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Pandemic Pandemonium

New Times Ahead


The world has been confronted by a pandemic caused by the COV-19 Virus emanating from Wuhan and spreading over the world. This has been followed by draconian moves of quarantine, social distancing, and banning of public gatherings to the point of violating individual freedoms for the "public good". We have entered an age of global change and shock. We have fallen through the wormhole, and it is not certain whether we will land in a strange new Wonderland, but Alice doesn't live here any more. We are facing global seismic change, and undergoing a transformation that will see the arts mediating identity and community. Media technology is erasing boundaries and collapsing distances, so that the other side of the world is immediately present and tangible. Such immediacy can be overpowering, and at first there is pandemonium, disorientation, and a fear of disintegration.


Entanglement is the energy that is pulling us together, demanding we discard the fragmentation that has been dividing us, and calling us to understand the deep connections of reality that underlie a new world.


The good news is that our training and sensibility actually prepares us for change. We are receptive to Time as it changes, because art itself is about transformation and change.  We are sometimes fooled by the products of arts, but art is always process. Process becomes a way of researching the world, of knowing the world as always at the point of becoming.

Looking at the work of M.C. Escher, we can see how wonderfully he expresses the notion of change and evolution through images that come in and out of the foreground and background. Evolution is about constant change, and as we have changed in response to the world and its changing environments, we invent ourselves over and over again. Now technology becomes the environment that calls for change, and we are in the midst of an information revolution that may control our destiny in ways beyond our imagination. All of this is involved in the technology of ourselves. We work on ourselves to become more than we are now, to become different than we are now. Education itself was once viewed as the way that humanity could preserve the past, Now we see Education as an agent for personal and social change. But Education is transforming into self awareness, a sensibility in which the learner is control of the process and outcomes. Two books come to mind that have to do with a sense of mastery and change: Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel that examined the meeting of East and West on a very personal level, and how a westerner came to experience Zen on a deep and profound level that changed his personal awareness of the world.  This book was very influential on artists in the West in the 1970s. Another book grew out of that sensibility and borrowed from the title of the Herrigel book: Zen in the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig. The industrialized West encounters a different value system of the East in an exploration of the quality of our thoughts and experience. All of this deals with the technology of ourselves, and this is what we are about as we go through the creation of new materials through the mastery of technologies that call for different ways of knowing and creating the world that is our home.


Perhaps the deepest connection exists into ourselves in the context of others, and how collaboration by creating new work together elevates the well-being of all who shape reality from our thoughts and visions for change.

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