We’re entering an era of re-invention in our society, where the arts connect lives holistically on a deep and broad creative basis.
It’s hard to believe on a day-to-day basis that as humans we are the leading edge of a four billion year process on earth to re-imagine our world on behalf of ourselves, subsequent generations and all species. We need spaces that can accelerate our evolution as creative and ingenious beings: I think art can do that.
For the last few years I've held an 'as if' discourse with great great great great grandchildren about the choices I make about the life I lead. It's novel way of feeling accountable and connected.
We can sustain life on this planet, but we could work harder at imagining it, as a conscious collective public act. To imagine a future in which life is sustained is a creative act in itself. So art has a purpose and our lives a creative agenda; to re-imagine and re-make the world the way we would like it to be: creative, connected, happier and more resilient. There are inspiring examples to follow in this regard: Vaclav Havel when imprisoned lived his life ‘as if' he were a free man.
A conversation in October 2010, with the great David Fleming, made me realise that the future of the arts would be about the re-localisation of the arts as an inevitable consequence of peak oil, economic contraction and climate change. So how do we make changes to how we live, where we live? Much of my work with the Transition Town Movement explores those possibilities.
I get glimpses of the future, and get excited about the times we are living in, and the tales there are to tell of it. I have to pause and let my physiology evolve to absorb it. I imagine walking in a forest, finding one of those lookout towers, climbing to gain perspective, seeing wood for trees - and an immense landscape of good change that stretches beyond.
I swim year round at the Tooting Bec Lido. I could write a book about how swimming helps me live well: the immersive and creative qualities of swimming are almost endless. Every day is different. The leaves on the tree (or not in mid-January) the sky, the temperature, one’s mood, the light on the water and anyway as one of our elder swimming club members says ‘you never meet a miserable cold water swimmer’.
“The future is dappled in the present”
Paul Allen,Centre For Alternative Technology CAT)