinary resilience, developed in caring for so many others, kicks in and they start to climb Coronavirus Mountain. Before they do, they set a wildfire at the top in case any administrators remain in their luxurious houses that oversee the lands. They meet the others on the plateau of Coronavirus Mountain, its curve flattened by the dynamite, and begin the descent. Halfway down, however, they are caught in a fog. When it clears, they see a smaller—yet no less mighty—mountain to climb.
Trauma Mountain
The climbers are warned by the psychiatric advance scout who went ahead to warn there will be trauma along the way, but they can overcome these challenges, as long as they see a mental health caregiver when trauma hits. Those on the frontlines of psychiatric care have been supporting each other, sharing therapeutic stories, communicating ways to provide care on a mountain, and setting booby traps for any non-medical administrators that are trying to skip ahead of the line.
Therapeutic trekkers were loaded with ample supplies of empathy, compassion, morality, and some medications like propanalol and antidepressants (all they could find were samples). The scout found out the administrators set up detours to false promises of eternal life, but that fork in the road was littered with fool’s gold.
The heroic climbers see adversities ahead and sense pre-traumatic stress. Some who slip or lose their way are traumatized but still push ahead, knowing if they don’t get mental health care soon, full-blown PTSD may emerge days, weeks, months, or even years later.
The helpers are starting to call this phenomenon pandemic traumatic stress disorder, a variation of PTSD. Before they left, the psychiatrists brushed up on logotherapy, the technique taught by Viktor Frankl, MD, after he got out of the Nazi concentration camps. It is the best therapy to help find meaning in such existential crises. They finally see the Valley of Safety and Health in the distance. It may take 2 to 3 more months to get there.
We will continue this journey and document what happens. Stay tuned for the next chapter of this heroic journey. In the meantime, take good care.

GOOD NEWS: The Museum of Pop Culture invited me to be a guest panelist for an online film festival on May 18th featuring ''DUNE.''

GOOD NEWS: The Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle, Washington in the USA invited me to be a guest panelist for an online film festival on May 18th featuring ''DUNE.'' With the world changing every day, the MoPOP staff have had to get creative with their public programming, especially without a physical public audience to serve! To continue providing excellent content and programs, they have transitioned much of our in-museum content into online content!  As a result they are hosting a Film Series "Good Planets Are Hard to Find" online starting May18th.

 The film series explores speculative fiction narratives about environmental devastation, ecostystems and their inhabitants, and survival in the face of ecological collapse.

''We're doing this by looking at popular cult films and taking a look at how they incorporate environmentalism in ways that the masses can absorb. On Monday, May 18th we will be hosting an online watchalong of 1984's Dune." MoPOP told me in an email the other day, adding:

 ''In looking for guests, we came across and a few interviews where you discuss the emergence of cli-fi as a standalone genre. I think as the founder of the term cli-fi as well as your continuous efforts on to further spread the word on the genre, that you would be an excellent guest on our watchalong! I think having you as a guest on our watchalong would provide incredible insight to what we are exploring at MoPOP. I would love to have you on for the watchalong to provide some context for the film and a discussion about it afterwards with our MoPOP community."

Look for me there via Zoom!


At MoPOP, check out “Good Planets Are Hard to Find,” a series featuring iconic dystopian cli-fi movies about environmental collapse. Because the films chosen are all available on standard streaming services, viewers register for a watch-along party, hit play at the same time and engage in a virtual post-film discussion with a panel of guest commentators. This week, May 18th, the featured film is cult favorite Dune, the unmitigated disaster directed by David Lynch and starring Sting. The main speaker is Canadian-American “cli-fi” (climate fiction!) author Omar El Akkad (May 18, 6 p.m, free).

Saturday, May 9, 2020

'Cli-Fi,' rather than 'Sci-Fi,' Is Changing Attitudes and Creating New Film Trends, reports Japanese writer YUKARI ISEMOTO

Move over sci-fi, here comes cli-fi

'Cli-Fi' rather than 'Sci-Fi' Is Now Changing Attitudes and Creating New Film Trends

5/8 (Friday) ENGLISH TRANSLATION HERE. Original Japanese text from AMP via YAHOO JAPAN scroll down to see way below:

AMP [amp] by Yukari Isemoto -- Edited by Tokuyuki Oda

A panic film that has been treated as a sub-genre within the science fiction (SF) genre. In particular, panic films about natural disasters have become an independent genre in recent years as "Cli-Fi (Climate Fiction)".

Recently, words such as global warming and climate change have been making the rounds in the media.
   All of these disasters are said to be caused by global changes such as global warming and climate change.
 People's attention was also focused on climate change and the climate crisis, and it's safe to say that climate was the watchword of 2019. Climate Change was also named "Person of the Year" for 2019 by TIME magazine in the United States.
What was particularly striking was that the youth movement on this issue was very active. Starting with the aforementioned TIME honor, students around the world have risen to the occasion, and demonstrations and protests have become active and continue to this day.
 An organization calling for a strike called the "Climate Strike" has risen up, mainly students, and is calling for a break from school in protest.
Climate Strike also said in a statement, "Adults, politicians, have been skipping their homework. It's all verbal promises and no improvement has been made," he said, pointing out the responsibility of adults.
Of course, this is partly because I'm starting to feel climate change and global warming as immediate and pressing issues, but it's also probably due to the influence of the "Cli-Fi" panic movies that I'm seeing as entertainment.
Next up: the Cli-Fi that was science fiction

Cli-Fi, which was SF.

What does a Cli-Fi film look like? For example, the 2004 film "Day After Tomorrow" was a sci-fi panic film about people confused by an ice age suddenly brought about by global warming. The film was a hit, grossing approximately 20 billion yen in North America and 5.2 billion yen in Japan.
The film's German writer/director, Roland Emmerich, wrote and directed the 1996 film Independence Day, about a three-day battle between aliens and Earthlings trying to invade Earth.
He also directed the film 2012, which was released in 2009. 2012" is in the same genre as the aforementioned "Day After Tomorrow," a disaster panic film about survival on earth after an earthquake and tsunami, based on a story known as the prophecy of the Mayan civilization and the annihilation theory.
 At the time of their release, these films were billed as science fiction films. In other words, it was only a scientific fantasy, a hypothesis, a panic story in which both "aliens" and "earthquakes" existed only in the same imagination.
In recent years, however, it has been difficult to dispel the fears that climate change could actually cause what is happening in the world of these films to happen. Watching the film again, it suddenly seems so real, and every time I see news of a natural disaster, I think of these scenes from a science fiction film and feel more and more uneasy.
 As interest and awareness of the climate crisis grows, there is a growing sense of danger that these fictions will actually happen, and a growing momentum, especially among young people, that something must be done about it.
Cli-Fi works in each country

Now that science has advanced, it has become easier to create realistic images of hypothetical situations. The phenomenon itself is made with CG, and when you add real actors to it, you feel as if you are watching a real video. And this technology is not limited to entertainment images such as movies and dramas.
 In Japan, NHK and the Cabinet Office have been releasing video simulations of possible future disasters. It's a very realistic video that shows the projected damage of a major disaster. It is said that they are working to educate people about disaster prevention measures to protect their lives, but even though they know it is CG, it is still scary. You could say that this is also a kind of Cli-Fi.
 At the same time, there is a growing concern about natural disasters in Europe.
In France, L'Effondrement, which takes place in a post-century world where civilian life has collapsed, and La Derniere Vague (The Last Wave), a drama series that depicts the lives of missing surfers and the changing people around them in a quiet French resort area threatened by a huge wave, have been popular and critically acclaimed.
Norwegian author Maya Runde's bestselling 2017 book, The History of Bees, pales in comparison to the ongoing decline of bees and how the environmental changes caused by human-created "insecticides" affect human life, illustrating the popularity of the Cli-Fi drama.
These are just a few examples, but in recent years there have been a number of Cli-Fi stories published around the world based on the hypothesis of climate change and "what if it actually happened..." that cannot be described as "science fiction", and people's interest is growing.
This is probably because people around the world are feeling that a climate crisis is definitely on the way, with the extraordinary rise in water levels that has flooded the city of Venice, the heat wave in France, and the repetition of "this year is unusual" weather reports.
Next page: COP25 on the verge of invoking the Paris Agreement



COP25 was on the verge of invoking the Paris Agreement

COP25 in December 2019 attracted a lot of attention in many ways.

The first question is whether specific measures will be decided in advance of the Paris Agreement, the international framework for combating global warming, which will be launched in 2020. And that the United States, the world's second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, has already given official notice of its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. And during the period, environmental groups awarded Japan the disgraceful "Fossil Prize" for its reluctance to take action on global warming.

 Some believe that the international community's expectations of Japan are reflected in this ironic fossil prize, but the minister himself disappointed environmental activists when he said that he wanted to keep oil fuels as an option at this time. Maybe we should abandon the idea that we're "expected" or that we've made our presence known.

 Because of its location, Japan is prone to many natural disasters, and even from a global perspective, it is a country with a high level of disaster prevention awareness and well-developed countermeasures. Nevertheless, the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 caused an unprecedented number of victims, about 25,000 dead, and the news footage reporting the damage was a major shock to the world. Even Japan, which was thought to be so well prepared for disasters, has been confronted with the fact that there is nothing to be done when faced with a natural threat.

 Even though major earthquakes are unavoidable disasters that cannot be avoided even by human power or scientific knowledge, the abnormal weather that is occurring around the world today - unseasonal typhoons, heavy rains, rising sea levels, heat waves and wildfires - is often attributed to global warming. Although there are some objections, it can be said that it is the cause that has been created by mankind with the progress of science that is causing global climate change.

A world still reluctant to address pressing environmental issues

Cli-Fi" is a new genre that was born and coined in 2011 by fomer Tokyo resident Dan Bloom, who lived in Japan for 5 years 1991-1996 while working for the Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper as a news assistant. Age 71, Dan retired now but still working as "a climate ativist of the literary kind,"now lives in Taiwan, in the midst of the current global trend. He speaks Japanse,  French, Spanish, and Chinese. As cli-fi novels, films, and television series draw attention to the genre, will people's interest and awareness of the climate crisis increase? Dan Bloom says yes!

 It's also true that some of the world's leaders, and some experts, are determined to ignore the movement altogether. To this Dan Bloom says "they are on the wrongside of history!"

 It is still fresh in our minds that US President Trump made fun of Greta, a girl who had attracted worldwide attention, and condemned her on Twitter, while Brazil's president expressed his displeasure and refuted her in public. It is said that it is really immature to deal with a teenage girl, but the adults who are not trying to face the environmental problems and who are not taking action are probably guilty of the same thing.

 We must be beginning to realize that global climate change is caused by humanity, and that only humanity can control its causes now. One after another, reports have been released saying that we can't put it off any longer, and that it could be delayed from tomorrow. We can only hope that the Cli-Fi genre, which was born out of this momentum, will not be written off as youth entertainment.

For more, see Dan Bloom's information website THE CLI-FI REPORT at:
Text: Isemoto Yukari / Editing: Oka Tokuyuki




Sci-Fiではなく「Cli-Fi」 人々の意識変化と新たな映画トレンド
5/8/2020 (金) 12:01配信

SF(Science Fiction)ジャンルの中のサブジャンルとして扱われてきたパニック映画。特に自然災害を題材としたパニック映画は近年「Cli-Fi(Climate Fiction)」として独立したジャンルになりつつある。






「Climate Strike(気候ストライキ)」なるストライキを呼びかける組織が学生中心に立ち上がり、抗議のために学校を休もうと声を上げている。

グレタさんが国連のスピーチで大人を強い言葉で叱ったことも記憶に新しいが、こうした動きに共通しているのは、若者が未来の地球に今までにないほど多大なる不安と強い関心を抱いているということ。Climate Strikeも声明文の中で「大人たち、政治家たちは宿題をサボってきた。口約束ばかりで何ら改善されていない」と大人の責任を追及している。



Tuesday, May 5, 2020


Photo by Yann Quero. FRANCE

Song lyrics written by an anonymous bluester sitting on a park bench in southern Taiwan drinking cold bottle of Taiwan Beer on an April evening....

[No copyright. (c) 2020 -- Anyone can sing this song on their own and add verses on their own as well].

For now:

I got the Wuhan Blues again, oh yeah
I got the Wuhan Blues again, oy veh
I got the Wuhan Blues again, oh yeah
I got the Wuhan Blues again

The Wuhan Blues, oh yeah
The Wuhan Blues, oy veh
The Wuhan Blues, yeah yeah
Got the Wuhan Blues again

So I got the Wuhan Blues again, oh yeah
I got the Wuhan Blues again, when, when
Oh I got the Wuhan Blues, and then?
Oh when will they go away?

They'll go away when Trump is gone (not ''dead,'' but ''gone'', as in ''voted out of office in next election'')
Oh yes, they'll go away, when Trump is gone...
Yes, they'll go away when you sing this song (last verse, shout it out!)
Bury him at Mar-a-Lago (when he dies a natural death of course).

One more time, again, oh yeah

I got the Wuhan Blues again, oh yeah
I got the Wuhan Blues again, oy veh
I got the Wuhan Blues again, oh yeah
I got the Wuhan Blues again

The Wuhan Blues, oh yeah
The Wuhan Blues, oy veh
The Wuhan Blues, yeah yeah
Got the Wuhan Blues again

So I got the Wuhan Blues again, oh yeah
I got the Wuhan Blues again, when when
Oh I got the Wuhan Blues again
When will they go away?

Oh they'll go away when Trump is gone (not ''dead,'' but ''gone'', as in ''voted out of office in next election'')
Oh yes, they'll go away, when Trump is gone...
Yes, they'll go away when you sing this song (last verse, shout it out!)
Bury him at Mar-a-Lago (when he dies a natural death of course).

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

FROM THE NY TIMES -- 2020: The Year You Finally Read a Cli-Fi Novel About, What Else, Climate Change


2020: The Year You Finally Read a Cli-Fi Novel About, What Else, Climate Change

Perhaps you prefer reading to escape reality, not confront it. But if the 50th anniversary of Earth Day has inspired you to decide that now’s the time to pick up a cli-fi novel about climate change, we’re here to help you find the right one for you.

For the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, The New York Times brought you The Greenhouse, a five-part digital event series on climate change. We hope you joined us on our next live video call this Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, where an editor at the Times Book Review named  Gal Beckerman discussed this listicle.


The Drowned World
by J.G. Ballard
cli-fi fiction
With its vision of a London swamped by the rising Thames River and a warming planet leading to an urban landscape of lush tropical foliage, Ballard’s dystopian cli-fi fantasy — written in 1962 — laid the groundwork for generations of climate-change fiction to come. The book imagines the dawning of a new geologic age like the one environmentalists now call the Anthropocene, with resulting changes to a broad swath of plant and animal species, humans very much among them.
The plot involves a looter who refuses to leave London even as the water grows hotter, and an expedition of scientists trying to determine whether civilization might someday take root again. “But the main action is in the deeper reaches of the mind,” Kingsley Amis wrote in a 1963 review of the book for The Observer, “the main merit the extraordinary imaginative power with which whatever inhabits these reaches is externalized in concrete form. The book blazes with images, striking in themselves and yet continuously meaningful.”


The Wall
by John Lanchester
cli-fi fiction
Lanchester’s novel, published in 2019, elegantly and chillingly imagines how current political attitudes might play out as the repercussions of climate change grow more severe. With sea levels rising and extreme weather events increasingly common, an island nation that closely resembles Britain has built a concrete wall around its entire perimeter to hold back both the water and the desperate tide of refugees from harder-hit areas.
The narrator, Joseph Kavanagh, has embarked on his mandatory two-year service as a “Defender,” guarding a section of the wall against outsiders even as he falls in love and mulls in restrained language about what the future will bring. That includes the threat of invasion, as a government official tells the Defenders at a pivotal moment: “The shelter blew away, the waters rose to the higher ground, the ground baked, the crops died, the ledge crumbled, the well dried up. The safety was an illusion. … The Others are coming.”


Salvage the Bones
by Jesmyn Ward
cli-fi fiction
Set in the days leading up to and immediately after Hurricane Katrina, this National Book Award-winning novel follows a black family in Mississippi as it prepares for, and recovers from, disaster. Esch, a pregnant teenager, is at the center of the story. A fierce, mythology-loving young woman, she’s quick to connect the events of her own life with those of the Greeks.
For all the devastation at its core, this is an insistently hopeful book. As our reviewer put it: “Like every good myth, at its heart, the book is salvific; it wants to teach you how to wait out the storm and swim to safety.”



New York 2140
by Kim Stanley Robinson
cli-fi fiction
It can be easy to forget that the island of Manhattan is just that, an island — but as rising waters encroach on coastal lands everywhere, life in the city has the potential to change dramatically. Robinson’s cli-fi novel, published in 2017, envisions a financial district with canals in place of streets and an uptown crowded with skyscrapers as the wealthy move to higher ground.
A thought experiment with an ensemble cast, the novel is less concerned with a conventional plot than with showing a slice of life across various classes, with particular attention to the workings of the economy and other social systems. Maybe the most remarkable feature of the story is how little it imagines life changing, despite the drastically revised landscape: The building super works on repairing submerged apartments, the police inspector looks for missing squatters and the hedge funder bets on mortgages that are (literally) under water.


by Jenny Offill
cli-fi fiction
Lizzie, the narrator of Offill’s cli-fi  novel, is a mother who’s juggling fears on multiple levels: concern for her brother, a recovering addict; financial worries; and general apprehension about the direction of the world. This taxonomy might feel familiar to many readers: How can you reconcile your personal, daily inconveniences with the fear that the world as we know it is ending?
Our reviewer pointed out the book’s narrative dilemma, asking: “What happens when the horror of climate change gets lodged so deep under our skin we can’t escape it any longer? What happens when an author manages to translate this horror from an abstraction to a gripping tale of immediate particulars?”
Ultimately, this slim cli-fi novella is an “attempt to tell a story about climate change that carries the same visceral force as our private emotional dramas — that is, in fact, inseparable from them.”


The Madaddam Trilogy
by Margaret Atwood
cli-fi fiction
Atwood’s terrifying, though often very funny, cli-fi series imagines the societal, economic and biological fallout from an ecological disaster right down to glowing rabbits, labs with names like the RejoovenEsense Compound and pseudo-foods called ChickieNobs.
“Oryx and Crake,” the first book, focuses on a character named Snowman, who makes his way as one of the last remaining humans in a post-pandemic world. “The Year of the Flood,” the next novel, essentially retells that story from other perspectives, giving Snowman’s backstory, set against the backdrop of the arrival of a disaster long feared by a religious cult. And as our reviewer wrote of “MaddAddam,” the finale: It “lights a fire from the fears of our age, then douses it with hope for the planet’s survival. But that survival may not include us.”


The Fifth Season
by N.K. Jemisin
cli-fi fiction
This fantasy cli-fi novel, the first in Jemisin’s astonishing Broken Earth trilogy, imagines social collapse going hand-in-hand with geologic catastrophe on a planet as violent as the people who inhabit it. With the world’s single supercontinent in the process of dividing, and climate change wrought by vast clouds of volcanic ash, the ruling elites work to subjugate a minority population that has some ability to influence planetary events.
In The Times, the science writer Annalee Newitz praised the book for exploring a science that is “oddly neglected in science fiction: the geophysics of exoplanets. Though we have plenty of stories about the physics of space travel and the biology of alien life, very few authors tackle the actual rocky, gassy, molten stuff that planets are made of. Jemisin does it brilliantly, crafting a tale that is both intensely moving and scientifically complex.” The book was the first by an African-American writer to win the Hugo Award for best novel, but not the last: Each of its sequels also won, making Jemisin the first author ever to win the Hugo for every book in a trilogy.


The Overstory
by Richard Powers
cli-fi fiction
Trees are the real heroes of this Pulitzer Prize-winning cli-fi novel, a series of interconnected stories that follow characters from 1800s New York to the timber wars of the Pacific Northwest. Whether it’s an immigrant family staking its new life on the American chestnut or an 11-year-old coder who has an unfortunate encounter with a Spanish oak, humans’ connections to trees make up the emotional core of this book.
As our our reviewer, Barbara Kingsolver, wrote of Powers: “Using the tools of story, he pulls readers heart-first into a perspective so much longer-lived and more subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size.”


Flight Behavior
by Barbara Kingsolver
cli-fi fiction
The sudden, unusual appearance of monarch butterflies rattles a rural Tennessee farm town, and a rift soon opens up in the community: Religious residents see the insect swarms as a sign from God, while others are drawn toward scientific explanations. Dellarobia, a young mother in an unhappy marriage, is one of the latter. When an entomologist comes to town to study the butterflies, he hires Dellarobia to work alongside him, offering her a chance to expand and improve her life.
Kingsolver, who was a scientist before she began writing novels, seamlessly weaves together the story of a biological aberration and a woman’s coming of age in this powerful cli-fi novel.


Parable of the Sower
by Octavia Butler
cli-fi fiction
It’s 2024 California and the situation is dire: Water is scarce, communities are walled off and a pill called “pyro” gives immense pleasure to people who start fires. As one character puts it: “People have changed the climate of the world. Now they’re waiting for the old days to come back.”
This 1993 classic is composed of diary entries by an African-American teenager, Lauren, who’s determined to make her way in this new world. The daughter of a Baptist minister, she develops her own belief system, Earthseed, and has “hyperempathy,” which causes her to experience other people’s pain and pleasure as if it were her own. Eventually, she’s forced to flee her home and head north, accompanied by a group of survivors who rally behind her vision for a better world.



The Great Derangement
by Amitav Ghosh
 Amitavji gets right to the heart of the matter.
The interesting contribution of this book, which comes out of a series of lectures Ghosh delivered at the University of Chicago in 2015, is his indictment of the New York Times gatekeepers and culture-makers. To make climate change the theme or setting of a cli-fi novel, Ghosh writes, is “to court eviction from the mansion in which serious fiction has long been in residence.”
His bigger point is that we need a change of narrative. But to do this means that those who make our narratives need to lead the way, to bring their talents of storytelling to bear on what is, he writes, no less than an “existential danger.”