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Dec 5, 2015

Krampus as Counselor

Today is Krampus Day in Austria, a day when this ancient monster returns to the community to frighten people into being good (his sidekick: St. Nicholus!) Krampus–a large, hairy, horned monster dragging chains, flailing clubs–enters festivals all over the nation to great crowd-shrieks, pretending to whip and beat people. Like a running-of-the-bulls, bystanders take great delight in fleeing the monsters. When I lived in Austria I absolutely fell in love with Krampus! It may seem strange but here's why:

We live with terror all the time. It always appears in a frightening inhuman form that chills our blood and returns us to a primal role as prey. It takes a lot of power to overcome us so we tend to be scared by large, angry creatures with superpowers in place of reason. Terror is a combination of fear and helplessness. What makes Krampus fun is that it arose in ancient times, when such large creatures presented a real danger. Truth is that we are superhumans ourselves, armed with an intelligence that can overcome nearly all dangers. Yet we remain afraid. Why?

Krampus reminds me of terrorism. In is presence we show the same emotions as a peasant facing Krampus. But although the visage is scary, we're the ones with the superpower. First of all we an choose to act, so we're not powerless. Also, any idiot can see that the monster is just a pipefitter in a costume, a person like you or me who probably needs a bathroom break. Krampus's only power is inside our own heads, where the real danger resides. If we were to slaughter the pipefitter, strangely enough, Krampus would still return next year! That's what we don't understand about terrorism. It exists only in our heads. Every so often someone gets hurt by Krampus, but it's very rare. Same with terrorism. Why waste your fear on a threat that is fairly harmless in the face of a real killer like heart disease, car crashes or a crazy gun-toting neighbor?

To our detriment, we don't have anything like Krampus, so we remain in the thrall of a terror we cannot best; causing us to do ludicrous things (like start wars which only increase terrorism!) We're helpless only as long as we can't locate the real danger. If we don't face the darkness in our own heads we'll forever be running, screaming away from pipefitters who just need to borrow the restroom.
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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.