Lecture notes by Maja Kuzmanovic, Guild Mistress
I'd like to welcome everyone to the Annual celebration of the Guild for Reality Integrators & Generators.
Firstly I'd like to thank the current archers of St. George's guild, for hosting this event. Our two guilds have met and diverged several times in history & we're happy to share the new convergence with you all. You will have an opportunity to hear more about the St George's guild later in the evening.
I'd also like to express our sincere gratitude towards the Guild's financiers, the European Commission & the Flemish Authorities without whom none of this would be possible.
Further, our thanks goes to all human and non-human guild members and associates for opening up their activities & resources to gRig & all of us here tonight. Thanks to the guild's chefs – Heyse Kitchen Art & the mixologists Rasa & Pieter De Wel for a delicious reception.
I'd like to especially recognise the Guild's artisans & apprentices who have helped us realise gRig Froesjels.
And last but not least, thanks to all of you for gracing this event with their presence!
Now, the members – who have been with us for a while – know that these annual speeches tend to lat for at least 12 hours and delve deep into the past & future of gRig. I have decided not to change this tradition and not bore you with the details of our activity reports for the year 3050, or 570, or 2009 in the 5th universe to the left. This year, I'd like all human members to get a chance to socialise, as it is not clear how long this will still be possible within the guild – i will get to that later. So I will only speak for a few minutes about our activities in this universe, in the past 3 years and about our plans for the near future & then let you get back to your conversations & the delectable sips & nibbles.
After centuries of underground activity, 3 years ago, the guild for reality integrators & generators decided to make its activities publicly known. We weren't sure how to do this, so our steps were quite cautious and the whole operation rather experimental – it was a learning journey that is now entering a new phase.
I will remind you why exactly 3 years ago we decided to initiate this radical change. In a peer-2-peer culture of today, we found that we needed more recognised members who could integrate and generate realities out in the open, through social networks, where people could become friends, or fans of the guild online, in game worlds, on corporate events and in community gardens.
Our decision came at a time when humans must learn to act together as a species, to meet some of today's challenges – think of climate chaos, or religious fundamentalism, or global economic crises… It was also a time when reality integration & generation technologies such as personal fabricators and mixed reality environments started becoming available to a large amount of people, but without a culture to sustain this bottom-up reality generation.
This is a time when imagination & playfulness should thrive, to get humans out of the consumerist lull. Instead, they seem to be getting thinner and obsolete, as our species clings to taking ourselves so seriously, as if that would convince the universe itself that humans are still at its centre.
So 3 years ago, a group of European guild members began a quest to find cultural creatives to integrate and generate realities utilising publicly available tools at the edges between art, science & technology. We began stitching fragmented disciplines and cultures by mixing physical & digital realities, through storytelling, games, food and many other uncategorisable experiences.
We scried a whole village in between realities and called it Twixtville. It is still somewhere out there – hovering in phase space, but in this reality all that remains of Twixville is its mysterious map.
We also dug deeper into mystical realities and discovered the vegetal side of our mind, in desperate need of nourishment with more human-plant interactions. As mysticism is not widely recognised as a reality generation tool in today's materialistic world, we also explored venerative aspects of a few dominant religions. We probed into the depths of their imagery and compared it with the emptyness of visual messages of the everyday.
We organised many sojourns & gatherings, to bring reality integrators & generators together, to multiply their efforts. There were gardeners, storytellers, contemporary alchemists, crafters, hackers, tinkerers, scientists, artists and many others – people not scared to take the world by its horns & shake themselves & people around them out of the consensus reality to increase the diversity of possible futures.
Together we devised a myriad of narrative strategies, attempted to paint the world luminous green, grown media & data ecologies, infused public spaces with rag-tag imagery and even constructed a fabricator that can fabricate itself.
At the end of the three years we have come to the conclusion that what is really needed is a culture of Resilients, a community of transdisciplinary generalists and obsessive specialists who are willing to experiment with their everyday lives to create a more resilient and wholistic culture. This is what some of the current members will continue pursuing. We realised that the acts of the guild should become more public, through Resilients, but that the guild itself is better suited to operate behind the scenes. Here's why…
While the mention of the guild as a society in the public sphere has been met with some reluctance, our underground work has been more fruitful than ever. As you can imagine, I cannot name names here, but I can tell you that some of our undercover human & non-human members urgently need the support of gRig leadership for their endeavours.
As you all know, we have been worried about the conditions of Earth's global eco-system for a while. In the last 3 years, a slight raise in awareness of imminent climate chaos has finally occurred. The statistics of the guild's involvement will be published in our annual report. However, we have to establish that even though natural catastrophies and long-term unpredictability have increased, the consensus is still far removed & it is still not clear what humans are to do NOW to make the world still suitable for their habitation. I assume you agree that our efforts should focus on getting our human & non human members around the table on this issue ASAP. This – you will appreciate – cannot happen in public.
Furthermore, you might remember that a recurring theme at our annual meetings was the urgency to find an alternative to current economic reality & that the knees of capitalism have been eroding for a century now. In fact our long standing relationship with the Guild of Gaia is being threatened, as they have declared capitalism as 90% handicapped in the face of dwindling resources. Last year, the human population has began to feel the effects of Capitalism's fragility and the shock-wave has still far from subsided. We are calling for volunteers to both provide first aid to stabilise the worst economic quakes, but more importantly, people who will find an alternative to wasteful capitalism. Please contact the Guilds' Treasurer Nik Gaffney tonight if you are interested in joining this effort.
I will only mention one more issue, that is very close & painful to my heart – the fact that dogmatic and religious fundamentalism is suppressing direct mystical experiences, which are in fact declared as endangered to extinction by 2020 by the spiritual diversity guild just this last month. I will personally lead the task force for restauration & protection of empirically sound mystical experiences & if you want to participate in the experiments, please drop me a line.
These are only three large issues that we need to address both publicly and behind the curtains. So after the three years of parallel public-private operations the guild governors have decided to continue our activities under two different banners - on the one hand pursue the development of the Resilients and attract MUCH more public attention & on the other hand to scatter & devote our attention to knotting realities & mega-trends behind the scenes. In other words, tonight we're here to usher a new era & split gRig into two entities – the Resilients – who will work on understanding the place of humans in the flow of realities and on the other – and the Guild itself, returning to anonymity will work with non human entities to re-establish a new balance on earth.
I will take responsibility for co-ordinating Resilients' efforts, as well as advising the gRig council. Tonight, with some reluctance, I step down from my position as the Mistress of the Guild for Reality Integrators and Generators and it is my great honour to hand over the title (and its responsibilities) to the first non-human entity to take this role – Her eminence Viriditas of all things green & alive. Even though most of us humans don't posses the senses to perceive Viriditas, I assure you that she is standing next to me right now. Please welcome her with a round of applause.
To celebrate the inauguration of the new Guild Mistress, The guild's composer Stevie Wishart & her group have composed a piece called Viriditas, which they will perform tonight in her honour.
I would just like to inform you that Nik Gaffney & I will still perform our administrative duties during the transition to the Viriditas administration, so feel free to ask questions if you still haven't submitted your reports for this year. We will formally hand over the co-ordination on the 21st of December, with the return of the light in the northern hemisphere.
The last deed that remains for me to do tonight is to raise a glass for a long life of gRig & all of you. Cheers!