From the bottom up: mechanically-moved (petrochemically-powered) glacial clay, landscape fabric (a petrochemical weed barrier), mechanically (petrochemically-powered crusher) crushed gravel, petrochemical plastic surface protecting tray, petrochemically-fired, petrochemically transported Mexican clay pot, petrochemically-heated hot-house flower, air, sun. In the steam punk city, this combination is meant to look like a baroque palace garden, but it isn’t. It’s a petrochemical garden, under a petrochemically-altered sky. It’s a gesture of memory. Here’s another. This one is the classic contemporary Canadian eyeliner approach to garden fashion.
It has the same petrochemical narrative, the same absence of people, the same invitation, but without the botanical gestures. This is a place for indoor humans to feel comfortable on the planet. This one, too:
This one adds a lovely touch, in the sterile, lifeless “compost”, which is ground up garden trees mixed with solid waste from the wastewater treatment plant, and water provided by petrochemical tube, in a style perfected in the Kibbutz. In this cozy environment, the indoor human is, again, invited to feel comfortable, but there’s an interesting twist:
The gestures are based on a foundation of emptiness. These Mexican pots above (very expensive) are full of the remains of a previous garden. There are some weeds, as you can see, some uprooted remains of flowers, and a lot of peat moss-based “potting soil”, which isn’t soil at all, doesn’t hold water and contains no nutrients. After a few weeks of that, plants just die. These pots were someone’s dream. Now they have been tucked behind the wall from the main door: the dream is too powerful to discard, but the medium is too empty to hold it. This one, too:
In this case, it’s a wet climate hosta stranded as a memory gesture in a dry climate. In just this way is the Steam Punk City formed out of the quaint struggles of biological humans in the capitalist city on petrochemical earth, as humans desperately trade their dollars (a form of social credit chit) for the products of the global, capitalist, petrochemical empire, to great disappointment, as in collision with the remains of the pre-petroleum earth, these purchased products can’t hold the memories biological humans were told they promised. They never did, of course. They promised “retirement” and “leisure” and “beauty.” In the steam punk city, that looks like this:
That is the garage to the right, and the main door to the left, seen from the street. Note that the (petrochemical) garbage container is the closest of these objects to the door. It speaks for them all. As the only one without residual values of hope, which biological creatures are not yet ready to give up to fully embrace their post-biological future and ultimate nothingness, it receives objects which are removed weekly, lest they breed rats and attract bears. In just this way do biological humans fight against obsolescence and death. They tidy up their memories, discard packaging (lures) mixed with food waste, and cling to hope. In the urban core, they put out tubs of weeds, in patterns which reduce watering labour, to attract tourists…
… and out in the farmland use petrochemical models (which don’t work) to build new soil (well, to store grass clippings for a decade until the sun rots the plastic away around them) and old petrochemical fruit tree dormant oil barrels to burn paper and plastic…
… while composting (a form of hope, which, due to mangled procedures does not produce soil), which counts, in steam punk culture, as a gesture of hope and solidarity with the earth.
Because the steam punk city is powered spiritually by the petrochemical industry and its flows of power, control and capital, and the governments that serve it, overall the city is created out of an amalgam of general purpose manufactured products. Even the canoe below is one, as you can see: it can be filled with adventure in the wilderness …
… or used to prop up used steampunk versions of forests. This is called creativity, and is one of the most valued points of entrance for the biological human into the arcane chambers of mirrors of the steam punk city.
Such multi-use products are created through a process of “humanization” called “manufacturing”. Here’s a plywood mill in Spallumcheen, evaporating the water from Douglas Fir Trees for recycling by the atmosphere.
The humanization of these objects is an illusion parallel to the illusion that cities are human spaces.
Actually, they are spaces of domestication and adaptation. In them, manufactured objects are bought (with those social credit chits against the petrochemical government) and transferred into a secondary form of capital, called infrastructure. In this environment, garbage receptacles are locked and garbage lies out in the street, because for humans who have no access to the petroleum-fueled power structures, the garbage receptacles are the best living spaces going.
The skills at dancing with objects purchased with chits against power and soon proven to be empty of the hope attached to them is so easily learned by the very adaptable human species, that the process of creativity, the process of recombining multi-use objects soon applies to these emptied objects, and they become, beautifully, repositories of the hope of the humans, even though that hope, and those values are not there. The grids of these reverberating quantum energy fields are called art.
It is, as you can see, very beautiful. The image below, for example, shows a very typical human house entrance in Canada. The blue globe hanging from the outdoor living space behind the wooden wall is intended to deter wasps. The hello light bulb at the ceiling is to deter insects. In the steam punk city, residual biological humans are not very willing to share. This is the working class version of the art installation I showed you in the upper middle class version above. Coupled with this primary creativity, which powers the steam punk city, is a new variation, called recycling. In this process, packaging materials, used largely to lure humans into purchasing objects in place of work or hope or to protect humans from the predatory activities of other humans, are sent to remanufacturing plants, to be transformed into new multi-purpose articles. This is called “saving the planet”, although, really, it is a way of keeping the material house from totally filling with manufactured objects and becoming untenable for heritage grade biological humans, as the green house, built as a hope object for the cultivation of plants, is below in its steam punk incarnation as creativity (a storage space for fertilizer and poisons used to manage the petrochemical earth.) This is the earth today. Look at her closely.
Not only that, but in the steam punk city it is the human body. Look at it again. A brave and hopeful thing despite everything, isn’t it. Humans, you are in your retirement.
Looks nice, eh. Just don’t forget that the picnic basket, quilt and winemaking are imported traditions, and the fruits you see there… hormonally grown cherries, imported blueberries, an apricot, a Bartlett pear and a peach, are all store bought. They might be designed to display an idea of plenty in this Okanagan Valley, but they don’t all ripen at the same time. It’s simply impossible to have them on the tray together. If you answered the call of this ad two years ago, you will have realized that already, and will have stored that basket in your garage long ago. You won’t have discarded it, because you will still be attached to the dream that it promised in the first place, and dreaming is good. Dreaming is survival.