April 30, 2010

Destination Dia: Beacon - Part 2

Look | Sensory Inspiration

Last week in Part 1, I stopped in Winsted, CT on my way to visit the contemporary art museum Dia: Beacon in Beacon, NY. I noted how the creative economy fostered by the huge art complex housed in a former manufacturing facility contributed to Beacon's revival and cited artistic endeavors in Winsted, CT, a former mill town in need of economic revival. Several readers mentioned how the establishment of another art museum, MassMOCA, spurred renewal in North Adams, MA.

Walmart Lot
Taking a break from creating signs announcing the upcoming artist studios open house, Winsted artist Stacy Servant talked about the importance of local economies. "People are finally getting the message to buy locally. When you buy something from Walmart, you are supporting China."

Across the street my from hotel in Fishkill, NY, was a Walmart Supercenter, so I ventured in to buy some film.

How Much Longer?
A couple of weeks after this journey to Dia: Beacon, I attended a lecture at UMass Amherst by author, economic analyst and venture capitalist Eric Janszen. His clients were happy the he foretold the crash of 2008.

Economic Analysis
After the talk, I mentioned Ms. Servant's Walmart comment to Mr. Janszen and his facial expression conveyed disagreement. I then reeled off the list of all the items once manufactured in Winsted and asked, "What are we going to manufacture?"

"When I debate Pat Buchanan about making these things," he replied, "I ask him, 'How far back do you want to go?' We cannot go back and make these things." Janzen's upcoming book reportedly emphasizes the importance of biotechnology, alternative energy and nanotechnology.

Intertwined Supercenter
The intertwined international economy is no doubt complicated. As I wandered the gleaming Walmart aisles dotted with the ubiquitous mantra, Save Money. Live Better., I could not but help think of the empty storefronts in Winsted and the ghosts of the jobs that inhabit the empty mills.

Save Money. Live Better.
What you look at, affects what you see.

International Shopping
Exiting Walmart, I saw - or was it felt? - alienation.

TechTalk: Nikon D200, 17-55mm, ISO range 100-1000. Intertwined Supercenter is an in-camera multiple exposure treated with Topaz Adjust, a plug-in for Photoshop CS4. ©2010 John Nordell


Greg said...

"Save Money, Live Better" sounds like a slogan you'd see in China! Having done most of my shopping in smaller New England neighborhood centers for over 30 years (after graduating college), I feel completely alienated in shopping malls, period. Part of it has to do with the sense of space, and the bland, no-where any-where architecture. Wal-Mart, especially, has done more to disfigure (and ignore) the landscape around it's stores than any other retail enterprise in the US (let's include Canada as well).

Nice light, color, and shadow with the stop sign.

John Nordell said...

Thanks for your viewpoint, Greg. With the stop sign, the day before I took it, I spent some time with artists in their studios. It got me seeing...

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