John Law lives in San Francisco. He arrived in 1977. Ever since then he has been affiliated with or part ofÂ Suicide Club,Â Survival Research Labs, Dark Passage, The Cacophony Society, PeopleHater, Seemen, Circus Redickuless, S.F. Cyclecide, The Madagascar Institute,Â Laughing SquidÂ ,Burning Man Festival and TheÂ Billboard Liberation Front.
In the month of December he held a talk in Berlin at the last of a series of conferences organised by Disruption Network Lab. He brought a lot of slides with him. And if at first hear his talk might resemble an “ah, there’s uncle John again and his slides,” kind of remark that you can expect at auntie’s birthday, there is a whole lot more going on underneath that never-ending stream of people and their actions that pass by.
A name that fequently returns in his talk is the name of the city where he lives: San Francisco. It is there, and it turns into a kind of mantra: San Francisco, San Francisco, San Francisco, until you finally get it, that this is not a story of all those people, but a portrait of a city at a given moment during the last century.
Once you realise this, San Francisco opens itself as a city where everything is possible and a group of people in changing constellations pursue their dreams and fantasies and manage to blend those fantasies with their surrounding reality of every-day-life. Some of those people even got rich and famous.
And though there is an element of critique towards the American society and its various systems, the spirit of all the actions mentioned and described is purely American in as much as they reflect the ideas of The American Dream and The New Frontier.
A very fine talk, indeed.
The talk is introduced by Marie Lechner, who also finishes the hour asking John some questions.
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