COLD LIPS 05 x THE IDENTITY SPECTRUM: Power Poetry Politics and the movement of minds

An essay by Kirsty Allison

Originally published as a paper with the CAPA Occasional Publication series on migration, further to a performance supporting Palestine, I made an edit and published within a limited edition of my own publication, Cold Lips (05) for performances in Berlin and Prague. (I’ve been sharing the full contents of that edition online for free in lockdown 2020. This version’s intro was written whilst reading Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles #Outraged (Bloomsbury, July 2020) – the words on screen are edited from what is written/heard – and become their own poem. Photo by Gil De Ray, Hamburg, February 2020. Music also by Gil De Ray:

The internet is an open letter.  And it is death. A letter from our own graves – It begs us to share, to connect, to swipe , to see.

Amazing. We can go anywhere – we can be Anything.  The dream is Kubla Khan!

But the demands of our digital existence reflect a fear of being deleted. The battery of our machines is running out, as we will. That fear is death – the same metaphor as Covid.  Is it a plague pit of poison, or an opportunity for a new Spring to rise?  

At the beginning of lockdown, I was grateful to have all the experience of Other times. I have flourished.  Today however, behind my rose-tinted Gucci glasses, sitting at my aged desk in London, Freedom verges exhausted as the workers are threatened with becoming extinct themselves.  The workers have not stopped against a virus that cannot be seen. We are in the most innocuous of wars, where the shapeshifting, ruling elites shift blame in a chaos matrix by design.  Outside, the digital simulacrum demands me to negotiate the end-is-nigh-ness of  340 elephants mysteriously falling dead flat on their old skinned faces in Botswana, they are the echo to the high hats of 25 000 koalas dropping like burgers from skeleton trees in Australia.  The most ancient of eco-systems are being destroyed by flame-faced pudding profiteers who can only think in terms of property as profi  t.  As Dr Hunter S Thompson said in the Downward Spiral To Dumbness – “there is no such thing as paranoia. Your worst fears can come true at any moment.”   

Europe floats further away as our incompetent mall/mal-managers of parliament steer us into a no future Brexit.  This distancing is as real as the small strip of sky behind me, matching the unimaginative grey suits (here and Stateside) who barter between 3 million Hong Kong immigrants as a better proposition to enlist to this Worker Fiefdom than those in Calais, who seek shelter from the mal-managers sales of bombs and proxy wars. 

I float in a digital bardo, sharing my data with great behemoths who ultimately continue a cycle of oppression and control, inflicted by boardrooms that pray to an invisible god of profit.   It’s like we’re waiting in the green room of a funeral parlour, when I go out there – but I am told I must be Active.  So I sit on my hamster wheel phone, in a metasphere gym of populism, thoughts getting ever more celebrated in mediocrity, within a warzone of ego, pitted against one another, evolving into Wokester angles reframing this privilege of life beneath an unnerving Beyond.  I am chiselling my epitaph with every status update.  Sure, me and you are more complex than virtue-signalling our lives away, keeping it real in the unreal, because WE KNOW the greatest political distraction is individualisation. Through our gurus and avocado realness, we are Tuned In enough to recognise the banal lack of meaning is a daft post-modern fight – the Internet, it doesn’t exist!  Put your stupid phone away: you’re magnetising the futility of this gift of breathing by presenting yourself in the NOWNESS of savvy pop-culture referencing, right?  You and I both know infantilisation of the past being presented as something we are better than is patronising at all levels.  To believe Now is superior to Then is too basic.  Because we are progress, we will get through this, Nostalgia is for losers, and our complicity in this most invisible struggle where there are few facts, is to be a part of it – and we know it’s not real.  But to pervert from within – the only task is to avoid getting triggered into an ever-increasing industrial universe, where boundaries only exist for the powerless.  And none of us are that, are we?

I ask myself,   why do I continue to water the fascist machine?  The fruits are sour. Anxiety swirls within cold echo chambers of atomised tribes, all steered under a One False Move and U are Dead Orwellian policing of Cancel Culture.  Just share the process not the product, y’all – do as TikTok does, imitate, don’t agitate.  We see everything, and it sees us. The private is the public.  Hold back!  Give out!  Yet Julian Assange is allowed to rot in this transparent world.  Our data is sold back packaged via marketing squads, and I’m drifting in a neon wave towards automation, knowing the virus does exist, and Everything is cloaked in mass denial.  I cannot be heard shouting through this mask.  

Darwinism denies its identity of being Capitalism, as herd immunity.  

But you and I, we will outrun this, we live with the promise of Singularity.  The road out of here is littered with pornographic signs of success, entertainment optics dictating populism.  And they are false flags.  Man, I feel like a prepper, planting my thoughts under the wild mantle of Hypernormalisation, nev er off grid enough, as the stage disappears into forgettable live stream appointments, replacing IRL gigs, with Every update being newer, and shinier, cashing in on past caches.  O wow – what is that?  Was that cash or a computer cache, retaining – are we spending or saving?  That’s so deep, re-framed into some fresh exciting vernacular for the curious.  I wanna get involved and not fall towards obsoletion.  It’s so mediocre to let one’s ego dictate one’s fate.  It’s so common to keep on sharing like the world demands it.  

Bored of chasing technology, I pick up a book that was sent to me about the social currency of Outrage.  Windows of south London sing with rainbows and Black Lives Matter billboards.  I think of the Thursday night I cried in joy walking up Denmark Hill – the whole estate banging pans.  It was the closest I’d felt to unity since a rave, or more recently, performing.   

I am reading about intersectional, shifting Outrage having less value than the focus of the Suffragettes or MLK.  “Outrage doesn’t sit on its sofa complaining about Kim Kardashian’s culturally appropriated braids,” says the book.  I pick up my phone, go into the social media battlefront, I wanna see those braids – I get distracted, and scribe something abstract in the war zone of scrolling, it takes a while, and I delete it all, having lost half an hour of focussed thought in my own World, for the one I feel duty bound to engage with Outside, because I AM LUCKY TO HAVE A VOICE.  But I am so distracted.  Gossip dilutes demands, the strobing bells demand tabloid or reality TV distraction from the planet being on fire. 

Propaganda comes in the shape of a carnival choice of opioids.  Dope me up, like a Neo-Marxist.  Sometimes it gets too much in lockdown, and the 9-5 trolls who make everything political in the parliamentary sense, are chipping away at my walls.  And I have no shelter.  I am exposed against the swollen river of rhetoric – feeling I must participate with the bank that keeps a printing for the theatre board directors, telling me that culture is the Crown  Jewels.  I know better than to expect trickle down diamonds, but maybe I’ll get one.  

My rose tints look back to the wacky principle of Public Interest in journalism, where I could defend sources, and declarations of Conflicts of Interest in politics and public office were expected.  But did we know the half of it then?  The facts are out there, and I see them being deleted.  It is hard to see the horizon when there is none, an d the past is re-written.  I have been locked in this house for many months now, I read a lot of ancient history. Outrage is defensive in globalised consumerism.  It can be manipulated, used for distraction. We are all victims in the shitshow by stepping inside it. But we were born into it.  Abolish the shitshow.  Outside is the distraction.  Be careful out there.  Remain sports casual, I tell myself, with my giant writer’s nose.  Only knew I had one when the good times rose, when I was free to roam.  But now – I don’t care what I look like – that is child’s play that can be adapted with filters, compared to the dreadful mismanagement, false data, and lack of logic, where pub toilets are open, and campsites aren ’t, and the bus driver was murdered for asking people to wear masks –  and some freelancers are more freelance than others – it’s all mindgames manipulated by illicit propaganda to the gammonest.  Share or Be selfish? Living to share becomes Traumatising because Outside is Evil.  And then I remember the Spring, when the airplanes stopped, and there were no pollutants in the air.  I watched the earth open. The rosebuds, and curl of seeds and beans to the light.  I bought a firepit with my Uber savings, and felt I was on a beach. It was the rise of the mirror world.

Poetry is denied as esoteric in our current era – but Quantum will want to disentangle those nuances in the longterm, far more than those imitating the obvious.  

Engaging in Outside gives me tinnitus.  I have gathered enough material – of my old Outside life.  In a book I wrote for Red Gallery in 2014, about regeneration, and the abuse of it – as one world changes for another – all 23 contributors agreed: We must build a discotecque, a church,  a mosque, our worlds, despite Them.   I speak to Dave Randall about this in a podcast coming soon to Cold Lips.  Is that hacienda something digital – do we own those bricks?  Or can we all access them?

Passive consumerism is a fiction blurring our reality.  Lockdown has demanded we all examine our shopping lists.  The illusion that our personal lives occur in an alternative echo to that Outside exists only when we are without time to contemplate and harmonise.  We have to resist the deadened cacophony of hoardings pretending to be sunshine.  Getting a plane out of here is not the solution.  Not now.  Ugly as helicopters hanging above us in London like pesky flies.  Obnoxious to behave like those who rule.  Age becomes destiny, Youth Culture abolished by the facts of the virus.  We take our paths.

A conscious audience exists in a world of Information warfare, and by claiming a camp, we exist, therefore, we are.  Marketing will have to catch up.  I name vices in the robing room. The window display of mannequin statues demand godliness.  An ethical cleanliness is the steer from linguistic imperialism. The only way to behave, I conclude, is as one would wish this World to be.  Do as much as you can.  Clinging to identity politics on a raft of a geo-locative perspectives can only unite us in the long-term.  Because there are  plenty of us in these ateliers of our own making – just hold on tight.  We are together, however far apart it may appear.  

This essay was published in first draft last year, and I shared an edit in COLD LIPS 05.  It is called: 

THE IDENTITY SPECTRUM. Power Poetry Politics and the movement of minds.

An essay by Kirsty Allison.  Stick with me, it’s a long-read.

A spectrum is a fairground prostitution of colours, haunting our attention to choose a favourite cyan, magenta, or gold. 

I am a digital existentialist – I post, therefore I am. SCROLLING ATE MY LIFE. AI ATE MY LIFE. FML. My logic tells me to smash my phone to the ground, but it’s so sexy, and expensive, and it’s the light in the tunnel, or has a torch function, as we shift from analogue to digital, syphoning away the colours of history for dots, zeroes, hashtags and labelling. I’m screaming that a cultural decimation is occurring – I want to get through Bulgakov, but there’s something about being connected that I cannot give up.

If data worked, we’d all be bitcoin billionaires, and the marriage dreams of Hinge, Grindr and Tinder would be realised, but ultimately we are not at the point of full blown automation, or sameness – you only have to try to join a union, or pay a parking ticket to know that. Yet the data we share is a stranglehold, and we’re being choked in a social media death march, bullied and dominated by super-ego shouting loudest. I try to avoid sieving through my IRL world as social media stories, but fear my eyes are co-opted by the medium, and the owners of My Journey are taking the chronic piss of every effort of my Bucket List Best Life. I have wanted to switch off since I realised I was losing my life to Facebook.

So I did something about it. In a somewhat narcissistic move in around 2010, I published a picture of me every day for a year, on a blog, wearing a different outfit without buying anything new, because I knew it would get more hits than publishing poetry. This led to poetry films in the Tate which explored the issues of online vanity, before selfies, before Today I’m Wearing, before I lost another 10 years posting nails in my data coffin. And still I slug it out daily, trying to be heard in a cacophony owned by other people, as people tell me, I should. It’s the most bizarre activity, and the very definition of a death trap. But maybe there’s something quantum in trying to Make Life Matter – but are we truly listening to much more than the measure of Tweeting bird sounds, and Likes flocking around our social status, canonising our emotions, as reductive, cookie-cut emojis for infinity? It is an appropriation of Death itself. Slaving over a timeline is little more than a digital epitaph, HOW DO WE WANT TO BE REMEMBERED? Does this signify righteousness? Online is the Bardo. The fractals of data are cosmically aligned to dark matter – Everything is organic, because we created it…The dreamy-equality of a medium that in its infancy offered everyone the same opportunity, became as mad a fantasy as the crazed diaryism we create imitating each other on TikTok, and it’s all a wonked out mythomania of constantly sharing how we want to be perceived. Before our fear of being left behind kicks in – and we’ll be nothing more than a fetishised tech relic, a Roland 303 instead of a Roland app: there is an element of keeping up, whether that’s linguistically, trendwise, woke-wise, obsoletion the black mirror, reinforced by the trumpet of our battery draining as we wheel towards the great recycling bin in the sky (or down below).

Publishing updates with a nihilist sense of preservation means our life is compliant to social media. In what Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles calls Outrage in her new book on Bloomsbury, she lays bare the ‘clicktivism’ aspect of bandwagon jumping for social media causes being little more than a reflection of how we want to be perceived, generally being part of a distraction politic, because Trends weigh in an offence to Jamie Oliver’s Jerk Rice in the same index as the murdering of more people than a war memorial each day at the hands of American police, or the loss of 72 people at Grenfell. The book is funny, self-effacing, academic enough to please those of us who are impressed by such things, but it was written before BLM, which somewhat beautifully brought so many people together in a global lockdown.

BLM proves we all want to make something more permanent than the scroll. It demonstrates that online can lead to genuine demands, but after witnessing Cambridge Analytica’s surreptitious illegal abuse of social media, it broke me, and witnessing every check and balance turn a blind eye to fascism, and anything other than the sweet smell of profit, I find it difficult to steer clear of the lectures I’ve given on the history of media, where oligarchs with issues always abuse the masses with propaganda.

1. The early explorers of communication models, Shannon and Weaver critiqued the ouroboros of publishing and media as a potential minefield where language can be hijacked, and metadata can bash out any form of discursive quality, by identifying three areas of danger:

the encoder (the person creating the message)

the decoder (the person receiving the message),

 and the interference and misunderstanding caused by a possible break in transmission.  

2. Stuart Hall and Paul Du Gay’s FEEDBACK LOOP model was used to suggest  20th century environments are created by the factors of:

Representation (what we see) affects,

Identity ( who we are)

Production (dependent on factors of creation. eg. budget/camera/grammar),

Consumption (how the audience are receiving),

and Regulation.  

All these factors are interrelated. Expanding upon Marshall McLuhan’s infamous words, the medium is the message – we’re in a system, all influencing one another. So maybe there is hope.   But when one of these factors is imbalanced, for example, the government’s recent bailout to the existing hegemony of Arts in Britain, the problem of artists being unsupported in Britain perpetuates ever further.

 3. PANOPTICISM (Michel Foucault being my main man here to explain behavioural effects of CCTV society, where a Big Brother dominance means we can live in prison cells without bars because an all seeing eye will dominate our behaviour – hence the Stanford Experiment, where people naturally assumed roles of prison guards, dominating others, without instruction).

Power does not need to be seen for it to dominate.  

Consider the open-plan office panopticon – voyeurs of others’ labour, yet controlled by such a mirror; social media too, growing with infinite energy and industry.  

Operating with agility and sophistication in a freeform anarcho/neo-liberalism suspended by our demographics: our habits, likes, dislikes, and behaviour are sold back to us, as our data trails are sold exponentially.  In our delineation between ‘real’ and ‘virtual’, threatening reductive symbols of cartoon walls, bad hair, and explosive namecalling superimpose our timelines, and worlds, filtering into our digital space, thus polluting our ‘real’ lives. But yeah, there’s great memes to come out of this.  And I feel I am Discovering artists!  And I can chat to people, and connect with almost anyone on the planet.

But do you? I reviewed two books in DJMag that play into this. One is called the Spotify Teardown, the other AI Does Not Hate You. Here they are:pastedGraphic.png

As we come closer to trusting our technologies, not only on our screens, and an integral part of being Woke, but also as wearables, we are entering an inferno of ever decreasing simulacrums of bland aspirations to carceral capitalism in an Alt America hell.  In this future that James Bridle calls “the new dark age”, Space X and singularity (where we become infinite, by uploading our consciousness to the cloud FOREVER) become options associated to the index of money and ‘luxury’, but even if we go and live on the moon, or Planet Primark, logging off from the influence of our surrounds is not as easy.  The whoring lights of apps, messages so pervasive, the effect of what filmmaker Adam Curtis calls Hyper-Normalisation occurs, in the flattening cacophony of Dumbed-Down consumerism (the dumbed-down phrase originating in 1930s Hollywood, when studio owners demanded scripts to speak to the illiterate and lowest educated in various ‘congregations’). Fed by the disease of ‘following’, ‘liking’, ‘rating’ and ‘commenting’ – this becomes the index of success, and the medicine to echo chambers filled with commercially-fuelled bot bumpf and false tags.  From ROI, to Newton, dark matter, to environmental, karmic to general systems theories, most economic, scientific, industrial, cultural, marketing, spiritual, ethical and systems’ models agree, simply, you put in what you get out.  

We are feeding our inventions of AI systems, singularity, mind-uploading, nanotech, femtotech, life extension, genetic engineering and energy invention with the content we have in the system, our data, their data, and if so much of that data is false, we have to ask who’s programming this heaven of fractals above us, or below. Destroyed by terrifying language of overlords zombifying herds with their data-wrangled dominance, the language of combative war ‘targets’ Individuals with calls to Become a disruptor, a pirate, express your true self! Controlled by invisible stakeholders, board members avoid responsibility in a management matrix of greed, and

technology becomes the parent to our child selves.  

The traditional ESTATES OF POWER adapt.  Where religion was once the primary power, with nobility, press, and the bourgeois following.  Profit is the Lord as our consciousness hits the anthropocene, and our religion becomes data. Amid rising temperatures, 65m displaced people, herd immunity psycho genocidal ‘leaders’, and poverty reaching all time highs, distractions are played out in mass media from territorial leaders and psycho-pop-star-politicians spouting double-speak from pantheons of privilege as they grasp to hold onto power, using dirty tricks on social media, we have to ask, who the fuck is programming this.

There is a RIPPLE EFFECT (as messages move from individual> friends> families> communities> psychogeographies and vice versa).  Our nearest and dearest are on our timelines, in our faces, on our phones.


‘Real’ friends and family are replaced by Red Queens dominating our timeline, inferring behaviour via memes and tropes, and online ad spends wiping out all other media. Trends evolve, with every desperado clinging to a wave, virtue signalling likes – wanting to be heard. Is this true democracy? Or another form of herd immunity, where we volunteer our data in a subtle slaughter. Ashley ‘Dotty’ Charles suggests that as as shift from one Cause to the next – it’s all as functionless as waving a white flag on Parliament Square.

And worse, and part of the issue, is the Noise we generate, and getting through to the fug towards any sense of discursive demand is lost – as there’s profit in cultural signs, and profit in appropriation. Social media capital is a Thing, with brands as much as influencers jumping on this week’s bandwagon, to turn their online reality towards an offline perception. Hashtagged intersectionality soon becomes ‘sameness’ when everything is diluted into private echo chambers in a chaos matrix, without a strategy, beyond the social currency of being seen to be behaving as Trends dictate.pastedGraphic_1.png

[A new book by Ashley Dotty Charles – is my recent good read on this – called Outrage, published by Bloomsbury, 9 July 2020]

Marketing means getting your idea to the market. 

Let me tell you some of the shit I’ve had to listen to in meetings:

1. ‘brand personalities’ + ‘brand legacy’ – the creative tools to develop ‘likeability’.  What would Starbucks do? What would Beyoncé do?

Audience/consumers/friends/family/‘brand fans’ make decisions between one brand and another, for example.  If we can choose one ketchup/bag/coffee/homeless hostel/refugee camp, our lives will be easier.  The bigger the brand personality, the more Everything

2. ‘brand fans’  accrue (to consume our products, ideologies, to retweet, share, like, encourage, and spread messages across territories of atomised mass media)

3. All the while remembering to 

differentiate, persuade, inforce and reinform 

4. using the the trinity of Image + Identity = Reputation.

 Reputation, the cumulative effect of what people think of you.  

To have power, a brand/ruler/dominant ideology needs to control image and identity

5. and this is reliant upon the golden marketing triptych: 

segment, target and position (STP) the audience, with price, perception and needstates using divide and conquer techniques to delineate products from the competition in order to perpetuate financial wealth, control, and the racket of neo-liberal privatisation through demographic engineering. 

 Which brings us to three elements of Audience, based upon keywords and the metadata we share with the system:

• 1. WORKERS – these are the people who facilitate ‘conversations’ for corporations.  Complicit fear that venting discontent publicly will out us from the system, so we tacitly comply, propagating, rather than challenging. Do you work for this system?

Conclusion: debt delinquency now facilitates the medium. 

• 2. a minority of ‘independent’ voices, often writers, intellectuals, occasional politicians, musicians, artists – these people trade on having enough freedom from the system to legitimately challenge it, as they have nothing to lose

Conclusion: follow independent thinkers, but be aware, as part of a financial system, the motivation of messaging is frequently to sell something/themselves/raise awareness, rather than engage with those around them, cultivation of ‘brand fans/brand crew’ is a subtle provocateur. Those that have enough time/money, shelter, warmth, clothing, security conduct themselves with little to lose.  And those are the only people to trust.

• 3. co-opted ‘public figures’  who frequently live in hyperbolic states of superego aspiration, to fulfil some crazed PR-manifestations of Lifestyle via implicit cooperation with the FANGS (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google – and companies such as Spotify) 

Conclusion: challenge any cunt who’s tacitly implicated with people who are robbing the poor.

When the Audience is also the FANGs and billionaires and corporate supergroups such as Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, Pepsi Co, Kering, LVMH, with more power than individuals to monitor and operate, and infiltrate other groups, in the business of business, innocuous and invisible wars are played out. O – the sweet smell of a bandwagon – they have to know HOW WE THINK, and WHAT TRIGGERS and MOTIVATES US. Our voices are pitted against beneficiaries of dominance from the pre-digital days of marketing, so we cannot win against their largest resource for content creation. Lobbyists are selling to governments, regulators are at the whim of politicians who exhibit a MAD digital mythomania or Pseudologia fantastica. We’re inside a system where it becomes our responsibility to separate ‘brand personality’ in a minefield of false information. Audience is homogenised by the medium, so battles itself out for dominance in various modes of attention seeking.  Often compared to Las Vegas, how easy is it to live there without at least once putting a few bucks into a slot which could change your life?

Do we leave the system? Can we? As a createur, I see a product merging with the documentation of the process, and the process becoming a lifestyle, but thus a product in itself.  This dilution within a sophisticated ballet against the individual, means affordable, sexy creativity, and being Woke becomes the deafening Noise of status updates Everywhere, subtly manipulating us with every published Everything.  We have to exercise severe Self-Control.

The Audience finds itself attacked/targeted and defined via a series of demographic and cultural signifiers.  These define the ‘brand personalities’ too.  It is a reactive, emotional, sensitive system.

4. GLOBAL LABELS of individualism: who we are: friend/lover/fam/fan, sex, sexuality, appearance, age, hobbies, passions, work etc. 


5. GEO-LOCATIONAL EXPERIENCES [cultural upbringing – a childhood in Kansas being non-identical to one in J’burg, for example.  These are the truly personal elements that create our psyche.]

(n.b. I separate these demographical identifiers because of the territorial reign of corporate colonies, where distribution into markets is governed by monolithic organisational blocs such as North Americas, EMEA, OPEC, BRIC etc.)  Globalised identities thus are at odd with corporations, so interplay of globalisation and localisation is a device.

When Global Labels and Geo-Locational Experience combine, behavioural representations of actions present themselves on an ‘identity spectrum’, eg. racism/sexism/ageism – everyday experiences dependent on factors surrounding geo-location, and surrounding societal behaviour.  Digital identity politics become distraction politics where cultural identifiers are our only weapon against the hegemony.  Intelligent fascism benefits from exploiting decentralised uniformity where our sense of ‘self’ is curated from an environment. Guided by educators, and ethical narratives of stories, through religion, literature, media, memes, tropes, and heavily marketed ‘brand personalities’ with ‘think pieces’, our Woke endocrines guide us through our urban, and digital lives more concerned about our behaviour than the greater issue of debt being the largest delinquency on the planet. A mycelium strangles ideas outside of it. And the only solution is either the destruction of the financial system, or demanding corporate social responsibility (CSR) to support communities where government fails the individual. If genuine authenticity to CSR was reflected in briefs to PR and advertising, everything could change, but currently India and Mauritius are the only two countries with mandated CSR contributions running at a pitiful 2% (2% is still higher than my calculations of CSR contributions from the wealthiest global corporations) – CSR needs to be pitting closer to 40%. Or we could stop shopping on Amazon, Spotify etc, unless the wealth is re-distributed between us as a Universal Basic Income.  We need solutions now.  Governments’ need to drop short term goals of personal/crony gain for a Maslow-based, joined-up needs assessment programme where CSR does more than make Instagrammable content.  The triple bottom line of People, Planet and Profit needs to be configured with the ecosystem of the planet, before this toxic communication loop strangles us. 

In media theory, it always comes back to responsibility.


because we need a dope for the masses

A recent Oxfam report cited 26 evil bogey-men in the world. At a minimum, these people use cultures of ill-funded research, and war against competitors in a self-protection racket, policed by international quangos operating in a mirage of debt. We must be able to quantify our social media capital to mean something, as per Shoshana Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism.

The question is whether we can reach a tipping point where impartiality is applied to data, do we own it? Can we control it? Can we use our data to replace self-interested government that labels itself around old ideas of ‘left’ or ‘right’, ‘Democratic’ or ‘Republican’. The freefalling lack of autonomy in capitalism leaves us with no option but to comply – we have to be able to claim it back. How do we create an INDEX OF WELLBEING and SUSTAINABILITY within the legacy of Thatcher and Reagan’s destruction of society for individual greed?

A blockchain division of minerals, food, water, with true social automation aside Universal Basic Income would encourage more artisanal, high esteem lives. I would also propose an ethical, jury service-style global parliament (operating away from the influence and maelstrom of politicians, a toothless UN, weapons-trading and organisations such as WTO or the IMF). 

But why would those in power give it up?

If our online data was used as a social fund, in a similar manner to CSR, technology and equality could be reconstructed for a fair future. Our current state works for unimaginative liars.  Our technology hasn’t threatened to kill us, yet, but it is beginning to maul and slaver, threatening to bite us like a malnourished pet of Pavlov if we continue to programme it with war, and allow profiteering communication networks to push us hardware, powered by archaic energy systems killing the environment, perpetuating the blackmarket, wars, and reserves creating the mirage of scarcity.  Structured globalisation pleases 83% of shareholders who own 1% of global wealth, who rarely benefit the communities they operate in.  In the miasma of proxy austerity and theatre wars, arms sales mean nationalism becomes fascism. The gammonest rejoice unknowing they are the fodder.

So Strategy is essential.  The global brain requires education: we still programme it.  Social Media is the Media now.  And We Are The Media, owning the right to interrogate, in this Circus of Labels. If we want to be riled, how are we going to express it? Nothing changes if we sit back. Freedom and the offer of equality through expression on social media may be as false as the validation via populism that the social media index encourages, where ‘likeability’ grows exponentially, mirroring capitalism, with a Kardashian-glam-facade, mimicked by backend blackmarket opportunities to buy fans and Likes.

So accept our place. We are together, undermined. Ethics are the only universal standard, and what do we want to have written upon our digital epitaphs?

Follow Kirsty: Instagram 🍄 Twitter 🌸 Facebook 🪐


  Tony Haile, former CEO, Chartbeat: A Tale of Two Internets, speaking at <Code> Media, California, 2016.  Accessed: 20/01/19 20/1/19

 Shannon, C.E. and Warren, W. (1963), The Mathematical Theory of Communication. University of Illinois Press.

 Hall, Stuart (2013) Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. Sage, London & Thousand Oaks, CA.

  48”  Bekenstein bound and the upper limit of entropy or info contained within a given finite region of space.  The idea of maximum potentials yet unreached. Yet upon exceeding the Bekenstein bound a storage medium would collapse into black hole. Accessed 20/1/19

 Foucault, M. (1985): Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison. Harmondsworth: Penguin, London.

 Wang, J. (2018): Carceral Capitalism. Semiotext(e), South Pasadena, CA. Dist: MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass. & London

 Neiwert, David (2018): Alt-America: the Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump. Verso, London & New York 

[Neiwert blames jingoistic abuse of right-leaning tropes for bizarre realities of rising ill-truths.]

WE ARE WHO WE FOLLOW slogan first used by Allison, K, Label:Tweet Me Up exhibition, curator: Tracey Moberly. 24 November, 2012, Tate Gallery, London.

 Originating from Lewis Caroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place” it is used as a method to explain adaption to stay on top and avoid extinction

 on line ad spends increase:  20/1/19

 The Drip Model. Fill, C. (1995), Marketing Comms. Pearson, London

 segment your audience largely attributed to Edward Chamberlin, 1930s, target your messages, position your product, 60s Philip Kotler.

 Mason, M. (2009): The Pirates Dilemma: How Youth Culture Is Reinventing Capitalism. Free Press, New York.

 Building on a year of fashion blogging, making a statement about identity and the interplay of vanity, pre-selfie/today I’m wearing culture, in an attempt to make something more permanent than a social timeline in 2011.

 Madison Washington, FACTS album, Def Presse, 2018

  20/01/19 19/01/19, and the sensitivity of antisemitism as a politicised tool (although the author is in agreement that many of these examples are uneducated): 19/01/19

 New River Press Yearbook 2018-2019. Eds: Ruthven, H. Bellamacina, G. Montgomery, R. (2019)  New River Press, London.

 Whelan, B. (2017): Psychopathological Expressions of Globalization. CAPA Occasional Publications, London

 Triple bottom line: People Planet Profit.  Although he claims to have come up with the name in 1994.  Published:  Elkington, J. (1999): Cannibals with Forks: Capstone, Oxford. accessed 22/01/19 Accessed 20/01/19

 UN Report  Professor Philip Alston: ‘Risk-based verification’ processes of ‘higher risk’, where GDPR ‘data protection’ prevents humans from revealing processes of a system run without compassion.  And various on Universal Credit.

 Bonneuil, C, Fressoz (2017): The Shock of the Anthropocene, the Earth, History and Us. Verso, London & New York.

 Butler, S.D. (1935): War is a Racket.  Round Table Press, New York

 Joseph, P.  (2018) New Human Rights Movement: Reinventing the Economy to End Oppression. Benbella Books, Dallas.

Kagan, D.  Schmitt, G.  T. Donnelly, T. (2000) Rebuilding America’s Defenses.  The Project for the New American Century, Washington DC., 20/1/19 Effect of health and social care spending constraints on mortality in England  plus various reports on pharmaceutical stockpiling

 homeless/soldier/prisoner ratios: 20/1/19  Various: 20/1/19 

 UN Report  Professor Philip Alston

 Triple bottom line: People Planet Profit, John Elkington, Cannibals with forks 1999: Oxford, Capstone.  Although he claims to have come up with the name in 1994.

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