Jon ardern.com : projects - ark-inc
"Despite repeated warnings that we are fast approaching a point of no return, the world's governments (and ourselves) pay these issues little more then lip service"
ARK-INC offers products and services as investments in the creation of a 'post-crash' portfolio that will hold or gain value as the world of traditional economics crumbles. To supplement these investments, ARK-INC helps promote and facilitate (though its ark trust initiative) an ad-hoc self-sustaining social network known as the Ark Collective.
Image from the ARK-INC installation at the 2006 RCA Summer Show
Past: The ARK-INC project started in early 2006 whilst studying at the RCA. It came out of a sense of frustration that the mounting body of scientific evidence, about the dangers inherent in continuing with our current lifestyle, was (and in-part arguably still is) being ignored or denied for fear of impeding the current economic paradigm. The project found its first platform at the 2006 RCA summer show as an installation and trio of short films.
Present: Since graduating ARK-INC has continued to grow and reflect the current social, economic, political and ecological environment in the form of, a body of research and a conceptual framework. This body of work is at present being translated into a functional website that will in its first incarnation act as a 'superfiction' and visible container of its conceptual framework. The idea is to then progressively move elements of this framework into real world application.
ARK-INC's main roles are three fold:
1. Selling of services and products that increase your intrinsic value and certify that you have gained that value or potential value.
2. Gathering, calculating and distributing data in the form of The Paradigm Index, and the Paradigm Forecast Radio Broadcast for the purposes of gauging that value and investment.
3. Interfacing with Ark Collectives (the grass roots movements) to broker the value of its customers to or within a collective.
Disaster Tourism: Simply the reasoning that a disaster is not the event itself but the impact that the event has. By adjusting to the forthcoming events now, your lifestyle will not change as the world does. ARK-INC has services such as holidays in apocalyptic landscapes, consolations to help you adjust, and evaluations allowing you to gauge how well adjusted your life has become.
Also on offer are books such as “Learning to Love the Crash, Staying Positive in the Face of Adversity” designed to help mediate your response to 'disaster'. As well as many more 'sedate' products simply designed to help you live with less and certificate your ability to do so.
Products sold by ARK-INC. that are designed to sit comfortably within the domestic environment of this current paradigm. However they posses a latent set of properties waiting to be activated, cultivated or harvested when the appropriate moment arises.
A good example of this is the ARK RADIO, looking not so out of place on a living room table. The radio is designed with three functions. 1. Insert and turn one key to listen to the ARK RADIO SHORT-WAVE worldwide paradigm index broadcast 2. Another key to listen to your local collectives FM transmission and 3. When the time comes, the third key will permanently change its appearance and add the additional functionality of encrypted transmission and reception of audio and data allowing two way communication with collectives and ark members.
The radio also has inlaid solar PV cells in its back panel, so that if or when our main communication and utility networks fail, the owner of the radio has the ability in conjunction with a few other Ark products to set up their own ad-hoc network
Left: 'Ark Radio Short Wave' one of three films made for the RCA 2006
The value of something is intrinsically linked to its relationship with its external environment. Although abstract value or money currently holds an intrinsic value as it relates to our current world system, that system, I would argue, is inherently unsustainable.
As the project proposes that this system will soon crash, the value that that abstract value holds will crash with it. Therefore, within the context of the project, there is space for a new definition of value.
'Intrinsic value' is a value system endorsed by ARK-INC. as it seeks pragmatic ways to gain capital, leading up to and beyond “the crash”. It could either be seen as a new, more holistic approach to value, or an evolution of capitalism in response to a set of 'extreme' externalities.
The Paradigm Index relates a general rise in the value of Ark assets with a progression in world collapse, as opposed to investing in assets that are tied to an 'abstract value system', that more closely relates increases in wealth to market growth.
The index works by taking a set of date from C02 level rise, peak oil predictions and social and political trends including wars and social break downs. It works as a means of gauging your investment in a certain scenario or set of scenarios.
As intrinsic value is closely linked to certain sets of external parameters you can gauge its increase against proof of the manifestation of those external parameters.
- click image to enlarge -
What is an actor without an audience?
The Ark Trust is an initiative set up by ARK-INC. Its aim is to promote a popular movement that supports the aspirations and economics of ARK-INC.
"The Ark Movement” is the name taken by ARK-INC., to describe a diverse set of people and groups who take a common stand of readiness towards global change. This stance is described by some as a change in theologies of resistance from “David and Goliath” to “Noah”. The common thread that ties these individuals and groups together is the belief that it is more productive to build a sustainable life than to try to destroy a system that is in essence self-destructive.
"The Collective" is a growing number of groups from within "The Ark movement" who have put political and minor theological differences aside in order to create a grass roots network of co-operation.
left: the 12 steps to sustainability,
the 12 steps..
The tension between the sustainability debate, capitalism and grass roots movements is the context upon which the project sits. This tension is crystalized clearly in aspects of the 'anti consumerist movement' where capitalist intrusions, that are arguably at odds with the root motivation of the movement, share what I see as an uneasy relationship.
Two influences that directly relate to ecological issues come from James H. Kunstler and his book The Long Emergency, with its pragmatic look at what it may mean to live through the coming century of oil shortage and James Lovelock's book The Revenge of Gaia, one of the first, I found, to not only discuss the idea that we may have already hit a tipping point in globe heating but also advise swift and pragmatic actions to save what we can.
I have also explored groups and movements from survivalists to the permaculture movement and many in between. The main thread I see as connecting these groups is that they take a stand of readiness to change as opposed to fighting against change. This has been described by some as a change in theologies, from David & Goliath as a meta-narrative to resistance, to that of Noah. I have incorporated an expression of these groups and movements into the project, under the names Ark and The Ark Collective.
ARK-INC being an organisation/company/cult that seeks to create and capitalise on the Ark movement and the potential of dramatic world change, by offering the aforementioned products and services. Perhaps one final source of inspiration worth mentioning comes from the images of Elena Filatova. Her photographs from what is left of Chernobyl portray a stark visual glimpse of our possible fate.
Thanks to Louise Ashcroft for her very talented voice work in 'the 12 steps' and 'Ark Radio'.
Thanks to Michale Burton for his invaluable help and support prior to the RCA show.