Sunday, October 26, 2008

Opens Systems Theory is NOT Complexity

Why Open Systems Theory is not Complexity Science, and Differences of LInes, Cycles, Spheres, and Rhizomes

My new book, Storytelling Organizations (London: Sage 2008) is finally shipping out. Got the advance soft and hard copies, so hopefully Amazon will release it soon to the public

The book makes a case for the paradigm shift from open systems to complexity systemicity.  I base this in storytelling complexity theory which is informed by an integration of Morin's (2008, On Complexity book), and Bakhtin's (1973) work on dialogical manner of story versus the monologic aspect of narrative (a point that Derrida, 1979 makes, as well as many indigenous writers making a claim that modern systems theory in Western though has been a big detour to make native complexity thinking into linear thinking: Native Science (Cajete, 2000, Clear Light), The American Indian Mind in a Linear World (Fixico, 2003, Routledge), Sandoval's Methodology of the Oppressed (2000, University of Minnesota Press), and Mauri writer Linda Thuiaai Smith (1999/2008, University of Otago Press). 

Open Systems theory begins as part of von Bertallanfy's General Systems Thinking, as a way to make the metabolism of the cell in biology the 2nd cybernetics (1st cybernetics being Thermodynamics-control systems thinking in mechanistic and social engineering theory).  Open Systems theory is picked up by Katz and Kahn in the 1960s, then popularized in work by Emery and Trist.

My living story comes into play, when I learned "beyond open systems theory' from my mentor in grad school, Louis Pondy.  He adapted Kenneth Boulding, the economists Management Science article about the 9 levels of systems thinking, from frame, control, mechanistic, open, organic, image, symbol, network to transcendental. Pondy changed the labels, and omitted the transcendental.  

In my book I disabuse myself of levels-of-systems, as a trap of linear (hierarchical) thinking. I trace the linear thinking in Polanyi's theory of emergence (and its reassertion of Plato reincarnation, among several other definitions), and I take on Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, as yet another version of the level-of-systems hierarchical-linear theorizing.

So what I think has happened is that narrative, in the rise and fall of modernity (which refuses to exit the stage) has embedded the Aristotle coherence, linear plot of beginning, middle, end, which I nickname BME narrative.  Level-by-level Pondy, Boulding, Polanyi, & Pirsig are examples of linear modeling, so prevalent in modernity (defined as functionalism, systems thinking, structuralism, & pragmatism) [see book by Hanno Hardt, 1992 - Critical Communication STudies: Communication, History & Theory in America -- Routledge). He traces the Critical Theory of Frankfurt school in its opposition the the systems-modernity functionalism, structuralism, and pragmatism), and Habermas' conversion to Parsonian structural functionalism.

So if you have not fallen asleep, the point is that Western social science in general, and Western narrative, in particular, has succumb to the linear modeling paradigm (See Abbott's article "Transcending general linear reality" Sociological Theory journal, 1988). 

I am starting to develop a way to talk about it.  Let us go back now to Morin's complexity and Bakhtin's dialogism, and the indigenous views of storytelling as complexity thinking in a linear world.  

Students in my small business consulting class and my complexity systems class trying to sort out what is the difference between linear and non-linear antenarrative.  Antenarrative is defined by me in 2001 book (Narrative Methods... Sage) as a bet on the future, and a before narrative ossification sets in.  The theory I am developing now is that Storytelling is an interplay of linear narratives that are retrospective, living story relations that are now-spective (a term one of my students, Diane Walker made up), and antenarratives that are prospective (future-directed) sensemaking.   The 2008 Storytelling Organizations book explores the interplay of the three types of sensemaking in relation to really getting beyond open systems flat-land and really doing complexity storytelling that is what I call holographic. 

Both Morin and Bakhtin refer to 'dialogism.' Morin defines it without storytelling as interplay of order and disorder (not much different than open systems theory, in general.  Bakhtin defines dialogism a polyphony of voices, a multi-stylistic of oral written and architectural styles, a multi-chronotopicity (of time-space conceptions), and as an architectonic interanimation of discourses (cognitive, aesthetic, & ethical).   I work out each of the four dialogisms  (plus one more) in the new book in terms of Mintzberg's 10 schools of strategy.

A second point of connection of Bakhtin and Morin, is holography. For Bakhtin there are multiple voices, styles, chronotopes, architectonic discourses, but these are not arranged level-by-level as in the linear projects of Pondy, Boulding, Polanyi, & Persig.  Rather the conceptions can free associate in no particular order and without hierarchy-linear. Open systems thinking is linear in that it always tries to succeed control, mechanistic, frame thinking. For Boulding and for Pondy open systems thinking fails to deal with language (image & symbol, styles & chronotopes), or with discourse (architectonics) and in von Bertalanffy is specifically forbidden to deal with the transcendental.  The entire Enlightenment project of Modernity systems is an erasure of transcendental.  The level-by-level linear thinking is old school open systems theorizing.  

Holographic is complexity thinking.  Native cultures as Fixico (2003) reminds us thought in spheres, not in lines, and as all the writing on Medicine Wheels asserts, thought in terms of cycles that were temporal-spatial, and transcendental.

Today in my morning notebooking I tried to do holographic approach to thinking.  In holographs there is a refraction of one to quite a few dimensions

ONE DIMENSIONAL THINKING -  This is reduction of everything to one dimension.  A good example is the new 'positive science' movement in appreciative inquiry, where only the positive stories are elicited, only the positive stories get collected, only the positive stories get put out as a linear antenarrative of the future.  For Herbert Marcuse (1964) this is the definition of One-Dimensional Man, the person who can only think one-dimensionally, or as Rorty 1985: 175) puts it without the pragmatic distinction Dewey calls "the meaning of the daily detail."  I interpret this to mean that there is no living story noticing of anything but the positive, and no narrative retrospection of anything contrary to official managerial history, and no antenarrative that is not a linear progress to a positive future.

TWO DIMENSIONAL THINKING - Two dimensional is flat-land thinking, and has the positive and the negative narratives (in dialectic, or dualistic opposition), living stories and linear antenarratives. Two dimension is taxonomic (there are so many taxonomies, some etic, others emic) and positivistic (in the empiricism sense of method that is decidedly ahistorical, but willing to do linear regression and path analysis).   If you think of static cognitive maps, or networks that are static maps, you get an image of two-dimensional thinking that is a reduction of history to a line, or just plain ahistorical, cross-sectional positivism, trying to develop universal constructs.  A good deal of so-called 'social construction' theory, that moves away from a concept of reification of subjective into objectified maps, is two-dimensional. The maps by Pondy, Boulding, as well as Pirsig and Polanyi are two-dimensional, without complexity dynamics.  Steven DeGiulio says a line connects poionts "A line is an abstract mathematical concept with no physical correlate--linear anything is related to a desire to control--a desire that is born of fear (ultimately fear of time, that is, death)--control is approachable only through violence and is never achievable. Thus "go with the flow" is not good advice, it is the only possibility--neurosis is to deny and fight this. (Neurosis seems to constitute 90% or so of our sorry present globalized civilization and its miseries.)"

THREE DIMENSIONAL THINKING - We finally that a theory of emergence that is historical in the genealogical sense, an unfoldment in Bakhtin's (1993, Philosophy of the Act) that living story answerability in the moment of Being-ness, and kinds of antenarratives that are cycles not lines, and rhizomatics (Deleuze  Guattari, 1987).  We have a kind of genealogical tracing (Nietzsche/Heidegger) that is not your ordinary writing of history of the victors and sword holders.  We have a theory of social change that comes out of complexity science.  Living stories now have engagement, in that people tell a story, but must tell another one, and a web of them to cover their relational engagement with some many social groups (family, workers, spiritual, etc). The living story web is more anthropological, more ethnographic, not a positivistic or positive science.

FOUR DIMENSIONAL THINKING - I've only seen Diane Walker and Steve King attempt such a feat. For Diane its a matter of an ethnomathematics, to see the kinds of storytelling one glimpses in the Marshal Islands (stick charts), Andean accounting, or Kolam storytelling (see images at  or 

Ehtnomathematics "The mathematics which is practiced among identifiable cultural groups such as national-tribe societies, labour groups, children of certain age brackets and professional classes" (D‘Ambrosio, 1985).  

What follows is on-going dialogic between myself and several colleagues:

For Diane Walker storytelling is a Tesseract - 4-dimension cube within a cube.    Here is a visual of the morphing that occurs in the 4h dimension   Walker (2008, class presentation) proposes "a model for how schools can move from linear narratives to tesseract antenarratives for holistic critical literacy."

For Steve King and I, the holograph is something we call 'Story Dome"  We are looking at how over-arching narratives (such as Declaration of Independence) contain living story unfoldment, and antenarrative bets on the future.  Whereas Lyotard (1984) would dismiss all grand narrative, some quire important to retain in their overarching position.  

For Steve DeGiuiio "Polphonic storying is sense making in balance with the awareness that we really can't make sense of anything, ever. Sense making is not understanding, which is impossible, it is the (joint) creation of-- "peldaños de la consciencia" --stepping stones through complexity and chaos. Stepping stones/stories/antenarratives/master narratives crashing apart/gossip/white lies/party lines/attitudes/jokes, etc, that dissolve in the telling but that can keep us right here enmeshed in reality/actualaity from moment to moment in a way that is nothing like linear, not even in temporal terms. (Cue up Bob Dylan: "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now")."

N-DIMENSIONAL THINKING - A sphere in native cosmology is 360 degrees, with the person extended in all directions. For me, there is a reclaiming of metaphysics from its severe truncation by Kant (Critique of Pure Reason, where systems are defined as a cognitive architectonic frame in next to last section of the book), banishment of spiritual by Modernity's Enlightenment Project, the Neitzsche declaration, "God is Dead" (Gay Science book), and Pondy who edits Boulding's open systems theory listing to erase it.   But here I think that work by postcolonial writers is quite helpful.  Sandoval, for example, takes Jameson to task for turning postmodern cultural theory into a neocolonial globalizing metaphysics. Heidegger thinks modernity turned technology into a metaphysics. Everyone thinks Descartes turned mind-body dualism into a metaphysics.  And lots of us in the spirituality movement wonder if spiritual metaphysics can return with less religiosity to be a mean-giving dimension.  This brings me full circle to the indigenous and Native peoples scholars who engaged in spherical thinking had a way to leave the Red Line of the Physical (a line South to North), and move about the rim of life and enter the spiritual Blue Road (through the Golden Door of the East, to the West fire element, and all about the sphere.  Here is my own presentation - on this

Rhizomes - seem to eat across dimensions.

Joe Gladsone says, " I am interpreting multi-linearity as antenarratives spreading out in all

directions from their origin, then yes, as I see it, that is the case.  I
can see it as a form of "carpet-bombing."  That is, multiple wide-area
efforts to suppress other narratives.  Again, this occurs on two planes,
above and below the surface.  One thing that I think of when I think of
rhizome antenarratives is that rhizomes not only spread outward, but they
also interlock, thus increasing their resistive (suppressive) strength."

Michael Turner says "For what is worth. I am finding abstraction easier if I think of paths. If these paths are free (and I believe they are) of planar restriction, then the paths could proceed in any dimension."

Claudia Gomez says, "The way I understand it is that Linear ante-narrative is planning for a begining middle and end for the future, giving structure and rigidness. Rhizome like ant-narrative, you do no give an end to the future, you hold the conclusion, this way, new stories that emerge are allowed, are not restricted and your allow yourself (or the organization, or whatever you are applying this to) to take new directions that you might have missed or supressed if the ante-narrative was linear. Thats my take on it, but I am not sure If I am correct (or even close!)"

Wikipedia needs some updating on the following pages

Why not put you fun ideas there

Let's treat open systems theory as Two Dimensional, and move on to Third and Fourth Dimensions, and then to Rhizomes.

All the best


Friday, October 17, 2008

Theorizing After Postmodern: Storytelling Organizations Perspective

Theorizing After Postmodern: A Storytelling Organization Approach

Dear Storytellers,

I am sorting out my thoughts on what it means to theorize after postmodern. For me storytelling is an interplay of 'retrospective linear narratives of the past' (since Aristotle), living story networks of the present (since Indigenous, Poststructuralism, Third Wave Feminism, & Dialogism/Answerability of Bakhtin), and the antenarrative (bets on the future, before-narrative).  

Postmodern theorizing is an antenarrative, but then so is modern theorizing. Both claimed to theorize a future that was after something they detested.  Postmodern declared a divide with modern, but kept borrowing modern social theory across the divide from Nietzsche, Marx, Adorno, Horkheimer, Mead, and even Dewey. 

The aim for the future, as a break with the past. Modern theorizing detested Premodern, especially indigenous knowledge, indigenous science, and indigenous spirituality. Modernity's Enlightenment Project is ante-Premodern.  Fragmentation began with modern social theory, as it split apart into anti-modern, pro-modern, and ante-modern.  The ante-modern is the subterranean roots of postmodern theorizing. The rejection of Enlightenment rationality, scientism, and positivism did not start with postmodern theorizing. It is part of Nietzsche's anti-Enlightenment, and quite a long list of modernists, including Horkheimer and Adorno's 'Critical Theory' (particularly the critique of utilitarianism, culture industry).  For pro-modern, see Habermas, who took 'critical theory' along the path of engineering unfinished Enlightenment.  There there is Bruno Latour who says, 'We have never been modern!'  Fragmentation everywhere in modernity, to the point that Kantian search for universalism (categorical imperative) keeps breaking down. 

Is Postmodern Theorizing Dead?  Am I the last postmodernist? With few exceptions, the gurus of postmodern theory have died (Baudrillard, Debord, Foucault, & Deleuze). Still living: Zygmunt Bauman, Frederick Jameson. I don't count poststructuralists as postmodern; there is a difference, but postmodern theory certainly borrows from Derrida, Kristiva, and Foucault.  There are plenty alive writing against postmodern theory (Best, Kellner, and most every Third World or Indigenous Feminist).  There are certainly a long list of New Age Postmodern Theorists (Wilber), and Post-Industrialists masquerading at Postmods (Bergquist). 

Am I the last postmodernist still standing? And here I am ready to declare the death of postmodern.  Every postmodern theory has been dethroned. I thought I was safe in 'McPostmodern theory' until I discovered that it was a colonizing tool of Empire's knowledge management wave. I thought I was safe in Debord's Spectacle critique of industrial capitalism, which Baudrillard appropriate into a theory of hyperreality, simulacra everywhere, and in Lyotard's expulsion of all grand narrative in favor of a thousand little stories. But it turns out that some grand narratives are needed. I don't want to be absorbed by hyperreal or Spectacle. I was safe in my 'Critical Postmodern theory' until I discovered it was a neocolonialist tool of Empire's culture, where the aesthetic of pastiche rules. I read "U.S. Third World Feminism" as a dethronement of Frederick Jameson's postmodern theory.  How? By declaring that indigenous and (non 1st World) feminist positions were going to create a critique of postmodern theory as a 1st World Neocolonialist Project.  In simple terms, Enlightenment is to Modern, as Neocolonialism is to Postmodern.  If 'postmodern is dead', then what is next? Some form of Post-Postmodern, or Post-Post-Postmodern?  Now I hang onto Deleuze & Guattari) with a death grip, lest I fall into the abyss and there is no more postmod. Out of rhizomatics, comes the possibility of an ante-postmodern (something that is a bet on the future, and a before, perhaps way before even premodern).

Ante-Postmodern Ante is a bet on the future, and a before.  Ante-Postmodern is a bet that the future of theorizing after postmodern.  

So for me, ante-postmodern is just one more antenarrative.  First, the most dominant form of antenarrative is linear (goals and plans of the future). For example, a recurring postmodern theory, declares a periodization, a chronology, in which postmodern follows modern.  

Second, is the cyclic antenarrative, the eternal return (Nietzsche) of another attempt to go beyond the current malaise of social theory. Given a constellation of forces, there is a reemergence of tyranny, colonialism, and in the postmodern, the neocolonial, with no sights at all of any post-colonial.  The Imperialism of modernity has reinvented itself in the Empire of postmodern. One has only to witness the postmodern wars that followed Vietnam, where the Spectacle and the Hyperreal Virtual of CNN/Fox displaced blood and guts reporting.  If Imperialism become the pet of European capitalism, then Empire is the monster of U.S. capitalism, and its result: Globalization of U.S. Empire. 

Finally, there are rhizomatic antenarratives.  This is a kind of storytelling organization made of a very special interplay of order and disorder, one that has lines that are non-linear, and both an above and a below ground networking.  In biology there are rhizome plants, with runners above ground (like strawberries) that form new plants (called tubers), and plants with roots forming tubers (like potatoes, crab grass), and a mix like irises, trumpet vines, etc.   In social rhizomatics there is the first bank crisis of the 1800s, then the stock market crisis in 1920s, the gas crisis of 1970s, the Enron contagion that pulled Arthur Anderson under in 1990s, and now in 2008, yet another rhizome.  You cannot catch a rhizome fraud (whose roots are subterranean) with a linear approach. Rhizomes just go around, below, and above lines.  You cannot break a rhizome by declaring it a cycle. Rhizomes encounter a cycle, imitate it like a chameleon, and move right through it. Rhizomes are ever-moving, extending in all directions, until an obstacle.  Then it either strangles it, breaks it, or moves around it. 

To me linear ante-postmodern theory is dead, cyclical ante-postmodern theory is dead, and we are left with rhizome postmodern. Storytelling organizations are a dialogic storytelling, an intermingle of linear retrospective narrative, living story networks unfolding now, and the antenarrative bets on the future (be they linear, cyclic, or rhizome).

In storytelling organizations, the line and the cycle are not dead, but what is ante-postmodern is the rhizomatics. 

Monday, September 22, 2008

Business and Arts in the Mirror Effect

Business and Art: The Mirror Effect Goes Both Ways

David M. Boje

I want to thank all the students, faculty and the Dean of the Business College for coming here tonight. I want to thank the artists, Arts Organization leaders, and the leaders in government for being here tonight. I want to thank the leaders of the Chamber of Commerce for coming tonight to speak to us. I particularly want to thank Virginia Maria Romero of Talking Stick Institute, for getting the ball rolling, to bring this Arts Convention into being. And thanks to Joe Gladstone for co-facilitating with me tonight.

I being my storytelling by telling you about how Virginia Maria Romero came to the Dean of the College of Business, and to the Associate Dean, and asked them to help her arts business.  And the Deans enrolled her project for Retablos in the Arrowhead Center, and the entrepreneurship of a win-win partnership began.  And after last year’s Talking Stick Institute brought some artists together to decide what to do about the arts economy, Virginia Maria called me, and said, TSI could do lots more.  And the rest, as they say, is history. She became a board member of TSI and helped in a big way to get this Arts Convention off the ground.

Tonight, I want to talk about something that Friedrich Nietzsche (1882/1974: p. 297, The Gay Science) called the “mirror effect.”  The best art for business is the Mirror Effect – to hold a mirror up to those who command and control. Art holds up a mirror up to those who obey and those who resist.  Art holds a mirror up to utilitarian, instrumental kinds of ethics, so that a more caring and social and maybe even natured ethical consciousness is apprehended.  And Business can hold up the Mirror of more prosperity, better plans and implementation in the Arts Scene. A vitalized Arts Scene is important to business. Arts Tourism in New Mexico is a five billion dollar industry. And there are more artists per capita in New Mexico than any other state, and New Mexico leads the nation when it comes to arts tourists.

When I say to students, visit the local Arts Scene. They reply, too often, “What Arts Scene?’  Have you been to Arts Ramble, to ArtsHop, to Love of Arts Month, or visited the Museums? No, I did not know about any of that?  How do I find out? That’s the main problem. There just is not enough marketing, not to students, not to arts tourists in Europe, not to the State government, who tends to see art as something, up-North.

The Mirror Effect brings about a bet on the future, what I call an “antenarrative” (Boje, 2001, Narrative Methods for Organization & Communication Research). An ante means a ‘bet’ and a ‘before. Antenarrative is a bet about the future that comes before a narrative petrification is constructed.

This evening we make some antenarratives, some bets on the future of the Arts Scene.  We dream our bets about the future we want this Arts Scene to bring into being. As for me, my antenarrative is that Business can interplay with Art in ways that help them both comprehend and know the Creative Economy in a more subtle way.

In The Arts Convention for Las Cruces & Mesilla Valley, we are holding up two mirrors.  The first mirror reflects the Arts Scene through a kaleidoscope of business facets.  The second mirror reflects Business through the kaleidoscope of the Arts.

Looking at the Arts Scene through the Business Mirror

Business is all about utility, the economics of the arts from its revenues, costs, wages, to its strategic piloting indicators (what Dean Carruthers calls the ‘dash board indicators’).  The theme of this Arts Convention: how artists and arts organizations can make a living. We think that is by marketing Las Cruces and Mesilla Valley as an “Arts Destination” and by Business, Arts, University, and Chambers of Commerce (we have 2) coming together to market the arts.  Tonight we will do some storytelling about what is possible in the Future of the Arts Scene, and then build some strategic piloting indicators.

Some major indicators are arts buying and selling.  What I hear is arts is just not selling, artists and galleries are not making a living. There are over 250 artists, some 130 organizations in the arts scene (including 87 arts service organizations, 36 galleries,  & 7 museums), but arts are not selling, not well enough for those who want to, to make a living.

What are these Strategic Piloting Indicators? 50,000 people will visit RenFaire, and 230,000 will visit museums, and another 10,000 will visit 36 galleries this year. ‘So what’ says Business? What counts is the number of people that buy, and not just how much art they buy, but how many meals, hotel rooms, and other kinds of consumer purchases such as rental cars, clothing, etc. There are both qualitative and quantitative piloting indicators used to assess if missions, goals, and plans are coming into existence, bearing fruit.

The missions, goals, action plans, and piloting indicators are the way Business looks at the local economy of the arts scene.

What does Arts see reflected in the mirror Business holds up to its Scene? The Business Mirror Effect would look at overlap, at duplication of mission by this or that organization with other organization, and call for more win-win cooperation by respecting niches.

Classism There is some snobbery, and some classism. The MFA artist does not associate with the hobbyist. The Town, Mesa, and City artist is outside the social class of the University artist.  There is a socioeconomic reflection of the Arts Scene in the Business Mirror. There is high, middle, and lower class art. The lower class buys its Wal-art at the two local Wal-Marts. Couch potatoes of all classes do not frequent the Symphony, Opera of the plays at the community theatres. The upper class does not frequent many galleries locally, but do attend the fundraisers at the animal shelter, and some give to the Symphony to defray costs of the program. The middle class, by in large heads to Silver City, to El Paso, or even Santa Fe to buy the more expensive art.

Water colorists and sculptors share their ways of doing art, but the oil and acrylic artists keep trade secrets. Some galleries, and certainly the symphony cater to the upper class, maybe to the upper middle class. The Crafts and Farmers’ Market caters to the people who want affordable arts and crafts. Some arts associations don’t sell visual art for more than $200. Other arts organizations would never sell so cheaply. There is a sort of classism in the arts and culture here, maybe everywhere. Business looks at classism in the arts in terms of pricing strategy.  There is ageism. Young students rarely venture beyond the castle walls of the University, to attend an Arts Ramble (first Friday of each month) or the annual ArtsHop, or the Love of Arts Month. These are pursuits of much older people.

The Business Mirror Effect gives a glimpse why the arts scene must be compellent so that University students, faculty, and staff will become consumers in the Arts Scene. Art as a product must compel the buyers to buy so that artist can make a living, arts galleries and theatres a profit, and museum gift shops revenue to supplement shrinking budget from the State. 

Let us do the Mirror Effect the other way: What can Business learn from the Arts?

Art is often used by business in very utilitarian ways:

*    How to make organizations beautiful (oftentimes when they are not).

*    To dilute what is bitter is the feat of inventive artists.

*    Seeing Things around the corner that a linear plan cannot fathom.

*    Making products into brands, and corporations into images.

*    Spinning a story to reinvent a tarnished image.

*    Using architectural perspective, tinted glass and shadows to conceal much from public view.

Some say the measure of a strong corporate culture, is a portrait of the CEO, University President, or General is visible from the entry way of headquarters. An artist has made such a portrait, and it serves a very instrumental purpose: a referent to the founder’s, and to successors’ core values, and a glorification of the legitimate leaders of an enterprise.

Art can also make Business conscious of some very Ethical things. Nietzsche (p. 235) says of the artist, “their best art would not really profit others.”  Many in Las Cruces and Mesilla Valley would agree that their art does not bring them profit.  But that may not be their intent. Art can help business to comprehend, to feel a sense of caring, to know itself beyond instrumental, utilitarian, and impersonal indicators. Those who are called artists in the best sense of that term can give business an ethical appreciation.  For example, Mark Medoff wrote a play and it debuted locally, called “We Are Enron.”  The play is the Mirror Effect of Arts’ perspective on Business, on Accounting, on Free Market Capitalism.

More than being instrumental, utilitarian or a spin, art can develop a perspective that peers beneath the spectacle masquerade.  Art can get beneath the superficial, and way down to the soul of business. Art, when used by Business as a tool, misses this deeper more answerable ethical perspective.

Apollo and Dionysus Perhaps when Business looks in the Arts’ Mirror, business sees a reflection of Dionysus. For Nietzsche there is Apollonian art and Dionysian art. Apollo art is all about hierarchy, status, and class. Dionysian art is about change, revolution, and destruction of the old hierarchies.  The Arts Scene will grow out of the interplay of the Apollo and Dionysus artists. Artists can help business, to draw from a drained cup of worker’s labor, another drop of joy that tastes sweet to the soul. When Art is incorporated into Business, not as a tool, but as inspiration, things that were previously inexpressible become storyable.

Business is About Cause and Effect.  Business without art, or only art as a tool, can only see cause and effect (Nietzsche, p. 204, 235). With Art in the Mirror Effect, Business can see its antenarrative, its ways of ‘Becoming’ its bet. Nietzsche calls it a “river of becoming” (p. 163).  The problem is that Cause and Effect logic misses most of the subtle aspects of becoming. Business infers an effect, and then looks for a cause (the most basic duality), and then the cause of that cause, until a linear causal chain is constructed as a BME (Beginning, Middle & End) narrative. The problem with cause and effect duality reasoning is that it is without Art. With the Mirror Effect of art, it’s possible to see more than linearity, and to include more subtle patterns.

Arts and Business in the Mirror Effect We are witness to the birth of a new perspective, Arts, Business, Government and Education working together, in a win-win relationship. We are witness to the birth of a new and different Arts-Business aesthetics.  This Arts Scene will grow and prosper. This is the arts scene of Southern New Mexico. It’s an Arts Scene at the crossroads of Hispano, Anglo, and Native American cultures.

A vitalized Arts Scene important to business. Artists can help Business to see the suffering of souls in visual arts, to hear the tones of suffering of souls torment in business.  This occurs when the instrumental reasoning of cause and effects appears to come unhinged (Nietzsche, p. 143).

Thanks one and all for making this Arts Convention a great Hall of Mirrors.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Storyteller - A poem by Keith Wilson

The Story Teller
So much came to depend upon the past,
what he thought had happened, all seen
with increasing clarity, all losing
the distortion of his early lies
about family, legends, his own powers.
Before long, once upon a time became
"it was" until finally he could not separate
dreams from happenings, ceased to care
as the imagined life flowed onto paper,
rang like small clay bells in the ears
of audiences and in the midst of long years
he grew to be, what he had one thought to be.
Poem by Keith Wilson copyright 2003
from the book: Night and Its Secret Songs 
coyright 2003 Limberlost Press
Keith Wilson is poet laureate for New Mexico State University
Included on this blog by permission of the author - Sep 18, 2008

Put in Comments about ARTS CONVENTION has all the current info on ARTS CONVENTION 2008.  You will find photos, participant information, and our next steps. 

What has Arts Convention Done? The 1st annual Arts Convention of Las Cruces and Mesilla Valley is wrapping up their event on Sept 22. Faculty and students of the Business College are working with local artists and arts organization members to do work on task forces between Sept and Dec 8th. To date the Arts Convention participants formed 10 task forces, each one of them developed mission statements, and set three goals to accomplish by Dec 8. The key theme of the Convention has been how to improve the arts economy so artists in the visual, performing, and literary arts make more money. The Mayors of Mesilla and Las Cruces, as well as many arts organization leaders (such as Heather Pollard of DAAC, Greg Fant Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences, ...Cindi Fargo of Downtown Las Cruces, Lori Grumet the Director of City of Las Cruces Public Services, Wayne Crawford and Dick Thomas for the literary arts, Steve Fishmann & Leonard Rawson, and many more) have addressed the Convention. Ways artists and arts organizations can market events has been a key concern to delegates. Ed Breeding, a local filmographer premiered his new film, "Heart of the Arts." The documentary film allows people to discover the magnificent and diverse artist's works in Mesilla Valley.

Please add your comments - Thank you -- David Boje

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blacksmith and Funding in New Mexico --Sept 15 opening story to Arts Convention

Opening Remarks for Sep 15th 2008 ARTS CONVENTION

David M. Boje

September 15, 2008

Blacksmiths and Funding in New Mexico

Why is up-North in New Mexico getting more Arts Funding? 

The goals you set tonight in each task force can change the patterns of storytelling in the Arts and Culture scene of Las Cruces & Mesilla Valley. 


I have two questions tonight:


  1. How do you market arts and the arts scene of Las Cruces & Mesilla Valley?
  2. How can artists and museums, galleries, theatres, symphonies, book and journal publishers, music groups and film societies make more money in Las Cruces & Mesilla Valley?


My point is that art is not selling in Las Cruces & Mesilla Valley? Sure some is selling, but artists are not making a living. That is why Ruth Drayer, our Talking Stick Board member moved to Santa Fe. It’s why three galleries closed last year. There is a reason why the museums are asking for funding. And there’s a reason why New Mexico State University professors are paid about 15 to 20% less then the professors in University of New Mexico, also financed by the state.


Now here is story for you to kick it off.


I am a member of SWABA, the Southwest Artist Blacksmith Association.  Susan Frary and Pep Gomez are my forge teachers. 


I made a chisel with the help of Ben, Pep, and Susan at my first SWABA meeting. At my second, I learned to make a coal fire with something called a doughnut, and how to hold the hammer to so as not to have it bounce off the anvil and knock me out.  When we got the fire going, I made three hooks to use in my barn, to hang the fly traps on to help out the Arabian horses.  I turned the crank myself on a hand-operated blower.


Hopper Shannon is a blacksmith in Hatch. He designed the blacksmith building in Farm and Ranch Museum. He did it old style, with adobe bricks, and no air-conditioning, and electric motors. Hopper was the 1st blacksmith employed at the forge at Farm and Ranch Museum.  That’s until Governor Richardson cut back the funding to the down-state museums in New Mexico. The blacksmiths teaching the craft were no longer on the payroll.


So Hopper’s student, Billy Provence volunteered to work for free, and so did Susan Frary. They work without wages several days a week. But the museum granted them the right to sell their back art to the visitors.  They make knives, hooks for tools, and fire starters (a piece of forged steel and a flint stone). I bought two of Hopper’s fire starters. Its easy when he strikes it and makes the sparks fly.  I still don’t have the hang of it.


Now here is the interesting part of my story. The state of New Mexico increased the funding to museums up-North, while decreasing the funding down-South.


I decided this Thanksgiving week, when I am off from the university to work all week with Pep and Susan, to really learn my black art. In January I’ll go take a class with Hopper Shannon in Hatch. He has told me No, he’ won’t teach me three times now. But I teach assertivness, and to me a no is just a request for more information.


The reason I don’t want to go up North to Santa Fe or Albuquerque to take a class is I think we have some fine blacksmith artists right here.


I did some comparisons.  They are in a report I gave to the city and to the councilors. Its on the web at http://talkingstick .info 


In FY 2008 arts funding to counties in New Mexico by the New Mexico Arts Commission (State Dept of Cultural Affairs, using Federal money from National Endowment for the Arts, and state monies), did something mighty peculiar.


If you compare the funding of arts organizations in this state between 2004 and 2008 here is what you see


Dona Ana county (down-South) in 2004 received $88,119 in grants (6.29% of total) and in 2008 got about half of that, only $49,574 (5.5%)


Now look at Santa Fe, up-North.  In 2004 they got $169,632 (12.11%) and in 2008, it almost doubled, to $306,445 (34% of the total). 


Now you could say that Dona Ana just put in fewer grants. I hear that story. But you got to admit the numbers tell quite a story.  When you put the story of the funding of museums going up, up-North, and way down, down-South, I think there should be some kind of investigation.


Now next year I will be ready to take up an art by Great Grandfather mastered. He was a blacksmith in Goldendale Washington. Became a blacksmith after he and his daughter Wilda (my grandmother) crossed the Rockies in a covered wagon. They tried wheat farming, but could not make a go of it. Moved to town and became a blacksmith. Wilda and her brother Gerald became trick riders in the Rodeo. Gerald married Stella LaClaire of the Yakima tribe. My grand mother learned all about herbs and how to throw a rock to kill a rabbit for dinner, and how to bend a piece of wire to make a hook and catch a fish.


Let me tell you what its like to be an artist. My dad made wood clocks, pens and toys. Sole them at fairs all over Oregon. But the fairs charge him $300 to $500 for a weekend. He had to sell a lot of pens and yo-yos to make that money back. He had to sell a lot more to pay for the materials, and all those tools. And he had to sell even more if he was to earn money to pay some bills and buy some food.  Still, he was the happiest man I ever knew, after he left the corporate world and become an artist.  He died happy, asleep in his art shop, with a smile on his face, and the remote control in his hand.  Kinda like to go that way myself, God willing.

Now keep in mind this is just storytelling, and you will have to investigate the facts for yourself. -- David Boje


Friday, September 12, 2008

David Boje's remarks for Sharon Shultz Sept 8 2008

Sharon writes

“So sorry to cancel speaking at your Arts Convention opening, but I’m sure you understand. The main points I wanted to make were:"

1.   Tourism is a $5.2 billion industry in New Mexico

2.    Tourism is the second largest private sector industry in NM and is the largest private sector employer in NM

3.    The arts are an important component of that figure and a great attraction for tourists to NM

4.     The Tourism Association of New Mexico is a membership organization (like a Chamber of Commerce) that works on behalf of the tourism industry in NM with legislative action and educational programs. More details on what we do and the benefits of membership are on our website,

“I appreciate being invited to participate in your conference and hope it is successful.” – Sharon Shultz

 The following are addition economic remarks provided by David Boje

 Las Cruces and Mesilla Valley ARTS SCENE can command more revenues when it gets it tells its story to the public. Look at this amazing potential. 

"Nationally, the nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $166.2 billion in economic activity every year—$63.1 billion in spending by organizations and an additional $103.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences --- According to the report "Arts & Economic Prosperity III: The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations and Their Audiences

 Revenue impacts• New Mexico Culture is already a $4.9 Billion Dollar Industry of the 5.2 billion tourism industry that Sharon Shultz mentioned. We can say that up North they only are getting $1.2 Billion Dollars of it. That means quite a bit is available to the Southern part of this state. Of this, about half or $2.5 Billion Dollar Arts & Culture Industry

  • This  means $183 Million in Tax Revenues for this State --- Source: 2004 State of New Mexico reports (p. 3 & 5 of the 2004 report, now offline with release of 2006 report).50

Professor Chris Erickson writes in 2007 issue of New Mexico Business Outlook:

“Local officials should also focus on improving amenities. Las Cruces

needs more parks, more theaters, and more arts in general. The local arts scene is fine for a town our size, but there is also considerable room for improvement especially as we grow”. - Feb 2007. 

 New Mexico has several major arts scenes, with 3 cities in the top 25 arts destinations in America according to American Style Magazine: Albuquerque is #7 in top 25 big cities; Santa Fe is #1 and Taos #5 in the Smallest 25 cities category. When Las Cruces & Mesilla Valley Arts & Culture Scene" is recognized by the State of New Mexico - Department of Cultural Affairs for the outstanding Arts Destination it has become, then Las Cruces & Mesilla Valley Arts & Culture Scene" has a good chance of making the list. All we have to do is show the world that we have more galleries, artist, and arts service organizations than Portsmouth (#25 on the Small Cities - under 100,000 in population. Portsmouth has 6 galleries - Las Cruces has 44 galleries and museums

In 2007, Silver City and Las Vegas were designated New Mexico’s first Arts and Culture Districts as part of Governor Bill Richardson’s Arts and Culture Districts Initiative (see press release Jan 24 2007)


Las Cruces' nickname is 'Cultural Crossroads.' Las Cruces (86,268 population as of 2006) is the second largest city in New Mexico and the historic crossroads for Native Americans, Spanish explorers, and Anglo frontiersmen. According to the Vision 2040 predictions, population of the City of Las Cruces (& Doña Ana County) will expand by 40% by 2040.


Florida (2006 p.1) suggests that Creative Cities are "cauldrons of creativity."

Hartey (2005" 2) suggests that Creative Industries of a city attract artists, professors, scientists, and musicians. Creative Cities writes Jinna Tay (p. 220, in Hartey) says they "are spaces you want to be in, places to be seen." There are three historic preservation areas that can be drawn into a clarity of artistic purpose: Las Cruces Downtown (including Rio Grande theater & Amador Hotel), Mesilla Plaza, and Mesquite Historic District Neighborhood. These three areas are the heart of a creative economy


The Creative Class expects an active arts and music scene, including 'edgy arts events' and a vibrant street life as reasons to move to a city (Florida, 2004: p. 224, 231-2).


Talking Stick Institute is putting on the ARTS CONVENTION because our intent is to incubate ideas that support arts and culture-based economic development for Las Cruces businesses, individuals, organizations, agencies and institutions to work collaboratively and to formally structure that collaboration creating an economic market niche (This is consistent with House Bill 440).


References & Footnotes

• Beckett, Patrick H. 1993. Las Cruces, New Mexico 1881: As Seen By Her Newspapers. COAS Publishing and Research.

• Boje, D. M. 2007 -- Copy of Entire FINALReport pdf May 7 2008 - version online that incorporates City Council, Dean of Business College, & several arts organization leader's feedback; WORD version of 79 page FINAL REPORT on Arts & Culture Alliance proposal (takes longer time to download)

Caves, Richard E. 2002. Creative Industries: Contracts between Art and Commerce. Harvard University Press.

• Fisher, J. T. 2003. Las Cruces.

• Florida, Richard. 2008. Who's Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life. NY: Basic Books.

• Florida, Richard. 2006. Cities and the Creative Class. NY: Routledge.

• Florida, Richard. 2004. The Rise of the Creative Class. NY: Basic Books.

• Harris, Linda G. 1993. Las Cruces, An Illustrated History. Las Cruces, NM: Arroyo Press.

• Hartley, John. (ed). 2005. Creative Industries. UK/Australia: Blackwell Publishers.

• Howkins, John. 2002. The Creative Economy: How People Make Money from Ideas. Penguin Global.

• Hunner, Jon; Kord, Brian; Lachica, Cassandra; & Spence, Renee. 2003. Las Cruces (NM). Portsmouth, NH: Acadia Publishing.

• Landry, Charles. 2000. The Creative City: A Toolkit for Urban Innovators. Earthscan Publications Ltd.

• MacNeish, Richard S. 1983. Preliminary Investigations of the Archaic in the Region of Las Cruces.

• Owen, Gordon. 2000. Las Cruces New Mexico, Multicultural Crossroads. Yucca Tree Press.

• Taylor, Mary Daniels (with contributions by Nora Barrick) 2004.. A Place as Wild as the West Ever Was, Mesilla, New Mexico: 1848-1872. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University.

• Thorsby, David. 2001. Economics and Culture. UK: University of Cambridge.

1. New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. On Fertile Ground, 2006 Report to the Community. New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. p. 3.

2 Vision 2040 Cultural Inventories report (draft).

3. National Register of Historic Places See listing of 15 Historic Places in Las Cruces.

4. Vision 2040 Population Report.

5. City of Las Cruces Comprehensive Plan for Economic Development. 1999.

6. 2004 Town of Mesilla Comprehesnive Plan

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