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Jan 5, 2015

Something There is That Does Not Love a Wall

San Quentin, monotype by TIm Holmes
Last month The Daily Show interviewed author Suki Kim talking about her teaching in North Korea, where citizens are flooded with propaganda that touts their concentration-camp-like nation as the most awesome in the world. Although the top NK students–unlike the rest of the country– get three meals a day, they know nothing of the internet and have never traveled outside of their own area, Kim says. What would it be like for these poor citizens to rise above the level of their incarceration and begin to see–if not grasp–the greater world outside of which they remain tragically ignorant? 

Following the release of the US Torture report last month there was a flurry of defensiveness and disgust by the right centering on what a great nation we are, that we were simply doing what was necessary. Even the discussion, some said, is dangerous in its incitement of hatred against us and, besides, it's old news! Furthermore it counters that lovely fuzzy feeling that we are AWESOME! I couldn't help but become haunted by the parallels in these two stories.

I'm getting ready to deliver a speech (similar to my Erotic Crisis TED talk) in Berkeley on Jan. 29 about there being certain things in what we consider the free and open society here in the US that cannot be talked about in the public sphere. To bring up some topics (like the value of the flesh) would violate certain unwritten rules we've all learned to live by unconsciously. But the one thing we always can be sure of is that we don't know our own limits. What might we discover were we to rise above the walls of our own culture to fully inhabit this glorious universe?
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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.