Ravina says: During the week, hundreds of visitors descended through the gate. Although we don’t have any recordings of them, their presence permeated our experience adding an extra dimension of challenge and reflection. We often felt a sense of conflict between welcoming people and talking about our experience, and actually trying to live out that experience. Like an unlikely Gilbert & George, we had become part of a living artwork, and the visitors to the dome were our co-authors, injecting the experience with their thoughts and reactions:
“It’s about Trump and North Korea.”
“The future looks a lot like the past. It’s quite lovely.”
“I think this is a comment on the younger generation losing the skills to survive. I think all young people should come and live here.”
“I’ve got two of these domes in my back garden.”
We displayed books from The Clearing’s library showing spreads of Buckminster Fuller’s stunning geodesic dome designs, as well as examples of self-sufficient leaderless communities like Colorado’s Drop City, highlighting alternative models of living. For many visitors, these were not new ideas. These visitors were part of a generation that had extolled the big ideas of 60’s counterculturalism. Many took nostalgic delight upon finding a battered edition of The Whole Earth Catalog, a countercultural magazine active between 1968-72 that highlighted products that aided self-sufficient living. Described by Steve Jobs as ‘one of the bibles of my generation...like Google in paperback form”, its purpose was to provide “access to tools” to people looking for a different way of living.
As our week drew to a close, we realised that that was what The Clearing had offered to us - access to test out practical skills, to thought, to other people’s reactions, to nature, a space away from our normal lives where we’d receive a short assessment of our own resilience and adaptability.