head in the clouds

Head in the clouds, caught in an airstream: proposal for redesigning a 1967 Airstream into a mobile sound lab in conjunction with Free Art School.

Nestled amidst the the rolling hills of corn and soy in Eastern Iowa lies a mythical place known as Free Art School. It has no official home, no landing point, no liftoff site; it has no place. Yet even though it is without a google map pointer, that is sans physical address, it has squatted its way into the minds of many that have found themselves in Iowa City for a period of time. It has been described as “an intentionally nebulous collection of artists and troublemakers who are interested in washing the squares right out of their hair…our goal is to de-academicize the work we we are making, to learn to love again to make art again, to play, to breathe without suffering on our fears of the future, of our careers or lack there of” (1). Sounds dreamy, sounds like a space where one could really grow, stretch and open-up to something other than oneself. Indeed, if only those external constraints that hamper us from becoming… But really, free art school? Nothing is free, such a concept has no place, nor should it, right?

The term free, similar to the term art is a charged, often employed notion that is called upon for its ability to activate/mobilize. It plays on our spirit, our hopes and dreams, on our desires to be more of one thing and less something else. Yet similar to the notion of art, it doesn’t always strive to make designs that are practical, at least in so far as they produce working models or a set of plans from which we can build that utopia. Ironically, what might be the most practical thing to do in age in which the earth and its inhabitants confront an ecological disaster is to change our desires, reprogram our ideologies, inhabit a new sensibility. In fact these

(under construction…more writing to come)

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1 Katie McGowan, Free art, free love, free money: a Free @rt school communique (Thesis: University of Iowa, 2010), 8. (link-up to the thesis)

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