Went back to the area I walked in last Tuesday.

Discovered quite the symphony going on between different species of birds and some frogs. From one particular spot I could hear water rushing left and right and a nice stereo image of the animals in between – perfectly arranged! Must go back and record

neo bohemia
Court nobles in China and Japan took great effort to perfume their robes and writing paper with incense. Not only to scent their surroundings, but to mark time. Incense measured out how much time had passed. Can you imagine marking time with scent?

I imagine someone staring at a stick of incense, smoke curling upward, waiting for three more sticks to burn before the time of the meeting came.

neo bohemia
The Romans used applied perfumed oils to their horses, dogs and were known to scent the wings of birds. In flight, their wings would fill the air with fragrance.

Releasing a basket full of scented doves to celebrate a birthday or wedding? What a moment to imagine.

Two Races

In Rome:

Rome’s 2762nd Birthday Chariot Race at Urban Velo
A patriotic group of bikers sporting giallo e rosso (yellow and red) athletic gear cleverly transformed their bicycles into race horses that pulled bigas, or two-wheeled chariots, manned by enthusiastic charioteers. While ancient Roman chariot teams were divided by color into the greens, the blues, the whites, and the yellows, these modern day Ben-Hurs formed two teams distinguished by their headgear–the helmet heads and the brush heads. Eager for a bit of Sunday-morning competition, they lined up at one end of the Circus and at the signal, the race for glory and fame began!

In Copenhagen: – Danish Cargo Bike Championships

Anyway, the Danish Cargo Bike Championships was a festive affair in bright spring sunshine. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many cargo bikes gathered in one place. The course was set up around the square with a fine mix of smooth straights and cobblestoned corners.

There was a race for three-wheelers, with Leif Harup on a Kangaroo taking the gold medal and the three-wheeled glory. Then there was several heats for two-wheelers and Thorsten Rentel beat Hans Fogh by a spoke in the final. In both disciplines the riders rode first without cargo and then had to put three tyres on the bikes to finish.

There were many Bullitts from Larry vs. Harry, a good number of Dutch Bakfiets and quite a few Belinkys. Add to that Christiania Bikes, Longjohns, Short Johns and the aforementioned Kangaroo. Baisikeli was present with one of their ambulance bikes from their African workshops.

Friday Evening

Walked to Downtown Subscription and ran into a friend. We shared a table and over coffee he showed me a magazine called World Watch with this article in it. The article says that a theory that explains the evolution of ecosystems may also apply to civilizations as well-and we’re approaching a critical phase.

Our Panarchic Future | Worldwatch Institute
Because energy is a society’s master resource, when Rome exhausted its energy subsidies from its conquests-when it had to move, in other words, from high energy-return-on-investment (EROI) sources of energy to low-EROI sources-it faced a critical transition. And, at least in the Western part of the empire, it didn’t make this transition successfully. It couldn’t sustain the cost and complexity of its far-flung army, ballooning civil service, hungry and restless cities, elaborate information flows, and intricate irrigation systems. Not that it didn’t try. Rome’s prodigious effort to save itself by putting in place a system to aggressively manage its energy problem was simultaneously one of history’s greatest triumphs and tragedies. It was a triumph because, for a while at least, the effort reversed what seemed like the empire’s inexorable decline; but it was ultimately a tragedy because it didn’t address the empire’s underlying problem-complexity too great for a food-based energy system-and was thus bound to fail.

The western Roman empire couldn’t make the transition from high-EROI to low-EROI sources of energy. Today, our societies are headed toward a similar transition as oil becomes harder to find. Sometime in the 1960s the United States crossed a critical threshold when its EROI for domestic petroleum extraction started to fall, and it’s likely that since then just about every other oil-producing region in the world has crossed the same threshold (often it takes a while for data to show clearly that the threshold has been crossed). Very few people-certainly not our society’s leaders-grasp the significance of this change, yet it’s of epochal importance. It marks the beginning of a shift from our modern industrial civilization to some other kind of civilization.

The author explains that as society becomes increasingly connected, complex, and efficient, it also becomes less resilient. This lack of resilience has brought the world to a stage of vulnerability that could trigger a major ‘pulse’ of social transformation. Humankind has experienced only a handful of such pulses throughout its existence, including the transition from hunter-gatherer communities to agricultural settlement, the industrial revolution, and the recent global communications revolution.

I think most of us can tell that WE are on the verge of something, but exactly what that is we don’t know. As an artist I know the feeling well, because it precedes most of my recordings, but of course the scope of this is much larger. This is not a personal or artistic transformation, this is possibly world-wide.