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Jan 23, 2016

What's Up with the U.S.?

"The Trap of Violence", by Tim Holmes
I remember the good old days. I was born into a nation that was rebuilding Europe after we helped stop the terrible cancer of Naziism. It really felt like we were the good guys and I was proud of that as a kid.  Of course we had no concept of our relationship with nature and the state of race and women's rights was pathetic but as the movements to address those issues got underway in the 60's I truly felt that my nation was trying to do the right thing.

It wasn't till I hit college that I encountered the idea of corporate crime. I was astonished to discover that adults (former kids, who had successfully learned how to share and be nice) could lie, cheat and steal! Turns out criminals weren't just the thugs in back alleys, but the captains of industry. During the next couple decades I'd learn how much our "democracy" is in the pocket of private interests. My beloved spouse had a dark side!

It was with delight that I heard that the 90's and the internet were going to usher in a welcome new recovery of democracy and human-centered commerce. Instead we got globalized exploitation of workers, the abandonment of the customer, the inexplicable re-emergence of American (and then global) monopolies, and the outright purchase of politicians. Then came Bush II and the abandonment of the American high road altogether. Now the whole world knew.

Here after many years of trauma, I feel at the end of my rope. I no longer recognize the nation I eagerly married. Like a junkie, she's nearly disappeared into her addictions, leaving me bereft and distraught. Now I can barely see the One I Love. I'm not to the point of outright divorce, but my hope of ever gaining back the nation I fell in love with is on the rocks. It's truly a shame. We made such a great couple once! Still I would do anything for her; and do every day. I no longer think she's the princess of democracy I once did, but as her dedicated partner, I will not stop trying to call her to account and so hope yet to save us both.
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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.