BRAND NEW SEXY ECONOMIC FUN : Organic Creative Coops

04Apr09

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Visionary Buckminster Fuller famously said, “I am not trying to imitate nature, I’m trying to find the principles she uses.”

Come. If the “Design to Function” ratio of Nature is always brilliant, then we proclaim these four (plus ONE) playful and innovative inventors as MAGICIANS mixing the old principles of nature, simplicity, cooperation and synchronistic balance into the BRAND NEW SEXY ECONOMIC FUN.

Play. BRAND NEW SEXY ECONOMIC FUN means we stop complaining and get creative with what’s on hand as inspiration for creating new forms and fun.  Inspired with “what is” vs. “what is no longer.” OK, maybe it’s not the beach at St. Tropez right this minute, but what is here right in front of us and how can we get some smiling and innovation out of this?

Using Buckminster Fuller’s example, like a bee sampling a field of flowers, we hover and descend around the world to taste some portents of inspiration from the beautiful, where we see it or even more importantly…where we choose to see it. Perhaps one day we will do this respectfully around the earth and perhaps the solar system.

From houses made of shipping crates to high-tech, low-tech worker coops to green pioneers being invited to The White House for their expertise, here are some of our friends who are doing amazing things to change how the game is played.

Adam Kalkin in his Bunny Lane home

ONE: READY-MADE HOUSES FROM SHIPPING CRATES: ADAM KALKIN

Adam Kalkin is a trickster combo of Sacha Baron Cohen, Marcel Duchamp and the nerd in Math class.I originally met the architect and artist last summer on a covered deck turned into a dance floor at a private party in Princeton during a thunderstorm.I was break dancing and he was doing a polka with his girlfriend, Jocelyn, a friend of mine.We didn’t speak that night, but I could feel a kindred spirit through our dance styles.

His site, Architecture and Hygiene is amusing to explore and I investigated his work more closely at this summer’s show at MOMA in New York City, Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling,” which ran from July 20–October 20, 2008.  The show featured several pieces of Adam’s.His playful houses made of shipping containers and his marketing around them highlights the fun and fallacy of all structures given our biological inevitabilities and our temporary residence on the planet.

Adam is like the Salvador Dali of architects, a showman creating a world of “art”, scenarios, recipes for suburban life and 1950’s do-it-yourself kits for instant houses, Quik-Build,all of which brands and wraps around the mass-produced and synthetic philosophy of his shipping containers as pre-fab houses.

A crowd-pleaser at the exhibit was Adam’s video montage with multiple windows into realities and symbols of home resembling the boxed segments or rooms of his houses. Snails endlessly making love, a man weight-lifting his dog in a Sisyphean pulley system, an ever-burning fireplace, exploring the forest, a Jerry Lewis movieand an operation on a stomach happen simultaneously, a bee-like compound eye glimpse into the bigger picture of Life.

Adam Kalkin video wall at MOMA

See this Dwell magazine video for more on Adam. See CNN’s recent coverage of shipping container homes here.

ladene

TWO: KNITTING AGAIN: LADENE CLARK

I first read about Ladene Clark in stylist Sharon Pendana’s blog,Pendulum Swing and recently had the opportunity to ask her about her crocheted pieces which have been commissioned by artists such as India Arie and rapper Cee-Lo.

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Jade: Where did all this crocheting come from?

Ladene:  I had all this hair and couldn’t find any hats.  Hats became bra tops became a dress and it went on from there.

J:  Who wears your clothing?

L:  It can be performers for the stage or everyday people.  It’s not sold in stores right now, people find me.  If you’re feeling me then I’m feeling you.

J: Design inspirations?

L: Right now a lot of African music like Cesaria Evora and Superreal, Alexander McQueen, classic movies and vintages stores and furniture or just walking around and paying attention to the trees or what catches my eye moment to moment.

J: Words to Live By?

L: Express, free up, don’t worry about judgement as long as you are true, all the rest will come.

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THREE:  GREEN WORKER COOP: OMAR FREILLA

Toxic Trash becomes our food?  Unfortunately true.  The landscape in New York’s Bronx neighborhood comes complete with factories making fertilizer from trash for farmers out West to grow our food (really) and Omar Freilla had a better idea. Nature recycles and renews and so Omar created Green Worker Cooperatives and ReBuilders Source to take building and construction waste out of the waste stream and recycle it: the doors and windows, counters and sinks, and appliances and hardware that usually end up in landfills have a new lease on life, as do the cooperative workers who now have green jobs.

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Recently invited to the White House, little marvin and I had Omar on our Town Hall panel held last year called for an event we produced called “People of Color Don’t Care about the Environment” at The New York Society For Ethical Culture, moderated by Simran Sethi, host of Sundance Channel’s “The Green” to highlight the environmental injustice prevalent in communities of color. Simran was one of the few people of color highlighted in Vanity Fair magazine’s early “Green Issue”.  She was the perfect choice to moderate the provocative discussion of leading environmentalists and community leaders of color to discuss what environmentalist Van Jones, recently appointed Obama’s Special Adviser for green jobs, enterprise and innovation, calls: Vanity Fair: The Unbearable Whiteness of Green”

madonna-on-vanity-fair-cover_2263Madonna was unavailable but the event was sponsored by The Sundance Channel and Uptown magazine to co-oincide with their January/February Philanthropy issue. (Len Burnett, publisher of Uptown, formally publisher of Vibe, was super supportive of this event).  You can watch Omar and other green pioneers speak on the Sundance Channel coverage of the event here: People of Color Don’t Care About The Environment.

“The city’s major export is now trash,” Freilla says. “ReBuilders Source will be an alternative to that.” The store, selling revamped building components is a model he hopes to replicate in NYC and other cities. “We want worker cooperatives on every corner,” he says. “We’re out to create a model for a democratic and green economy.”

People can learn what it takes to run their own environmentally conscious business in weekly classes at the warehouse.  In a 16 week program, community members can envision themselves as possible owners rather than just employees, and create solid business plans.

Pioneering Green Justice, Self-Empowered Communities and Clever Innovation. This is Brand New Economic Fun. PS…Can someone introduce Adam Kalkin to Omar Freilla and make my dream house…Here’s the back view:

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and the front looks like this:

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Thanks for any and all referrals.  And now, for my perfect work space….

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FOUR: AN URBAN KIBBUTZ FOR ALIENATED TECHIES: TONY BACIGALUPO, SANFORD DICKERT

The drift from lone computer hunchbacks at Starbucks to cool co-working spaces is happening all over the world. And trust they are evolved beyond hide-out crash pads for boy techies.

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Finally, New York City has its own coworking enterprise,New Work City, thanks to my friends Tony Bacigalupo and Sanford Dickert. Visiting their very elegant Tribeca space a few weeks ago for a blogging meet-up, I was surprised to see a copy of a book Tony co-authored on the world-wide coop movement, “I’m Outta Here: How Coworking Is Making The Office Obsolete”.

New Work City provides community workspace for location-independent workers who share a big space and all the collaborative and creative benefits.  As an extension, Tony and Sanford plan to facilitate entrepreneurial activity in NYC with their latest venture, The Runway Project, a project to help people turn this crisis into an opportunity to become entrepreneurs. Their Coalition of Office Space Providers will be working with the NYC Economic Development Corp. to provide discounted office space for first-time entrepreneurs and one-off events.

FIVE:  GETTING PLAYFUL ON THE EARTH: ALL OF US.

Recently the whole world united and turned off the lights on monuments and public buildings…Earth Hour…one hour of darkness to lower the planet’s massive energy usage.  Magic happened.

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A concert on the Cape became more lush…

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A couple in Brighton celebrated their wedding, it was much more sexy…

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Kids in Singapore made art and got goofy…

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A few years ago, we challenged Orlando Florida’s Rollins College students to become a peace sign for the Global Peace Film Festival during the International Day of Peace. The playful and intentioned act, with 5 minutes of silence at one point, carried the message of what we can create together more effectively than expensive pamphlets, websites, ad campaigns and rhetorical speeches.  Economy of resources and simple human gestures will expand our lives and humanity in ways we can only vaguely remember. If we are not constantly abducted by our egos, the computer, twitter and all our “sexy” distractions then we have more time to play and innovate and really be starting something.  The Magic is unfolding.

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written by Jade Dressler

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4 Responses to “BRAND NEW SEXY ECONOMIC FUN : Organic Creative Coops”

  1. 1 Inga Kotlovskaya

    …uncanny traveling suitcase of defiant beauty, esoteric esthetics, unusual/fab personalities, rouge one-eye patch high-seas artistry — prompting curiosity, questioning …and personal evaluation – leading to high octave inspirations…!!!
    that’s all I have to say…
    for now…
    oh-la-la..!!!
    “people of ze worl – relax!!!…”

  2. Inga, me loves your funky lil russian folkloric dervish soul! Will you please write and make a blog about gypsy movies, forest nymphs and drunken epiphanies??? The world is waiting darlink!


  1. 1 Topics about Peace » Archive » Come. Play. BRAND NEW SEXY ECONOMIC FUN: 5 MAGICIANS
  2. 2 Bon Vivants: Positions Available This Very Moment « Jade Dressler

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