Currents and Futures
The Global Art Project: The Dragonfly
[Most of the time, my topics are deadly serious. However, that’s not the only kind of writing I do. I’d like to share a piece I wrote awhile ago, the seriousness hidden inside the humor. It’s actually based on a dream! It was nice waking with a smile on my face, having dreamt this!]
Imagine a delicate dragonfly, with glass wings, a metal body and spindly metal legs. It’s thin, outstretched wings shimmer iridescence in the sunlight.
Now, imagine this dragonfly 100 miles long and 75 miles wide. You see it above you in the sky, because it’s in low Earth orbit. The first global work of art.
What did it take to create the dragonfly?
All it took total human cooperation. All of the nations of the Earth had to come to consensus. It took most of the productive output of humanity for 50 years. For decades, all the people of the Earth had to work on Project Dragonfly.
All of the money, every penny of it, that was spent on killing and oppressing other humans was diverted to Project Dragonfly. (This provided more than enough money for several dragonflies.) The scientific research capacity of every Western nation had to be diverted from genetic manipulation and building better nuclear warheads to the logistics and technology of building a 100 mile long dragonfly and launching it into space.
The people of the world got the notion to build the Dragonfly. No one knew (or cared) where the idea started. Once it got going, the nations of the world were swept up in the fervor.
In order to build it, the work had to be parceled out by continents:
The South Americans were assigned the wings. National boundaries had to dissolve, military dictatorships overthrown, drug trafficking halted, poverty, illiteracy and pollution eliminated. South America could not afford petty squabbles and demeaning poverty anymore, not if they were going to rise to the task of building the wings. The industrial capacity of South America was diverted from cars and washing machines to the framework for dragonfly wings.
The Russians were assigned the body. They were initially pissed off — they wanted to build the wings (everybody in the world wanted to build the wings! That’s why the body parts were assigned by lottery).
The Russians complained that their role was not “important” enough. They had to be convinced that they had the most important role, the one piece that held the rest together.
The Dragonfly Revolutions: “Get Over It!”
The Chinese built the head — early. It’s amazing what over a billion people can do once they set their collective mind on it. They built it early and launched it early. For decades, the ten mile across Chinese built head tumbled in its circum-polar orbit. Was it an accident, or did it appear to be smiling every time it passed over Europe and the United States?
The United States government complained bitterly that the face on the dragonfly head “looked too Asian”. The US government supplied experts analyzing high-resolution photos taken from spy satellites showing that the eyes were “slightly slanted”. The Americans threatened to pull out of Project Dragonfly unless the Chinese made “appropriate changes to bring the features in line with those of accepted civilized society”. Hard-liners in the US government threatened to shoot down the dragonfly head as “a threat to national security”.
The world was stunned by the Chinese Ambassador’s three word reply: “Get over it!” These three words became the rallying cry of the Americans who rose up and overthrew their own government, voting out of office all Democrats and Republicans, and making it a crime for anyone to contribute over $10.00 to any political campaign.
The Africans were assigned the legs. The nations of the world knew that, unless something changed, the dragonfly would be legless. Africa, ravaged by its history of colonialism, AIDS, poverty and war, was unable to feed its own people, much less build hundreds of miles of dragonfly legs.
There were only two things to do: find another continent to build the legs, or the countries of the world would have to unite to heal Africa, as well as provide the capacity to build the legs. They opted for the latter. Announcing the Earth’s first “Global Marshall Plan”, the UN President stated: “We are not just lifting current and future generations of Africans out of the quicksand of war, disease and poverty. The nations of the world get something in return. Dragonfly legs!!”
The Americans built the tail. The early plans called for each tail segment to be sponsored by a corporation, with a different flashing corporate logo on each segment. The same mass uprising that overthrew the government also passed the 41st Amendment, outlawing corporations as “a plague over the Earth”. The rest of the world quickly followed suit. The amount of money freed up from corporate salaries more than paid for Africa’s Marshall Plan.
The European Union got the task of assembling the Dragonfly in space. They went at their task with gusto, inventing new methods of travel in space that made rockets obsolete. As stated by the French head of the European Union: “We accomplished this task so well because, after all, the dragonfly idea came from France in the first place. Dragonflies are very French insects…”
Viewing the Dragonfly
So, the next time you see the Dragonfly, tumbling in its polar orbit, please remember that what looks like a carefree piece of whimsy is really the first tangible product of human global cooperation, a product that pulled us from the brink of human catastrophe and set the path of true globalization of the human species.
Next time the Dragonfly is passing overhead, go outside and look at it. Really look at it. Stretch out your arm and point, remembering its huge dimensions mimic that of a dragonfly right beyond the tips of your outstretched fingers. Remember that the Dragonfly has made obsolete concepts like “corporations”, “nations” and even “poverty”. Humans, for the first time, have evidence for that which many always knew: we are one family.
What’s next? Given our massive productive capacity, there is no question that there will be another global art project. Suggestions range from a butterfly (not the most original idea) to constructing a gigantic vagina in space, through which the entire Earth would pass. So far, nothing has captured the imagination of the world’s humans. But, everyone has faith that something will.
[Please feel free to forward. I am interested in your comments and opinions.]
PS: Incidentally… here’s a photo of the current International Space Station, showing that NASA lacks both artistry and imagination…