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Pioneering Over Four Epochs2 - George Town Tasmania

STATE ART


If poetry is an intellectual/intuitive act it is not a random indetrminate process, but is governed by a previsioned end....there must be a ruling conception by which it knows its quarry: some foresight of the work to be done, some seminal idea.
-James McAuley, Meanjin, Summer, 1953, Vol. xii, No.4, p.433.


Don�t tell me about this extravagance!
Do you think it some kind of
embarrassing afterthought, a decoration?
A propensity for unnecessary embellishment?
This is no bedecking of some pretentious woman
with precious stones, Pericles-like, back then
in the name of an Athenian nationalism.
Or did he just want them to love Athens more?
Certainly an unusual and audacious exercise
by an unusual and audacious man who was
both powerful and unassuming as the earth.

Yes, you could call it �state art� for a new
Order whose first stirrings are still a long
way off. This is no saviour-in-a hurry
like that Pericles of old or Augustus or
one of a host of modern isms that are
gradually and not-so-gradually burning
themselve up in the fires of a dieing old world.

This is not like those marble eccentricities
of old, big enough to be called vulgar--no way.
Big enough to be a vehicle for conveying the
powerful prestige of a spiritual message;
and small enough to be no threat,
to be the integral part of a future world civilization,
to preserve a beauty as old as our civilization,
and a religious message as far back as Adam.
No false starts here, no long delays like
some of those ancient temples.* The effect
here is as public as it was in Greece and Rome,
only we�re talking small beginnings for a
millennium and beyond. We�re talking
silent teachers, quiet messages, getting in
quietly like Augustus only straight, up-front
to anyone who will listen and no absolutism
embellished with some artificial divine afflatus:
this is democratic theocracy at its finest.

Ron Price
25 December 1995

*The Temple of Artemis at Sardis took 700 years to complete and was never really completed. It looked like a building site for most of this time. This fact would have helped make the Baha�is in Chicago more comfortable about their long-standing exercise with the Mother Temple of the West.

Ron Price , George Town Tasmania


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