Vote for Zart

carve/paint - 25

Vote for Zart.

Everybody's talking about voting right now.  I think it's great.  But I think the conversation is weighted toward the giant version of voting... national politics.  Every four years people get all fired up and involved, then disillusioned and frustrated.  Then they land more often than not either in either anger or apathy.  I don't see much good coming from that cycle. There is a place for national politics, but it is not the whole solution and there are plenty of courageous moves that we can do closer to home.  I say courageous, because as much as we demand our national leaders not to compromise on their principals, we compromise our local votes nearly constantly.  When I say local votes I mean what we personally buy.  

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Buying is voting.  

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What you put your money toward, you volunteer time toward, direct your attention toward, you are certainly voting for.  

There are no easy answers here.  There is no magical fix-it shop where we can make a clear vote that changes all things in the direction we most desire tomorrow.  It is a slow unweildy boat, a group creative venture that needs to be steered by trial and error. And it requires communication from all the hands on board.

The first step is doing the painful work of finding out what we are voting for already.  And because we live in a abstract interconnected global economy, it's not always easy to trace the path.  We have to do the research if we want to know what we are voting for.  Then we can make choices that over time more closely reflect our values. 

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Not as a new oppressive dogma, but as a creative expression.  Buying is expression.

As I like to say, it's a Zart, an art everything from Z to A.

if you're anything like me, you will find that you are voting for a lot of things that don't match up with what you imagine you believe in, some things that are actually in direct opposition to what you believe in. This is where zart comes in.  In making any art, my experience is that there is this constant adjustment, restructuring, re-aiming on the way to a kind of vague-in-the-particullars, specific-in-the-emotional goals.  It's a dead end road to get into fearfulness or into berating myself about not being at my goal yet.  In fact the journey towards the goal gets me all kinds of unexpected treasure.  These are the things that make it MY journey.

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I don't expect it to be any different when making interactive social sculptures.  Society.  World community.

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 I've been an avid watcher and digester of national and international politics since the late 70's. I've hitched my wagon to many a fancy horse. And each horse has taken me someplace I had no intention of going. I've come to believe I shouldn't expect large bureaucratic tools (fancy horses and such) with competing complex interests to go where I want to go neccesarily, or to attempt things I am not  willing to attempt in my own life.

So what kind of people do you vote for every day?  What kind of companies?  Do you vote for people to make the least amount of money possible so you can have things for less money? Do you vote for beauty or quality or enchantment? What kind of community do you want? What kind of energy? What kind of vehicle? The answer doesn't have to be the one that appears to be an available choice.  It may take giving up one thing to have an even more important thing.  Sacrafice isn't about having less. 

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I'm putting my vote toward local communty, eating food that I believe in, that I believe in the integrity of those who grew it and prepared it. I'm voting for businesses that I think pay their folks fairly and treat them with respect.  I vote for less garbage going into a landfill and finding glorious uses for everything and everyone.  I vote for older homes with rickety bones and charecter.  I vote for humans with rickety bones and character. And young quirky humans. I vote for being nice to animals. If I decide to eat them, I vote for doing it with appreciation and respect. (I don't know how they feel about that, but I feel better for it),  I vote for local music and art.  I vote for my family. 

I also make less intentional votes. i by default vote for poorly paid workers who made my iphone. And I vote for oil companies and car manufacturers that waste resources and lack of imagination or courageous vision. I also vote for re-used clothing, although it was originally made by poorly paid garment workers in far away lands. I vote for glorified overblown entertainment companies that create illusions in movies that normal folks could never afford to produce in more humble surroundings like our communities. Bit by bit, I'm making choices, buying things, voting for things that are going where I really want them to go.... eventually.  Not there yet. 

What are you voting for?

I'm not asking about Hilary or Bernie or Trump or..whoever.

What are you creating every time you buy something?

It's a Zart. An art of everything from Z to A.  


Michael Biddison     woodsunarts@mac.com       610-247-8718