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Mar 16, 2011

A Great Alternative to Polarization

Tower VI, steel
I recently got to participate in a wonderful event organized by a pair of women in our town, a conservative and a liberal, who created an open format to encourage people with opposing viewpoints to listen to each other's perspectives so we can learn from each other.

Well I am happy to report that the conversation was a wonderful exchange. Unfortunately if there were any conservatives who participated, they were invisible.  We talked about how to attract some broader perspectives.  There were some good ideas about encouraging wider participation, but I wondered why the idea of dialog was only attractive to people on the left.  How do we move forward with people who aren't interested in the debate or at least to exposing themselves by it?

There is a lot of talk of political dialog and in fact many positive new ideas for improving society but all the action seems to come from one side which is trying to forge a future in an increasingly integrated world.  The other side seems to be trying to preserve the smaller, less-integrated community of the past; a kind of tribal value system.  Fear of change is sometimes a helpful stance but it doesn't exclude creative dialog.   It seems that a better description of right and left may be "closed" and "open".   If globalization were optional, tribal thinking might be a good idea.   Otherwise, why not dialog about it?
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Tim Holmes Studio

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I'm a sculptor/filmmaker living in Montana, USA. I am using art to move the evolution of humanity forward into an increasingly responsive, inclusive and interactive culture. As globalization flattens peoples into a capitalist monoculture I hope to use my art to celebrate historical cultural differences and imagine how we can co-create a rich future together.

I see myself as an artist/philosopher laboring deep in the mines of joy. I've had a good long career of exhibiting work around the world and working on international outreach projects, most notably being the first American to be invited to present a one-person exhibit in the Hermitage Museum. Recently I have turned my attention from simply making metal sculpture to creating films and workshops for engaging communities directly, tinkering with the very ideas and mechanisms behind cultural transformation. I feel that as we face tragic world crises, if the human species favors our imaginative and creative capacities we can cultivate a rich world to enjoy.

For me the deepest satisfaction in making art comes in engaging people's real life concerns rather than providing simple entertainment or decoration. Areas of conflict or tension are particularly ripe for the kind of transformative power that art uniquely carries. I invite any kind of challenge that serves people on a deep level.