Power Plants – Light at the Speed of Life

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Photovoltaic power. Appreciation of photovoltaic power is part of the shift toward an appreciation of the elegance of solid state that plants possess. Plants practice photosynthetic solutions to the problems of power acquisition. Compared to the water or animal-turned wheels, which [were] the Ur-methaphors for power production in the human world, the solid-state quantum-molecular miracle that involves dropping a photon of sunlight into a molecular device that will kick out an electron capable of energetically participating in the life of a cell seems like extravagant science fiction. Yet this is, in fact, the principle upon which photosynthesis operates. While the first solid-state devices arrived on the human cultural frontier in the late 1940’s, solid-state engineering had been the preferred design approach of plants for some two thousand million years. High efficiency photovoltaics could today meet the daily needs of most people for electricity.

[Plan Plant Planet]

The application of abstracted plant knowledge to the generation of renewable energy resources [a plant hack] is only, at most, one quarter of the big picture.  The cultural invention happening during the transition from literacy to electracy also includes the invention of novel subject formations, novel community formations, and novel forms of belief.

the 'Other' hand

the 'Other' hand

Consider the belief, widely decried if not widely held since the seventies, that we’re living on the brink and/or IN a New Age.  Then consider, on the other hand, the theoretical reports that the transition is an Archaic Revival.  Electracy is now, but it’s also somewhere back in the future, in between modern Literacy and archaic Orality.

Regardless of which figure you use, there shouldn’t be any doubt about today’s abundance of human suffering.  Yet, as a Boulderite, news of wars and famines feel like rumors.  To become theoria, I have to somehow learn to sense them for myself.

Pain exceeds the reach of science, hence the continuing appeal of belief.

PROPOSITION: Theory is the production of belief via supra-scientific pain sensing

OBSERVATION: the transition is increasingly about the issue of ‘green’

As models, as material realities [materealities], as objects of attention and affection, How do PLANTS figure our personal and collective pains?  To respond to this question, I want to invent and/or make a monument with both electronic and plant features that figures the tale of Ethan Brand and his theoretical discovery of the Unpardonable Sin in his own heart.

People living in Electracy need experiences that make the apparent incommensurability of duration [sustainability, conservation] and speed [techno-innovation, novelty] into FELT.  The measured pace of a plantscape which is sown, bloomed and harvested by seasonal, annual, biannual, even centennial chronologics is much slower experiential field than the breakneck speedy proliferation of new media applications like the ephemeral condensation of the tag-clouded blogosphere.  In contrast to the super-computed model made of blog-post particles [part-articles] every few days, the cultivation of the Ethan Brand greenscape will take years to develop.  This time-span is in accordance with the years it takes Ethan Brand to find the Unpardonable Sin.  An integral part of any Wisdom ecology grows at plant-pace.

A tentative solution to the problem of plant-pace vs. techno-pace, using a symbiotic inverse proportionality:

Plants grow slowly and live/die in one place.  They epitomize conservative locality.  They invert the widely assumed imperative to process life at the speed of light.  Photosynthetically speaking, they teach how to process light at the speed of life.

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One Response to “Power Plants – Light at the Speed of Life”

  1. The Lawn Gone Manifesto « Ethan Brand Says:

    […] Ethan Brand « Power Plants – Light at the Speed of Life […]

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