How goes it?

Episode 65: Design Fiction and the Pandemic with Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tešanović

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STOP: Corona Diaries

Even though i spend every day speaking online to my Italian friends in dire straits, even though i sing dance and cry with and for them, even though i anxiously follow the statistics of the corona virus spread which are worse every day than the predictions…i must admit that now i am on a turning point. Either i will understand them and join them or just forget it, let them fight it out as the Brexiters are doing.
Italian premiere just announced that he is afraid that Italians will not be able to endure the severe restrictions psychologically… so in italy only half measures for now even though they have the highest death rate in the world…Chinese scientists and doctors who came to help them just said, this won’t do, if you don’t help yourselves we cannot help you…
The so called Italian lifestyle that was promising the longest life span now is delivering the highest death rate…i would claim that Italian lifestyle was always overrated just like their food or high fashion. I am allowed to say that being half Italian who spent most of her life in northern Italy. And there the scientists, medical workers are imploring all the Italians…STOP…

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Science and Conscience: Corona Diaries

76706888_10157747339772819_4921359873502871552_oLast night people in Belgrade, Serbia applauded again vastly and loudly the medical staff, just as they are doing it regularly in Italy, with singing and banging of hope …yesterday Italy had the biggest death toll ever 475 and the military were engaged in helping with the coffins…Listen to the science, act with conscience… there are bigger things than an individual or politicians…the concert and concept of solidarity is underway finally…

T. from Rome writes:

This morning I saw the army trucks transporting the dead bodies in Bergamo and I had a breakdown… so surreal, too much horrors. And too many people in Lombardia are still required to go to factories and workplaces even if they don’t work in undeferable fields. Why our government is not shutting down everything? why are those people being sacrificed in the name of profits for the fews? after all, we already know that there will be an economic crisis, so they could at least have some pity and make people stay at home. At least, Boris Johnson was way more honest by telling clearly that people should get used to the idea of losing their loved ones…here, they are doing the same but without telling it loud. 

When i was seriously sick some years ago i couldn’t stand people telling me, stay positive everything is going to be Ok! But what really helped was making sure that i have access to good cure, doctors opinions and means. Those were my only friends…they staid.
Today with corona menace it is not like during wars and sanctions, standing in lines for goods or as legitimate targets on the bridges… A politician put us in dire straits, to fight for survival …now politics can help or hinder but the lines are our own responsibility towards ourselves and the others.
We should not fight among each others but i see that we are divided, because people react differently to danger and power, basic instincts.
Children are anxious for their parents just as much as vice versa, but not necessarily agreeing on cures. My best way of coping is solidarity and isolation, two poles…solidarity with all and isolation from everybody, mind and body, especially mind. Maybe some flowers will bloom on the garbage. I am literally cleaning the no man’s land full of human garbage, plastic bottles whatever…in my courtyard along the Danube, instead of walking the streets, attending events, dinners. After the first days of isolation it does not feel like prison or anything new, it feels good in a elementary way, to rise with the sun and go to sleep with it, to think about earth and the skies and us humans. But the time count feels different, i lost one day… just a year ago i published an essay on time, doubting it’s linear count!

A Moscow diary, just like mine or anybody’s, so far and yet so near, so near and yet so far…so, space is also relative…

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Purgatory: Corona Diaries

Right now i am staying in the the house of Rasa Livada (1948-2007), Serbian poet from Zemun, Belgrade on Danube who wrote a book of poems “Karantin” in 1977
He used to prophesize, A Livada kaze…and Livada says…
Rasa Bafi


Everyone keeps on asking that question. You’d be surprised:
For such a long time the most beautiful and biggest building
In town has been the Quarantine Office.

If you scratched its mortar you’d be able—
even at this very moment—to dig out a rib
or the shin-bone of a construction worker.

You can tell there was a dungeon
stretched between the earth and the underworld,
between the earth and sky.

And there were those
who travelled along Rodopi’s cable
to find their fathers who’d escaped the region
and gone to Hellada
as well as those who had come from Jerusalem and Smyrna
only to migrate then to Poland and Germany
(multiplying their seed as well as their amethysts),
and then there were those who took medicines and their ID cards
and those who just ran away,

although, plenty of them stayed.

What a mixture we have become:
Slavs, Greeks, Germans, Hungarians,
Jews, Latins. Oh, do you know how many
costumes an actor has to change
in order to remain naked and yet, you ask,
what force is keeping us alive, what customs
or culture?

I’ll give you an answer:
QUARANTINE no longer exists, it’s been interiorized,
although, it still teaches us to tell one sort of people
from another, the rich from the poor.
Besides, our hatred which still endures
(it really endures) makes
one forget, whoever that one
may be, what
he does.

A teacher won’t tell his students
everything he knows, in case he loves them.

Translated by Ivana Velimirac

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The Task Lamp: Corona Diaries

Virtual Vita Nuova

From the Italian fantascienza anthology “La Prima Frontiera” of October 2019.

The Task Lamp

by Bruce Sterling

Since you are the heir, you must hear the story of the lamp directly from my own lips. Never mind the gossip of the people. They never liked this lamp much. They only let me work with it because I worked for their sake.

So, my boy, once I was young like you, and this lamp was new and brilliant, and it was a lamp built to last, too. You can read books with this lamp when it’s dark as pitch outside. I read books in my bed at night because I’m a sick old man. If you don’t boast to anyone, you’ll get away with that.

So, to tell you my story: once, there were three great people among us. These three were the most Beautiful Woman in the World, and…

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