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Processing a defining moment for America

July 18 2010 | Art, Jim's Blog,
by Jim

The work above is by LA graffiti artist Saber One. Like all of us, he's processing the Gulf spill and its affect on this country. I view this as art in the same vein I view Jasper John's legendary flag works. Similarly, this image attempts to capture a moment in this country's history and uses the flag as the central metaphor. So how are the rest of us processing this? For ten weeks, we've all watched toxic pollutants pour into our waters. We've watched the destruction of fisheries. We've watched economies get hammered. We've watched communities' ways of life become seriously challenged. That's not what we'd like to think of as "an American story." More accurately, it's an American nightmare. We've watched all of that happen and we know we'll be watching more of the same for years to come. I think many of us have shifted our focus to the questions that have risen, through the oil and toxic dispersants, to the surface. What have we learned and how will those learnings influence future energy policy? How will we increase corporate/government relationship transparency? How will we treat accountability? How will we manage the risk/reward equations associated with the ecosystems our lives rely on? What does America look like in 5 years? What does it look like in 15 years? Will we face our at-any-cost addiction to other people's oil? Will this disaster be the catalyst we've needed to fund and innovate a cleaner, less risky path to energy independence? Lots of questions to be sure... I love the stark, honest visual impact of art. It doesn't hedge. It doesn't shift and jive in front of a video camera like politicians and talking heads do. It delivers a representation of an idea, a perspective or a moment in time. It can repel you or draw you in but if it's good, it WILL draw out an emotional response. So what about you? How are YOU processing this American moment? What do you think we've learned? What do you think this country's energy mix will look like in decades to come? What would be on your canvas?
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