Friday, January 14, 2011

Would You Want to Live in the HIVE?


HIVE is an envisioned compound of artists live/work spaces made of shipping containers. There was a fundraiser for it last night at Avant Garden. The visionary behind this is Nestor Topchy. I went to the fundraiser and plopped down my $20 bucks, but personally I have mixed feelings about it. When I look at the rendering, I get the feeling of a post-apocalyptic compound, scavenged together from old shipping containers. Put some gun turrets and spotlights on the perimeter walls and you have a good approximation of the "First Colony" from The Passage. It looks like it would be a strong redoubt against vampires or zombies.

It would also make an idea headquarters for the Hierarchy of International Vengeance and Extermination. It has the look of a super-villain's headquarters, I think. Of course, when one sees a compound out in the woods like this, it's hard not to recall various compounds that cult-leaders have retreated to, to escape from this oh-too-worldly world. And that's what I think the problem with it is.

HIVE poster at Avant Garden

I was talking to an artist friend of mine the other day who told me that most of the people she knows are also artists. Which is natural--people often tend to socialize within their profession. It can be problematic for artists and writers or other creative people when they want to create work that is relevant to people outside their profession. On one hand, you want to have this community on whom you can bounce off ideas, with whom you can collaborate, etc. On the other hand, you don't want to be in an echo chamber. Fortunately, artists still live in the world. They still have daily contact with people and things that aren't part of the art world.

HIVE would isolate artists. The HIVE is a giant echo chamber, a walled compound in what appears to be a relatively remote setting where on a day-to-day basis, contact with non-artists would be profoundly limited. I think the effect of that on the art produced would be terrible.

Hail HIVE! Immortal HIVE! We shall never be destroyed! Cut off one limb and two more shall take its place! We serve the Supreme Hive, as the world shall soon serve us!

But it looks like Topchy is serious about building it. He has formed a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for it, and they have a timeline that involves buying the land this spring. I'll be interested to see how it progresses.

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