In Mick Lorusso's guest lecture this week, he spoke of an inspiring character, Buster Simpson. Simpson was an artist who manifested his artistic renderings from scavenged pieces of trash, debris, or forgotten materials. His take on art was that it should always come with a message, but not just any message, an inspiring and eye-opening one. He prided himself on bringing attention to environmental and political issues with his artwork, and sending a message that social changes were in dire need. A famous demonstration of his was taking 40 pound limestone tablets and tossing them in the Hudson River. The purpose was to somewhat neutralize the acidity in the water being caused by industrial pollutants being showered into the same sweet alkaline water that nourished the local elm and maple trees (Photos below from his demonstration & current foliage). Following this demonstration, he received tons of publicity from media outlets, and ultimately, he was bestowed a grant to continue his socially significant contemporary works at the Smithsonian Institution.
It's refreshing to see artists choosing to express a valuable and worthwhile ideal to the public. These messages to the masses regarding change and betterment are commonplace in society, and exist in our day to day lives; but we don't always pay attention to them. These messages inform us on the possibility to better ourselves, better our communities, and make a positive impact on the environment. They come most commonly in the form of advertisements to promote fitness and diet, new propositions and regulations, or health and environmental concerns (Photo to the left). But how often do we make an effort to better these situations that are typically a direct result of our own actions? It's a bit unfair of me to be asking such a bold question, but I can at least recognize the need for change and the need to eradicate our general complacent attitude we take towards wastefulness and overall disregard for the environment. This is another reason why artists, such as Simpson, recycle materials into their artworks; to give the viewer a small glimpse of what we litter our environment with. Not only does this serve as an explicit eye-opening example of our carelessly wasteful nature, but it also holds a bit of intrinsic beauty due to these powerful masterpieces being crafted out of the same trash that people so cavalierly disregard.
American society was founded on holistic principals of a bettering society that continues to be molded by the people. Even with Simpson's drastic demonstration, nothing was done by the government or environmental agencies as a direct result of Simpson's protest. Yes he received a grant from a single institution, but overall the artist's message was disregarded as just another demonstration. Another problem with art, and literature in general, is the lack of scholarly respect and unsubstantial backing given to artists and their works. Many times, the topic of discussion for a given piece of art, poetry, literary piece, or other work, is current events including serious societal issues. Instead of casting these artists off as interpretive and figurative embellishers, we should be looking to these creative and imaginative people for potential solutions to problems. Biotechnology and Art, in particular, have the perfect amount of harmony for coming up with clever and ingenious environmental solutions from an imaginative perspective, then using cutting edge technology to tangibly synthesis these ideas into a viable tool. This is similar to the clever use of nanodiamonds that Mr. Lorusso talked about in his presentation (Photo to the right). It involves scientists taking something naturally known for it's beauty, and using small fragments of these gems as a drug transmitter on a microscopic level. The list of treatments this process has to offer is extensive, and without a brilliant mind being heard by the right people to spread this idea, we may not have this cutting edge treatment available to us today.
Andrews, Robert M. "Artist Uses 'River Rolaids' to Fight Acid Rain." Schenectady Gazette [Washington D.C.] 11 May 1989: 10. Web.
Gogotsi, Yury. "Nanodiamonds for Drug Delivery Applications." Drexel Nanomaterials Group. Drexel Nanomaterials Group. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
Long, Rebecca. "Native Plants to the Potomac Watershed." RSS. Potomac Conservancy, 21 Apr. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
Mochalin, Vadym N., Olga Shenderova, Dean Ho, and Yury Gogotsi. "The Properties and Applications of Nanodiamonds : Nature ..." Nature Nanotechnology. Macmillan Publishers Limited, 18 Dec. 2011. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.
"Fitness." Women's Health. Web. 10 Apr. 2016.