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Sirius Community during a break in a Paths of Awakening weekend retreat with Mirabai Devi, Shutesbury, Massachusetts

A work made of chromogenic print, from the series "sweet earth: experimental utopias in america".

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  • A work made of chromogenic print, from the series "sweet earth: experimental utopias in america".

Date:

April 2004

Artist:

Joel Sternfeld
American, born 1944

About this artwork

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Photography and Media

Artist

Joel Sternfeld

Title

Sirius Community during a break in a Paths of Awakening weekend retreat with Mirabai Devi, Shutesbury, Massachusetts

Origin

United States

Date

Made 2004

Medium

Chromogenic print, from the series "Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America"

Inscriptions

No markings recto or verso In 1957, three profoundly spiritual people came to a small town in northeast Scotland to manage a rundown hotel, the Cluny Hill. Soon the hotel had four stars and a thriving business. When two of the managers were fired, all three moved to a trailer in the nearby seaside village of Findhorn. There they grew vegetables, including legendary forty-pound cabbages, and their garden became a matter of myth. Around them arose the Findhorn Foundation, a flourishing spiritual and educational center with more than three hundred members—and sufficient enrollees for its courses to warrant purchasing the Cluny Hill Hotel. Sirius Community was founded by three former members of the Findhorn Foundation, who hoped to create a similar environment in the United States. Not only has Sirius become a spiritual center, but the community, which strives to embody “the new planetary consciousness that honors the interconnectedness and sacredness of all living things,” is an aspiring ecovillage as well. An ecovillage is “a vision, an ideal, a goal,” but as Tony Sirna notes in the Communities Directory, there are really no examples of fully realized ecovillages now except for some aboriginal communities. Generally speaking, ecovillages are committed to sustainability, which implies an ongoing and future-oriented dedication to living in concert with nature. Typically small (“human scale”), they can exist in urban as well as rural areas—even a few miles from downtown L.A., where the Los Angeles Ecovillage carries out an extensive and admired program. While honoring “the highest truths common to all religions,” Sirius also generates electricity using solar and wind power, runs vehicles powered by vegetable oil, and builds environmentally friendly buildings, including one of the largest cob houses in America (an ancient and incredibly durable building method employing a hardened mixture of clay, sand, and straw). The community is named after the brightest star in the sky. From the portfolio, Sweet Earth: Experimental Utopias in America, 1982–2005

Dimensions

26.4 × 33.1 cm (image); 27.9 × 35.4 cm (paper)

Credit Line

Gift of Ralph and Nancy Segall

Reference Number

2008.751

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.

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