Creative Cap artists WOW, again

Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time - Thomas Merton

Invariably one the highlights of the IdeaFestival, Creative Capital returned once again with visionary artists, four to be exact: Liz Cohen, Sam Van Aken, Hasan Elahi and Tahir Hemphill.

It's impossible to capture the excitement, insight and unexpected connections made by artists of this caliber, so in the ridiculously-too-brief summary on offer here, I'll include links to representative work from each. Please read more.

And make plans to be at IdeaFestival 2013!

Liz Cohen, Explores the tension between individuality and culture, memorably in her work with a jacked-up Trabant and El Camino, for which she taught herself to be a mechanic. Ultimately, neither “could not forget where it had come from.”

Sam Van Aken (shown here) literally created a Tree of Life, grafting 40 varieties of fruit onto a single tree. The result in bloom is breathtaking

Having been stopped on numerous occasions by security at airport, Hasan Elahi began to think, of course, about the creative elements of always being, whether figuratively or literally, in sight. Sardonically: “it was a really unbalanced relationship,” he said. "Why is it only the FBI that should know exactly what I’m doing?" So Elahi decided to stream his whereabouts to avoid the travel unpleasantries. The result has been “incredibly specific and incredibly general at the same time. By putting it all out there, I’ve lived this anonymous life....”

And with bemusement: “I’ve just celebrated my ten year anniversary with the FBI.... I simply don’t know anymore when I’m working and when I’m not.” Read this Wired story about the project.

Tahir Hemphill was raised to be an engineer by his family, so all the art he does is informed by science. His cultural research uses, for example, interactive mapping software to network the words used in Hip Hop. “Knowing how to listen to Hip Hop,” one of the required skills to get the most out of the music, has never more vivid. His "Hip Hop Word Count" visualizes all the threads between mentions of "Champagne," for example, pointing out the unusual connections between artists - including at least one beef between a pair of artists.

Again, FAR TOO short. Please follow some the links to read more about these visionaries, these documentarians, these forecasters.