The Future History of the Nuclear Renaissance With Isabelle Boemeke
The year is 2053. A nuclear renaissance has transformed society. Here is how it all happened.
Isabelle Boemeke’s interview with Palladium comes from the future. Speaking from the vantage point of 2053, the environmental activist and model told us all about the method by which nuclear energy came to be embraced by humanity, as well as the technological boons it created.
Energy is the currency of the universe. From relying on human muscles, burning wood, and fossilized plants and animals, to finally splitting the atom, our species has been outstanding due to our ability to use energy to shape everything around us. The more energy we harness, the more we expand our knowledge, technologies, and understanding of the universe. High-speed travel, supercomputing, AI, and space exploration are all only possible because we are able to tap into vast amounts of energy. Nuclear has many advantages over other sources, such as being the most dense, least carbon-intensive, least land-intensive, and one of the least material-intensive. And, let’s be real, it’s the most badass.
While the nuclear renaissance of this article is set in 2053, it is a future within our grasp. To highlight this idea in our photoshoot for PALLADIUM 07: Garden Planet with the photographer Brian Ziff, Isabelle is wearing a 3D-printed Radiolaria tutu from Julia Koerner, with thanks to Letra, Trendhaus, and Oriens for the rest of the wardrobe. This visionary interview combines the frontiers of technology with the frontiers of fashion:
You can check out the interview with Isabelle and more of these beautiful photos here, as well as in our print edition of PALLADIUM 07: Garden Planet. Become a member to receive one of our best editions yet.
Kendra Jones has published her debut article on the border surrealism of West Texas.
While there is a physical border between the United States and Mexico represented by its checkpoints, bridges, and walls, the mental landscape of the region is seamless—cartels, migrants, government surveillance, and private companies operate fluidly on each side.
Despite the intense amount of observation that happens in the borderlands, many of its actors and much of their activity remain illegible. “Panic pole” desert beacons are scattered through the southern deserts should a migrant become lost and choose to activate one. 35,000 acre ranches that specialize in private security training host urban combat scenarios.
In a well-known smuggling corridor, it was normal that a network of lookouts was observing me. Amidst auto-repair shops and honey bee farms, a few locals in a raised truck were state-of-the-art threat detection. Meanwhile, on the U.S. side, a dust trail followed a Border Patrol agent in one of their easily recognizable white and green-striped SUVs cruising along a trench. But the state has no monopoly on surveillance, and I was in a live participatory panopticon. Loops of surveillance in the borderlands are an experiment in dominating day-to-day affairs.
Following the river further east, passing the cluster of glimmering four-hundred-year-old Spanish missions and the Ysleta del Sur Pueblo—the region’s oldest running government since its establishment in 1682, and claimant to the longest continually cultivated land in the United States—I drove through green ranchos and tidy pecan orchards. This is where the border wall erected by the U.S. government becomes a strange rhythm of termini: it stops, it starts, it stops, it starts. Although the sense of the state’s ambient intelligence remains, the cracks in the empire’s fortress are blatant and navigable. A wall like this is functionally no wall at all.
A violence-as-strategy ecosystem and its presence in daily human affairs is an added departure point into the future. Concerningly, the most violent actors are ramping up their ability to use military-scale tactics. In Michoacan, cartel drones now drop cartel bombs; the use of improvised explosive devices may be a foretaste of things to come. Recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott joked about using landmines at the border, and on Wednesday issued an executive order designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations. The same technologies devised to emphasize sovereignty or safety have multi-sided risks.
This article goes beyond the partisan framing of issues around the border, instead opting to focus on its psychogeography. The “U.S.-Mexico border” and the “American borderlands” are two different things. The former is a physical boundary you can see on a map, but that doesn’t mean it describes the territory. Kendra’s article captures the complex surreality of a frontier region where capital and human flows are so obvious—yet remain so hidden.
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Here’s what’s been on the front page lately:
Surveilling the American Borderlands by Kendra Jones. The U.S.-Mexico border is a landscape in constant flux. A surreal journey to the frontier reveals the interplay of state security, organized crime, and personal ambition.
The Future History of the Nuclear Renaissance With Isabelle Boemeke. The year is 2053. A nuclear renaissance has transformed society. Here is how it all happened.
“Life Goes On” With Stewart Brand as well as Wolf Tivy and Matt Ellison. Reflecting on over fifty years of environmental advocacy, a sober, scientific perspective warns against fear and apocalypticism. There’s work to be done.
Palladium Podcast 80: Ash Milton on the Wages of Revolution. Ash Milton joins Alexander Gelland to discuss his recent article on the life of the Abbé Henri Gregoire, a priest who was one of the leaders of the French Revolution.
The Rise of the Garden Empires by Wolf Tivy. Mankind’s environmental destiny is to build garden empires, synthesizing ecology and industry together into a new form of life.
That’s all for now.