Monticello Road is a community arts project in Charlottesville, Virginia. Through photography and a series of public events and conversations, we explore how an art can be an essential, integral and everyday part of a healthy community.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

The Hummus Revolution

This picture doesn't match the subject matter exactly but it's new and I like it. Maybe it's more about how nature pulls things down instead of pushing them up, but it's really all part of the same story isn't it?

Springtime comes as a a shock every year--suddenly backyard and garden are in full riot--but it shouldn't. The vivacious life we see all over the place in April is always there but it's hidden under the leaves and in the soil. The real action is at the bacterial level, weeks and months of plotting and planning in a fully decentralized way. By the time shoots break the surface, it's just a few days until full flowering and winter's dreary cloak shoved aside without possibility of reversal.

Where does it come from? Broadly speaking the answer is "the soil," the unorganized hummus left over from what came before. The ground we walk on is alive and the source of all things.

I'm really interested to see how humans manifest the same pattern. Who organized the current upheaval in the Middle East? The answer is dispersed, quite different from the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century revolutions with their parties and manifestos. It came from the People. In a world where information is widely shared and communications dispersed, there is a new process for developing ideas. It's less like a brain and more like a gut, which is how the garden works and its power is unmistakable--and difficult or impossible to control.

The creative spirit works the same way. The artist channels unnameable energies from unknown sources toward an unknowable end and this is why poets and musicians always show up on the barricades. In a time of great uncertainty, the artist is in his element. We're well accustomed to getting all muddy and we have work to do.

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