Arts Of The Working Class Logo


  • Jul 27 2020
  • Christopher Roth


In spring 2035, you see shopping bags everywhere that return themselves to the stores after being used, origami-ing themselves into butterflies. Invented more than 25 years ago by William Gibson.

In 2026, Uber and Lyft were taken over by their employees and became worker co-ops. A cooperatively owned network of drivers now democratically sets pay rates and work rules.


It’s summer. The negotiations start on June 7th, 2027. Most of the world is connected: Geneva, Montreal, Maputo, Taipei, Brasilia, Rome, Tel-Aviv, Baghdad. Proposals for new modes of organizing, for fundamental geo- and cosmopolitical rights and legal frameworks are on the table. Ready to be discussed and streamlined. The idea is to collectively establish viable, adaptable systems on a planetary basis, giving decentralised, local structures the space to maintain and create highly diverse models of coexistence. That work for human and non-human subjects at the same time. About reality, life and everyday constraints. Systems that repair themselves. Models that last. For one hundred years? Or more?

On that 7th of June 2027, Uranus was in Gemini— an auspicious time for new ideas. When the two encounter, innovation and revolution meet information and transmission. Of new creations and unknown technology. But Gemini has two faces and their Mercury casts a shadow on Uranus! Intellect vs. feeling. This we learned. No success without emotions. How do we build a planetary system that functions but does not exclude affects and emotions? We had to take the chance. Erik Bordeleau, one of the architects of the contracts, remembers: "Already in planning stage we had to think about how to incorporate emotions. We experimented with Fred Moten's and Stefano Harney’s Fugitive Planning. Precarious, transductive, ecstatic. The type deployed by a self-effacing radical bureaucracy. This was about transforming fundamentally what it means —for anyone, really— to be 'part of the system' and changing the structure of feeling usually associated with it."

Emotions mean uncertainty, but based on necessary decisions made by the mind. And by autonomous systems. We are in the constant process of snatching emergent order out of affect. What does it mean at a collective, psycho-political level? How do you feedback contingency into open- ended systems? How do you feedback feelings into ecologically-infused planning? Seek advice! Spirited, assertive and energetic women will help. They may tell you that uncertainty (and the resulting backfiring) sometimes 'make sense'. 

The negotiations lasted four years and 18 days. They were tough but fruitful. The complexity of the system (many still refuse to use the word 'system') and its subsystems is enormous. But nobody has to know or understand all of it. It is decentralised within the planetary framework, and the subsystems are more or less autonomous. Only when the confused signals of subsystemic problems reach a higher level in the overall system, centralised councils—of humans and non-humans— intervene.

Joanna Pope, another architect of the frameworks explains: "The challenge has been to figure out what technologies we want to keep and which ones are just too socially and ecologically detrimental in everyday arrangements and everyday life to keep maintaining. Now both, bottom-up and top- down processes have to work together to end the artificial scarcity that capitalism created."

Information about environmental, social, and economic conditions are collected and monitored by the public and governments on all levels as continuously and promptly as possible. Fast- responding, self-regulating, self-organizing. E. Glen Weyl, responsible for social tech at the negotiations mentions: "There has been a major change in attitude from the local to the global scale. The whole point of these social technologies is that they allow us to reproduce more of the features of life of small communities in the broad world."

We included environmental and social costs in prices and indicators, so that there is no confusion about the consequences. This makes the entire system and all of its layers adaptable, robust and viable.

Everything was ready to be signed, on June 26th, 2031. Jupiter stands for abundance and generosity. This giant planet fuels all kinds of positive optimism in our lives and is considered to be the planet of miracles, of hope and opportunity. In cancer, Jupiter is exalted, which means that all its good qualities are maximized. Loyalty, justice, fairness, balance, judgment, incorruptibility. Very rarely is there a day of such clear vision: of equity, fairness and objectivity. And on this very day the contracts and legal agreements that are mutually beneficial to all parties, are signed.

Erik Bordeleau in 2031: "For we are always already at stake with each other, partnered all the way down. Inhabitants of the world, earthlings and earthbounds, creatures of all kinds, human and non- human, we are entangled in a series of interlaced trails and creative feedback loops, holding open life for one another. In the world to come, everyone holds pieces of each other’s life, socially and financially. We are entre-preneurs and entre-donneurs, inter-holders and inter-givers, networked together to collectively distribute the risks and opportunities of living."


July 14th, 2037. A couple in bed, surrounded by trees, which serve as both facade and roof. An organic living structure. Kim wears glasses and gently ruffles Alex’ fake hair. Alex’ head is on Kim’s fake breasts. (You can put on different body parts quarterly. More frequent changes would be bad for the metabolism.) Alex looks at the leafy ceiling, the sun sparkles through. In the background you hear goats baah. Kim speaks with a German accent, Alex is unaccented, though uses an Eastern slang when speaking in a foreign language. Why? Why not?

Kim: We care.
Alex: Sure we do.
Kim: For the first time in history we live in a system that cares.
Alex: I know.
Kim: It wasn't easy after all.
Alex: No, it wasn't.
Alex looks at Kim and smiles.
Alex: Are you preparing your speech?
(smiles back): The crises taught us a lesson.
Alex: Is that the title?
Kim: No it isn't. We can’t just talk about the crisis. It’s over.
Alex: But you do.
Kim: Well, only as a ramp. A story ramp.
Alex: Okay. Where does it ramp to?
Kim: It’s about the economy, about of wealth and resources.
Kim looks at the alarm clock.
Kim: Shit, do I really have to meet the French President today?
Alex: No, it's fine, she can wait. She was anyway going to Hannover to see some old comrades.
Kim: By herself?
Alex: Think so.
Kim: Shouldn’t we go with her? 
Alex: Well, didn’t you just say, you don’t want to see her?
Kim: Yeah. I’m undecided.
Alex: We have time. Just slack. Tell me where the crisis ramps us up to.
Kim: Okay I'll cut the crisis.
Alex: No, you are right, you need a ramp. True. An intro, an exposition.
Kim: But people know of the crisis and of the good things that came out of it. So why give a speech in the first place?
Alex: Well, people doubt. It’s not very long that things go well. They need to trust.
Kim: True.
Alex: What speeches do you like in general?
Kim: I like Bria talking.
Alex: Yes. Pragmatic. Transatlantic. Very cool.
Kim: Morozov is more enthusiastic.
Alex: The one he gave at the Beer thing?
Kim: I mean, that was epic.
Alex: How long was it?
Kim: Like ten hours?
Alex: Only Fidel Castro and Buckminster Fuller could do more.
Kim: I think it was Wigley who said that Fuller was wearing special NASA diapers because he didn’t want to take any breaks.

Alex: Wigely, the storyteller! That’s hilarious. So what is your speech about?
Kim: C’mon, let’s go to Hannover and meet Marie-Claire.
Alex: No! Speech first.
Kim: Okay, it is about solidarity and empathy.
Because during the crisis, when asked whom to leave behind to maintain the status quo, we..., we all kind of went: ‘no one at all!’
Alex: Did we? Nice.
Kim: But this had to be encrypted into our system.We needed this to be systemic. We could not rely on good intentions.
Alex: No, that never worked.
Kim: No holding hands, no preaching, no morals and that kind of shit...
Alex: You sound like Schumacher.
Kim: Even the broken clock is right twice a day...
Alex: C’mon, he is better than that.
Kim: I know, just kidding. So solidarity had to be inscribed into the meta-system. I mean, it kind of goes back to Beer.
Alex: It goes kind of back to Fuller.
Kim: And to Ostrom...
Alex: Ehm, who is your speech for again?
Kim: Alex: Cool!
Kim: They are the best.


For four years now, Oana takes four selfies per day. Ongoing. Today, on February 2nd, 2028, she will take number 4508, 09, 10 and 11. Mostly close- ups. Sometimes medium-shots from her left side in a mirror. Oana prefers her left side, just like Audrey Hepburn did. She puts on a skirt over her fake bottom. The skirt is Italian, the bottom Irish. Looks slinky. These photographs all come with a political message.

4508: "The economy cannot be separated from ecology!", 4509: "We are in this together!". 4510 is a detail of her left toe: "Global challenges cannot be solved nationally." One more to go.

The selfies are trojan horses. Oana doesn't trust the silence. The negotiations have been dragging on for half a year now. She is involved. But not really. Not enough. Sometimes she calls the ceasefire 'boredom.' No drama. No heroes. No villains. How can we trust this? She was in too many fights. Romania was a mess. Like a stranded whale at the shores of the 2020s. Oana was paralysed. The super star from the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania. She founded a political party. She was sitting on the fence, between the old left autocracy and a centre technocrat decentralised movement. She kept explaining, talking, discussing. Soon her allies were drunk from power and easy to pull over. At the same time Oana Bogdan was a very successful architect in Brussels. With a golden business card. On the fence. Oana doesn’t really age, as none of Bela Lugosi’s daughters do. 4511. It's a Wednesday, it's Groundhog Day. Tomorrow she will do 4512-4515.

In 2028, George Clooney, Tulsi Gabbard, Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Miley Cyrus, and Jay-Z, among many others renounced much of their property. Even the Catholic Church made its land available. But charity was not the answer! We installed the permanent redistribution of wealth into the system. Taxes for instance are an unbeatable equalizing mechanism to break the loop of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.


Remember the 2nd of March, 2023? The ego-driven Sun aligned with retrograde Neptune. Neptune was there to help us detach from our ego and consciousness and exist in the in-between. The fall from arrogance to humility. The collapse of the ego came with a radical change in our world-view and values. Often this collapse is triggered by a sudden event.

There are a few theories how it happened. From what we know, the "Jackpot", an expression coined by William Gibson as the "long-duration apocalypse", which started in the early 1980s and accelerated during the pandemic. After that, we were used to horrible news. We stopped counting the swans. Black, green, pink, whatever colour. Our socio-economic system became unmanageable. We had overshot our limits.

It's the 2nd of March, 2023. What a date: 2323 or 3223. It's a cold Thursday in Tokyo and Frankfurt, it rains in Singapore, Dakar and New York. At 11:00 AM EST, Aladdin, BlackRock’s risk management platform and the world’s largest real-time- money-managing-operating system rates China and classifies it as 'high risk.'

Why? After the pandemic China, with all its big- shot projects, maintained the illusion of economic success. In 2021, when the Communist party was celebrating its centenary, most of its debtors around the world were insolvent. By 22, China’s money engine began to stutter a little too loudly. BlackRock fed Aladdin with contradicting data to prevent a self-fulfilling prophecy. But Aladdin, with its 360-degree perspective, its AI, its robo-advisers and immense data processing withdrew its trust. China’s crisis was boosted. Things collapsed in a vicious circle. Just like Aladdin predicted. This was the beginning of Act III of the "Jackpot" and its climax.

The following weeks were marked by major worldwide financial losses, by collapsing markets and regions. And at the same time anything became possible. We had gained a chance to re-organise on a bigger scale. Within the meltdown we discovered the ideal conditions for changing the feedback structure and the information links. The old chain of command, the authoritarian hierarchies, and the corrupt elites lost their status and legitimacy and had to step down. For good.

15 years later we choose our representatives mostly by sortition (by lot) and gaming. Along with quadratic voting (QV), which means, measuring the degree of preferences, rather than just the direction, gaming proved to be a serious alternative to the one-person-one-vote (1p1v) principle. We use sortition to minimise factionalism and to represent a spectrum. We use QV to mirror efficiently the preferences of a larger population because QV is simple and robust. 1p1v is mostly used on a communal level, for smaller policies and less popular topics. With gaming and Massive Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs) we run crowdsourced simulations. Data is not used for control but for participation. And gaming has a lot to do with emotions. Good games are good stories. Today MMOs play a key role in governance. Competing policy proposals are gamed, simulated and tested parallely. This makes us more flexible and faster in redesigning physical and social systems. Sometimes games collapse and gamers join more viable games until the best proposal is played through by all. The game is a surrogate ballot, the majority position serving as a binding decision.

Through gaming and Viable System Models we successfully accelerated our response times when the environment or the society is stressed (affect & emotions!). Most problems today are forecast before they appear. Many architects became gamers since gaming is part of their education now. It extends the planning horizon. Options are based on long-term costs and benefits, not just on market or election results. How Do We Want to Live Together? is a best-selling-game that got many more people interested in the wellbeing of the population and the impact of human activity on the global ecosystem. Similar to The Hologram, a social organizing system composed of post-secular practices that distribute attention, value and health to all living beings.

QV, sortition and especially gaming broke some gridlocks which had underminded our democracies. neu: What took us so long? Already in the 70s, Richard Buckminster Fuller experimented with game mechanics and envisioned a so-called World Game. Its objective was "to make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offence or the disadvantage of anyone." The ultimate goal of the system was to make everyone a winner.



Oil is dead!


"...the past is still very much in the present: the present is merely the past which has survived the algorithm's natural selection. Whilst the tree- story ascends in complexity, the ancient horizontal base is here and now. The hyperstitional "call to the old ones" is surely an attempt to establish a communicative link with this base, or to re-hijack the immense cunning and plasticity of the base... as far as I see it, hyperstition is obsessed with the impact of virtual futures on the psycho-techno- capitalist infrastructure of the present, whether those futures take the shape of utopian goals or nightmarish catastrophes ... History is crucial because it is littered with the wreckage of failed hyperstitional projects..."

Nick Land, Hyperstition Laboratory

"Planning rests on the idea that time is not instantaneous but continuous. A well-plotted plan has more to do with binge watching a TV show than a distracted online presence. The recent rise of TV culture proves that a planned and cultivated stretch of time can be adequately thrilling to stimulate an utopian impulse. A compelling economic SciFi is mathematics disguised in a well-crafted storyline."

Bahar Noorizadeh, After Scarcity


Last Sunday, Patrik sat, feeling rather relaxed, in a cafe in Covent Garden and talked to a former student from Austria. She is Minister of Agriculture now, one of the many architects who went into politics and bureaucracy, a trajectory that Patrik in part was responsible for. When asked about his rowdy past, he claims that many of his outrageous demands were impulses that put us on the path we are on today. Liberland? Has triggered important discussions. If enough people buy into it, it starts to matter. But it wasn't all that serious. He was trying to get the left out of their trivial factional infighting, he says. The eternal battle of identities. Always criticism, never progress. In the end, even Michael Moore was their enemy. Schumacher was the founder of the Stop-Holding-Hands movement in the late 2020s. He always believed in systems. Niklas Luhmann was his reference. Schumacher always thought big. But when it came to urban development, he only ever looked to the economic side of it: to growth. But how much planning, solidarity and non-human feedback would the libertarian ideology allow? Schumacher was part of the negotiations in the late 2020s. He came up with optimal demands. In the end, however, there was more Murray Bookchin in the results than he had anticipated. Now Schumacher is Mayor of London and the city is doing well. Yet even the mayor of a metropolis has not too much influence anymore, because there are planetary frameworks in place. A lot of power comes bottom-up from the districts, which also own the land. Ealing is organized in a completely different way than Hackney. They even have different currencies. And it works! With its piazzas Covent Garden is as close as it gets to Liberland. Who would have thought that London would become a green-digital-feminist city? And that Patrik would be so relaxed about it.


...I learn do it yourself cybernetics
while I'm jogging on a rolling tray
I love my weekends in the pure air
on the heights of the Eiffel Tower
My time my time I love my time
My time has something more
My time's the best there's ever been
My time I love my time
Thank you my time...
I love my time by Ann Steel & Roberto Cacciapaglia. Covered by Telex, one year later.
Monday, May 24th, 2038. Venice Giardini. Three Nazis dance around the German Pavilion. They are nostalgic about 1938 and the reopening of the Pavilion. Yes, there are still fascists around. Yes, there are still bad people. But it’s like E. Glen Weyl said: "Like in Star Trek, people are still messed up and imperfect and all sorts of bad things happen. But it's also clearly a much better world. In some pretty profound and radical ways."

Speaking of Venice, from The German Ideology, Karl Marx. 1845: "The "essence" of the fish is its "being", water... The "essence" of the freshwater fish is the water of a river. But the latter ceases to be the "essence" of the fish and is no longer a suitable medium of existence as soon as the river is made to serve industry, as soon as it is polluted by dyes and other waste products and navigated by steamboats, or as soon as its water is diverted into canals where simple drainage can deprive the fish of its medium of existence." Here Marx and Engels argue that "the uneasiness of a single creature in the world is not a problem only for this particular creature but for the world itself," as Oxana Timofeeva reminds us.


Pluto and Uranus are having a power struggle. Luckily this is rare. Pluto is the planet of death, sex, and transformation. Beneath the surface. While the energetic Uranus is determined to overcome any obstacle. Ever heard of the Age of Aquarius? 1960s' peaceful protesters? They all had Uranus in Aquarius. Questioning authority and championing individuality. Characteristics of Uranus.

November 2nd, 2032. The stars say it's decision day. Tulsi Gabbard vs. Keller Easterling. Who is Pluto and who is Uranus? Gabbard would be the first female combat veteran as president. Pluto! But she is a Hindu, a surfer and an early supporter of Medicare for All and The Hologram, and always endorsed Universal Basic Income and opposed military interventionism. Uranus!

On the other side Keller Easterling, who, some years ago said she would be ready for the job but doesn’t know if she has the charisma. Who needs charisma nowadays to be president? There is much less light on POTUS than 15 years ago. Tulsi vs. Keller is really about expertise and knowledge. "I guess it was when Keller Easterling was in the primaries that we started to see briefs about Housing and Urban Development," remembers Mitch McEwen. And this was key!

"She was never a classical architect. I think that was her advantage. For her, the post- architectural, post-object world was sort of obvious and natural. Those lessons, the “Easterling lessons on infrastructure”, were like rethinking our built environment", says Mark Wigley.

Tulsi became Vice-president. In a way, there are no antagonists anymore. Pluto is in a relationship. Death, sex and transformation are good.


"I Love my Time" was published first in print issue 120, "The New Serenity"

    Christopher Roth, New Serenity 2038, Still image, 2020



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