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Apr 10, 2011

Deadlock Is Our Specialty

"The Call", pencil, by Tim Holmes
Somehow we have created a culture that has run our boat up on the rocks and it's time someone leaps out and drags us back toward open water. It's not just the political boat run aground but also almost any area of serious public debate in our time has become too acrimonious for movement.  What has happened? 

One thing we need is to appreciate the wisdom of our counterparts. Conservatives are really good at championing things such as efficiency, effectiveness, tradition, individuality, etc. Liberals are really good at others, like creativity, fairness, compassion, community, etc. So you have a problem like education reform and both sides are full of answers that all sound the same for all parts of the problem and they all want to silence their opponents! But problems always have complexities. One like student/teacher ratios is partly mechanical (ratios) and partly human, right? It could maybe benefit from the different kinds of solutions that both sides offer; where it's a mechanical problem it might serve to use a conservative solution; and if it's a human problem a liberal one. Get those two confused– treat a thing forgivingly or a person like a replaceable part– and you get a mess, which is pretty much what we have.

I am not offering a simple solution to a complex problem, which is always a bad idea. I am suggesting we slice problems in new ways to assess the complexities. If we can see them differently perhaps new solutions will appear. And we could solve them together as friends rather than leaving the solutions to whoever survives the fight.  Reminds me of prehistoric times (I wasn't really there) before people figured out that rather than spending their time fighting each other they could collaborate to solve problems for a better life for all.  Doesn't it seem like we are just on the verge of learning a new way of thinking that would open up a whole new world of possibilities?...Or we could just settle it the old fashioned way...
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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.