By Jeff Stein

Doug Aitken and Zach Tetrault; these two are old hands at Arcosanti. Over the years, both at Arcosanti and beyond, they have proclaimed in print and through their work how the power of Paolo Soleri’s ideas has made a big impression on them. You may have seen the YouTube / Sundance interview that Aitken did with Paolo Soleri a few years ago – click the link here:

Or perhaps you have seen his feature-length films, one of which was created partly at Arcosanti; maybe you were at FORM | Arcosanti 2 years ago (you really should experience a FORM | Arcosanti) for a detailed public conversation about art and architecture and meaning with Doug and Zach and Jeff Stein.

Now here’s what those two, Aitken and Tetrault, just did in Massachusetts this past month:

Like the work at Arcosanti itself, their Massachusetts project explores new ways of seeing the world and of being in the world. Aitken’s hundred-foot-tall silver mylar balloon cruises above the New England landscape, between earth and sky, giving those of us on the ground a startling and unexpected new look at both. When the balloon lands, Tetrault has assembled some of Arcosanti’s favorite performers — in addition to a stellar group of thinkers — to create a powerful series of exchanges of ideas and music. It is a way to enliven the whole state.

I’m listening to one of the NEW HORIZON performers right now. It’s Arcosanti favorite (and recent MacDowell fellowship recipient!) Moses Sumney. You can too:

Now that it has been tried in the East, NEW HORIZON would be great at Arcosanti, don’t you think? Except of course, for the wind; hmmmm…yes, that wind. In fact, years ago we had our little experience with hot-air balloons at Arcosanti and we are not about to repeat it.

So there you go. What a couple of guys are doing in the world when they’re not at Arcosanti. You’re doing something too. Let us know how it’s going! It need not involve balloons. Important work is happening everywhere, and as an Arcosanti alum each of you is in a particular position to affect it. Wendell Berry put it bluntly: “Every generation is a bridge between something that’s past and something that’s coming.” That’s us; it’s you: you were at Arcosanti, and now you’re on to the next thing. As you cross that bridge stay in touch, will you?

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