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Scuttlebutt

Mission: collect great stories from chaotic places to inspire new creative action

“Our conventional response to all media, namely that it is how they are used that counts, is the numb stance of the technological idiot. For the “content” of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind.” - Marshall McLuhan

Warfare echoes through generations, inflicting devastation, trauma and addiction. Instead of engaging constructively, we attack each other and seek dominance over media and resources.

Too often we stare agog for ASMR of each other’s faces jawing away about whatever through colored pixels on screens, or paralyze our senses with unnecessary narcotics. Maybe this is because engaging energetically with each other seems too hard or destructive. We need ASMR of substance. We need purpose. We need good stories that encourage us to improve our environments, to make future moments better. We need good art.

Artists need capital (space, time and materials) to create, but art is ephemeral. Art is cheap and most returns on works by artists who master (or who at least give purpose to) certain mediums go to people looking to park their money in stable high value currencies. This interest puffs up connoisseurs of antiquity, and the hoarding of treasures. The creators of these works never fully enjoy the currency their art creates over time, and those that do are subjected to hero worship and gossip rather than true engagement with their stories and creations.

Still more good work drowns in a torrent of cheap content, spam and advertising copy. Explicit works of propaganda, promotional media designed to spread quickly and freely with fads of the moment, for trendy machines, for drugs, for political platforms, for fatty food products distract us from more fulfilling works of love, self-sacrifice and creation.

In fact the most valuable arts of all, the crafts that make our cities, health and homes possible, often get overlooked entirely and their utility gets ignored in favor of the more immediate excitement of some asshole being an asshole to another asshole. (There’s an old plumbing joke: the Brain and the Heart were debating who is more important, when the Asshole walked up and said, “I’m more important than both of you.” “Quit being a moron,” the Heart said. “You’re full of shit,” the Brain said. “I’m full of shit?” the Asshole said and clenched up for a week. The Brain got foggy. The Heart grew erratic. They moaned and yelled, “You’re an asshole, Asshole. I’m sick of your shit.” So the Asshole clenched up tighter, so tight in fact that the body died.)

We need a movement toward humility and productive work. There are plenty of jobs to do: gutters to sweep, roofs to repair, foods to cook, injuries to treat, aisles to organize. Too often all of this good work gets demeaned as menial. Our new media age offers an excellent opportunity to encourage people to do good things, and do them well in the places and ways we live. There should be no shame in flipping burgers.

Finding productive and meaningful work requires a sense of purpose. That’s sometimes hard to come by, especially for veterans of war and trauma. This site collates artworks, spaces, retreats, publications, installations and workshops for veterans of trauma, militarism, war and conflict to express their experiences of chaos and disorder in conversation, through the arts. To engage in discussions about the effects of war and chaos we need gardens. We need peaceful spaces. We need to share good art, literature, and workshops that bring people together to tell stories in calm places of enlightenment. Dismal spaces and materials can change with the digital media (this time) that connects us. The goal here is to offer each other gentle attitude adjustments.

Caleb SN