Our friend Howard Rheingold shared his insights at the opening of his new art exhibit at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto.
In this talk, Howard introduced his art and discussed his views on culture, technology, and civic life in the 21st century. This is an edited, 40-minute version of the evening presentation that took place on February 7, 2017 at 7pm.
Mamie Rheingold introduced her dad's work as an artist and Howard presented some of his favorite art pieces from the exhibit. He was then interviewed by his friend and colleague Fred Turner, chair of Stanford University’s Department of Communication. Over a hundred members of our community joined us, including the illustrious doctors at Pataphysical Studios, our art collective.
I was truly impressed by the depth and originality of Howard's presentation, which featured so many great observations, including the inspiring quotes below. I am very grateful to him his inspiration and feel very lucky to have him as a friend and creative partner.
In coming weeks, we will post more videos and photos of this exceptional event, including an in-depth interview with Howard, comments from participants and a closer look at the artworks featured in this exhibit.
Many thanks to IFTF's Toshi Anders Hoo, Marina Gorbis and Kathi Vian for being such gracious hosts and supporting Howard's many contributions as an artist, futurist and thought leader. Kudos as well to Edward Janne, Jean Bolte and Dr. Canard for their invaluable help with this video production.
Learn more about the exhibit:
View the full presentation video, with IFTF speeches:
Learn more about Howard:
Learn more about Pataphysical Studios:
See more videos from Pataphysical Studios:
P.S.: We experienced some problems with the sound towards the end of the interview: the audio on all 3 of my cameras becomes garbled, with a slight echo. I assume that was probably Howard’s familiar spirit, trying to send us a signal from another dimension :) If anyone knows an audio wizard that can help equalize our soundtrack, I’d be very grateful for some audio sweetening. :)
SELECTED QUOTES FROM HOWARD’S TALK AT IFTF
“I woke up to find out that I am the eyes of the world. Sentient beings are how the universe senses itself. The membranes that separate us actually connect us more than we know. Reality is a social construction that we’re taught and that can be dissolved … Acid just opened the doors, it’s what you find on the other side of the door that’s important.”
“There are some great advantages to being almost 70 years old. (Audience laughs.) You’ll see! Thinking about ageism: a racist doesn’t end up being the other race. But if you’re lucky, you’ll [live to be older].”
“Mystic power is universal. I think many of these spirits who were revered or feared … were plugged into what Allen Ginsberg called the “the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night.” It’s not something about LSD in the 20th century, it’s about people going out through the door. Hence the keyholes.”
“Here’s the thing about misfits collaborating: it requires you to … knock some of each other’s edges in order to vaguely fit. But misfits don’t fit. So with the people I collaborate with, there’s a constant tension between our personal insanities and try to make something that we all agree on.”
“I looked in the literature and found that there are 94 definitions of community. Community is a projective test. Many people think that community is something we used to have and don’t have anymore and that it was nice.”
“I have come to the conclusion that agriculture was where things went south. Agriculture enables many, many, many more humans to exist. And then leads to many other things. But it doesn’t necessarily mean that these many more humans are living a better life than if they had been hunters and gatherers. The reality is, this is what we live with, we have to deal with 7 billion people.”
“I decided to become hopeful. Hopeful is a choice. We are all in some sense descendents of creatures who decided that there must be some way out of this impossible situation. Thinking that does not guarantee your survival. Not thinking that is pretty much a self-fulfilling prophecy. So maybe we will come up with some way out of this difficult situation. In fact, if you look back at where the human brain came from, and where speech came from and writing, very very difficult situations have forced the small number of those who end up surviving to invent a new way of life.”