BELL RINGING AT SOLERI BRIDGE

Ringing in a new age against apathy at the Soleri Bridge and Plaza.

On Sunday, October 30th, 2011 the people of the Arcosanti Urban Laboratory hosted a bell ringing and demonstration on the Soleri Sundial Bridge and Plaza along the Scottsdale Waterfront.

One of the purposes of the Soleri bell is that of a symbolic interaction between humans and nature, the wind being one of the primordial elements and the bell a hand made object. When combined these two forces create a sound that resonates in the hearts and minds of listeners. The moments after hearing the bell are when individuals can reflect on how we are impacting our ecology and what actions we can take to make our shared world a better place.

The gathering and introduction to the event began at 11:00am, followed by a statement by the Cosanti Foundation’s President Jeff Stein at 11:30am. The bells commenced at noon for a full minute and another minute of silent reflection. Other speakers included Lissa Mccullough, Paolo Soleri’s Editor, with a statement on the ‘Citizen and the City’ and guest speakers with inspirational readings concluded at 1:30pm.

[photo & text: Joseph Rivera-Ramos]

ARCOSANTI;
STANDING WITH OCCUPYING CITIZENS WORLDWIDE
Remarks by Jeff Stein AIA
President, Cosanti Foundation Scottsdale AZ     

30 OCT 2011

Welcome.
Thank you for being here this Sunday morning. We are gathered today at the Soleri Bridge,  a public place, funded by a government ˆ the city of Scottsdale ˆ for the enjoyment of its citizens. Today we are those citizens.

This bridge represents decades of thought and the ideals of the architect Paolo Soleri; his wish to connect us to the sun and seasons, his wish to connect us all to each other. That wish is coming true in this place today.

A bridge is a way to cross over, a way to make a transition to the other side of something.  A bridge marks the end of one thing, the beginning of another.
At this bridging moment in the history of our culture,  we hope our presence here, and the presence of people like us at similar places all across this nation will serve as a bridge for our country to start to make a transition to a better way to be in the world.

And both these bridges, the Soleri Bridge and the bridge made by those of us gathered around it today are pointing us toward the FUTURE.

Many of you know that 70 miles north of this spot Paolo Soleri created the reality of Arcosanti, a living community that has operated in the Arizona desert for more than 40 years. It is our intent to make Arcosanti into an arcology ˆ that is a combination of architecture and ecology, with an emphasis on our values, including culture, dignity and humanism. Civilization, in other words.

We believe that it is possible for people to live together and sustain themselves with value and efficiency. An Italian word that Paolo Soleri has used to describe this is FRUGARE. The closest word we have to FRUGARE is frugality, but we must impart this verb with the wisdom and beauty that is present in nature. At Arcosanti we aim to enable humanity to live with respect for the natural ecology that we are all part of and thus to live with respect for ourselves.  For decades Paolo Soleri and his colleagues have pointed out the failures and flaws of the widely-marketed investment vehicle known as the single family home. It is, you know, the failure of the single family home that has triggered our current economic meltdown.

And make no mistake: the single family house is an investment vehicle and very little more. It is not a way to bring out the best in humanity; and because of the sprawl it creates, it is certainly not a way to sustain us and the millions of other species who share the earth with us.

And before we go further, I just want to take a moment to answer a question some of you might have.  The answer is NO. Paolo Soleri and the citizens of Arcosanti are not hippies.  NO. The movement that is occupying cities and towns all across our nation does not just consist of alternative young people. But YES all of us are HIP as we stand together on this day.

The movement going on across our country today is unraveling the marketing duplicity of the single family house myth. We can see now that banks and mortgage lenders have taken advantage of a public misled by this myth. Generations of us seemed eager to participate, and went along to create a sprawl of little boxes which together have nearly destroyed the ecological systems of this planet.

I do not know why bankers and brokers created investment vehicles of all of the mortgage debt on the millions of little boxes in this country ˆ then multiplied or leveraged that amount 40 to 100 times over, leading to a crash of our economy and a search for a new way to be on the earth. I will leave that answer for someone like Professor Niall Campbell Ferguson.

But I am here to say I believe that a powerful movement has begun, and should continue in a peaceful process that I would like to see succeed. I am also here to say that we at Arcosanti intend to continue to create a reasonable alternative to the current economic and financial mess, an alternative equal to the needs of our age. This is our time, our responsibility, and I congratulate you here today for recognizing this with your presence.

Finally my message is this: We need to use our human intelligence to express a culture equal to the needs of our time, equal to our present condition. We need to imagine a way to rebuild more than New Orleans, more than the obsolete sprawl that is Phoenix; we have to rebuild the whole idea of America. We need to be people who can learn from their mistakes.  We need to cross this bridge today and everyday to become those people, those of us right here, right now. Welcome to the other side, and thank you for showing up. There‚s real work to do. At Arcosanti, we look forward to helping to define that work and then helping to do it.
 
[photo: Joseph Rivera-Ramos & text: Jeff Stein]

The Soleri Bridge is a physical link and pedestrian causeway, a real place that embodies the idea of bridge as well: the idea that at this moment we might build bridges that could reformulate our society with the promise of moving us forward into the future.

You can view a short video of the event at Occupy Fashion Square. The film was made by Aimee Madsen, who works at Cosanti.

[photo: Youngsoo Kim & text: Joseph Rivera-Ramos]

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