(We’d like to apologize for the delay in formally making this announcement. Some of you who are in the Ephemerisle community may have already heard about it informally. We have been behind on our communications over the last couple of months.)
The Seasteading Institute has made the reluctant decision to table its Ephemerisle program at this time. We are not currently planning events for 2011 or beyond.
The vision for Ephemerisle was to build an embryonic seasteading city, today, in the form of a water-based festival. The hope was to grow it year after year, incrementally evolving it into something more like a real city, as other successful festivals have done. Eventually, Ephemerisle was to become a de facto seasteading city on the open ocean.
Unfortunately, due to the U.S. legal environment, the costs of insuring this event in U.S. navigable waters is so high that it is not financially feasible for us. (There is a little detail about this in this blog post.) You may recall that unexpectedly high insurance costs were what prompted the cancellation of the 2010 event. We spent a great deal of effort afterwards investigating whether this cost could be reduced for 2011, but it doesn’t appear that we can materially bring it down.
TSI is reinvesting the resources that were allocated for Ephemerisle to our other strategies for making seasteading happen — our core engineering, legal, and business model research, and global community-building for the seasteading movement.
This doesn’t mean that the vision of Ephemerisle is lost forever. For example, it may make sense to re-activate the event in the future when the movement grows enough to have a large & enthusiastic local community in a jurisdiction with lower insurance costs. Another possibility is that our core research areas, while focused on enabling the first permanent seasteads, may provide better options for temporary festivals along the way. Finally, just as there was an exciting grassroots gathering on the Sacramento Delta in 2010, that group is talking about getting together again in 2011. You can join their discussion group for details. Our hope is that their example will inspire others around the globe to follow suit!
TSI’s primary focus with our limited resources in 2011 is to get some serious traction on our core research initiatives. However, we’re open to hearing proposals for small grants or collaboration opportunities from the grassroots maker community. We’re willing to consider any proposal that is modest in size (probably three or four digits) and produces tangible results that advance the seasteading movement. Examples might be prototyping an engineering design that could work in the open ocean, or orchestrating and documenting a participatory experiment in dynamic geography at a floating festival. Inquiries about the application process can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We’re very grateful to the community for its passionate participation and feedback over the past year. Please feel free to contact us with any comments or questions at email@example.com.