Here Thar Be Monsters!

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Into The Fray

Maybe you've been under a rock lately and haven't heard of the world's newest art center.  If that's the case, then you'll want to click over to the Ciputra Artpreneur site (after you finish here, of course) and take a look-see.  This is Indonesia's finest art and performance space, and it's set to open in a couple of months.  It will set the bar for the country's commitment to the arts and culture.

Why, you ask yourself, is this guy promoting the Ciputra Artpreneur.  Glad you asked.

If you've been a reader here for any length of time, you know that I promote the fine arts and culture as a way to save the world, and that's not hyperbole.  There are those who would coursen our civic lives in order to diminish the human spirit and have us all wallowing in filth and ugliness, because it serves their purposes.

I espouse the philosophy that fine art raises us above squalor and elevates the mind and spirit into realms that supersede the mundane.  Art is the highest expression of humanity, and there are those who don't want us to go there because it liberates our beings and gets us to see beyond our humble existence into worlds that can be and will be, if we have the desire.

Another reason I'm promoting the center is because, by the Will of Fate and Destiny, the reins have been handed to me and now I must put my money where my mouth has always been.

It is both a unique privilege and chore to be handed such a tool box as this.  In fact, I believe that only a Texan could handle such a wild pony.  There are three large galleries, a museum with two spacious chambers, a massive projection screen (60m x 9m), and a 1,300-seat international-standard theater.  In other words, this is one of the most flexible, diverse and modern art spaces on the planet, and I have the joy and responsibility of making it work.

Suppose you are a carpenter and you have spent most of your life grousing about how you could really do something if someone would just turn you loose with a good set of tools.  Well, I am that carpenter and someone has just handed me a set of state-of-the-art tools.  Now what?

What do you do with this kind of tool box that has never been used, in a country that has never had such tools at its disposal, and a large number of people demanding some of the finest furniture ever produced?  More than that, how can you take these tools and put the center and the nation on the map of global centers for artistic expression?  Furthermore, how long would/should that take?  Most importantly, what steps do you take to fulfill the promise without a misstep and wtih a shop that needs to train up in a hurry?

Talk about your wild ponies.

It's a rather daunting position to be in, to have someone hand you a contract and tell you that by signing it, you will have the ability to achieve most of your life-long ambitions.  How do you proceed?

Let's say you've dreamed all your life of reaching the top of Mount Everest.  Let's say you've clamored and climbed to the point where the peak is in sight.  Do you rush headlong and throw yourself at it?  Or do you proceed with the utmost caution to ensure success?  Do you want to be able to climb down again, or is simply reaching the goal enough?

Ambition screams at you to strike and get yours.  Prudence quietly reminds you that there is a team that got you here - parents, teachers, friends, and colleagues - people who pulled your ropes and whose ropes you pulled.

The most profound line in the whole recent Batman series is when Ra's al Ghul told Bruce Wayne that he had sacrificed sure footing for the kill shot.  But at what point do you balance risk with security?

In any event, it is now my task to lead a fine team of professionals in starting a new venture - one that will have extensive effects in the civic life and culture of a nation.  It is a task that can change history if done with the greatest of care and empathy for the society in which it is occurring.  It can lead to new understandings, renewing entertainment, profound revelations, and broader horizons for a great many people.

It is a task I don't take lightly.  I can make a very real difference in this corner of the world.  With the support of a great number of visionary and hard-working people, I want to step beyond the limits of commerce and profit, and into the realm of transcendence.

How does one do that?  What shows and exhibits would you choose that could achieve that goal?  If you could introduce the world's art to a people, and their art to the world, what would be your first step?  And the second?  How would you maintain sure footing while taking the necessary risks to achieve such things?

It is a fun position to be in for some, though without a doubt, there must be a very serious side to it.  What great works of art does one bring, how does one educate and inform, and finally, how does one take the same steps to introduce the world to the treasure in one's own backyard?

Stay tuned...this will only get more interesting.  Regardless of the outcome, it is a thrill to be at the front line of the battle between beauty and derangement, to take on the forces that would drag us all down into the slime so that they could sit on our sinking heads for nothing more than their selfish pleasure.

There are those who would reduce humanity to feudal serfs - unenlightened beasts of burden for the select few.  There are those who would lift all humans to great heights of knowledge and understanding.  I place myself in the latter camp and will use those resources at my disposal to achieve that goal.

In any case, I get to see a lot of great shows for free - as long as I don't end up like Father in The Mosquito Coast.