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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Survivalism
Posted: March 10, 2017 at 3:01 am
Yesterday, ProPublica published a massive list of Trump administration officials, including over 400 names. Among the individuals it highlighted is a man named Jon Perdue, a special assistant at the Treasury Department. Perdue is the author of a book on the nexus of Latin American radicalism and Middle Eastern terrorism and a member of a relatively obscure think tank. Hes also a self-described expert in guerrilla warfare who invented a survivalist gadget bow to use after the apocalypse.
The product in question is called the Pack Bow, and it was apparently featured on CNBCs Make Me a Millionaire Inventor in 2015. Its site is currently accepting preorders in the form of mailing list signups, and yes, thats the only shot we could find of the Pack Bow in action above. The sites ad copy is like the start of a D&D session set in Cormac McCarthys The Road.
The worst has occurred. You always knew it was possible, but never dreamed it would happen so soon. The power grid is down, and you are surrounded by chaos. Theres not much time you can only grab a handful of things, so as you head out the door, you grab the Pack Bow.
Not only is it a bow (with a self-containing quiver), its a compass, adjustable hanging rod, tent pole, walking stick, fishing pole, spearfishing rig and is wrapped in paracord. It also holds emergency supplies like bandages, matches, and water purification tablets so that when you need them, and you likely will, youll be prepared.
You never know whats ahead. With the Pack Bow you have a better chance of surviving it.
Theres also a helpful diagram.
Few of us at The Verge would describe ourselves as experts on survivalism, guerrilla warfare, and archery. But we do love gadgets, and we have questions.
While were pondering these, you can enjoy some of the incredible feats of archer Lars Anderson, a man who unlike this bow we would 100 percent pick for our apocalyptic RPG party.
The rest is here:
Posted: March 8, 2017 at 1:09 pm
To me, flying is the hurdle you jump to get somewhere fun. Ive never had an attraction to planes. Airplanes are inconvenient sky buses accessed only through soul-crushing security lines we have to share with tacky people and business dicks. Airplanes are the journey; Im more of a destination gal.
That may have changed a few weeks ago when I walked up the dusty wing of a retired 727, through the emergency door, and into a 1,000 square foot home. With a cockpit.
Owner Bruce Campbell has been living in this bird (he calls planes birds) in the suburbs of Portland for the better part of 18 years, and hopes his passion project can turn into a movement to salvage what are still functional, weatherproof structures, while providing some cool housing options to boot.
And if youre thinking this sounds like just the gimmicky style of housing that Portland drools over, youre right.
I began corresponding with Campbell over a year ago, after Id heard about his airplane home project and approached him for a story. Hes always happy to meet with press, or just about any other snoopy looky-loo, and not only did he agree, he regularly replied with 1000-word emails. Bruce was overseas, and had a return ticket booked, but hey, maybe I could pick him up from the airport and drive him to Hillsboro?
Of course I could pick up this stranger from the airport and drive him to Hillsboro. After all, I did need a story. Besides, Id never done plane-to-plane transport before. When else could I pretend I was a big airport monorail?
It was a long drive to Hillsboro, and the big highways turned into suburban boulevards and smaller and smaller country roads until eventually Bruce pointed to a steep dirt driveway, telling me wed need to get some speed to make it up. It would be getting dark soon. There had been damage to the trees during our winter storms, and nothing had been cleared yet. I backed up my Honda and let her fly (not literally) up a muddy hill, dodging branches, at dusk. It was a tense couple of minutes that paid off when the road flattened out and the trees cleared enough to reveal the giant nose of an airplane peeking out of the forest, like a sneaky, huge, aerodynamic wolf. With the setting sun, the drizzle, and the trees, youd think it was a movie. It was so beautiful.
And weird. Airplanes go in the sky and in hangars, not on some private acreage in the suburbs.
But they can.
According to Bruce, an average of three jetliners are retired on a daily basis. When an old plane gets the boot, the engines are removed, because those stay valuable, but the rest of the plane isnt so precious. Bruce describes the process as shredding, where this giant metal flying tube made by millions of dollars of brain and labor power is reduced to piles of metal and loose wires.
Bruceand a couple of other ambitious nerds like himbelieve that empty planes have much more potential. They are weatherproof, soundproof buildings on wheels that only get junked because thats what happens. Bruce envisions a future where the planes are driven off a runway or out of a hangar and into a housing park for a quiet second life.
Because get this: Airlines dont have to sell the planes to scrappers. Anyone can buy one, you just have to put up one more dollar than the scrappers would pay, which can be less than $100,000. A decked-out tiny house can run upwards of $50,000, and those dont have more than a thousand square feet of living space, multiple bathrooms, a ton of free chairs, and a freakin cockpit. Then, all you need is some land thats zoned residentialwhich I guess is easy enough. THEN you need to know how to attach plumbing for a septic tank and fresh well water, and run electricity. There have got to be people in this dweeby city who can do that, right? Arent we always complaining about all the techies whove moved here?
The Boeing 727 is a commercial jetliner thats been around since the 1960s. It was designed for regional flights and smaller airports, so Boeing gave it its own set of stairs. The stairs fold out of the plane in the back, below the tail, accessed by a door between the two back bathrooms with an exit sign over it. It didnt initially occur to Boeing that people might want to use the exit mid-flight, so they didnt put in a locking mechanism, which was a design flaw (or feature!) that enabled one D.B. Cooper to parachute out of a 727 with a bag of money in 1971. Boeing later added a locking mechanism called the Cooper vane, so dont get any ideas.
Besides, not a lot of 727s are still in use. They have three engines, which makes it sound like a noisy birdsay a crow, or a mean goose. Also, the 727 needed a flight engineer, which called for a third person in the cockpit (and another paycheck to write). The engineer sat at his or her own desk in the cockpit (behind where Chewbacca sits), with lots of dials and buttons. Quieter, more self-sufficient jets came onto the scene, and I dont understand how you could go from needing three engines and three people in the cockpit to only needing two, but it happened, making the 727 less desirable. Bye-bye, airstairs. Bye-bye, flight engineer.
This specific 727 is a castaway from Olympic Air, a Greek airline. A cool claim to fame: Its the last plane Aristotle Onassis ever rode in! Bruce pointed to the floor, where we could see through some plexiglass and into the cargo hold. He was down there. Poor old Ari didnt appreciate the flight because he was dead and in a casket. However, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and some rich Greeks sat in these very seats, which are now softened and greyed by years of use in the days when people still smoked in planes. (Bruce said the ashtrays were still loaded with butts when he got her. Remember smoking?)
It was retired at some point in the mid-90s, and the airline was willing to unload it for cheap right around the time that Bruce got this twinkle in his eye. He bought it for $100,000 in cash in 1999. It was flown to the Hillsboro airport intact, then driven to the fairgrounds across the street to be stripped.
This is the part of the story where Bruce gets sad. Hed hired scrappers to unload what he didnt want in his plane, but he very much wanted all the visuals to remain. Unfortunately, due to some miscommunication and rookie mistakes, the plane got torn up pretty good. The cockpit now drips with ends of orphaned wires and is missing more knobs than its got. Bruce has had to improvise wiring because what could have been usable was irreparably damaged. The salvage crew is the villain in this story. Stupid salvage jerks.
Bruce got the plane to his property by removing the wings and tail and having it hauled in pieces. (Apparently you cant just drive a jet through downtown Hillsborowhich is the second villain in this story.) He put it back together on his land, then settled in.
I liked visiting Campbells airplane home because I could envision how Id lay out my furniture if I had the money and time and patience and diligence and technical savvy to buy one of my own. Other peoplesmarter peoplewould love to visit the home to see all those knobs and wires. I asked about cable TV (none) and pooping (septic tank).
The carpet inside the cabin has been taken out and the flooring is now clear plexiglass so you can see down into the cargo areas. This also reveals a lot of technology. As a person with only a rudimentary understanding of how planes fly in the first place, I was not surprised to see so many cranks and knobs and wires. This does ________, Bruce would say. Ahhh, I nodded, as if it made sense.
He has the interior divided into two rooms by a Styrofoam wall. The front area is open, with the planes seats lining one wall, and the cockpit in front. Since it was stripped of a lot of the cool stuff by the scrappers, its got a post-apocalyptic vibe. Bruce was patient to let me conduct most of my interview up there, beneath the buttons and gears and wires, in front of big windows staring out at the forest.
The backexcuse me, the aftarea is his living space. There he has two working bathrooms in their original orientation. Off to the side, hes made a small shower enclosure, with a drain on the floor. Its not super private, but he lives alone, and doesnt have neighbors peeking through one of his 100 tiny windows. Theres a washing machine, a refrigerator, a tiny sink, and a microwave. He doesnt have a stove but I couldnt figure out if that was because he couldnt have one (ventilation?) or doesnt want one. Apart from being a metal tube, it was your basic single guys studio apartment.
Theres no wood in the plane, and without gasoline and moving parts, its pretty much fireproof. However, this also means that humidity is an issue. Boogers must be an issue, too.
Bruce pointed out that in addition to being perfectly insulated, planes are pretty much 100 percent earthquake proof. No earthquake would ever be as powerful as a hard landing, which the planes landing gear is made to withstand. Bruces plane also has other jostle-proof safety features, as well as hundreds of cans of food. This project didnt start as survivalism, but it sure could survive a lot.
As it started to get dark, Bruce and I made our way around the outside of the plane while he turned on water and performed other tasks one does when one owns a plane house and returns from overseas. When we got back inside, water was pouring out of the ceiling, back by where the flight attendants used to make coffee. Bruce was completely stress-free as water poured all over the floor and he started pulling things apart. An easy fix! he exclaimed. I dumbly offered to help, and when he smartly refused, I let him know it was time for me to go.
Planes have manuals, and houses have Home Depot, but theres no guide for how to combine the two. There are a couple of other people with airplane home projects in the United States, and they can bounce ideas off one another, but everybody is pretty much winging it. (HA HA, WING.) I asked Bruce how often yahoos with wild dreams ask for advice on how to get their own planes. He said it happens fairly regularly, but people give up when they realize they cant get housing basics like conventional mortgages or insurance.
On the long drive home, I wondered if I could do it. IF I had the money, IF I had the patience, IF I had the technical savvy, and IF I had the time, could I live in an airplane home? Probably, once there were systems in place for them to be comfortable and not drafty and if we could retrofit the bathroom sinks so I could get my hands all the way under the faucet. Also Id probably get nervous about falling off the wing while walking in with groceries during a rain.
But this silly city is a smart one, and I wouldnt be surprised if some nerds exhausted by the tiny home movement didnt try starting an airplane home movement instead. Bruce would certainly love that. Hed even talk you through some DIY plumbing. And maybe it could become a home where even a flying hater like me could get warm and comfy.
Read more here:
Posted: March 7, 2017 at 10:07 pm
Rally for #BlackLivesMatter in New York City on February 13, 2017. Credit: Erik McGregor/PA Images
When some white women celebrate the non-violence of womens marches against Trump and then pose for photographs with police officers while police violence specifically targets people of colour, when Nazi-punchers are accused of being no different from fascists, when feminists in relative safety accuse militant women in the Middle East facing sex slavery under ISIS of militarism, we must problematize the liberal notion of non-violence which disregards intersecting power systems and mechanisms of structural violence. By dogmatically clinging onto a pacifism (or passive-ism?) that has a classed and racial character, and demonising violent anti-system rage, feminists exclude themselves from a much needed debate on alternative forms of self-defence whose objective and aesthetic serve liberationist politics. In a global era of femicide, sexual violence and rape culture, who can afford not to think about womens self-defence?
Feminism has played an important role in anti-war movements and achieved political victories in peace-building. The feminist critique of militarism as a patriarchal instrument renders understandable the rejection of womens participation in state-armies as being empowering. But liberal feminists blanket rejection of womens violence, no matter the objective, fails to qualitatively distinguish between statist, colonialist, imperialist, interventionist militarism and necessary, legitimate self-defence.
Police fire riot control munitions to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters on July 9, 2016 in Saint Paul to protest the police murder of Philando Castile. Credit: Annabelle Marcovici/PA Images
The monopoly on violence as a fundamental characteristic of the state protects the latter from accusations of injustice, while criminalising peoples basic attempts at self-preservation. Depending on strategies and politics, non-state actors are labelled as disruptive to public order at best, or terrorists at worst. The tendency to uphold examples like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King to make the case for non-violent resistance often blurs historical facts to the point of sanitising the radical and sometimes violent elements of legitimate anti-colonial or anti-racist resistance.
Simultaneously, the traditional association of violence with masculinity and the systematic exclusion of women from politics, economy, war, and peace, reproduce patriarchy through a sexual division of roles in the realm of power. The feminist critique of violence is based in well-intentioned, yet deeply essentialist, reasoning of a gender-based morality, which can also reproduce portrayals of women as passive, inherently apolitical, and in need of protection. Such gender-reductionism fails to understand that inclination to violence is not inherently gender-specific but determined by interconnected systems of hierarchy and power as the case of white American women torturing Iraqi men in Abu Ghraib prison demonstrates.
Kurdish women have a tradition of resistance; their philosophy of self-defence ranges from autonomous guerrilla womens armies to the development of self-managed womens cooperatives. In recent years, the victories of the Womens Defence Units (YPJ) in Rojava-Northern Syria and the YJA Star Guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) against ISIS have been inspiring. Kurdish women, along with their Arab and Syriac Christian sisters, liberated thousands of square miles from ISIS, creating scenes of beauty of women liberating women. At the same time, they were also building the foundations of a womans revolution inside society. However, some western feminists questioned its legitimacy and dismissed it as militarism or co-optation by political groups. Western media narratives have portrayed this struggle in a de-politicised, exotic way, or by making generalised assumptions about womens natural disinclination to violence. If the media reporting was dominated by a male gaze, it was partly due to feminists refusal to engage with this relevant topic. One cannot help but think that militant women taking matters into their own hands impairs western feminists ability to speak on behalf of women in the Middle East, projected as helpless victims, may be one of the reasons for this hostility. Credit: YPJ Media Team
The Kurdish womens struggle developed a woman-centred philosophy of self-defence and is situated in an intersectional analysis of colonialism, racism, nation-statism, capitalism, and patriarchy. The Rose Theory is a part of the unapologetically women-liberationist political thought of PKK leader Abdullah calan. He suggests that in order to come up with non-statist forms of self-defence, we need to look no further than nature itself. Every living organism, a rose, a bee, has its mechanisms of self-defence in order to protect and express its existence with thorns, stings, teeth, claws, etc. not to dominate, exploit or unnecessarily destroy another creature but to preserve itself and meet its vital needs. Among humans, entire systems of exploitation and domination perpetuate violence beyond necessary physical survival. Against this abuse of power, legitimate self-defence must be based on social justice and communal ethics with particular respect to womens autonomy. If we let go of social Darwinist notions of survivalism and competition which under capitalist modernity have reached deadly dimensions and focus on the interplay of life within ecological systems, we can learn from natures ways of resistance and formulate a self-defence philosophy. In order to fight the system, self-defence must embrace direct action, participatory radical democracy, and self-managed social, political and economic structures.
Alongside Democratic Confederalism led by the Kurdish freedom movement, an autonomous Womens Democratic Confederalist system has been built up through thousands of communes, councils, cooperatives, academies and defence units in Kurdistan and beyond. Through the creation of an autonomous womens commune in a rural village, the identity, existence, and will of its members find their expression in practice and challenge the authority of the patriarchal, capitalist state. Furthermore, economic autonomy and communal economy based on solidarity through the establishment of cooperatives are crucial to societys self-defence as they guarantee self-sustenance through mutualism and shared responsibility, rejecting dependence on states and men. Care for water, lands, forests, historic and natural heritage are vital parts of self-defence against the nation-state and profit-oriented environmental destruction.
Defending oneself also means to be and know oneself. This implies the overcoming of sexist, racist knowledge production that capitalist modernity advocates and which excludes the oppressed from history. Political consciousness constitutes a fight against assimilation, alienation from nature, and genocidal state policies. The answer to positivist, male-centred, colonialist history-writing and social science is thus the establishment of grassroots womens academies promoting liberationist epistemologies.
A fight without ethics cannot protect society. In the eyes of Kurdish women fighters, ISIS cannot be defeated by weapons only but by a social revolution. This is why Yazidi women, after experiencing a traumatic genocide under ISIS, formed an autonomous womens council for the first time in their history with the slogan The organization of Yazidi women will be the answer to all massacres, alongside womens military organisations. In Rojava, alongside the YPJ, even grandmothers learn how to handle AK47s and rotate among themselves the responsibility to protect their communities within the Self-Defence Forces (HPC), while thousands of womens centres, cooperatives, communes, and academies aim to dismantle male domination. Against the Turkish states hyper-masculine war, Kurdish women constitute one of the main challenges to Erdogans one-man rule through their autonomous mobilisation. Crucially, women from different communities have joined them in constructing womens alternatives to male domination in all spheres of life. An alternative self-defence concept which does not reproduce statist militarism must of course be anti-nationalist.
YJ is an all-women militia formed in Iraq in 2015 to protect the Yazidi community in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Credit: Wikicommons
Unlike violence which aims to subjugate the other, self-defence is a complete dedication and responsibility to life. To exist means to resist. And in order to exist meaningfully and freely, one must be politically autonomous. Put bluntly, in an international system of sexual and racial violence, legitimised by capitalist nation-states, the cry for non-violence is a luxury for those in privileged positions of relative safety, believing that they will never end up in a situation where violence will become necessary to survive. While theoretically sound, pacifism does not speak to the reality of masses of women and thus assumes a rather elitist first world character.
If our claims to social justice are genuine, in a world system of intersecting forms of violence, we have to fight back.
Posted: March 4, 2017 at 3:02 pm
How a mythical 'hermit' criminal hid in the woods for decades
New York Post
His father taught him to hunt; he took a course in survivalism. Knight did fine in high school, though he felt 'invisible, and shortly after graduating took what little money he had and drove his 1985 Subaru Brat all the way up to Moosehead Lake, one ...
Originally posted here:
Posted: March 1, 2017 at 9:02 pm
A Re-Wilding Camp for Adults !
20 days. 20 acres. 30 people. In a secret natural location in North-East Victoria. Daily challenges, activities and adventures. Take a break from society and create your own world together.
Autumn Camp 23rd April 12th May 2017
Spring Camp 5th 24th October 2017
APPLICATIONS NOW OPEN CLICK HERE TO APPLY!
LOCATION:A secretnatural landscape in North-East Victoria. Just 3 hours from Melbourne & Canberra. Public transport pick up available at Wangaratta Train Station or Albury Airport. Exact location and directions sent once application is complete.
WHO:Wolf Pack is for anyone looking for a unique adventure, bush craft skill-building, nature time, camping and community. We have applicants coming in from all ages from 16 65 (or older). Spaces for kids under 16 may be accepted, but are limited, if you would like to bring your kids along please mention them in your description on your own application.
DEVELOPa deeper understanding of nature by delving into its intrigues through observation and participations.
LEARNnew skills daily. With guest teachers in re-wilding, bush craft, shelter building, natural health, simple living, wild life, traditional crafts, ancient and recent local traditions, adventures, creativity, exploration, self-development and community living.
CONNECTwith yourself, nature and your new tribe through daily activities, games, challenges and freedoms unavailable in day-to-day life.
TAKE A BREAKfrom reality to discover something new. This program will give you the time and space to break down the layers, melt into nature & community, and hone new skills.
Come together and enjoy life, living and learning on a secret clearing amidst a beautiful national park ofNorth-East Victoria (3 hours from Melbourne).
This will be an amazing opportunity to experiencesomething genuine, unique and possibly lifechanging.You will have a chance to slow down for 20whole days, live in a magical location, breath deeply and enjoy the daily challenges, nature based workshops and your new tribe.
HAVING A PEOPLE EXPERIENCE:Special Guests & Your Tribe
Each day we will explore a new topic together with guest teachers who have incredible experience, knowledge and passion in their unique and interesting fields. You will meet people from all walks of life from survivalists, bush dwellers & story tellers toartists and craftsmen & wild women, soaking up inspiration and knowledge with each experience. And this will only be a small portion of your PEOPLE experience during the program, getting to know your tribe will be half the adventure and learning how you fit into a communal environment will be enlightening and often surprising. Weve found that the new friendships and daily camaraderie is an unexpected highlight of this experience for many participants and something to really look forward to.
HAVING A NATURE EXPERIENCE:Location & Surrounding
This fantastic program could only take place in a fantastic location to match. Were very excited to be offering up a stunningclearing set amidst anational park, an incredible natural location that you can call HOME for 20 magnificent days.
The spaceincludes cleared paddocks where you will have theopportunity to build your own communal shelters, participate in workshops and soak up the surroundings. You will also be free to explore the lush valleys, grassy nooks, near-by watering holes and find your own secret spots to contemplate, observe and relax in between activities and conversation.
WORKSHOPS & SKILL-BUILDING FUN:
Learn new skills daily. This is a jammed pack program of guest teachers and activities.
Workshops vary for each Wolf Pack but will generally cover:
..moreworkshops to be announced as we get closer to the date. You will also receive a workshoptimetablewith your information pack closer to the program start date.
Visitors (family & friends) welcome to visit on weekends.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION
How rough / difficult will it be?
This isnt a program for the ultra-survivalist gurus, its an opportunity to experience and practice methods of re-wilding and survivalism and to do it in a fun communal environment giving each task the time needed to really refine eachskill (All people are very welcome here, from beginners up).
We hope that the participants will feel that they are living somewhere between a retreat and an adventure camp for adults.
As accommodation is BYO camping it will be up to you howluxurious or simplistic that will be in the last group we had many people in tents, one guy who bought no tent and challenged himself in making a cool little shelter in the camping area, and a couple who bought their van for a bit more comfort.
Throughout the 20 days we will be practising making shelters from the natural materials that surround us and participants will have the option to test out sleeping in them. The weather in Autumn and Spring is generally gorgeous so sleeping under the stars or by the fire some nights will also be recommended as an experience.
HOW TO JOIN WOLF PACK
APPLICATIONSNOW OPEN ONLY 30 POSITIONS for each camp so please send in you form asap.
Diversity is the key to any great tribe and we want to make sure this temporary community is made up of people from all walks of life. If you would like to participate please fill in the APPLICATION FORM HERE.
Once your application has been received you will be contacted within 15 days letting you know if your adventure awaits you.
This program will leave you feeling spoilt, nourished, enriched, energised and highly inspired. We look forward to seeing you grow, learn, laugh and smile together.
A 40% deposit will be requested to finalise your booking, this can be paid any time within 2weeks of your application approval. The final amount will be due1 month before the eventand a request for final payment will be emailed to all participants. Apayment plan can be arranged if this is too much for you in 2payments, just send us an email request and will set something up that suits.
CancellationsCancellations requested less than 1 month in advance: No refund, but ticket name can be changed. Cancellation requests with more than1 month inadvance: Refunds will be granted with a 12% fee of total ticket price.
WHAT TO BRING This is just the basics, a more thorough list will be sent out with the info pack.
Camping Gear: Any camping gear that you need to be comfortable for 20 days. The weather is generally beautiful in Autumn & Spring, but if you get particularly cold at night a really good sleeping bag and/or hot water bottle might be good.
Average Autumn Weather: Days 15 25*C. Nights 4 10*C
Average SpringWeather:Days 20 35*C. Nights 5 14*C
Your own knife/s A good knife or two will be needed and used most days for many purposes (carving, whittling, cutting rope, building, weaving etc.). There is a huge array of knives to choose from, I recommend one that is large enough for cutting down small trees (small machete or hunting knife) and a smaller one for whittling (something very small and sharp).
Other fun stuff: Musical instruments, any tools youd like to use or practice using, games, creative stuff, hand crafts, books and anything youd like to share with the tribe.
For more information feel free to contact me:EMAIL KATE
FEEDBACK FROM THE 2015 WOLF PACK
L.Tharby Wolfpack was as much a chance to learn about community, family and ourselves; as it was about physical survival skills and bush-craft. A perfect balance!
Rebekah.M Wolf pack was an experience in close community living, learning, playing and truly living together. Learningnew skills and bonding over shared tasks and experiences in the beautiful hidden valley.
A rare opportunity to reconnect with yourself , slow down, reveal your gifts & work on your challenges. An emporium of surprises, fascinating folks, generosity and plenty of laughter.
Wolf Pack is fun, amazing, encouraging and life changing.
Wolf Pack was a place where I arrived expecting to learn new and useful skills. What I found was so much moreThe beautiful family we became, the challenges overcome and the profound self-discovery are all things that combined with the awesome practical skills leave one with an all-round confidence that could not be achieved by focusing on just practical or spiritual workshops.
Mother Earth is calling you! Challenge yourself to live in the world you want.
Wolf Pack is a nurturing space for a bunch of people to learn new skills, reflect on who they are and experience living in community. It involves a series of workshops that explore survival , place and tribal living but it is so much more when you open your heart.
Wolf Pack 2015 was an adventure. It was an enriching, challenging and beautifully rewarding immersion in slowing down in nature. Come to wolf pack with a clear intention to enrich your life. Come to Wolf Pack if you want to connect with an ancient truth. That is, people are the great riches of life. It is with them, alongside them, and through their wonderfulness and courage that you will grow and become your wonderful self.
A reality check for the civilised mind. A heart-opener for the under-expressed. Wolf Pack has the potential to transform lives.
For more experienced Re-Wilders.
APPLY TO BE A TEACHER:
If you have knowledge, skills or a passion that you would like to share at Wolf Pack, please send through an application form CLICK HERE TO APPLY. Were open to all types of rewilding and nature based workshops and look forward to hearing what youre all about. Workshops can be hands-on, demonstration or lecture style. Teachers are paid and also invited to stay for the whole eventas a participant in other workshops and join in all the communal fun.
or CHECK OUT The Primitive Skills Gathering for more Re-Wilding Fun:
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Posted: February 28, 2017 at 7:58 pm
The Balenciaga effect proves its staying power for yet another season.
Puffer coats were abundant during UBM Fashions MAGIC and PROJECT trade shows for fall. Ath-leisure inspirations leaned into the coat category resulting in skiwear influences and slope-friendly pieces. Sportswear and generally casual looks dominated the tone of exhibitors collections despite their brand identity outerwear was no exception.
The best versions boasted updates to late-Eighties and early-Nineties styles that featured bold colors and shorter lengths that emphasized the puff factor. Especially of note was Biannuals neon pink number that channeled the 1991 flick Ski School. Also of note was Zadig &Voltaires army green coat that channeled Nineties hip-hop staples, refreshed by medallion-shaped quilting details that elevated the overall appearance.
Puffers have dominated the runways in recent seasons. Perhaps most distinctly at Demna Gvasalias fall 2016 Balenciaga collection his first as artistic director for the French fashion house. Of course, puffers were also present in the fall and spring 2017 collections for Vetements, the line forwhich he serves as head designer. Gvasalias collections werent the only ones that introduced puffers for fall 2016 Stella McCartney, MSGM, DKNY and Acne Studios all included versions.
The prevalence of puffer coats marks a new phase for outerwear in which utilitarian components and functionality reign as top priority over less performance-friendly counterparts. An undertone of survivalism is invading shoppers mind frames, urging the necessity to be prepared for any climate weather or otherwise.
This sentiment also dovetails with the rise of fitness and wellness as key areas of individuals investments. Compared to impulse buys on an accessory or two in the past, consumers are now splurging on juice cleanses and spin classes. Designers have wisely aligned themselves with the shifting paradigm of shopper priorities to align with newfound activities and values.
Posted: at 6:06 am
Books Witness/Kashmir 1986-2016, whichfeatures nine Kashmiri photographers from different eras, is about the personal as well as the collective memory of a people and their relation to their homeland.
After the fire, Frislan, 2012. Credit: Javed Dar
In a country in conflict, there are journalists who arrive with the rapacious speed of breaking news: they land, they grab what they need, they leave. There are also those who come and stay a little longer, who want to get the story straight and see it unfold. And then there are those who call that place home, those who are there to stay and are part of the story. The different temporality of these presences produces different narratives that have varying degrees of amplification. The voracious appetite for fresh news often turns the shouted headline into the whole story, leaving the whispered expressions of the local people on the ground almost unheard.
Sanjay Kak. Source: Author provided
On the fringe of this race, there are increasingly significant experiences of the autochthonous voices who reclaim the right to their own version of the story. The discourse around daily life in a country in conflict is, in fact, often tinged with a rhetoric of survivalism and resilience, hence placing the observers point of view within the framework of aid and development.
The locals are at the receiving end; they are the objects of attention and of charitable projects, hardly ever the narrators or the active subjects of their own story.
In 2008, I had the privilege of being a part of the initial steps of Metrography, the first independent Iraqi photo agency based in Kurdistan. The aim was to provide a platform to Iraqi photographers irrespective of religion, sect or ethnicity to respond to the omnipresent image of Iraq as a country on the brink.
Focussing on reportage rather than spot news, stories of ordinary life beyond ones of roadside bombs began to emerge. From pilgrimages and community celebrations to fashion trends, from street photography to the documentation of an incipient corporate life, Metrography managed to reveal the simple truth that in spite of war, life goes on.
Editedby SanjayKak Witness/Kashmir 1986-2016 Yarbal Press, 2017
Over the years I saw the same kind of yearning in Palestine and Afghanistan, where artists, photographers and writers have started building a solid and credible counterpoint to the standardised and stereotypical representations.
Witness/Kashmir 1986-2016: Nine Photographers embodies a similar desire emerging from Kashmir.Witness is a book edited and conceived by Sanjay Kak. It is a 30-year-long journey in the history of Kashmir through two hundred images taken by nine Kashmiri photographers Meraj Ud din, Javeed Shah, Dar Yasin, Javed Dar, Altaf Qadri, Sumit Dayal, Showkat Nanda, Syed Shahriyar and Azaan Shah.
The book is an immersive experience, one that takes days to fully savour and digest. It is comprehensive, yet not encyclopaedic. It gives no explanationbut makes a request to allow for time to look and listen, and thus it opens a window to the backstage of the complex reality of Kashmir. Witness is a project as intricate and elaborate as a piece of kashidakari, an elegant embroidery where each stitch is perfectly calibrated and contains several layers and messages within itself.
There is no single definition that can fully encompass the book: it is a photography book, a history book and a book of personal stories. In its assemblage, Kak produces multiple chronologies and orchestrates a variety of registers. The passing of time is marked by the generational history that organises the sequence of photographers: from the oldest, Meraj Ud Din, to the youngest, Azaan Shah, who is only 19 years old.
Another timeline comes at the end of the book, where the captioned photographs are ordered chronologically. The (political) history of the last 30 years in Kashmir is reconstructed visually, one painful step at a time: ordinary life is inextricably mixed with the struggle for azadi, the shadows of the passer-by mingle with the strive for self-determination. Interspersed among the captions is a glossary of the vernacular of war that characterises the daily life in the Valley counterinsurgency, massacre, militant, stone thrower words that have come to indicate the perpetual state of exception that has become ordinary in Kashmir.
Brothers, Boniyar, 2015. Credit: Showkat Nanda
In this endeavour to build what Kak calls an introduction to public memory, the individual life stories of the nine photographers emerge intimately, as unique and singular, but also as part of a collective and shared inheritance of customs, trauma, anger and defiance. With a subtle but incredibly powerful shift, Witness reveals itself as a book about Kashmiris as much as about Kashmir about the personal as much as about the collective memory of a people and their relation to their homeland. This is no little change in perspective, considering that the official rhetoric around Kashmir oscillates between a pristine paradise and a restive land a disputed territory where its people are either invisible or troublemakers to be tamed.
As it was withUntil My Freedom Has Come:The New Intifada in Kashmir (2011) the previous book edited by Kak Witness comes as a timely insiders reflection on a dramatic season of unrest.
Pellet-gun injuries, Srinagar, 2016. AP Images / Dar Yasin
In an ongoing conversation with Kashmiri poet and academic Ather Zia, we have come to refer to the 2016 upheaval as the summer of the eye. After the killing of the young rebel commander Burhan Wani in early July 2016, Kashmir erupted and its people took to the streets. This was by no means unannounced as rage had been simmering beneath the surface, but no one could predict that things would escalate to such a level. The Indian military and paramilitary responded to protests and kaeni jang(stone pelting) with an iron fist. Over the course of almost four months, at least 6,000 people were injured, more than 1,000 were hit in the eyes by the infamous pellet shotguns and over 100 of them were left totally or partially blind.
Beyond the metaphor, by hitting people in the eye, the security forces tried to kill the vision of a different future. They tried to remove the possibility to look beyond the present in a fashion that differs from what is envisaged by those in power. Witness is somehow an indirect response to this attempt. It brings to the table a corpus of visual evidence that tells the other side of the story, with its nuances of affection, commitment, mourning and resistance.
In the wealth of imagery that the book offers to the reader, two photographs have caught my attention. The first is a photo taken by Javed Dar in 2015 in a recently vacated paramilitary camp at Kawdor, in Srinagar. In the middle of the debris, children play with the remnants of military equipment; smiling to the camera, a young boy carries a cargo net knotted to a stick as a trailing flag. Three generations have grown up in Kashmir forced to come to terms with the normality of an extraordinary military presence in their daily life in their schools, on the streets, outside their homes, in their playgrounds.
The second photo, taken by Sumit Danyal in 2009, is a dreamlike black and white image of a tree. The tree is blurred and ungraspable and its branches seem to have captured a passing cloud. The caption reads: In the tales of ghosts who want to be set free, what often holds them back is memory.
Witness/Kashmir 1986-2016: Nine Photographers resides in that space of memory. Kak calls it a marker, a flag planted in contested ground. It is certainly a milestone in the journey towards a recognisable, autonomous Kashmiri voice. It is a testimony to the ghosts of the past and the struggles of the future, it is a testament to what Kashmir is and has been for those children who grew up playing in the leftovers of military camps.
Francesca Recchia is a researcher and writer based in Kabul. Her work focuses on intangible heritage and cultural practices in countries in conflict.
Tagged as: Afghanistan, Ather Zia, Azaan Shah, Francesca Recchia, Kashmir, Kurdistan, Meraj Ud din, Metrography, military equipment, Palestine, Sanjay Kak, Witness/Kashmir 1986-2016
The Essential Animation Charms of ‘My Life as a Zucchini’ and ‘The Red Turtle’ – Film School Rejects
Posted: February 26, 2017 at 11:06 pm
If you have young children and arent a professional movie viewer, chances are youre only well-acquainted with this years Oscar nominees for Best Animated Feature. And even then, youve probably still only seen three of the contenders, the two Disney productions, Zootopia and Moana, and maybe the stop motion adventure Kubo and the Two Strings. That last one may even have been a little too scary for your kids. As for the other two, My Life as a Zucchini and The Red Turtle, theyre foreign-made movies that arent easy family fare, and they havent been widely available.
Until now. Possibly. Depending on where you live. This weekend, The Red Turtle is making its way to theaters beyond the nations major cities, though its still a relatively limited number of locations. Also this Friday, which just so happens to be the start of Oscar weekend, My Life as a Zucchini opens in New York City and Los Angeles, kicking off its own rollout across the rest of the country through March. Neither will win the Academy Award, but whether youre able to see them before Sundays show or only afterward, they must not be dismissed or forgotten about as also-rans.
Its hard to argue that either of them deserve the Oscar over the three mainstream American movies, because theyre just so different from the usual anthropomorphic animal stories and singing princess fairy tales and more calculated yet less soulful stop motion efforts. It doesnt matter which takes the prize, as together the five films offer a wonderful range of animation delights. And My Life as a Zucchini and The Red Turtle represent the most distinctly different achievements of the bunch. With the former, though, you just need to be sure you see the right version.
My Life as a Zucchini is a coming-of-age movie, directed by Claude Barras based on the 2002 French novel Autobiographie dune Courgette, about a kid nicknamed Zucchini who accidentally kills his alcoholic mother. He winds up in a small foster home, finding a kind of family there among the other abandoned and orphaned children and their caretakers. Although the new movie version has been sanitized somewhat from the book, which isnt exactly for young readers, the story as well as some of the themes and visuals are most appropriate for viewers aged in the double digits.
Plus, to best appreciate My Life as a Zucchini, youll want to see the original French-language version, and yes that means youll want the subtitled rather than the dubbed release. Fortunately, most theaters will be showing both versions. Heres what you get with the original that you dont get with the dubbed incarnation: the child actors who voice the children characters (including Gaspard Schlatter as Zucchini) have a natural, almost improvisational quality to their speech, the result of Barras not making them memorize their dialogue so much as speak the lines in their own words.
That approach really makes the film, fitting well with the crude yet cute character design. The voice acting in the dubbed version (which includes famous adults like Nick Offerman and Ellen Page, as well as child actors who sound like veteran professionals in spite of their age, including Erick Abbate as Zucchini), has a more conventional, polished sound that feels overproduced and not at all right for the story. Knowingly emphasizing its voice work, My Life as a Zucchini also has a bonus scene during the end credits depicting, in animation, Schlatters casting session (the dubbed version includes the scene intact with Schlatters voice, subtitled, which doesnt make much sense after watching with Abbate voicing the role).
As for the rest of the movie, its fine, often very sweet, and it handles the heavy themes of death, drug abuse, child abuse, and more very well from the perspectives of the children. I do wish My Life as a Zucchini was better focalized with regards to it being Zucchinis story, as the title claims and as the bits of voiceover narration adhere to; for a while its much more concentrated on another one of the orphans. But otherwise theres nothing to criticize thats not wholly subjective and a matter of my personal dislike of the look of some of the characters, specifically their scratchy red noses.
The Red Turtle is a little easier on the whole family, as theres almost no dialogue, and what little there isa few utterances of hey!requires no English-language version. No subtitling, no dubbing. Its a marvelously visual film, though its possibly too slow for younger children anyway. Its not a kid movie nor an adult movie. Its not for any audience in particular other than one that likes to be enchanted by visual storytelling and basic fairy tale and mythology plots. The story concerns a castaway who one day encounters a large sea turtle that magically changes the course of his desert-island-dwelling life.
Directed and co-written by Dutch animator Michael Dudok de Wit (a previous Oscar winner for his 2000 short, Father and Daughter), The Red Turtle has its own issues, but theyre minor and Im nitpicking to address them. As much as I love that the film is dialogue-free, that actually becomes somewhat implausible for the story in the latter half. The first part is also much more exciting in its depiction of the adventurous survivalism of the stranded man. And there are a lot of questions that arise about where the story goes that cant be answered because theres nobody to explain the details or the characters motives.
Yet every single shot in The Red Turtle is perfect, especially because of the intricate and beautifully imagined backdrops, and in terms of just what is on screen, the story action is directed faultlessly. While theres not always the greatest emotional connection to the characters, between them or for the audience, the film is occasionally pretty affecting for something of its simple 2D hand-drawn style. We dont get many films of any format so lacking in their dependence on dialogue these days, and its essential that we see more like this and the past-nominated works by Sylvain Chomet.
The essential charms of My Life as a Zucchini and The Red Turtle are contrasting components. The former is worth seeing for its voice work and what it does freely with its dialogue, while the latter is a must-see feature because of its lack of voice work (and coming from Studio Ghibli, whose films tend to get distracting celebrity-filled dubs, thats really notable) and what it does freely with its imagery, including fantastic dream sequences. They face strong mainstream competition at the Oscars this year, but hopefully they at least benefit in the notice of being nominated.
See them both once theyre playing near you.
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Posted: February 24, 2017 at 6:15 pm
The nomination of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency showed exactly what President Donald Trumps commitment, or lack thereof, to the environment would be for the duration of his presidency.
Trumps comments on climate change have varied from calling it a hoax to agreeing that it is a problem that needs to be dealt with in some manner. Pruitt as a nominee reflects the former of these views on climate change and a commitment to fossil fuel corporate interests.
The EPA is here to stick around, but that does not mean that Pruitt cannot facilitate a conservative agenda that drastically cuts EPA funding, relaxes EPA-mandated regulations, and turns a blind eye to industrial interests. The Senate confirmation of Pruitt, someone who has sued the EPA 14 times, will mark a tremendous blow to environmentalists in an era where climate change will be the most pressing global issue. With this, it is important to look to green movements that can facilitate pushback against a pro-industry, anti-environmental administration for the next four years.
John Dryzek, a professor at the University of Canberras Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, outlines specific approaches to solving environmental issues, including survivalism, environmental problem solving, sustainability, and green radicalism.
Sustainability and green radical movements are both worldviews that recognize the environmental issues facing us today and the fact that humans are at the center of this negative impact on nature. What is abundantly clear in Dryzeks study of the different worldviews is that their blueprint for protecting the environment represents the central value structure of each discourse.
For example, the sustainability world view positions the environment at the feet of humans, while the Green Radical worldview does not. Sustainability as a solution is committed to the Western, capitalist principles of development at all costs, but wants to sustain the environment by promoting a cause that can achieve it all.
Green radicals see capitalism and its ideals of incessant production and consumption as a problem that can only be fixed by overthrowing the system itself. It becomes a question of whether we work with the system or destroy it to build our own.
The sustainability worldview is broken into sustainable development and ecological modernization. While both intentionally fit the neoliberal framework, focusing on progression and economic development, they are also attempting to change the systems of production so that we can have it all.
Moreover, sustainable development revolves around the idea that we can still grow if we solve environmental issues in a multifaceted approach, much like democracy, that promotes many values in a competitive and cooperative manner.
The problem with this is twofold.
We must first make sustainable resources desirable to corporate interests, initially by making them economically more efficient and then finding a way to incorporate the oil and automobile industry in this transition seeing as they have an immense amount of political power.
This effort was made clear by President Barack Obama when he presented the efficient models of clean energy and used them to reduce emissions throughout his presidency. Then, even if we can produce less, emit less, and become more sustainable, because of our consumer habits inherent in a capitalistic economy, we will continue to harm the earth when consuming what developing countries are producing.
This multifaceted attempt to promote sustainable economic growth through international and grassroots organization while de-emphasizing national government, is encouraging in that it decentralizes power, reducing the strength and validity behind realist political thought, while promoting traditional liberal political theory. The fact that this discourse incorporates decentralization makes it better than ecological modernization by giving people more access and focused less on experts and elites setting up the so-called sustainable economy. I believe this would be beneficial to many international issues of power facing us today by moving from a zero-sum to a positive-sum foreign policy. From an environmental perspective, however, sustainable development still submits to market capitalism and its relentless need for growth, and therefore will not be successful.
Though this model of sustainable development promotes the notion of having it all, scientific research tells us this may not be possible. Scientific reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that the threat of an environmental catastrophe is imminent. Continued growth means more emissions, meaning higher global temperatures, rising sea levels, increases in the number of natural disasters, huge displacements of refugees and economic ruin. Even if we were to turn to a sustainable economy, this would take time that we may not have. The transition to sustainable resources such as solar or wind would require continued reliance on emissions simply just for infrastructure development and implementation.
To tackle the environmental problems facing the globe, an approach along the lines of green radicalism seems more appropriate.
Green radicalism is able to detach from capitalist imprisonment through a polycentric approach. While green radicalism as a worldview encompasses the discourse of green consciousness and green politics, together, they may be best fit to tackle the dilemma of protecting the environment while overthrowing and rebuilding the political and cultural structures that I believe are most fit for society.
Through the implementation of what Dryzek calls eco-theology (though I will call it eco-spirituality) and bioregionalism, a greater appreciation and connection can be made between humans and nature, molding our cultural identity to one that coincides with the environment rather than battling it. On a political front, green politics can transform institutions from the inside out, promoting a decentralized style of governance rather than government, while grassroots organizing can mobilize from the ground up through what may look like what Dryzek calls radicalized democratic pragmatism.
This democratic mobilization can borrow from activist, grassroots agendas laid out by democratic pragmatists such as: alternative dispute resolution, policy dialogue, citizens juries and town meetings. Furthermore, the implementation of worker cooperatives, where employees own and democratically make decisions about the companys future, would help to derail capitalism at its core through infusing corporate markets with more efficient, better-run businesses for the people. These worker co-ops have been shown to increase the happiness of workers, increase the efficiency by which they work and increase the overall productivity of the business.
This is simply because the people are given the power to take control of their destiny, because it is their own and not a wealthy elitists business. If you change the value structure in societal culture then mobilize on the ground to support political action within these capitalist market economies that are headed by corporate interest, the liberal capitalist political economy can be uprooted and overthrown. From there, local initiative and community action could build a greener socialist alternative that incorporates the principles of self-governance.
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Posted: February 20, 2017 at 7:07 pm
Phobophobes rise into 2017 nestled atop a wave of attention focused towards the revitalized South London scene with new single 'The Never Never', due for release March 24th via Ra-Ra Rok Records. Following previous single 'Human Baby', an elegy to their late guitarist George Russell that was played every day for a week on BBC 6Music, 'The Never Never' arrives an ode to the precarious survivalism of society's most disenfranchised. Swirling through repetitive slogans, rubbishing the adverts that promise a life we can't really afford as pastiche, and asking earnestly, "what separates those treading water to survive from the religious idols who struggled so similarly?"
"The Never Never is a critique of today's excessive consumerism. The repetitive and slogan-esque nature of the track evokes the reductive nature of advertising." explains frontman Jamie Taylor.
In the wake of a tumultuous 2016, Phobophobes continue to forge their own path, taking whatever's thrown at them and squeezing every ounce of inspiration from it. It's the only way they know. Frontman Jamie Taylor has built studio space wherever he's roamed, from Paris to Peckham to Primrose Hill. Even Pittsburgh, Iowa, Palm Beach and New York whilst working on a touring art exhibition across America, setting up a studio in each hotel room to work on new tracks. Even when invited to Abbey Road Studios to record with Ken Scott (Bowie, Lennon, the list goes on), bass player at the time, Elliot, took swabs of their oldest microphone and grew bacteria in petri dishes, the results of which are immortalised in Phobophobes' artwork and in the centre of their 7"s.
This boundless DIY mentality echoes through Phobophobes' every move. Having now found home in the basement of The Brixton Windmill, the nucleus of South London's gig circuit where Phobophobes record, rehearse and also put on their own shows, playing alongside Shame, Goat Girl, Meatraffle, The Fat White Family, Childhood and countless others, they remain progenitors of the scene.
Following a single launch show at London's MOTH Club, Phobophobes will tour the UK with LIFE through April on the dates below. The band are currently readying their debut full-length album and will release 'The Never Never' on 7" vinyl this March 24th via Ra-Ra Rok Records.
PHOBOPHOBES New 7" single 'The Never Never' due March 24th via Ra-Ra Rok Records
Stream 'The Never Never' https://soundcloud.com/phobophobes/the-never-never-single
UK Tour with LIFE begins April 1st
March 13 London, Moth Club (single launch)
April w/ LIFE 1 Hull, The Welly Club 2 Glasgow, King Tuts 3 Manchester, Gullivers 5 Birmingham, The Sunflower Lounge 6 London, Camden Assembly 7 Bristol, Crofters Rights
Phobophobes are: Jamie Taylor (Guitar/Vocals), Chris OC (Keys), Dan Lyons (Drums), Jack Fussey (Guitar), Bede Trillo (Bass) & Christo McCracken (Guitar).
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