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Feb 18, 2013

Look out for Cannibals

"Long Arrival", charcoal, Tim Holmes
Perhaps you've heard the gripping story of the whaleship Essex, which inspired the tale of Melville's Moby Dick. In 1820 the Essex was hunting whales in the Pacific, when it was rammed by an angry whale who thus– in a kind of whale justice– sank the ship and left the crew adrift at sea in lifeboats.  The men had some provisions but were stuck about as far from land as one can be on earth.

One of the great ironies of the story is that they rejected heading toward the nearest islands, which they'd heard were peopled with cannibals. So instead they embarked on a much longer journey for which they hadn't enough food. So when they ran out of food they ended up eating their fellows. Turns out their fears caused they themselves to become the cannibals they so foolishly tried to avoid!

We are not two kinds of people, though our history and our psyches would have us believe there are those bad guys and then there's us. Now that Carl Jung and like psychologists have revealed the principles of projection– where we project our unacceptable characteristics on others– we are challenged with the reality that we carry our monsters within us. That simple knowledge alone will be enough to save our skin, but only if we can learn to embrace these, our own dark monsters.

Issues like terrorism,  gun control and drone use become extremely difficult because all our senses tell us our demons are in the other guy. We'll never figure it out and be forever condemned to a world of war until we become willing to peer within. Perhaps then we can move forward.

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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.