On Rebirth and the Promise of Spring / Interviews / Books / Resources – For Artists

Snowdrops are beginning to peek out of the earth. The hollow rush of wind is gradually being replaced by birdsong. There is an angle to the sunlight now, as it sinks later and later each day, that carries the promise of spring. Those of us who have lived our lives in the northeast know this isn’t a sure thing. What’s bright and warm one day can be blanketed in fresh snow the next. But these early notes of rebirth begin to gently pull us from our winter slumber.

Poet Edward Hirsch experienced the unimaginable with the loss of his 22 year old son. He wrote his grief into a book-length elegy titled Gabriel: A Poem for which he won the National Jewish Book Award for poetry. Hirsch honors his own grief as a father and describes the weight of mourning as a physical presence that everyone faces at some point in their lives. “Look closely and you will see almost everyone carrying bags of cement on their shoulders,” he writes. In another work he discusses with a dose of humor, the often difficult dynamic between the head and the heart. Hirsch has penned other books of poetry as well as prose. He is the president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Hacker and inventor Mitch Altman achieved hero status in some circles for his creation of TV-B-GONE which is described as an “environmental management device.” The gadget turns off any public television with a simple point and click. Altman is a self-professed TV addict. In 1993, he was at dinner with friends when he became aware that it was impossible to pay attention to anything other than a television set playing in the restaurant. Thus TV-B-GONE was born. Altman is a strong proponent and mentor in the Maker movement. He travels the world giving workshops and talks teaching electronics as well as working on collaborative projects of all sorts. Among projects he is presently working on are two brainwave-controlled robots.

Additional interviews include: Richard Garet and Swetlana Herger

Much like the optimism of snowdrops, a good book can pull us through to the light of spring. What are you reading? Click here to add your books. Mitch Altman discusses Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation and how to Take it Back by Douglas Rushkoff. User Liz Wells turns to Rebecca Solnit’s A Book of Migrations for wisdom gained through “wandering and wondering.”

FIGMENT NYC has, for the past ten years, called on artists to design—of all things—a mini golf course. The project has received great critical acclaim and is currently seeking artists to collaborate on their tenth anniversary course. Deadline is March 10.

In the lengthening light of February where we anticipate the returning sun, let us also honor the stillness of winter in its waning days.

Here, as ever, are the interview archive and resources. Interviews are available on iTunes as podcasts, and for Android please click here.

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