Sunday, October 3, 2010

Zero 1 Symposium - Friday Ghostly Reflections...

Overall, I enjoyed the opportunity to attend the Symposium and get insight into the various works that embodied the overall theme of Zero1 this year, "Build Your Own World". I will admit that the first half of the day left me entirely disheartened, but more from the bureaucratic standpoint than the artistic. Artistically I was inspired and in absolute awe. The concept of building a piece of art that translates scientific data into a substantial and approachable data concept AND would convey those concepts clearly for 100 years is a daunting and admirable task. I really searched my mind and my creativity both during the symposium and after to wrap my brain about how *I* would have done that.

It should come as no surprise to anybody reading this that I study stuff. All kinds of stuff. One of the things that I am really facinated about is how old things go on to become old. I used to live in a 1909 Craftsman House and always wondered if the builders really thought about what it would be like as it aged. I suspect they didn't really put much thought into how it would survive and focused more on how it should be. In regards to the basement foundation, modern convience additions, long term material availablity and some other issues, I wish they had put a little more thought into what the future might entail but I think they did okay. One of my favorite buildings in San Jose is the Old Church of Christ Science on the north side of St. James Park. Beautiful Neo-Classical architecture example from the 1890's, massive collums and a central dome. City engineer says at this point all that is holding it up is the termites holding hands.

The builders of that, like the builders of my old house, probably didn't think about what 100 years in the future would look like. I suspect that they would be quite surprised to find their Neo-Classical church covered up in plywood and surrounded by a cyclone fence. When I asked, if wholly by the slim chance, Diridon should end up not being a destination in 100 years, instead of getting the artists/scientist's take, I got the bureaucrat. Having spent a decade of my life being a much more intimidating bureaucrat than she, I was less than impressed with her party line adherence that Diridon would always be a destination. While I don't actually doubt her, I don't care, and wanted to know what the artists thought about how the work would last and stand on its own. Bureaucrats are easy to access, artists are less so. In the end, we all don't know what the future will entail and my question was lost amongst the shuffle of my property taxes towards the cause. I support the arts daily and I'm noticing that my city is rarely operating in my best interest. I will support the project if not it's keepers...though my tax dollars go to support them as well. Curious that. Might be worth a letter to the Mercury News after all.

Jade Chang was awesome and witty. In pulling my notes out for this write up I found her blog information and will make a point of following that. Out of all the talks, I found hers to be the most rational and adhere best to the theme of Zero 1. To recap, she covered random acts of public improvements through art. Some were nefarious, like the modification of a freeway sign for greater clarity by a muralist with an adgenda. Some were just for fun, like the piano stair project. I too find myself wondering how I can make the world a better place through a random act of artistic kindness...sounds just too delicious of a concept to entertain through my sometimes larcenous but well intentioned heart. Keeping my eyes open but I must admit, the beauty would be to DO something and never tell a soul that you had made some or many people's lives a little better. Keeping my eye on Ms. Chang in the future. Good stuff....thanks to Shannon for letting us experience Zero 1!

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