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A tech-economic system that has no limits. And no interest in limits. There is a poet, philosopher and farmer in the States named Wendell Berry who believes our inability to accept limits is our downfall. So too our thinking that “if we don’t have some necessity in life here we can just get it from somewhere else”. Potentially one of the most damaging ideas we have ever had. And the stuff of “extreme fantasy”. But that is also not surprising. As we have long had an asymmetrical relationship with technology. Our expectation is that it will solve all our problems. And so routinely fail to ask two important questions of it; 1: What human purpose will it serve? and 2: What human and environmental impact will it have?


Just tinkering around and on the fly with students.


The initial constraint was a mandarin. Yeah. There were then a series of subsequent prompts – a number of ideation and imagery exercises. The aim was to ultimately generate a piece of thought / associated writing on technology. We threw a final constraint in – you had to embed at least one reference in there to support your angle.




210mm x 297mm (A4) Portrait.


Berry in Norberg_Hodge (2019); Yunkaporta, 2021; Young (2016); United States Public Relations Works Committee (1969).

Note I / Fast Writing

All I see is the barcode. But the mandarin doesn’t just have one. It has two. Why does it have two. And what do they say anyway? I can’t read this stuff. No-one can. We need to ask the machine to translate. And create. Helpless. Subservient. I want to picture the mandarin from the tree but I can’t. The barcode is the block. This mandarin probably travelled thousands of kilometres before it got to me. I wonder when it was last touched by hand. It’s been sorted packed and packaged stamped and shipped and sprayed and displayed. I wonder how old it is. I eat these all year round. Even when they are not in season. Made possible by a …

Note II / Water Pollution Bill

We are jeopardising our human qualities by pursuing technology as an end rather than a means. Too often we have failed to ask ourselves two necessary questions … (Report on water pollution bill, 7th August, United States Public Relations Works Committee, 1969).

Note III / Berry’s Limits

Berry speaks of food but it could be anything – I offer up friends as just one of numerous possibilities.

Note IV / Haven’t Finished

Embed Yunkaporta’s interconnected salmon and edit it again.


To the students. Who give it a shot. And tap into something they don’t yet know exists.