Monday, December 07, 2009

Uncertainty and Religion

It seems to me that one of the great benefits of religion (I was raised in a Catholic Family, but do not currently subscribe to any religion) is it's ability to eliminate uncertainty. For instance, I know of no one who has first hand account of what happens when you die. I am fairly certain my body will be turned to ash, or buried in the earth and eaten by worms. But my "soul" - my consciousness - I have no idea. In the Catholic tradition, the spirit (if all goes well) rises to heaven. Whew! Uncertainty contained! Now my belief in what will happen (my soul rising to heaven after I die) has replaced the uncertainty of not knowing (no one has ever come back - at least in modern times - to tell us what happens).

The study of the earth's climate has become a religion, in that it believes that it has erased all uncertainty, and replaced it with a truth.

In both religion and climate science (or, the religion of climate science) the belief has, well, a caveat. I was perhaps a bit cavalier when I mentioned my soul would rise to heaven when I die. In fact, it could sink to hell. BUT, if I subscribe to a particular behavior attached to a moral code, I will ensure that my soul will rise to heaven.

The same holds true for the religion of climate science. Uncertainty in the data/models/predictions is replaced with concrete convictions that are already aligned with an existing and popular moral code. Then it becomes fantastically easy to garner support for policy that has a particular moral agenda, in this case the rejection of a world economy based upon carbon (i.e. the burning of fossil fuels).

I am an artist. I am OK with the fact I have no idea what will happen to my consciousness after I die. I assume it will cease to exist, just as I have no recollection any life prior to my birth. That's fine. I am OK with the idea that the earth is changing in ways that may change the way we humans live. Believing that doesn't stop me from trying to be the best person I can, nor does it deter me from trying to maintain a very simple lifestyle, with as minimal an impact as I can. I am fortunate to have a decent job, generous landlords, a beautiful fiance, and good health. We use our car very infrequently, eat almost exclusively local foods, and try to disdain the material life.

I don't need certainty about the demise of the planet to support my belief I should have as minimal an impact as possible, just as I don't need the certainty of going to hell for murdering someone to know that it would be a very bad thing to kill someone.

Try embracing uncertainty for a day or two. See how it feels. I think you might like it.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


How do you feel about uncertainty? Are you comfortable with it? Or not?

Had some great conversations last night at a neighbor's "breakfast for dinner potluck".

Friday, November 13, 2009

Judith Leemann's newsest sculpture

Matthew Hincman

Laura Brown and I working on a travel program to rebuild and paint a ceiling and roof structure from the Gwozdziec Synagogue

Laura & Rick Brown's Handshouse Studio are preparing to make a replica of an extraordinary roof structure from the lost Gwozdziec Synagogue. In the first part of the Summer of 2010, they'll be making the timber structure, and then in August the interior will be completely polychromed. This will happen at the Sanok Ethnographic Park (skansen) in Sanok, South Eastern Poland, and be installed in the soon to be built Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warszawa.

Check out the other work they have done surrounding the lost historic wooden synagogues of Poland here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MassArt Senior Seminar talk: Self-Employed Finance Worksheet

Hey there senior seminar folks! Janna, Janet, and Judy have asked me to come in to talk to you about being self-employed, and how to run a business. It's something I did for while before I began teaching full-time at MassArt. I kinda geeked out on making excel spreadsheets, and I have made a special one for you! I will go over it in class Monday afternoon, but I wanted to give you a heads up about where you could look at this thing, AND where you could download it so you can use it either in MicroSoft Excel, OpenOffice, or on Google Docs.

Here's where you can get it.

See you Monday!

love matthew

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Images for my presentation tomorrow

Originally uploaded by hincman
I'm on a panel discussion about temporary public art tomorrow. Here are the ten images I am using.I am going to focus on how the high craft and materiality of my projects are integral to how they are read. The objects are sculptures, and also "real" objects.

Panel Discussion on Public Art tomorrow!

I am participating in a panel discussion sponsored by NEFA at the Cambridge Multi-Cultural Arts Center in Cambridge, Mass tomorrow, Wednesday, October 28, 2009, at Noon to 1:30 PMLink to NEFA.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

1st drop at s. Huntington and centre in JP.

Matthew Hincman

Pomme de Terre, Pomme en l'Air

Today I am beginning to distribute my Pomme de Terre, Pomme en l'Air coins, loosely based on mid-19th century Hard Times Tokens. Look for them on the streets of Boston. I will twitter along my route as I drop them. I minted 1200 copper, and 50 silver coins. I haven't a plan for the silver yet. I hope to distribute all the copper coins by the end of the year. Stay tuned....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bench is Back!

Bench is Back!
Originally uploaded by hincman
Thanks to Walter, Paul, Fran, Bernie Lynch (head of park facilities),
and Commissioner Toni Pollack!!

Matthew Hincman

Monday, February 23, 2009

Local (Boston) Food Sources

I added a new link section to the right. It includes CSAs that I have been a part of, or am a part of. We eat almost exclusively local. Right now we are part of the Enterprise Produce Winter CSA that brings mostly organic produce from only east coast sources. Yes, some are coming from Florida, but we are still getting local onions and apples. This one runs through May, and then we'll hopefully start to get some things growing here! I have a cold-frame I built, and I can't wait to use it!

Steve Garfield's interview about the JP Bench

This was made way back in 2006 when the bench was just re-installed by the City. Steve just noticed it wasn't on YouTube, and posted it, and then alerted me about it. Thanks Steve!