American After-Culture Life
after the age of oil
The 21st century
spiritual or will not be.
- André Malraux
I stumbled across an interesting site in the fall of 2005 and find it
soothing to revisit. It contains artistic impressions of what life
might be like 100 years from now when the last drop of fossil fuel is
The site is called North
American Afterculture: an Anthropology of the Future. Be forewarned
that it has a difficult to decipher navigation system. This means that
you will probably miss at least half of the site on your first visit.
On the plus side, it means that return visits will be amply rewarded
with the discovery of more and more pages.
"The truth is that for the first time we are bereft of a positive
vision of where we are going. This is particularly evident among kids.
Their future is either Road Warrior post-apocalypse, or Blade Runner
mid-apocalypse. All the futuristic computer games are elaborations of
these scenarios, heavy metal worlds where civilization is crumbling
into something weird and violent (but more exciting than now).
The Afterculture is an
attempt to transmute this folklore of the future into something deep
and rich and convincingly real. If we are to pull a compelling future
out of environmental theory and recycling paradigms, we are going to
have to clothe the sacred in the romantic. The Afterculture is part of an ongoing
work to shape a new mythology by sources as diverse as Thoreau and
Conan and Dances with Wolves and Iron John. The Afterculture is not
"against" the problems of our times, and it's not about "band-aid
solutions" to the grim jam we find ourselves in. It's about opening up a whole new category
of solutions, about finding another way of being: evolved, simpler,
deeper, even more elegant. Even more cool. Even very cool."
[The italics are mine.]
This site presents a positive set of memes for what life could be like
in the post-industrial future if humanity finally smartens up.
us know about other relevant art which should be listed here. Click
to email a link.