Member 1496
23 entries

Matthew Spencer (M, 37)
Anacortes, US
Immortal since Jan 15, 2008
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3

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    Drop City

    Drop City is a legendary microcommunity, it is a model, and, ultimately, an abandoned project. Drop City fascinates me and endearingly it reminds me of where I live. It started in a frenzy, it attracted famous artists and musicians, but after its height slowly fell into decay. After five years, it was abandoned, but many of the original structures remain today.

    Fueled by thoughts of the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War, Drop City flourished. Domes were built for domestic purposes – a kitchen, living quarters, a theater – out of recycled products (for which they won the Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion award). Ideas thrived – reuse and solar power, drone and early electronic music, creative community. Many "happenings" happened.

    Located in Southern Colorado, early in its history this "intentional community" was a close relation to utopia. Anyone and everyone was welcome, forever free and open. It was naive, but worked for a time.

    “How do they survive?”
    “They just do. Go live there a while and see for yourself.”
    “Anybody can just go live there?”
    “Anybody. Drop City is Utopia.”
    “Don’t believe it,” Frinki said.
    “I don’t believe it. Nobody believes in Utopia any more. At least not in Colorado.”
    “Okay, it isn’t Utopia,” Kugo said. “Utopia’s got rules. Drop City doesn’t have any rules.”
    “Up is down and down is up. Isn’t that right, Kugo? And the tooth fairy leaves Thai sticks under everybody’s pillow.”

    Memories of DROP CITY

    But with notoriety comes problems. The founders, the original artists, eventually got burned out and moved onto other projects. People eventually began coming to Drop City not to contribute, but to take away, looking for fulfillment. The land was sold, most of the domes dismantled, but the model continues.

    These structures – community, openness, cultural cannibalism – persist into our present. Can projects or ideas persist beyond its founding generation? Should they?

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    matthewspencer     Mon, Oct 26, 2009  Permanent link
    R. Buckminster Fuller once said, "You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete."

    Zach     Wed, Oct 28, 2009  Permanent link
    I've contemplated this often as I prepare myself to eventually create an intentional community. I concluded that permanence — which is separate from sustainable — is a virtue of the vain.

    In harmony with Buckminster Fuller's remark, I believe a new generation must be encouraged to discard the obsolete and iterate.
    meganmay     Thu, Oct 29, 2009  Permanent link
    A friend and I have been thinking about starting a project In Search of Utopia whereby we visit existing communities, and perhaps the shambles of deserted ones, and then devise and live in our own Utopian permutation. There's always a snag though, because our ambitions are more to embark on a creative exercise than to create a lasting alternative. We both agree that impermanence is desirable, and perhaps that's the solution, planned obsolescence. I like Foucault's theory of Heterotopia, a variation on utopia that encourages multiple ideals existing simultaneously:

    The philosopher calls for a society with many heterotopias, not only as a space with several places of/for the affirmation of difference, but also as a means of escape from authoritarianism and repression, stating metaphorically that if we take the ship as the utmost heterotopia, a society without ships is inherently a repressive one (from Wiki)

    Also, have you seen this one?

    matthewspencer     Fri, Oct 30, 2009  Permanent link
    @meganmay I didn't know that the Waterpod project had come to fruition. I mentioned it here before.

    This is interesting and related I think:
    “Frankly, I don’t think any of us, when we started, knew how much work it would be,” Ms. Ward, 37, said. “Building it was hard, but I thought once we got it up and running, we would be able to, you know, make art.” This was an assessment that Ms. Mattingly, 30, echoed and one that has not yet come to pass. “It has challenged everyone,” Ms. Ward said, “on all levels — levels of comfort, levels of intellect.”