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Oct 4, 2016

The US Gets What it Wants, One Way or Another

ND authorities use military tactics against peaceful protestors.
The ongoing protests of the Standing Rock Soiux tribe in North Dakota plead against another intrusive fast-track approval for corporate projects resulting in abuses against communities and the environment. Usually corporations can march through the process without raising too much concern. This is the way it is in the US, so we don't complain too much, even when the offences become illegal. So the Dakota Access company building the pipeline through the Soiux sacred burial ground and water supply was clearly not expecting much trouble. (When I tried to contact them, they were strangely "unavailable"). It is rather embarrassing that they apparently didn't even train the poor security people they put on the front lines, who were charged with sicking dogs on the protestors without a sense that they would unleash thereby an international furror.

In fact, it's hard to imagine what–if anything–was going on inside the heads of the corporate executives. Could it be that they are so used to getting away with crimes that they really didn't think about the wisdom of using attack dogs on an encampment of peaceful protestors? If anyone had thought about it I'm sure they would have recognized this as a suicidal move. Now the company and its parent company, Energy Transfer, are squirming in the international spotlight. But ironically, this attack happened exactly 150 years after another against these same people, when the US army massacred more than 300 people. Oops.

This is not just another protest by the disenfranchized, this one is a great symbol of US dynamics today. The political landscape is clearly delineated. The corporations get preferential treatment, like elite citizens in an autocracy. Our unfortunate history is one of slaughtering the disposessed (like the Native Americans who welcomed our ancestors) to gain resources. It has taken me most of my life to learn the sad truth about the US. We were all taught about "America, land of the free", but the history we learned was carefully edited to make our nation look great. Now it is becoming clear that this whitewashes a very embarrassing story. Yes, we are improving, that is the good news! We no longer slaughter the Indians that get in the way of the resources we want. But the US has yet to learn to honor human beings. If you stick around long enough, you will recognize when you too are on the receiving end of the dogs. It happens a lot more than we know. As a nation we've graduated from slaughter to mere stealing through coersion. Is that really the best we can do?
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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.