Books turn people into isolated individuals… When you tell stories out loud, your bodies make a corrective molecule, one that brings people together. — Douglas Coupland, GENERATION A
And a lingering question about imagination.
See my full review on Goodreads.
Where there is no vision, the people perish. — Proverbs 29:18
See the full review on Goodreads.
King Sunny Ade: Nigerian Superstar on NPR -
Luna Park produced King Sunny’s 2009 North American Tour this past summer. When in Philadelphia in June, the group dropped in to record with David Dye and the World Café. The segment airs live today; you can check out the stream on NPR’s website.
What is "live art"? -
Luna Park’s tagline is “Live Arts & Events.” We mix up fringe art sensibilities with high-level production values, and vice versa. I suppose this is what had me climbing a 20-foot scaffold last week to create a moment at an event at Seattle University.
But back to the theory: ”Live Art” is a formal term used in the U.K. for a certain approach to the performing arts. Check this out from London’s Live Art Development Agency:
“The term Live Art is not a description of an artform or discipline, but a cultural strategy to include experimental processes and experiential practices that might otherwise be excluded from established curatorial, cultural and critical frameworks.”
And so Luna Park presents things like SLUG, or “Fringe the Puyallup!,” co-produces The Lost Picture Show, and brings some “wow” and “aha” to events from our corporate clients.
Here are a couple notes from his book A WHOLE NEW MIND.
(p. 69) The wealth of nations and the well-being of individuals now depend on having artists in the room. In a world enriched by abundance but disrupted by the automation and outsourcing of white-collar work, everyone, regardless of profession, must cultivate an artistic sensibility.
(p. 75) For much of history, design…was reserved for the elite, who had the money to afford such frivolity and the time to enjoy it. The rest of us might occasionally dip our toes into significance, but mostly we stayed at the utility end of the pool. In the past few decades, however, that has begun to change. Design has now become democratized.Read my review on Goodreads.
On the eve of Bumbershoot (one of my clients), it’s worth considering this quote from Michael Pollan’s THE BOTANY OF DESIRE, page 101 (emphasis mine):
A carnival is a social ritual of sanctioned craziness and release—a way for a community to temporarily indulge its Dionysian urges. For its duration, the identity of everyone swept into its vortex is up for grabs: the village idiot is made king, the poor man suddenly rich, the rich man just as suddenly a pauper. Everyday roles and values are suddenly, thrillingly, suspended, and astounding new possibilities arise.
(See my review of the book on Goodreads.)
Pollan of course is applying this observation to variations in plants, but right behind it is how we approach food: how we imagine it in our culture. And behind that is how we imagine things in the first place: festivals, carnivals, circuses, fairs… they are all valuable and necessary. (And in the case of the State Fair, not too far removed from the production of food—historically, the rides were just a sideshow to the main business of agricultural commerce.)
The authors in the new book CONNECTED tell how to reduce poverty, on page 301. The book is an argument for the importance and power of relationships (a geometric progression) over the accrual of things (arithmetic progression).
“To reduce poverty, we should focus not merely on monetary transfers or even technical training; we should help the poor form new relationships with other members of society.”
See my full review at Goodreads.
Yay to the Times for covering SLUG. There is one comment, I believe, that deserves some comment:
THE TIMES: “[SLUG is] the latest project of…Luna Park, an organization dedicated to working on ‘creative solutions to systematic human problems.’ The lack of haiku on grocery bags hadn’t hitherto struck me as a problem. But now that it’s been pointed out to me, I’m intrigued by SLUG’s solution.”
The problem, dear readers, is not the lack of paper bags with haiku. It’s the lack of imagination in our every day lives. With imagination, we can envision better solutions to a traffic jam, to small business loans, to students who don’t know math… hey, to pointing out that bags are tools and not garbage. SLUG, in its small way, pokes the brain in a fresh way. Maybe some new synapses will be fired, or smiles smiled.