Monuments for the future

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Idea for debate: organise a network of long-term art projects or projects to inspire a long view, long term thinking

Why start a network of long-term projects?

  • to improve the chances that the projects will continue
  • to enhance visibility and impact of each of the projects
  • to share information and practices
  • to encourage other long-term projects and actions
  • for the benefit of posterity

Which projects? (criteria of eligibility)

for discussion: the projects should

  • have been set up with the express intention to continue for a long time (say: 100+ yrs?)
  • create something that can be experienced
  • have structures designed to continue beyond the lifetime of their initiators
  • continue to be transmitted, developing, or be actively maintained (not static and just being repaired from time to time, not only talking or influencing)
  • be open (accessible to the public as well as inclusive, not limited to specific groups)
  • for public benefit (rather than for profit of specific people or groups)
  • refrain from predicting or defining a future in specific terms
  • seem harmless (have a low risk of making undesirable outcomes likely)

Examples that would seem to fit above criteria

context / other organizations / considerations

  • Voyager probes (1977) and Pioneer 10&11 probes that left our solar system with messages and will take millions of years to pass other stars. Voyager’s golden disk is accompa-nied by Jimmy Carter’s message: “We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations.”)
  • Nuclear waste storage
    • Onkalo/Olkiluoto repository in Finland
  • Building projects that take a very long time
    • Sagrada familia, Barcelona/Spain
  • Rebuilding shrines in Japan every so often
    • Grand Ise Shrine, every 20 years
    • Other Shinto shrines
  • Maintaining old buildings
    • Japanese Shrines other than Shinto Shrines
    • Cathedrals
    • Great Wall of China (on tourist sites)
    • Pyramids
  • Long term timber plantations
  • Efforts to conserve archaeological artefacts for posterity (e.g., re-burying ancient footprints)
  • Strategies to adapt to climate change (Dutch Delta Works planning for 2m sea level rise by 2200)
  • Legal and philosophy
    • Legal documents that refer to posterity such as magna carta and US constitu-tion, the Welsh Well Being of Future Generations act of 2015
    • Philosophical and academic work, Tremmel’s theory of intergenerational justice, Jonas Salk’s Good Ancestors, long-term consequentialist / utilitarian work
  • Concepts for not-yet-realized projects involving the long term
    • Greg Blonder’s TiWalkMe
    • Open Architect’s Burial Belt
  • Decade or century long landscape development projects and land art
    • Freshkills Park in New York/USA,
    • Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord/Germany,
    • Cornwall Park 100 Year Master Plan Auckland/NZ
    • Roden crater (land art focussing on the per-ception of light from James Turrell in Arizona)
    • Ash Dome David Nash believed that the Ash Dome would survive him, he is now resigned to the inevitability of its fate as the trees that form the dome are infected with Chalara (ash dieback)
    • Land art “City” by Michael Heizer
    • Tree Mountain, a living time capsule (land art by Alan Sonfist, New York City 1978)
  • University courses
    • UC Berkley course Thinking like a Good Ancestor (from Syllabus: “we propose to translate the notion of ancestry from the domain of genealogical legacy to the context of techno-logical development and innovation … Through the new concept of Ancestry Thinking, this course will propose ideas to broaden our understanding of the technological ecosystem we live in. Throughout the semester we will discuss ways to internalize what would otherwise remain as externalities or byprod-ucts of tech developments. Our goal is to enable future tech practitioners to build holistic narratives around their developments”)
  • Old skills (Communication, Hunting, Agriculture, ...)
  • Ancient art (Cava de los Manos, Lasceaux, La Ferrassie, Diepkloof, Blombos, Maltravieso, Bhimbetka)
  • Ancient buildings (Stonehenge, Pyramids, …)