“The most expensive part of making this book was time. I spent my time, which is my scarcest resource. For every one of the nearly 9,000 images in this book, I was standing directly behind the camera. I had to get there. It’s not just a long way from the US to Asia, it was usually a long way from the airport to the local town in the countryside. And then it took time to reach the right village. And then it took time to find the ceremony. And then I would have to wait. Then wait some more. More than money, or photons, this book is made from time.”
“Our religion, which is the religion of quantification and measurement” has transformed the world. This week on Future Fossils, we talk to Kevin Kelly about his three-volume photojournal Vanishing Asia, a style archive collected over 50 years and countless miles, winnowed down from 200,000 pictures.
We talk about what it is to remember, to preserve, to capture, to restore, to reimagine… Preservation bias in the archaeological history of technology, Cosmology, and religion, the evolution of culture and faith in modernity, What kinds of value the economy is capable of capturing or even seeing, and what kinds it’s not capable of capturing, Ecosystem services, and other invisible labor, When externalities are people, How long memories can make systems stubborn, How to optimize forgetting so as to be a good ancestor leaving more degrees of freedom, What makes an explanation good enough, The future of Asia and thus the world…
Yeah, we squeeze a lot into 45 minutes.
Pairs Well With:
Future Fossils 128 – Kevin Kelly on Evolving with Technology
Complexity 55 – James Evans on Social Computing and Diversity By Design
If you believe in the value of this show and want to see it thrive, support Future Fossils on Patreon and/or please rate and review Future Fossils on Apple Podcasts! Patrons gain access to over twenty secret episodes, unreleased music, our monthly book club, and many other wondrous things.
Music by Future Fossils co-host Evan “Skytree” Snyder.
I transcribe this show with help from Podscribe.ai — which I highly recommend to other podcasters. If you’d like to help me edit transcripts for my upcoming Future Fossils book project, please let me know! I’m @michaelgarfield on Twitter & Instagram.
If you’re looking for new ways to help regulate stress, get better sleep, recover from exercise, and/or stay alert and focused without stimulants, let me recommend the Apollo Neuro wearable. I have one and appreciate it so much I decided to join their affiliate program. The science is solid.
And for my fellow guitarists in the audience, let me recommend you get yourself a Jamstik Studio, the coolest MIDI guitar I’ve ever played. I’m using it in the studio right now.
When you’re ready to switch it up, here are my music and listening recommendations on Spotify.