26. Best Case Scenario

Ever been to Iceland? The Icelandic government spend a hideous amount of money on fireworks every year. But the road out of Keflavik is still a dirt track. These are the people who’re going to fund your new digital infrastructure? They can’t build fucking roads. Our authorities are sometimes at their most benign when they’re at their most incompetent.

As I was writing this, Laurie was sending through reports and photos of kids being beaten by police on the streets of London via her ghost box. Because Western societies don’t, yet, switch off the internet and the mobile phone network when they want to beat the shit out of their populace. And I often think that it’s not that they don’t want to, so much as they are old and slow and haven’t quite figured out the way the world works yet. Ten years ago in Britain, there was a great outcry when speed cameras became ubiquitous on our roads. Lots of talk of 1984, Big Brother. But the anger kind of died away when it was later found that, not only were the cameras not digital, but that most of them didn’t have any film in. The county of Norfolk had no film in any of its speed cameras for the whole of 2001.

And that might be the best case scenario.

25. Flyposting Is Illegal

Flyposting is illegal. Google Maps pins and AR anchors are not.

Cognitive cities require the approval and collaboration of city authorities. The same people who make flyposting illegal.

Spirit roads were overlaid on folkloric paths believed to be travelled by ghosts. It seems oddly apt to me, here in our hauntological future condition, that we might superimpose ghost traffic on our real roads.

Opening the streets to spectral detournements, applying digital sandpaper to the real world, and the fictions of ARGs, Alternate Reality Games. Pirate broadcasting from the husks of old buildings again, like those Essex nutters sending pictures to televisions at four in the morning.

Mediated by ghost boxes, enabling near field instrumental trans-communication with the world of the invisible. Electric scrying pools, a glowing screen for conversation with the voices of the other side.