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Oct 25, 2012

We are the Hostages

Yesterday I walked "Battle Road" where the Revolutionary War started.  The war was not fought for independence but against a slow power-grab violating the freedoms contracted for with the British by the colonists. This makes me think about how little democracy we have left in America today. 

The financial crisis is but an inconvenient symptom of a disease that is eating away the whole body of "We the People".  We have already lost real democracy but have yet to realize what that means. Despite the various "reforms" that were intended to prevent Wall Street abuses, they have been emasculated by the very people who put them in place as their proper order– money over people– is restored to the system.  Our progressive politicians can install all the reforms they like, but any real barriers placed between the 1% and their money will be destroyed by a thousand cuts. It is the whole capitalist system that has become corrupted by the ascent of corporate power and it cannot be fixed with the simple and nearly futile antibiotic of reform.  Such reforms are but minor irritations to the relentless thievery of Wall Street gangs.

I wonder if the super-rich have become today what previous generations called criminals. (If all criminal gangs have not yet moved into banking they are idiots). They seem to be able to subvert all means of keeping them from making an increasing share of profits while contributing less and less to community. Though they have distanced themselves from the most brutal practices– like open murder– such brutality is now simply outsourced in much the same way as environmental spoilage. Outsourcing has developed its own immunities, complete with the PR frosting of perfect deniability.

The more power the financial criminals seize, the more we will hear reasonable Orwellian excuses to grant them yet more: like "more jobs", "cheaper", "more choices", words they know will soften us. We should steel ourselves to any PR that does not directly give more power to the people. Even elections are a sham created to mollify our desire for democracy. (Still- always vote, and vote for the lessor evil!) When one has all the money in the world there is hardly a soul that cannot be bribed. The only way people will be protected in that situation but by living values higher than love of money. I have faith that in the end the compassionate human spirit will eventually prevail. But I have no idea how. The forces seem so enormous and have such endless power at their disposal in the face of which mere human resistance seems futile. Violent revolt would do it, but I hope it doesn't come to that. We need a way to organize and to resist the mind-numbing techniques used to quiet us. Keep the faith. Real democracy would be wonderful. We have yet to see it but it is never too late to struggle for 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.