（With Toby Tobias）
The track led up to the old barn, the one that housed the digital equipment we used to communicate across the settlements. These social media hubs, connecting everyone within the limited sized communities that then enabled specific people to be connected to the larger networks, that spread like tentacles across the globe. The concept of the global village, of interconnected global family, born from the rise of the multinational conglomerates as their international markets marched like thick molasses across the countries, borders, cultures, having now been abolished giving rise to limited locality based infrastructures that restricted dialogue without meaningful gain.
The concept that making the world smaller was no longer of interest. The collapse of the global concept of idealised freedom instilled a closer knit locality that saw freedom not in ability to buy and travel and share hate, but in freedom from slavery of the market pressures. This did not forstall forays into exploration, or wishing to move, or innovation (the favourite word of the capitalist cashcow operator), but instead gave us time and support networks to go out into these adventures. We could listen in on all sorts of conversations and thoughtcasts from all over the world and the moons that let us know what was being discussed by the other settlements across the planet.
I would often lay with my feet body half in the barn and half outside dialing through the different thoughtcasts and open conversations as I stared up into the sky watching the stars and the flying vehicles dance across the depths of space.
Almost every morning I used to walk across the fields with my mother and we would see the animals and the workers on the farms. These were people who enjoyed the outside life, who gravitated towards being part of the process of life and death and the temperament of the planet. The animals would roam free, we no longer had a use for their meat, it was easier to make alternatives that had more goodness per bite than any animal could. We had the technology to create what we need from the plants we grew across the shared countryside that each settlement was responsible for.
The animals that now roamed, had lost the fear of the hunted farmed animals, and had lost the thoroughbred specimen specify that came with
the activity of mass farming, and these days they had all sorts of shapes, sizes, temperaments and oddities.
We would interact and feed them and sometimes play with them, although sometimes you still needed to be careful of the character of a particular grumpy sheep or cow, there had been children who had found this the hard waylike my great uncle Allan who lost an eye to a rather touchy goat one summer eve.
Before the demise...before I ended up here...before...
In this time of my life I thought would never end, like all children I felt time as endless and slow, and like all children of the settlements I believed that things were forever -- that change was impossible.
Afterwall, why would anyone want to change anything about our lives? I could not understand this kind of thinking -- I could not, at this point, even conceive that anything else existed.
On warm evenings we would watch the films and the long seasonal dramas on the screens that sat out in the fields. Like communal beacons that drew the locals together to share the memories of other people written into compelling entertainment through fictionalised reconfigurations. These imaginings giving birth to our own memories shared under the dusk light. Memories of the first romantic fumbles, of the family laughter, of the loss of friends. These narratives always played second fiddle to the performances that took place by the community theatres, our stories retelling the demise and rebirth of the human species from the edges of evil and darkness. But to me the magic of these screens held a special place and I dreamed that one day I would travel to where they made these stories, and I would see the coders who worked tirelessly to enable the digitised actors to play out such wonderful stories as they did.
Sometimes, very rarely, we would even see clips of films from where the actors faces and bodies had been acted by living versions of these stars. But only clips, as the films they had been in when they ‘lived’ were full of bad ideas it is not good to spread. And so most had been destroyed. But when shown it was a magical moment, touching dangerously close to a barbaric past, to a pre-civilized culture of political manipulation and hatred, of untruths and fakery. A strange time before the rebirth.
The day I got my pet ‘drone-bot’ was crisp and dry with the smell so sweet, the kind of sweetness that you only know when the air is being produced all around you, when the leafy organisms, green oxygen producing, goes as far as you can see. I remember that smell still, and i remember that excitement that danced in my stomach, as I met the hovering metal and plastic object who would become my best friend for the first time. It feels as if it was only a few years ago, not more than a lifetime.
I had a special kind of leg, grown from a small graft of flesh and bone tissue, and that always had a kind of mind of its own. So although I was, like all children -- all people --, accepted and included in all the Settlements activities, I spent more time than many with my drone-bot., my best friend, Robin. She had a red underside like the ancient bird I had seen pictures of and she was wise like history books, she made sure I never got into trouble or got lost. She cared for me like no-one else ever could. She shared my life. And I loved her like only a child can love. And I cared and maintained that flying bot like my life depended on it. Which is some ways ended up being true.
We would speak for hours as Robin taught me physics, astrology, and mathematics. Some days I saw no-one else, just me and Robin exploring the hills, the plains. Learning, discovering. It was safe enough in those days, nobody would have thought to do ill.
When I look at these images. These memories. These landscapes of tranquility. For a moment I sense calm. I realise the temporality the fluidity of my fleeting happiness. How is it that it is so easy to lose that which is great and so hard to destroy that which is evil. So I paint. I draw. And maybe I can find peace. Maybe we can all find peace.
It is not so hard, all we need is to use this language we have for truth. But more than anything it gets used for twisting lies and confusions. You may laugh at my naivety. People often do. But not many people remember what I remember. So I make these images as best I can to show you what is possible. We do not need to live like we do. We always have choices.
I remember the grass moving in the wind, the smell of the wood, the mud on my feet. I remember the certainty of decisions I made.
I remember working a few days a week with happy fellow human beings. I remember making, crafting, singing, writing. I remember loving. I remember a future that was as safe and fulfilled as the short past I had known. I remember swimming in the clean pools. Then I remember when people wanted change, people wanting progress.