Monday, December 28, 2009

The Green Rush

After the Gold Rush, the Green Rush

In honor of Avatar's profound hues of true blue, here's a little night plane jam, its vocals clipped from a certain lost soul gem by the three degrees. You'll find it as well in the midst of my latest mix, "signs in the sky."

But although Cameron's epic may be steeped in blue, were you to puncture its gargantuan heart, green would be the color on your hands. Green, the color of cash in North America, and the color used as cultural short-hand for anything deemed remotely environmentally-conscious, is a fitting color to apply to Avatar, which will certainly see plenty of dollars as it disseminates its utopian eco-fairy tale.

While the value of Avatar may seem to lie largely in its contribution to digital cinema production, and not in its relatively heavy-handed narrative, there is actually a subtle plot point in the depiction of the indigenous Na'vi tribe. It's not a movie about technology versus nature, it's a movie about low-tech vs. high tech. And guess what? It's actually the stone-arrow firing Na'vi who are the high-tech team, not the missile-launching humans. Dr. Grace Augustine, played by Sigourney Weaver, points out that the planet Pandora functions on a biological level like a huge labyrinthine network, everything is connected to everything else. It's like if the internet were a whole biosphere. The name Pandora also refers not only to the Greek myth but to, the online music portal which generates music stations based on your preferences.

The green valley of Pandora is also silicon valley. Advances in digital and nano technology will, in the near future, more and more resemble the kind of lessons taught by Gaia spirit-mother myths: everything is connected. Human technology will continue to infiltrate the biosphere on a cellular level. Very very high-tech will more and more resemble no-tech, that is, it will trend towards resembling nature.

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Included here is a live performance by Thom Yorke of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" at Electric Lady Studios in 2003. The lyrics of the final verse reflect a sci-fi eco-utopianism not dissimilar from Avatar's:

"Well, I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships flying
In the yellow haze of the sun
There were children crying and colors flying
All around the chosen ones
All in a dream, all in a dream
The loading had begun
Flyin' mother nature's silver seed
To a new home in the sun
Flyin' mother nature's silver seed
To a new home in the sun"

Fans of Neil will remember of course that the first verse contains the line "Look at mother nature on the run, in the nineteen seventies."

After the gold rush, the green rush. After the rush to tear precious elements out of the earth, the rush that possesses the villains of Avatar, the rush to immerse again in nature, like Avatar's protagonist.

The green rush is on for 2010: this means broader dissemination of environmental concerns and awarenesses. It's green for a second reason though, because of how capitalism works. The more that consumers and clients display concern for the environment, the more that businesses will mirror this concern for the sake of profit. The green rush is also a gold rush.

The green rush also means: the chance to profit off the increased de-criminalization of marijuana. This is the double green: the green dollar bill, and the green pot leaf. They will continue to befriend and get each other high. It is only a matter of time before you will have psychedelic suburbia: living rooms with gadgets and accessories more befitting the medicinal and recreational consumption of THC. Imagine the Skymall (tm) catalog of the near future, replete with unnecessarily inventive pot gadgets. Of all narcotics, pot is the easiest for capitalism to embrace, because not only is it comparatively harmless and friendly, but pot culture involves tons of cannabis device-making: everyone knows your stoner friend is by default also a great DIY carpenter.

Finally, green is also the color of the growing resistance movement in Iran. In 2010, green thus is the color for emergent democratic trends in the Muslim world and the Middle East, the color for eco-conscious capitalism, and for commercial developments in de-criminalized substances.

1 comment:

BCR said...

another green world.