Daniel Keller & Ella Plevin
Narrator: The US Federal government has succumbed to a series of assaults on its sovereignty, leading to a cascade of increasingly splintered corpo-political devolutions. The Autonomous Kingdom of Nevada – known as AKoN – is the first autonomous ‘patchwork’ state with auctionable corporate sovereignty. Most people left the state after 30 years of drought, and those who remain are corporate representatives and freaks, paid off by the King, in the form of subsidies, in exchange for a complete lack of political freedom. The King is more of a paid patsy than a regent, and sits on the boards of the numerous Californian corporations who inspired his political philosophy. The American desert has always been a testing ground for modernity, and now in today’s absurd future it’s a Petri dish for the various experimental political systems of post- neomodernity.
Anxious and hopped up on phets, Kai Zuckerberg, daughter of Mark and Priscilla, and Dalston Kutcher, son of Ashton and Mila, lie sprawled across the upholstered interior of Kai’s Tesla iDrive xm. The scene is bleached in light, the atmosphere outside the vehicle is dry. Sunlight sparkles off endless distant arrays of dusty photovoltaics as they approach the Cali-Nevada border on a trip from Freistadt Cupertino to Elko, AKoN.
[MUSIC PLAYS AS KAI AND DALSTON GET INTO THE VEHICLE]
Dalston: Ugh I can’t believe we have to cruise in this shitty iDrive. you should see the EN-V Bushwick just bought, the holo is insane. What is this horseshit panel, 8k?
Kai: Ew, Dalston; first, your sister’s always been obnoxiously flash; second, wasn’t it your latest ideological protagonist that said “Money is only a tool, it will take you wherever you want to go but can’t replace you as the driver”? Also, Elon is a friend of Daddy’s, he’s given me an iDrive on my birthday every year since my Bat Mitzvah… [Embarrassed]: Anyway I’m uh, on the waiting list for an EN-V.
Dalston: Haha, but babe, iDrives have been around since, like, the democratic stone age. What are we gonna do all trip, without even a holo?
Kai: Shut UP Dalston, you know my Dad and his friends basically inspired the devolutions…
Dalston: Yeah, and look where that got us. Doesn’t fix the holo, does it.
Kai: No, but if the democracy fanatics had their way, my Dad would have to call for a popular referendum every time he wanted to change Facebook’s design. There would be a committee for every single search keyword that decided rankings. Like I’m not kidding —PageRank was far too authoritarian for these people. Design by committee is the worst. That’s why I can’t stand Cali.
Dalston: Totally… I just wanna get away from it all!
Kai: You mean EXIT! What we do when society sucks and Voice doesn’t work! EXIT is Death; life’s best invention. Obvi not a solution for everybody, but it sure as hell is for us!
Dalston: Yah. I just want a ranch where I can go and paint in peace, without having to constantly do studio visits with venture funds and cool hunters. Like, great, you got yer angel round, do you really need another mural for your lobby already?
Kai: They’re vultures…
Dalston: I mean, I can’t help that I’m a mindividual; I just need to let off some steam.
Kai: It won’t be enough to just have a studio ranch away from Cali. we need true EXIT.
Dalston: What do you mean? What else is there?
Kai: Like, I want to feel actually autonomous for once in my life. CAR! AC up 1!!
Dalston: Well, I dunno, freedom to me is self-expression and my individual style; the fact that we can tell this car to go anywhere we want.
Kai: This car is a hologrid and self-expression is just the engine of calicapital, its not freedom. This car makes us the content; freedom means controlling the platform. Freedom is all EXIT and no Voice.
Dalston: Ha you are so crazy, I love you babe! CAR! AC down 2
Kai: Listen a second; I need to tell you the real reason we’re going to AKoN.
Dalston: CAR! AC up 1. Wait, what? I thought we were just going to check out some property? Thought the taxes were low or something? For like, a ranch?
Kai: Yeah, um, we do need the ranch, but I wanna do something more profound than just get a house in the desert.
Dalston: Oh… you mean like build an earthwork? Retrooo… [worried]
Kai: Umm no; I’m gonna— I mean — we are going to declare personal sovrinty! The ultimate EXIT bae, our bodies as nationstate! AKoN has this loophole in its laws which says that any corporate entity with sufficient revenue can declare its land holdings within NevadaLand as self-sovrin, as long as they pay off the initial secession fees.
Dalston: I heard about that, but I thought you needed trillions for that, and like, your Dad cut you off, right? You know I’m doing fine, but even I don’t got that kinda bank babe!
Kai: Right, but ultimately this will obstruct those filthy bureaucrats from taking your hard-earned bitbank! There’s a loophole: if we marry into LLC structure, then we can reverse-merger, spin off the ranch as its own LLC; divide its assets into chunks which can be traded on the p2p markets. Then I set up a bot to trade them quickly enough to appear profitable. The bot will autorequest a sovrinty hearing with King Mencius, perform a hostile takeover of our Marriage LLC, and relocate our headquarters to its territory, automatically emancipating us in the process.
Dalston: Hahahahah, whoooaaa! Babe…! Marriage…! You know I love u, but… This reminds me of something Ayn wrote, she said: “I swear on my life, that I will never live for another man, nor ask someone to do that to me…” I mean “live for me.” Or whatever.
[Kai rolls her eyes]
Kai: It’s just a legal technicality, Dalston, stop being so dramatic.
Dalston: K, k, jk, babe; I’ma do what I gotta do, I guess. But what does sovrinty even mean for us? How will we eat? How will we travel to my openings?
Kai: CAR! Display location status! It’s simple D, we don’t need to be physically anywhere to be our own state. It’s all virtual technicalities, and we’ll be the pioneers. We’re standing at the brink of an incredible opportunity. We can build a new society from the ground up; a society of two. We’ll be the first non geo-located state in the world. Wherever you go, there we are!
Dalston: Doesn’t that mean our bodies could, like… be invaded? [Increasingly anxious]
Kai: Ok, we’ll hit the border soon; so just stay chill, Dalston. The sentiment drones will be scanning, we don’t have time to get kicked from the border queue and we def don’t have time to fill out those damn H.I.T. shopper surveys they make you do to get unbanned from the distributed border app. Just project confident povo unpersuadability, or we’ll get stuck in dutyfree for hours.
Dalston: I’m super chill right now bae, I think it’s you who needs to worry about the STU’s; you seem manic as shit right now.
Kai: Fuck, maybe ur right… Ok…ok…Just throw something on the screen so I can zone. I need to get my pulse down to unsuspicious levels.
Dalston: CAR! – SCREEN ON! Something chill, surprise me. [PAUSE] Oh cool, I love birds. Did You know hummingbirds can fly backwards?
Kai: Yeah, they’re not the only ones…
[PAUSE, BOTH WATCHING THE SCREEN FOR 10 SECONDS]
Dalston: CAR! Volume down 5! Kai, why do you think your Dad quit Facebook, I thought it was his life?
Kai: He told me it was customary for silicon valley CEOs to step aside after 20 years and devote their fortune, or whatever’s left of it to Charitable Equity Management.
Dalston: Ugh, rough… . Sooo, you got cut off for some bullshit altruism farm?
Kai: Yeah. No, I mean I get it; he’s trying to teach me how to live my life and overcome obstacles and extreme adversity and stuff.
Dalston: What does his charity support anyway?
Kai: I dunno, animals and minorities. Ughh! The smallest minority on earth is me.
Dalston: Tough break
Kai: Whatever. Ok, so when we get there, we have to check in at the better business bureau. We can bracket there, get a Moldbug Seal to approve the land purchase; then we head to the realtors.
Dalston: Oh sick, my feeds are blowing up! Simcho says, “if beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you’re willing to pay for what you feel is beautiful, isn’t that a wise investment?” So much truth on here Kayzee.
Kai: Uh huh, so basically –
Dalston: Ha ha! “On Fire”, “Killin it”, “Praying Emoji”, “100% Emoji”! My piece is live right now and I guess people are loving it! I took the thing I loved to do and I made it into what I do for a living. And that’s usually a really tricky thing. It’s like—perverse, and it becomes conflicting, because the thing that you used to use to escape reality is now just your reality…
Kai: Yup. Are you listening? When we get there–
Dalston: I’m so stoked to work on my next piece out there with you, Kayzee, I’m so full of ideas about surface and tension right now. I’ve been thinking about how our culture has used the same primitive forms of storing information through physical means, like carving into stone and painting on walls for hundreds of years. But everything deteriorates Kai.
Kai: Dalston, I’m trying to tell you something; listen to me for one second—
Dalston: Yeah, but Kayzee, intangible moments like this journey are at the heart of what I’m trying to do; and then it’s so cool because these feeds are totally intangible too, and it’s like my process is a gigantic mirror.
Kai: Right, or, your own irrational discourse is creating a feedback loop which begets more irrational discourse. Please, I can’t handle this buzz right now! Can’t I enjoy a simple iDrive in peace, without you blaring about your followers inches from my face? This is why I want EXIT, True EXIT! I thought this was why YOU wanted EXIT. …I think we’re still being scanned, by the way.
Dalston: Right, right…CAR! humidity up 2!
Kai: So anyway, when we get there I’ll need you to handle the revenue issue before we can marry into the corpgrid. I need you to present your holdings in place of mine; it’s too risky if I do it. This loophole will only be viable with your assets, mine are frozen. Plus my Dad will find out.
Dalston: Umm, but if this is a marriage, why should I take all the risk?
Kai: Nearly all of the legal devices in society were designed to impose barriers on antisocial behaviors. The institution of marriage is a covenant that unifies two individuals and prevents them from ever leaving each other. It’s only by giving up many of our freedoms that we can have a healthy co-operative society with a high standard of living. It’s a formality, Dalston. [PAUSE –LOOKS] Oh, this is where the first Google car pile-up happened. Do you remember that? The moron who turned on manual override to help some ducks cross the road and accidentally killed 17 people?
Dalston: Yeah. The ducks survived though right? Civilization has to reject the morality of altruism, babe.
Kai: CAR! Screen OFF. CAR! I’m hungry :’(
Dalston: Oh yah, I could use a snak attak pretty soon. So I was thinking about my next piece. I wanna make something truly heroic. Ayn says that art’s function is to bring man’s fundamental concepts and values to like, the perceptual level of his consciousness. So I was thinking about how everything is so intangible and so I think I wanna make something super solid. Like a giant canvas. In the desert. Like I thought that’s what we were going to do at this ranch. Like, why do we even have to declare sovrinty or whatever?
Kai: That’s the whole point of this trip, Dee. We need to get away remember? This way is total escape, total EXIT. Also, what’s the point of creating something heroic for those morons exactly?
Dalston: Well, I mean those morons pay my bills. And yah, I wanna take some time out. The desert is near and dear to my heart… Coming to the desert is sort of like coming back to the source of creation; trying to get closer to that. And as a creative person, going to the source of creation is really inspiring. And this place has been really inspiring for me; not only on a spiritual level, but also on an artistic and creative level.
The world’s a canvas, bae. Would my piece, “Untitled: ‘corndog’” have made me so much bitbank if it wasn’t?
Kai: That’s beside the point; those morons are also skimming your bitworth.
Dalston: CAR! Review foodstops!
Kai: Ok, yeah, I think we do need to eat
Dalston: You know I’m on neo-paleo though
Kai: There’s a NooPoo up ahead
Dalston: No way, I can’t eat that shit!
Kai: That’s basically the only commercial shit you can eat, you’re their prime demographic.
Dalston: No way, I’ve been boycotting since I found out the owner is a total altruist; that filth is vommunist.
Kai: [LAUGHING] Uh huh. See thee in the streets, Dalston.
Dalston: Vote with your boat Kai… Let me Bing a politically-compatible neo-paleo drive thru. [PAUSE] Ok, there’s a Hand of Providence snakstop up ahead.
Kai: Ok, that’s fine, whatever. CAR! Reroute to Hand of Providence.
Dalston: So… Will we take turns being president?
Kai: We can take a vote after lunch.
END // MUSIC OUT
Daniel Keller’s artistic output engages with issues at the intersection of economics, technology, culture and collaboration. His current focus of research is on notions of progress, technological disruption, and ‘exit’ from the perspective of the ‘prosumer imagineer’ artist operating within the global networked economy. He is half of Aids-3D, and Director of Absolute Vitality Inc, a Wyoming-based corporation-sculpture co-owned by the artist, his gallery and a group of private collectors. In 2013 he co-organized TEDxVaduz with Simon Denny at the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein. Upcoming exhibitions include The Future of Memory, Kunsthalle Wien; Open Source: Art at the Eclipse of Capitalism, Galerie Max Hetzer, Berlin, and a solo exhibition at Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler opening Gallery Weekend in Berlin.
Ella Plevin is a freelance writer and creative based in Berlin. She has contributed texts and visual fashion stories to 032c, Texte zur Kunst, Novembre Magazine, Dazed Digital, Sleek and Metal magazines among others.