All posts filed under: Exploring Singapore 2017

Keynote – Swiss Psychotropic Gold – A Critical Fabulation

For more than three centuries, Swiss commodity trade has been caught up in colonial, and later in postcolonial and neoliberal entanglements. Having fuelled early modern industrialisation as well as contemporary finance, Swiss trading activities have influenced vivid cultural, affective and moral economies. They have contributed to Swiss wealth, but also to national narratives of independence, safety and white and aesthetic supremacy. The Swiss mythology of neutrality transforms the often violent and “dirty” material complexities of mining and trading into an opaque and orderly form of technocracy, discretion and smartness.

Keynote – Lessons from Bali’s Water Temples

Along a typical river in Bali, small groups of farmers meet regularly in water temples to manage their irrigation systems.They have done so for a thousand years. Over the centuries, water temple networks have expanded to manage the ecology of rice terraces at the scale of whole watersheds. Although each group focuses on its own problems, somehow everything works out in a way that optimises rice harvests for the farmers in dozens of villages. How is this possible? Google Earth reveals transitory patterns in the rice paddies that closely resemble phase transitions in physics, like the onset of magnetism.This unlocks a story of hidden order that charms the physics community, perplexes economists and offers everyone a startlingly new way to think about how people interact with nature.