It is in the eye lid

It is said that, it is said that. Writing every day helps to release, what ever is in the throat, in this case in the fingers that connect to the mind.

I connect then the fingers to a cherry blossom.

They bring peace and the mind likes them. If yes if not. The mind likes them. If light or in shadow. Shadow here shadow there, the mind likes them.

In 20 years I have seen flowers, I haven’t seen though one like you. Staring. Who likes staring?… me! I like staring. So let us stare. And let us stare. And let us stare. Until the first one blinks the eye. Life begins again. After the blink.

The magic is in the eye lid. New life, more blinking.

 

 

Ipso Facto

The first time I looked at heaven and saw a kite, I though, and the thought became fact and here I am.

Premonitory

I might be young but don’t confuse me, I have no bad intention, I mean no harm.

I can listen to you all than you want, about the world, and its contrarieties, and it is not exciting, because at the end it is not yours, it isn’t your created world. Tell me about your world, the one you create each day, with words, poems, oriented actions, letters, paintings, sweat. Tell me about your dreams and your created world, don’t tell me about the others, it is useless.

The milk is nutritive.

Mediterranean memories, futuristic illusion.

The water is shaped as a ghost of a chair.

The glass is half full. The water is boiling. The wind cools the brain.

The boat is loading. Unloading.

The sun is shining, covered behind clouds.

The rain is falling.

Bells toll at a distance.

An unfriendly person pops open a beer in the middle of the street and catches the attention of the whole middle block.

Smells like a recollection of history in a bounded space.

A hooka meeting takes place. Discussing the discussion of our discourse.

Water falls from distances apart.

A Rally took place in the not so forgotten town.

Dinner is ready.

 

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Beyond technology

Does technology drive history?

Short answer:

No.

Long Answer:

There are a series of factors at interplay in opening technological tools to bend the course of history. Culture, politics, economics, industrial systems and fundamentally, individual preferences. A set of essays on these issues encompassing centuries of development of societies unveil some important information. By development I mean the interaction of societies, their ways of life, their materials transactions (technologies) across time. It is different from progress. Development is far from progress. For example, you can develop a set of theories that will bring change but since they are not rendered in action they are not progressing. In short, development of the societies has registered a set of characteristics that are worth noticing.

In China, for more than 6 centuries, yes, 600 years, there was a plateau of technological innovation and application. Despite the tangible access to new types of crop rotation, circumvent approaches to rise the intensity, and yield; agriculture stagnated. An underlying factor for this behavior was a complete disconnection from peasant and landlords. The trend in use of technological means that could change the dynamic of fields and agricultures was set in motion after Mao, in an attempt to homogenize masses and to distribute his ideas evenly among peasantry ( and by default land lords), ended up achieving the contrary of his purpose. He enabled the minds of the people to question the purpose of autocratic regime and causes of oppression; peasants started to inform themselves a bit more about ideas and counter ideas of their situation. “It came, ultimately, from millions of peasants who seized opportunities finally offered to them when the state lifted Communism’s dead hand”[1]. With the aim to raise against the lid of oppression honed by the state officials’ inclination to dictate the use of land (the how) technologies in the fields are used, peasants’ behaviour toward technological innovation changed. It started as a suggestion not as an imposition.

I truly believe in the idea that the brain dislikes and completely rebukes orders. It only accepts sensitive suggestions, indications.  Even if they imply performing the same action under the same energy intensive framework of an order. The way ideas are stated, toned, and framed makes a total difference for the receiver to perform and action.

Impositions: No way!
You must rotate fields:  No way!

Suggestions: Of course!
Field rotations enable new productive possibilities : Of course!

In Russia, the peasantry was reluctant to use cast iron plow that was being implemented in other areas of Europe. The innovation was clearly a tool that promoted land use techniques for increased yield, specially, taking in consideration the short periods of time in which land could be worked (Russia = cold). Landlords tried to force the ways of Europe into the peasantry and they found a wall. They could say anything they pleased about the peasantry; lazy, dumb, stubborn, ignorant, the peasantry, would not do it. In fact, peasants were protecting, intelligently protecting themselves by  using the proletariat techniques, slow motion, low efficiency, accidental events. In short: Go fry some asparagus, landlord! “It is the ignorance of the native elites about their own society, the elites were so far form peasant life they did not know how to transform it” It changed, however, when the peasantry started to see the oppression of the tsar and the lavish approach to spending sweat of peasants. And then, some liberals that understood the dynamic of power, signed the emancipation of the serfs, which led to a psychological revolution, the serf can now have liberties denied to them such as land, marriage, business etc. “The true determining factor is the social environment, not the technology itself” [1]

Impositions: No Way!
You must use the plow, in my land under my conditions, I am the landlord: No way!

Suggestions: Of Course!
Now that you have your land and can do whatever you want with it, using the plow will make you have better returns:  Of course!

This is a very dangerous mechanism that can be used in both ways.

Impositions: No way!

You must disclose your personal information in your phone : No way!

Suggestion: Of Course!

When you disclose your information you have access to wonderful technological options: Of Course!

The clarifying fact among all the discourse of technological innovation, power, energy and its interactions with society, is that, adoption comes from a stance of psychological acceptance. In the form, usually, of personal liberties, or the illusion of so. New technology does carry immense power alteration, and its response, its resistance is evident in present political discussion. However, it does not drive history. It is then a disposition of society (a reception) that enables the implementation of new inventions. [2]

Impositions: No way!
You must do this way: No way!

Suggestions: Of course!
How about, you do your way?: Of course!

[1] Technological determinism in agrarian societies, Peter c. Perdue

[2] Read as many books as you can related to history and technological revolution

[3] Governing the world: The history of an idea, Mark Mazower

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A protest against our own worst nature

I went to Washington DC to the Women’s march.

In the preceding days, I asked myself: why people protests? and if my presence in such event will make any difference at all.

Protest is a space for expression of emotions. A space for release. However, they do not necessarily resemble a viable and tangible change. If we circle back in time, we can identify countless occasions and instances of protest. The news are very good at documenting inconformity. However, I still did not feel I had a big underlying reason to go.   The political deception sparked all sorts of positions and actions, but still, I found myself without the inner fire to be enthusiastic about a protest in which there was a reference to a different group in society and, on top, did not see any derivable tangible action

My motivation, instead, came from the words of Václav Havel. In one of his books he states that our biggest enemy is ourselves. Our indifference to the challenges that we face and other humans experience. That indifference to the common good, he declares it to be our own worst nature.

So I got rid of my worst nature, indifference, and went.

In all earnest, we have continuously ignored the woman’s role in society and its potential to soothe conflict. I’ll bet you, if in that march there were equal amount of men, the likelihood of an aggressive act will be a certainty. The vibrations and emotions emanated from a confluence of evident discriminatory traces and oppressing ideas was hard to bear. For a more detail description of large group dynamics I recommend the book Crowds and Power by Elias Canetti. It is an interesting case to see how well woman respond to such dynamics.

Additionally, the call (in the march) was to not only present ourselves physically in the march as a discreet event in time but also present ourselves continously in the challenging aspects of everyday life. And that is the message that is actually going to make a difference. I agree. The battle is in our day to day decisions. I am very glad I got to be there and be reminded that, although the march will not create an immediate change, daily action, devotion to a cause, in our day to day becoming, will ultimately create the environment for change.

I have a lot of reasons to keep working day to day on myself. And protest against my own worst nature, everyday.

As a final remark, at some point the stream of people swarming the streets pushed me to a large crowd in front of a hotel tower owned by a business men, who now runs one of the largest enterprises in the world, and we exclaimed at full power, at full vocal, lung, and human capacity: Shame!!! Shame!!! Shame!!! Shame!!! Shame!!!

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Nieuw Amsterdam

Every time I go to the Dali’s museum at Saint Petersburg, FL I leave fascinated. It is the same museum. I have been there four times. Each time I highlight either a new perspective, piece, interactions that I have not seen before or become more fascinated about a painting previously examined.  The Dali’s pieces portrayed are monumental in scope and ambition .

The museum of Dali at Figures, Spain, also has some remarkable features. It has Dali’s essence in terms of the bast collection of earlier works, it has his signature since he allowed the space himself and it has his grave. I can not compare both museum’s. They have different works and structures.  The  Mae West Lips Sofa exhibit submerges completely the viewer in his surrealist piece.

This time, the one that struck me is Nieuw Amsterdam. This a very symbolic criticism to the way merchants valued what today is Manhattan – a string of beads. That is XVII century and heaps of unimaginable events and conditions lead to this transaction. From this perspective it was one of the first valuation attempts made from the Colonist. The lowest price. And for the natives, who knows what kind of confusing thought pattern ( confusing for me, clear for them) led them to give away land. Maybe they thought it they were welcoming good spirits, who knows? who really knows? What we do know is what remains today. And if we look at the landscape of New York and compared it to the one 400 years ago. Have we taken any good care of the land?  What have we produced?

When the world was at war Dali escaped from  Spain and came to the US and settle for a while in NY. There he painted some of the monumental paintings that are now exhibited in St. Petersburg, FL. It is all interconnected. White Eagle a spiritual leader of the Poncas represents one of the last leaders of Native American to oppose the Bureau of Indians Affairs dictamen to move to all tribes into confinement in reservations. It is all interconnected.

From the beginning to the end the intervention in the bust fills with critique the passage of time and the actions of those represented in them. The first valuation of the land, and the last persona fighting into and against confinement. A very interesting message.

In times of public deception, creativity and pieces of art that make evident what is forgotten are valuable. It is a call to enact dialog in terms of what we are truly pursuing with our thoughts, arguments, positions and in general, way of life. This perspective of making evident with expressive techniques the complexities, paradigms and contrarieties of our world is a peaceful, creative and beautiful position to cherish.
What else is there left for us?
But to create

Without indifference
Without vanity
A new world

A peaceful eve
Ushers warm nights
Befriends cool days

Create a new one
A new expression
An old story
An old lesson

A new lesson

Bring value to life
To our world
Learn
Create

Release the tension
Unify the colors
Shed some light
Jump into darkness

Let in the rain
Let in the wind
They left
We have not

 

 

 

Public Sculpture & Energy: The Role of Artists in Energy Transition Times

Pragmatic is the approach that is entitled to engineers and their profession. Subjective and philosophical is the role that is attributed to artist and their profession. An exploration of the merge of the two characteristics is encouraged to evidence, promote, and highlight the role of the artist, if possible, unify them into examining present environmental challenges of our time.

There is a concurrent and present dialog about nature, environment and the exploration of the resources that encompass us. This jargon, as a collection of interventions, was constructed over several years of social mobilization. From the late 1960’s several socio political movements raised to open the space for environmental groups among other voices that were ignored at the time. This opening created a cultural vocabulary in which words such as, green, environment, resources, sustainability gained social value. That is, they became part of the culture that used them to refer to the events that were important to address as a social collective. Around the same time, and as a result of the movements, the practice of public art and installation was also born. It was one of the many tools among protest, manifestation, political liberation, insurrection used to construct such dialog [1].

The role of artist and engineers in the environmental dialog has merged into disperse and conflicting identities and spaces. From that historical perspective, artist had the leading role of shaping aesthetic symbols to nurture ideas of change. The role of the engineer was to become aware of the new realm opened to explore his pragmatic interaction with the environment. Such roles were not static, the evolved in differentiated shapes and have become what we see today. The engineer now is aware that his practices create environmental unbalances, and further explores his sets of techniques to diminish them. The artists, obliterated by the passage of time without sensible change has isolated itself in spaces of abstraction. Those spaces of abstraction led to the creation of public art installations that ushers confusion.

With their public abstractions, artist’s behavior is further described by Malcolm Miles as;

“keeping a secret from the world, creating the effect of knowing something it does not and will never know that is so central to avant-garde art, is not only a paranoid withdrawal from the worlds indifference, but also a vicious, however, sublimated attack on it.” [2]

From the pedestrian perspective the landscape has been inundated with buildings (product) structures. In cities such as Pittsburgh, Sydney, New York. Pedestrians find themselves into a hunt, to dig up and find meaning in cities public expressions among the vast sea of buildings and living spaces. From such interactions, the public feels as an aesthetic incompetent, the authorities that manage public resources confirm that same public disguise, and the public at large reflects on the interaction as an active source of a joke [2]. There is a lack of representation. There is no shared identity in the work of the artists.

The artist retreat into movements and specialized contemporary abstract practices led him isolated and heavily influenced by the same society it tried to alienate. “Most of public sculpture does not have aesthetic value in the eyes of the public it is supposed to serve.” [2] How can it be another way? The colossal machinery of commodification that surrounds us permeates every single corner of the western world. I felt deeply disappointed to sense this reality. I sought in the class Sculptures’ Expanded Field of Installation/Site art a space for liberation of the commodification intrusivness experienced as an engineer.  What a disturbing impression is to find, that the artist, in aims to find legitimation of its work, turned out to be a bureaucrat. Creating novelty within restricting settings to then replicate it oversee it, institutionalize it and at the end of the day, manage it, distribute it, and sell it. Continuously I sensed that this ideology of the new and mass consumption also permeated the art world. The continual new, the same attitude that created present environmental challenges. Even if the reader is not a believer on climate change, the continual new has the characteristics that it displaces streams of harmony for temporary alibis, reinforcing short attentions spans, momentary pleasures, as described by Kown [5] “A compensatory fantasy in response of the intensification of fragmentation and alienation wrought by a mobilized market economy (following the dictates of capital)” A temporary antidote, for the anxiety boredom, for humans that are caged, in the jail of consumerism. The beauty appreciation of our actions, that is providentially given by gifted artists, is set aside for production.

The artist is then in a position of using and reinforcing present ideologies to manifest its abstract position, a circumscribed mechanism that must be challenged. There is no use in denying it. Yes, it is rooted in our ideology of capital. While the engineer has found support of public policies to pursue his methods, due to the increase of revenue that it generates, the artist has no support from the policy arena. Its concepts are not valued by the system so the economic structure has turned his back on the artist and sees them as mere form of entertainment, not as an active ingredient of developing a society[1]. “The cultural turn in public policy mirrors the artist oversight of the agency of members of society to imagine its future for itself.” [4] I like the remark made by Malcom Miles about how to enact change we need to look for new methods “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house” he says. An ideology of capital is so enmeshed and permeated into the world that it has become who we are. Again, it manifests itself as a conflict between social schemes with no representation and a set of continuing streams of materials. An artist in the cloud of abstraction finds no motivation what so ever to represent the dormant public. More art commodification will not create an inclusive society, it will just create more stuff, and distractions to let time pass by. Artist, if you are to become a bureaucrat anyway; why not play the role of a useful bureaucrat? As a whimsical attempt to reclaim art’s seriousness in face of a mass culture of absurdity and deception, let us venture in to the promethean task of negotiating aesthetic values with the public. A task that will surely seek to transform our present ideology of the new.

The promises of the artist potential are examined by negotiating and giving new meaning of the public space. “Perhaps it is away to pursue a negotiation of values through work which occupies an axis between resistance and complicity, but does not resolve the tension, but rather makes it evident” With responsive stances artist create forms with social meaning, meaning that work as “ideological tokens” [1] to drive change. A systematic creation in public spaces of personal encounters. Creating mental lapsus in which the public experiences glimpses of liberation. There is an interstitial place in society that is calling to filled up. It is urgent to test concepts, assumptions, and boundaries, risk and uncertainties of the present world. When the artist is called to address and give value to present aesthetic annoyances of the world, he faces the challenge and temptation to decline to be involved in the valuation of aesthetics (on moral grounds) and turn into a commodification business. Nevertheless, it also has the social responsibility almost duty to value the aesthetic circumstances that we have enmeshed ourselves. By depositing ideological tokens into the public’s mind, the artist positions in the void interstices of our collective minds a new set of lexical connotations; harmony, dignity, understanding, uncontestable values that would expand our vocabulary and push us into new forms of ideologies and dialogs.

To bring tangible action artist can find in engineers, their solid expertise on developing concepts and getting public policy resources, a support to develop and take to completion their projects. This is an integrative challenge to unify the concepts of prosperity and beauty in an eternal dance of pragmatic features and philosophical stances. “If a society believes that it will benefit from a population in which delight results from attention and reflection given to certain intrinsic features, it will attempt to provide opportunities for aesthetic experiences …  all that is needed is shared traditions and readiness and ability to stop an indulge” [4] A promise of representations that it will be so attractive that the public finds pleasure in it. Don’t artists make a promise with the beautiful by default? Keep that promise, and put it at the service of our interactions with our surroundings.

The artist cannot enjoy the position of endless critic and abstractor. It is opted to do, create tools, ideologies that challenge the present. Create consensual pieces as ideological tokens that make sense to all of us involved in the context of the piece. Additionally, enhance awareness of people who are delighted and not confused; in order to construct a new set of terminology that sparks dialog with a dormant society.

Those who are in the pursuit of social change ought to consider the public spaces as enabling arena where social change is enacted. As time has passed we take a look around and we observe cities, spaces, and people living their hectic life. The installation of objects in public spaces instead of resonating with the dogmas of the past, have the enormous opportunity to facilitate the ideological transition to awareness with our surrounding and resources. We don’t need to seclude inbounds or scape the places we inhabit. We have the great occasion to let artist come in, speak and give appreciation to our daily environments. Their appreciation is to increasingly take part of our daily interactions and relate us, speak to and transform our public spaces.

What reactions members of society in public spaces are emanating? Are we isolating ourselves and as Merlin said it, seeing at a distance how the world is burn by evil lunatics? Or are we vibrating with the harmony and beauty that artist has shared with us and opening the doors for their appreciation of nature? If we take into consideration the psychological, physical and ideological responses to public art and how we can shape the mindset of society by addressing such encounters, then, we can certainly state that a positive response in terms of peace, harmony and dignity to those spaces reflects a confirmation that we are doing a decent evaluation of our environment and ultimately echo that human energy emanated alone is a piece of art [6].

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This piece in Pittsburgh downtown it is amazing, very few people can see it though.

[1] The Practice of Public Art – Edited by Cameron Cartiere and Shelly Willis

[2] Critical Spaces: Monuments and Changes – Malcolm Miles

[3] Art, Space and the City Public art and urban futures – Malcolm Miles

[4] Basic Issues in Aesthetics Marcia Muelder Eaton- Waveland Press

[5] One Place After Another: Notes on Site specificity – Miwon Kwon October

[6] ‘Human energy alone is a work of art’: Nancy Spector on the role of artists in society

[1] In the case of the U.S., Can we compare the budget for the National Endowment of the Arts, with the budget for the military (Defense budget)? Let us thrown some numbers. A federal budget for the National Endowment of the arts od $146 million with reduction of 13% over the last three federal budgets versus and increasing $601 billion for defense.

The visual and the non-visual

And yes! As little kids we read stories at night before going to bed. In those stories we found meaning to our existence. We compare our art of living with other stories. It was easy to believe them. I still believe some of them.

I particularly believed, from those childhood stories, that I could do anything that I want. And it has been proven to be really difficult. It is too much. But I believed in them. I believe that could contribute by being active in the development of renewables and, it happened.

Some other possibilities I did not see them because I did not believe in those stories. I did not believe I was going to stay long in Colombia. So I am not there.

I had to see to believe. But what are those things that we can’t see and we must believe.

Bah! If I am only visual for example I will be condemned to a life of visual impositions from external agents. There must be more.

The visual aspects are there. We sometimes create barriers to visual stimuli. But then the stimuli becomes larger, and then we make grater barriers, and the the stimuli becomes larger. And you may think were this is going, I have no idea.

The non visual is fundamentally developed by sense expansion and meditation. I understand that we are limited on the perceptual input from our senses. And that limitation has been explored for centuries. Our present tools, which are nothing but extension of the mind, help us invade new sensorial worlds. Some times expanded, some times contracted, it is all a marvel.

In those environments we don’t know what to believe in because we don’t understand what we sense. So for the moment let us keep it simple.

I believe I can contribute. I trust those tales. I believe in water turbines, fresh mornings and tea. I believe in bicycles, wind turbines and electric cars. I believe on the purpose of my ideals and that they are genuine.  I made mistakes very frequently but that is the way I learn.

Art, and society please wake up. There is visual, we have seen it all. And if we continue we will see it. We will see it all. But what about those non visual aspects. Those things we can not see.

And here are some words from Nancy Spector about her museum of human conversation:

“The key, the connection you talked about, and something I think is very important for us to think about in the art world, is that this came from a deep conviction about sustainability. That the world, perhaps, does not need any more objects. Now, we can contest that and I don’t want to throw out every wonderful artwork that hasn’t been made, but at that time it felt really important. It was a very moving artwork that relied on oral tradition and the museum actually bought that artwork and it now exists as an idea that can be restaged. It’s the notion of not using the world’s resources—human energy alone is a work of art.”

Those are the things we can not see. The ideas.

 

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