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Oct 14, 2013

Play, the Blessed Force that Opens Creation

"Ringmaster" by Tim Holmes
Play is universal in creatures that have a wide capacity of behavior. (Not so much in crocodiles.) It's the mechanism that forces a new creature who's unsure in a dangerous world to break bounds against the too-reasonable nature of adult culture. Adult culture evolves from collected wisdom of generations and therefore cannot afford to model creative recklessness for kids.  So the kids are compelled by their very nature to play goofy with the standards and rules in every direction, acting silly, tearing around, teasing and wrestling each other out of pure delight. The behaviors that go too far and illicit from adults a cuff or– for humans– a sharp word, are thus channeled into "manners" (staying within adult bounds) which become more solidified and strict as we all mature. (Hopefully in the case of humans maturing also with some degree of consciousness.)

But as adults, how can we move into a rapidly changing world–in which all of us without exception are newcomers? I say the answer is play! Or, as that appears to us: ART.  Art allows us to play with the world in a way that can't do much harm but can illuminate new ways to move forward through the confusing jungle of the future. Thus do we challenge boundaries we all hold sacred but that sometimes– BELOLD!– collapse under scrutiny and open, just a hair, into a new pathway or territory.  (The Blue Bills project is such an example). If that is not art then it is pure, unreasonable, wild, foolish goofiness! Dynamic culture demands a certain amount of play in order to remain flexible enough to amoeba into the future rather than be killed off by deadly mistakes. What serious goofiness are you engaged in to keep humanity going?




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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.