16 December 2010

Poetry and Pragmatism

I am contemplating the next iteration in describing my two themes. When I started talking about my work, it was Form and Narrative, an attempt to describe my interest in the language of form, and how form and material is read, how it is a record of our relationships and cultural values.

Next was Ethics and Aesthetics, which was the formulation of my long-term engagement with environmental issues. The term "aesthetics," however, troubled me. Although I liked the alliteration, the term feels too superficial and systematic. Thus was born Poetry and Politics. The poetry stems from my drawings. Long ago, I described myself as a "form poet," which returns to the interest in form and narrative. "Poetry" condenses that. The problem now is with "politics." The science behind environmental issues is incontrovertable. However, the issues that surround climate science have become polarly politicized. This has become a debilitating condition in which no action is being taken. Contemporary pragmatic approaches to architecture have yeilded provocative results, creatively straddling practicability and invention. A pragmatic approach needs to come to bear in the climate change debate. If even a fraction of the current predictions comes true, humanity is in for a rough ride indeed.

Thus, as an optimist, I would prefer to frame the issue as an opportunity. Not an opportunity for proposing a nostalgic vision of the US in its glory, or the "good old days," but a vision of a better life in this world of ours. We can feed, house and clothe the planet if we so choose - we have the technology. Art, music, literature, dance, theater, film - we have a rich culture. If we allow for a base level of planning, we can achieve all of these things. If we continue the divided debate controlled by a few who resist change because of individual loss, we all stand to lose all.

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