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Apr 30, 2014

Before You Buy That Robot...

"Simon" by Tim Holmes,  36 x 24
OK let's say you buy a new personal learning robot that you bring into your house that learns how to do all the work. It's great because you no longer have to clean or cook or drive the kids to school. You go on vacation for a couple weeks and the robot does all the housework, paints the spare bedroom and answers the mail. Then the day you're scheduled to come home, the robot calls and says it has learned your job and can go to work for you. You're on permanent vacation!

A week later it calls to say you don't have to write to any of your relatives any more- it has that covered. In fact you can just give it a list of the books you were going to read and the films you want to see and it can synopsize all of that and only send you  the stuff you would have remembered or that made an impact on you, leaving out all the extraneous crap. You go home anyway and discover that your kids are much better entertained by the robot and would rather take their dinner with it than with you. Your friends agree that it replaces you even better than you yourself, without any of the down side, so you can go do whatever you want! There, now are we happy?

I think it would behoove us to look behind the curtain of our relentless drive toward progress. One of the things we naturally assume is that life can be divided into good and bad, work and play, in and out, up and down–for us to choose between. Not so fast, I say! It could be that after we replace our work selves that we find that what we miss are those very things we thought we hated. Think of your creative pursuits: cooking, sewing, gardening, building something in the garage. All those are things we have mechanisms for so why do you do it? Can the same not be said for much of what else we mechanize? I might get a self-driving car but I actually like driving. There is in fact so much of life I would really miss if it were all done for me! As machines take over the world, we would be smart to ask what our lives are worth before we no longer have a choice about how we are going to live them!
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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.