Velocommerce is commerce that is dependent on the bicycle (from the French word ‘velo’ referring to bicycle). India is a fantastic place to observe velocommerce in action.This project has opened our eyes to this crazy universe of activities, products, services, design, economy and humanity that is mobile using bicycles. The interesting thing about being on a bicycle is that it immediately frees you as an entrepreneur from the shackles of immovable real estate. Velocommerce is all about the mobility of property, and it challenges notions of ownership and private capital. It is special because it exists at the intersection of entrepreneurship, mobility, sustainability, grassroots innovation, cultures, local economies and decentralized, last-mile service delivery.
Text and Images via VeloWala
For two thousand years the disparate groups that now reside in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled the projects of the organized state societies that surround them—slavery, conscription, taxes, corvée labor, epidemics, and warfare. This book, essentially an “anarchist history,” is the first-ever examination of the huge literature on state-making whose author evaluates why people would deliberately and reactively remain stateless. Among the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersion in rugged terrain; agricultural practices that enhance mobility; pliable ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders; and maintenance of a largely oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between and around states.
In accessible language, James Scott, recognized worldwide as an eminent authority in Southeast Asian, peasant, and agrarian studies, tells the story of the peoples of Zomia and their unlikely odyssey in search of self-determination. He redefines our views on Asian politics, history, demographics, and even our fundamental ideas about what constitutes civilization, and challenges us with a radically different approach to history that presents events from the perspective of stateless peoples and redefines state-making as a form of “internal colonialism.” This new perspective requires a radical reevaluation of the civilizational narratives of the lowland states. Scott’s work on Zomia represents a new way to think of area studies that will be applicable to other runaway, fugitive, and marooned communities, be they Gypsies, Cossacks, tribes fleeing slave raiders, Marsh Arabs, or San-Bushmen.
The author of several books including Seeing Like a State, James C. Scott is Sterling Professor of Political Science, professor of anthropology, and co-director of the Agrarian Studies Program, Yale University, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Review by Yale University Press
NYFA speaks with 2009 Digital/Electronic Arts Fellow: Hi Leila and Cary, please tell us a little bit about yourselves and what you’re currently working on.
We are an eco-art/theory collaborative and former New Yorkers now based in Rochester, NY. Leila’s academic training is in literature and Cary has made new media and performance-based art for over twenty years. We bring together our separate disciplines, histories, and practices through a shared interest in nature and the environment. For us, the “environment” encompasses a wide variety of networked systems, including biological habitats, global exchanges, industrial grids, digital networks, and the democratic imagination. Our works merge primitive with emergent technologies and navigate the intertwined terrain between nature, built environments, mobility, and electronic spaces. We are particularly excited right now about a residency program we are creating in the central Maine mountains where new media practitioners will be invited to make art in networked treehouses in the remote woods.