Social Arcology: Institutional Performance

What comes after contemporary art? What happens after the end of history? Perhaps the two questions have the same answer: the fusion of art into history. “Art” as a separate social system began at the very beginning of the “modern” world system. Before the development of oil painting and the stretchable canvas form, “art” was fused with architecture, fused with religion, fused with life. What is called “modernity” is, among other things, the development of differentiated social systems. Art, economics, politics, science, education each become their own separate social “spheres.” with their own distinct rules, ethics, codes, even, perhaps, languages.
We can see this great separation as the result of what Marshall McLuhan termed the “Gutenberg Galaxy” – that is, the world of print media. Print separates: reality breaks apart into distinct words, distinct concepts, distinct experiences. Following McLuhan, though, we can also see how we have left the Gutenberg Galaxy and arrived in what he called the “global village.” It was broadcast technology, radio, television, that inspired McLuhan’s vision of an “imploded” human world knitted together by a “second orality.” The internet, though, implodes reality a step further: each node on earth now connected to each other point.
And yet, something is missing from this “global village.” Imagine, if you will, the individu. Imagine a spectrum that runs from the individual, on one end, to the broadest collective level on the other hand. Close to the individual is the family, and close to the broadest collective level is the nation. What you have in the middle are: corporations, businesses, churches, nonprofits, universities. It is in the middle that the problem is: because, for most of us, maybe even all of us, these institutions are not ours, they are, instead, external, alienated from us. Machines, not villages.
The British anthripologist suggests that humans can comfortably maintain about 150 relationships at once. This so-called “Dunbars” number suggests the possibility for another layer of social existence: a “middle region” where we can, at once, share resources, connections, experience ownership, and also have the power that comes from numbers.
Now we are ready to return to contemporary art: imagine an art piece, let’s call it the “Cooperative Billionaire System” (CBS) that consists of 150 or so people who, together, collectively control a great deal of resources. Why billions? Why so many resources? Because the goal here is to transform the entire earth, to help all humans form these “middle region” layer. The problem with “utopian communities” is that they are, from the perspective of conventional interest, not very appealing. To be a billionaire, on the other hand, is extremely appealing from the conventional angle. That’s one reason why the system should be a cooperative billionaire system: desirability. The other reason: resources. With a that much collective money, the CBS will be able to support many many many experiments in the creations of different forms of middle layers: bolos, micronations, nomadic caravans.
But how to create it? The only answer is through ceaseless experiments, like the one that I’m about to propose now. We begin with the concept of a “social arcology” – that is, an intentially designed ecosystem that radically improves the quality of human life for a group of people. One example of this is “Bangwood” – a fusion film industry, based in Bangkok, but in collaboration with filmmakers from all around the world. Another is the 420AOC program,OC stands for Appellation d’origine contrôlée — a closely regulated French administration system identifying certain wines and cheeses to certain specific region. By adopting an AOC program for Cannabis, Thailand can become a global leader in the field, and (once again) radically improve the life of many.
Now we’re ready for the experiment: you decide to become the “social arcologist” organizing one of these arcologies. If you have one in mind, you can design your own, but if not, there are six more after this. Becoming a “social arcologist” is a relational experiment: you work to make the arcology real – first, through working on the concept for a magazine, then, through organizing a team in the “HyperCharette.” Besides the exogenous possibility of becoming a billionaire, in participating you will (a) learn more about your own capacities for leadership (b) develop expert-level knowledge in the select field, (c) grow your social network, and (d) improve your English skills and pick up some juicy new words, like “prolepsis” – which is the antonym of a flashback.

If you are interested, please email me at Pony.Isaacsohn@gmail.com

Six More Social Arcologies

  • Tunnelparks: Bangkok is both “underparked” and has limited pedestrian opportunities. Cover major roads in the city with Tunnelparks, and both problems are solved at once.
    -Contemporary Art District: how to make Thailand a global node in the contemporary art maket (a) offer rent free or subsidized spaces to 9 prominent global contemporary (b) create a global open call for new Gallery Concepts, and offer rent-free space to the best 9 concepts. ((C) Hire the legendary contemporary art teacher Drew Beattie (teacher of Jules DeBalincourt, Wyatt Khan, Esther Kläs, and many more globally successful contemporary artists0 “Bangkok Institute for Contemporary Art.” The Institute offers a three year tuition free MFA, plus a studio, to a group of nine students, chosen from applicants anywhere in the world. Beattie, a teacher of some of the most notable figures in contemporary art, will direct the education, working with an intriguing selection of other visiting artists.

Creativity Visa
The Creativity Visa is a visa to come and create movies, restaurants, artworks, sculptures, or any other kind of creative work in the Kingdom of Thailand. Increasing the number and quality of creative talent in Thailand is integral to the overall strategy of Infinite Thailand.

New Chinatown Development Corp: Real estate group dedicated to the creation of a new Chinatown somewhere in Bangkok. This New Chinatown will feature next-wave Chinese businesses, studios, and housing for a new wave of visitors from China and the broader Sinosphere. Partner with development groups from mainland PRC. Related to: Greater China.

Teochow Campaign:
Until the 1920s, Teochow could move to Thailand freely, and these immigrants became economically, and culturally successful group in Thai society. Pityless Consulting, a collaboration between a Teochow and a Jewish-American, proposes a series of large-scale cultural endeavors to the association of the Teochow people. The overall aim of these proposals is to boost the collective value of the “Teochow” identity, and therefore, create significant value for all Teochow identified people.

Sound + Ambience
There is an ambient music crisis in Thailand. Beautifully decorated interiors are ruined by blaring Ed Sheeran covers. Sound Plus Utopia offers customized ambient soundtracks for hotels, restaurants, and entertainment venues. Sound Plus Utopia is best conceived as an in-house startup at GRAMMY entertainment, the largest music company in Thailand. Not only will Sound Plus Utopia drastically improve the ambience of many Thai spaces, it will also allow Grammy entertainment to forge relationships with international ambient artists.