The Harrison Studio
Helen Mayer Harrison/Newton Harrison and Associates
417 Linden Street, Santa Cruz, California 95062
- Paperless Post Hosted by Lauren Bon & The Metabolic Studio, the supper will follow an opening reception from 2 - 5 pm at Various Small Fires.
Quincy Jones and Home of Lauren Bon, Beverly Hills. - You have received an invitation from Various Small Fires & Lauren Bon. Please view it at https://www.paperlesspost.com/events/22305464-fa366c7d/replies/347738360-adb14229. You can also copy and paste the link below into your browser to view your invitation: https://www.paperlesspost.com/events/22305464-fa366c7d/replies/347738360-adb14229
- 2013: Pig Feast Video for Wilma the Pig.
Enacted by the 120lb. pig, Wilbur. The event will take place Saturday, September the 1st, 2012 at 12:00 noon at the Geffen Museum. In it, Wilbur the pig will be introduced, for a second time, to the work Hog Pasture, presently on exhibition at the Geffen. This work, entitled, Survival Piece #1, R.H. Shumway’s Annual Hog Pasture Mix, is the first of the Survival Pieces done by the Harrisons from 1970-72, which set out to define urban farming (see http://theharrisonstudio.net/?page_id=125). Wilbur was first introduced to an 1/8th size model of Hog Pasture prior to the beginning of the exhibition when he was under 40lbs. (see attached video). His response was enthusiastic, active, even playful. We await a much larger Wilbur’s response to a much taller pasture.
Geffen Contemporary Museum
152 North Central Avenue, Los Angeles, California
This preliminary text has been replaced by an article, 2008, for Structure and Dynamics. PUBLISHED VERSION: Public Culture and Sustainable Practices: Peninsula Europe from an ecodiversity perspective, posing questions to Complexity Scientists Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison
Peninsula Europe: The High Ground is a complex 3,000 square foot exhibition that basically proposes that the peninsula of Europe, as defined in this work of art, has the potential to unify Europe in a new way. The work is a distillation of a proposal that was originally published in a book entitled, “Green Landscape.” The book was published by Campus Verlag in 1999. The proposal embedded in it was supported by European Union 2000, the German Environmental Ministry, in 4 museums and 3 countries. The catalogue is in three languages and has been presented to the European Parliament. Douglas White, who is our longtime friend and colleague, suggested that the complexity group forming in Europe at the moment might be interested in Peninsula Europe as a project. This work we have done as artists appears to have points of intersection with the interests of complexity theorists. Therefore we have simplified the “Peninsula Europe” exhibition to its core salient features. The few notes below set out to make more explicit our process of expression as artists. They also suggest the differences between the artist’s way and the processes of image formation in the domain of complexity theory.
We find that movement into the culture of complex and difficult ideas do not lend themselves readily to the form of communication invented by complexity theorists. Our opinion is that if the complexity group wishes to land on the ground, two things are necessary. One, ennobling issues need to be taken up directly. By “ennobling” we mean, that which most people would accept as a good thing to do, prima facie, whether or not they believed it could be done. Moreover, we think that a new language that admits itself to everyday discourse needs to be invented. Peninsula Europe sets out to invent such a language. Thus readers will note that the language in this work of art is sometimes propositional, often narrative in its expression. Within the context of narration, the discursive is used, the poetic is expressed as is story-telling. These are synthesized with scientific, particularly ecological information. Social systems are addressed, but distantly, in this early iteration as well as imagery.
We choose the poetic form, which appears again and again in this document, as a method of condensing information. However, our motivation is more complex than this. Poetry comes from a long oral tradition and many of our works are designed to be read aloud. Moreover, the poetics help create internal rhyming and redundancies within the construction of our concept as a whole. Seeking metonymy with everyday processes of seeing, thinking and acting, thereby.
We wonder how the social scientists, particularly the complexity theorists, who deal with networks, large systems and complex entities, might approach the ideas expressed in Peninsula Europe. This is a way of working that personally we have become comfortable with. It is our hope that our processes are not too idiosyncratic to be useful to others.
As artists, we note that abstraction must emerge from that which is abstracted from. The more distant the abstraction from its source, the more difficult it is from our perspective, to credibly and usefully return to the original terrain. Therefore, our own way of working is continually referential to both ourselves as artists, that is, bespeaking the humanness of the creative process, and to the terrain that it refers to. The terrain that it refers to we seek to make visual and the concepts we work with appear as you see them written (or potentially spoken) in relationship to images. [Image 1]
Peninsula Europe: The High Grounds
We see Europe as including the Scandinavian countries, the Baltic countries, the Russia plain even extending to the Ural Mountains, Great Britain and the other islands, each with their distinct geophysical properties. However "Peninsula Europe" focuses on the geophysical perception of the heartland of Europe, which is seen as a peninsula extending from the Eurasian continent. One definition of a peninsula is 'a body of land that is almost an island'. The European peninsula is clearly surrounded by water on three sides making it almost an island. However, it can be seen as surrounded by water on the fourth side when the eastern boundary is determined by the Vistula River flowing north from the Carpathians to the Baltic Sea and the Dnester flowing south to the Black Sea. These rivers do not themselves quite meet, but their tributaries are separated by only about 30 kilometers. However, their waters meet in the massive wetlands to the east on the Russian plain, marking a water boundary.
Seen this way, a vast coherent peninsula emerges with water determining its boundaries. The salient features of this landform are the complicated, involuted high grounds formed by the Pyrenees, the Alps, and the Carpathians with the addition of the Apennines and the Dolomites and the French Massif Central, as well as the lesser high grounds such as those of Spain. When this extended array of ridges and drain basins are looked at as a salient feature, an incredibly diverse and complex terrain, encompassing a far greater variety of habitats in a compact space than almost anywhere else in the western world, can be seen. This geophysical complexity has permitted great biological and cultural diversity. The possibility for entityhood for “Peninsula Europe” arises once there is a defining boundary for its physical terrain. Then entityhood could be seen as the acknowledgment of the emergent patterns that could group and cluster and feed value into each other, creating domains of stability thereby.
The primary salient feature of this cultural landscape of everybodies’ creation is that it now exists with few of its original ecological sites remaining. Looking at Peninsula Europe as a cultural landscape, the overproduction of sameness emerges as a dangerous, potentially de-stabilizing pattern. There is mono-cultural farming obvious in the vast fields of single crops, mono-cultural forestry obvious in the vast plantations of pine. There is sameness in the productions of goods by the international companies, in the productions of media by the multinationals and sameness emerging in many once diverse cultural activities and forms.
We see all this leading to the eventual loss of bio-diversity, cultural diversity and ultimately cultural identity. "Peninsula Europe" proposes an alternative future. We apply the metaphor of the loved and nurtured personal garden to the European landscape. .A garden that is potentially sustainable, prosperous, diverse, needing caring, tending and protecting, with the personal garden, the public park and the historic, or in some places prehistoric, less modified landscapes offering alternative visions.
The image that is transformed into an iconic array is that of the peninsula which with its incredibly varied terrain has become the heartland of Europe. The iconic array will envision this whole terrain as a cultural landscape capable of transforming itself into a stability domain. This domain becomes viable on the basis of a multitude of integrated feedback loops and interconnectedness through networks and hierarchical structures, all initially symbolized by that iconic array that is self sustaining. And which, like even the simplest cell, can take into itself what sustains it and avoid what does not.
Thus we are lead to the notion of developing a Trans-European discourse on the nature and evolution of its own future well-being. The discourse itself would, we believe, result in the concept of a Peninsula Europe as a stability domain gaining the broad understanding and acceptance that is a precondition for envisioning, and thereafter building, trans-European entityhood. Our process enacts one aspect of how a complex discourse like this works. This is by a process we call conversational drift, where the conversation of place drifts from speaker to speaker, or community to community within a given milieu.
The outcome of this, overtime, would be the emergence of a complex, bio-diverse life web, the restoration of the conditions that generate clean water and a food-producing system that would generate instead of destroying topsoil and where the harvest would preserve the system. It would lead to systems for the production of goods that were responsible for their own wastes, and cultural support systems, place by place, that all together countered the loss of identity and the proliferation of sameness.
In effect we are talking about nothing less than generating a vast public discourse on the value and necessity of directly addressing the continuing co-evolution of biological diversity and cultural diversity much to each other’s advantage. Toward this end, we believe the complexity theorist community has the capacity to participate and add coherence and direction.
Ultimately, we believe that a scale barrier needs to be overcome so that the problems at issue are addressed at the scale that they exist in the cultural landscape as a whole. We see this as achievable by an interaction and collaboration between the hierarchical processes that are represented in institutions where resources flow from the top down and the self-making properties that are implicit in networking, that happens, place by place, when groups spontaneously organize themselves to achieve common goals,
we believe that Peninsula Europe is at a bifurcation point
At a point of change and self-transformation
After all, from the Romans through the Middle Ages
through the Renaissance
to the now,
that territory we call Europe
has many times rebuilt its landscape
It has rebuilt its belief systems
and rebuilt its ecosystems.
Now we imagine a new set of emergent properties
suggesting this is indeed a bifurcation point in a state of becoming
A point of reorganization of its own complexities
into a new form of entityhood.
For instance, we see 7 initial steps that would move the Peninsula as a whole toward entityhood:
Peninsula Europe moves towards entityhood
when a many leveled trans-European discourse
on the nature and development
of its future.
moves past fragmentation
Peninsula Europe moves toward entityhood
when its boundary conditions become
to what it understands
as contributing to its well being
to what does not.
Peninsula Europe moves towards entityhood
when its discourse
can focus on the carrying capacity of its terrain
for industry, farming, fishing
and cultural divergence.
Peninsula Europe moves towards entityhood
as it transforms its wastes
into that which is useful and valuable
while successively reducing the wastes
that are damaging to itself.
its organic waste disposal
becomes a vast topsoil regenerating system
insuring green farming
remodeling its food production systems
on natural systems.
Peninsula Europe moves towards entityhood
when its rivers systems estuaries ocean edges
forests wetlands meadow lands and eco-corridors
are valued sufficiently
and enabled to co-join
into a complex biodiverse life web
self-sustaining in nature
an econet of the whole.
And its highground, grassland, forest communities
contribute ecological redundancy, continuity and mass
at a continental scale.
Peninsula Europe moves towards entityhood
when its diversity of cultures are protected
valued for themselves
and are encouraged to be seen as self-creating entities
adding improvisation and creativity
diversity and uniqueness to the cultural web
Entityhood happens when each part feeds value to the whole
and the whole complicates itself
following the natural laws of self-organization
and creating a complex many part identity.
Basically, the model we are suggesting comes from the Santiago Theory (Maturana & Varella) Our concept proposes that the Peninsula is sufficiently complex to reorganize itself as a dissipative structure. We argue that the possibility becomes co-equally probably or improbably driven by climate change.
How do we understand the Peninsula as a particular place?
The geophysical heartland of Europe
As a peninsula
Extending from the continent of Eurasia
With ocean boundaries
Cojoined by the Dnestr and Vistula Rivers
separating it from the the Russian plain
making it almost an island
Contemplating its domain
The high grounds emerge
As both pattern and icon
From a bird’s eye view
no matter which way you look
the forms of the Russian plain
are distinct and separate from
those of the European peninsula.
Continuing to look
the heartland of Europe is surrounded by waters
with its eastern boundary
divided from the Russian plain
by the Dnester River
flowing south from the Carpathians down to the Black Sea
and with the Vistula flowing northward to the Baltic.
These rivers form a boundary
leaving a physical land connection to the Russian plain
of perhaps only thirty kilometers.
Focusing on the Peninsula alone
the high grounds emerge as figure
the lowlands as field
the waters as frame.
Contemplating the pattern
Reflecting on the properties of its
“It’s and array of drain basins cradled by the mountains
formed by the pouring forth of the rivers
that begin in the high grounds.”
“Most of Europe’s water begins there.”
“If the forests were left to re grow
and the grasslands released from overgrazing
Then the resulting bio-mass
Could help to purify
The outpouring of water.”
And you said,
”Then biodiversity ribbons again can grow
across the high grounds from the Pyrénnées
to the Carpathians
“Where would you begin?”
And you said,
“Where the terrain permits and the will exists
Why the high grounds where the high grounds we choose to define the high grounds as where the rivers as opposed to the trees under Alpine definition. Under this definition, we find a shape that is iconic in nature. Moreover, this shape emerges a pattern, as will be shown later, literally develops a voice of its own.
For instance this process offers a self-making form of purification of collected lowland rivers. The Mulde River being perhaps the most polluted river in Germany. And the purification of high-ground watersheds can also be understood as a regenerative process for polluted lowland rivers.
Accepting a grant from the eco ministry of Saxon Anhalt
Working with a team from Bauhaus Dessau
Getting to know the distress in this river
in this place
In this watershed
by meeting with many
by driving the tributaries.
Seeing the effect of the Tagebau at Bitterfeld
understanding that the river was burdened
or minimally processed wastes.
Understanding that the Muldeaue
carried such a density of heavy metals
that the milk of the cows that fed there
had to be taken to the toxic waste dump.
Thinking about one hundred and fifty years of chemical industry
leaving perhaps a hundred thousand cubic meters
of not well charted toxic earth in the region around Bitterfeld.
Looking at the toxicity left by the Russian military.
Wondering about the radioactive waste at Aue.
Calling meetings with water people and ecology people
from the east in Sachsen and the west in Sachsen Anhalt
who also shared this drain basin.
I asked or you asked
Is there one clean section of the river?”
And the answer was
There was the little Floha Mulde
a tributary of the Mulde River
a drain basin within a drain basin
perhaps three hundred square kilometers all told.
If it rains a meter and a half
and a third of a meter percolates down into the forest earth.
then one can imagine clean waters emerging
equivalent to those that might come from a lake
one hundred square kilometers in dimension
one meter deep.
“It would be a beginning.”
Moreover, the process of looking, seeing and evaluating offers solutions to flood control, in the Oder, but that very same process would offer an alternate act of creativity for any other large-scale drain basin within the Peninsula.
A Ring of Many Floodplains for the Oder River
Thinking about the Oder River and a work we agreed to do there. Studying a complex conceptual design put together by the WorldWide Fund for Nature (WWF) for the whole length of the river. It appeared to propose wetland reclamation projects where possible and to widen the riverbed here and there if possible. But the river almost completely canalized left no large areas left within which the floodwaters could spread without damage. To our surprise, this plan did not appear to deal with the problems of flooding in any significant way.
We met a very knowledgeable man – politically and ecologically. He knew many people up and down the river. He told us many amusing stories. Perhaps the most amusing was one about the dikes that run along the river. It appeared that the Poles, particularly up river, never had the money to take care of their dykes as well as the Germans did. The river therefore is far more prone to flooding on the Polish Side. He said that if the Poles improved their dikes, then the probability of flooding downstream in German territory would become considerably greater. And, he said that Poland had just received extensive funding for such repairs! So we told him our idea of a ring of many floodplains; a concept based on substitution.
The basic notion would be to buy available land in spaces as close as possible to the place where the tributaries flow into the river, creating areas that can serve as small floodplains. These could collectively behave as a single large one. This then would save the money required for massive dikes along the Oder, ending the danger and costs of massive flooding, while creating an array of wetland parks, purifying waters and adding ecological and social value to place. I said, “From an economic perspective, it probably costs less to do than not to do.” You said, ”Three questions would answer this. They are simple calculations: 1. How many square kilometers does the hundred-year flood need to express itself without great damage? 2. What is the cost of land per hectare? 3. What is the cost of a major flood?” He answered, “Call my friends at the ministry and they will help you.”
His friend from the ministry wrote back that the information he was sharing with us was proprietary, which we found surprising as we thought such information would be a matter of public record. He said to contact people in Poland. He explained that the main part of the Oder River, 89 % of the watershed was in Poland and only 5% was in Germany with the rest in the Czech republic.
I asked another ecologist, “How many square kilometers would one need for such a floodplain?” He said, “About 500 kilometers more or less.” Now farmlands cost about 5,000 DM per hectare at their most expensive. And approximating the amount of floodplain needed to handle the 100 year flood at about 500 square kilometers, the cost of land alone would appear to be about 250,000,000 DM. But it would probably cost much less in Poland and the Czech republic, which share the Oder floodplain with Germany.
I said, “Looking at the cost of flooding in the three countries as an ensemble, it appears that the cost of acquiring new floodplain lands and doing the appropriate design and the earth shaping technical and ecological operations altogether would cost about 30 to 35 times less than the last big flood.” “Yes,” you said, “It looks like the cost of the hundred year flood could be a 30 to 35 times more than the cost of the land needed to prevent it. Even so, a friend of ours asked, “Where will the money come from right now to build this ring of many floodplains?” I asked in return, “Where did the money come from to repair the damages from the last flood?”
The Schweisfurth Stiftung called a small conference on the concept of Peninsula Europe to test its viability. This was attended by a diverse group of people. Several ecologists with a particular focus on transmontaine ecosystems, an economist, a high level bureaucrat from the European Union involved in environmental protection, a person from an independent environmental organization from Hamburg whose focus was on environmental economics and generating systems of production that tuned to natural systems. With the usual maps on the wall we made the following presentation. We said that we saw Peninsula Europe: the High Ground as a trans-European eco-cultural form at great scale wanting to happen. The trans-European biodiversity ribbons can reestablish the biomass and redundancy necessary for the well being of large eco-systems, such as existed formerly, but are no longer part of the current cultural landscape. We believe this new forest/meadow system has the potential of protecting the top end of every river within its domain. Therefore, most of the countries of Europe would gain a pure water downhill flow of great magnitude when the water crisis across Europe will begin to become acute in the next fifty or sixty years, perhaps sooner. All agreed but the EU representative, who stopped us here, asking where the money would come from and how would EU interests be served and how would such a system be sustained over time?
You said, “Think of the waters. About 1430 billion cubic meters of water fall on the icon. At least a thousand billion flow downhill. The rest remains in the mountains because of percolation and evapo-transpiration. So we are looking at about a thousand billion cubic meters of water yearly.” Then I said, ”Everybody pays at least one DM and sometimes two or three times that downstream for clean water. So we are looking at a trans-peninsula expense pattern of perhaps 2 trillion DMs yearly assuming all downhill flow is used at least once. As the gross transnational product appears to be about 16 trillion DM A rough calculation suggests that a modest water tax of about 3/5ths of a percent would yield close to a hundred million DM a year. Projecting this over a 15 year period that amount of money would go a long way to putting this system in place. Once in place the system would move to self-maintenance and therefore costs would drop significantly.” Then you said, “It looks like a very modest water tax for the good of the whole.”
And the other said, “Think about it a different way. The gross transnational product of Europe is moving towards the 8 trillion DM level and the cost within that context is somewhat over 1/2%.”
Thereafter the gentleman from the EU said, “Go for an EU grant.”
Therefore, the concept unpacks in a rather complex way with High ground theory (give numbers)-
+ the savings in flood damage + the eco-redundancy + the water holding sponge effect or forest replacing water loss from glaciation + the carbon sequestration + the weather modulation of increased evapotransporation
Hence an idea comes forth from what we now call informed storytelling
One does not need to know everything about everything to know what to do. The crisis is upon us.
A Few Figures Writ Large Upon the land
1.Population 420,000,000 2. Square kilometers of land 3,315,000 3. Square kilometers of farmland 2,300,000 4 Square kilometers of forest 650,000 5. Square kilometers of grassland 340,000 6. Square kilometers of urban land 25,000 7. Cubic kilometers of rainfall 2,693 8. Cubic meters of rainfall 2,693,000,000
A Few Figures Writ Large Upon the Icon
1. Population 40-45,000,000 2. Square kilometers of land 1,463,550 3. Square kilometers of farmland 1,030,000 4. Square kilometers of grassland 147,000 5. Square kilometers of forest 565,000 6. Square kilometers of glacier 3,000 7. Square kilometers of urban land 2,100 8. Cubic kilometers of rainfall above 300 meters 1,430 9. Cubic meters of rainfall above 300 meters 1 ,430,000,000 10. Cubic kilometers of rainfall above 600 meters 1,185 11. Cubic meters of rainfall above 600 meters 1,185,000,000
Finally the gross transnational product is hovering around
16,000,000,000 (sixteen trillion DM a year), somewhat larger than the United States, but definitely less than China
Average of kilometers of land between 300 and 600 meters high
REFLECTING ON BIG NUMBERS
REFUSING TO BE INTIMIDATED
LOOKIN FOR A MIDDLE WAY
ON FRAGMENTATION AND THE CONDITIONS FOR UNITY
ON THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF THE HIGHGROUNDS
AND ITS LIFE WEB
REFLECTING ON THE WILL OF CIVILIZATION TO FRAGMENT
WHEN ITS SURVIVAL
AND THAT OF THE ECOLOGY UPON WHICH IT DEPENDS
REQUIRE CERTAIN UNITIES
REFLECTING ON REFRAMING THE CONVERSATION
BY WHICH CULTURE RECREATES ITSELF
MOMENT BY MOMENT
HOW CAN THE PROCESS OF FRAGMENTATION BE MEDIATED
AND THE PROCESS OF ECOLOGICAL REUNIFICATION BEGUN?
THE PROCESS OF FRAGMENTATION REFLECTS
THE WAYS IN WHICH HUMAN AUTHORITY DIVIDES ITSELF AS WELL
INTO TOWNSHIPS AND CITIES
AUTHORITIES AND BUSINESSES AND INDUSTRIES
PUBLIC LANDS AND PRIVATE LANDS
WITH EACH DIVISION LOOKING TO THE INTEREST OF ITS PART
WHO IS THERE TO LOOK AT THE HIGHGROUNDS AS A WHOLE ?
WE RISK A PROPOSAL FOR THE WHOLE
WE PROPOSE AN EXTRANATIONAL DRAIN BASIN AUTHORITY
TO LOOK AFTER THE WELL BEING OF THE HIGH GROUNDS
A PROPOSAL BASED ON A FUTURE NECESSITY
FOR AN AUTHORITY
WHO WILL LOOK TO THE HEALTH OF THE WATERS THE RIVERS
DRAIN BASIN BY DRAIN BASIN
WHO WILL LOOK TO ESTABLISH VIABLE BALANCES
BETWEEN MULTI-USE FORESTS
AND SUCCESSION FOREST
AND ADDRESS SUCH QUESTIONS
AS HOW MUCH FARM AND HOW MUCH INDUSTRY
AND HOW MANY INHABITANTS
CAN EXIST IN AN AREA
AND HOW TO COMPENSATE
FOR OVERPOPULATION OF PLACE
WEIGHED AGAINST HOW MUCH MEADOW
AND FOREST AND WETLAND
ARE NEEDED TO SUSTAIN THE CREATIVITY OF THE DRAIN BASIN
THUS THE WATERSHED AUTHORITY WOULD BE
THE AUTHORITY WHOSE CONCERN
IS THE ECO-SECURITY OF THE WHOLE
AND WHO WILL LOOK TO
THE PURITY OF THE WATERS
WHO WILL LOOK TOWARDS THE PREVENTION
OF THE DUMPING OF TOXIC WASTE
INTO THE RIVERS OR NEAR THEM
WHO WILL LOOK TO THE PREVENTION OF LIVESTOCK
GRAZING TOO CLOSE TO THE RIVER
WHO WILL LOOK TO THE REGULATION OF DAMS
AND THE REMOVAL OF SOME
AND THE BUILDING OF FISH PASSAGES
WHERE DAMS CANNOT EASILY BE REMOVED
WHO WILL LOOK TO THE BUILDING OF OFFSTREAM STORAGE
FOR FLOOD CONTROL
AND FOR WETLAND PURIFICATION
WHO WILL LOOK TOWARDS THE RECONNECTING
AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF FOREST MASS
WHO WILL LOOK TO THE BUILDING OF CORRIDORS FOR WILDLIFE
IN WATERS, MEADOWS AND FOREST
AND WHO WILL ASSIST THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN DRAIN BASINS
AT THE RIDGELINES AND ELSEWHERE
WHOSE WORK WILL BE FUNDED FROM A CHARGE THAT ALL
WHO USE THE LAND AND WATERS PAY
SO THAT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE ENTIRE SYSTEM MAY CONTINUE
IN REASONABLE AND SUSTAINABLE BALANCE
AN ECO-SECURITY SYSTEM FOR THE HIGHGROUNDS
AND PENINSULA EUROPE
PRESENTLY HAPPENING IN FRAGMENTS
HAS THE POTENTIAL TO COME FORTH
AS A POETRY OF THE WHOLE
AND THE CO-EVOLUTION OF BIODIVERSITY
AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY
WILL BE SERVED THEREBY.
We believe a vision, such as that embodied in Peninsula Europe must have the power, the clarity, the timelessness, the openness of structure, the ambiguity that will permit others to grasp it and work with it and test it, to create with it, to play with it, to improvise with it. A vision must also, in many senses, be prima facie a valuable thing to be enacting. It often has embedded in it its mirror image, which is a reflection on the outcomes of not doing it. Moreover, it must have sufficient ambiguity so that there are alternative ways to enact it. In whatever form it takes, envisioning is a process that can never complete itself, as every act in the process that follows feeds back to and affects the perceived shape of the vision as first stated. The envisioning we have done in presenting Peninsula Europe as a work in process must create a consensus among many that it has intrinsic value for diverse people and cultures. If it is too authoritarian, or too idealistic, or too unfamiliar in that the ideas have no precedent, or if it seems too fantastic or too far from possible, the vision will be put aside as simply one more curiosity. Moreover, a vision of the sort we propose in Peninsula Europe will not work if it is wholly new information. The parts, although fragmented, disassociated from each other, must non-the-less exist in visible measure somewhere in the discourse of activities in a place. In the Peninsula Europe work we propose that a new pattern can emerge by envisioning a new set of relationships between that which already exists in reality or in plans or in visions of others and in visions of our own. Both conceptually and on the ground this translates as more of this, less of that.
There remains the question of how four hundred and forty five million people in Peninsula Europe might be enabled to voice opinion or choose a course of action. For instance, what course of action would four hundred and forty five million people have voted for in response to ethnic cleansing. Or if given the choice, how would they vote on proposals to preserve the environment, if the appropriate economic incentives were in place?
Finally, the vision, Peninsula Europe, The Future Garden: Bringing Forth A New State of Mind is intended to suggest that a new synthesis is available, a re balancing of the parts wherein, if different relationships form, a new pattern of organization will emerge. A pattern wherein each part, self-nourishing, self-sustaining in its own right, acts in support of a whole, which will complicate itself in ways valuable to its own well-being, but as yet unknowable in the now of its beginnings.
© Helen Mayer Harrison/Newton Harrison