Science-Artificers Guild, Int'l, 2010

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Science Art / ificer Thinktank: "Shaping Tomorrow's World Today"
Integrity * Dexterity * Transparency * Humanity * Futurity

Disseminating Social & Scientific Innovations for Durable Futures


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Scientists * Artists * Philosophers * Futurists * Benchworkers * Outsiders * Healers * Networkers * Inventors * Imagineers * Economists * Activists * Entrepreneurs

JOIN US: SAGI -- a Nonlocal Action Thinktank -- invites you to network, collaborate and collectively dream, design and build exemplars of Cultural Rebirth with us as we envision and embody the future in the present. Let's create practical exemplars as the foundation memes for the next few decades. What visions of ourselves do we need to actively embody to ensure our survival as we move forward?

SAGI offers exemplar projects for the hot futures of a New Renaissance as an alternative to Apocalypse. It is a vision rooted in the negentropic forces of life itself. Let's transcend boundaries in diverse fields, including durable lifestyles, political theory, health science, intelligence, macrohistory, women's studies, art history, deep economics, ethics, medical best practice, communications theory, and more. Today's research challenges are so complex it takes many minds to find viable solutions. We urgently need new options for collective participatory wisdom. SAGI is one such option -- may we commend it to you.

VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY: The transdiciplinary Science-Artificers Guild, Int'l (SAGI) is a glocalized association for artists, scientists, engineers, artificers, mentors, healers and others interested in work that crosses the artificial boundaries separating contemporary arts and sciences as well as the divide that separates thinking and doing. Together, we form a Virtual University or Subversity of Scholar-Practitioners.

SCI-ART FUSION: We feature illustrated articles written by artists and scientists about their own work as well as articles by historians, theoreticians, philosophers and other researchers that are particularly concerned with issues related to the interaction of the arts, sciences and technology in contemporary society and their contribution to a positive creative and sustainable future society for our grandchildren.

Negentropic Futures: In today’s complex and turbulent world it is vital to have artful futurists who can collaborate on collective projects, focus on action codified in exemplar projects and validate actions towards a better world. Unfortunately current ‘education’ systems focus almost exclusively on the individual learner and have separated the learner from the praxis of the lived life. Furthermore classrooms separate the learner from design, production and integration of learning into community life.

Future Perfect Tense: SAGI argues that overcoming this separation of thinking and doing is one of the key challenges for modernity and in futures in particular. We applaud wider application of "Intern" programs, learning while doing. We encourage mentoring at every scale in every niche opportunity. Ideas at the leading edge of culture cannot, by their very nature, be adequately reviewed by conventional peer review processes. There is simply no one there capable of graspng the concepts adequately. But those who can, DO...

Subversity: The periphery is a source of power in terms of new research directions. Smaller universities are vital in this regard. On the outer periphery are independent scholars and further in are 'pracademics' and in the inner sanctum the 'career' academics with little or no 'outside experience.' Incredible skills and enthusiasm are possessed by those effectively excluded from the conventional University system by the systems of exclusiveness and preciousness so dear to the academic profession. Universities are no longer relevant in that the public sector, banking, armed forces, large corporations etc are all downsizing. Part-time work and associated 'multiployment' is in the increase. The informal sector is booming. We encourage 'Polyphonic Multiversities.'

DEFINITIONS: We may be able to meet this challenge as ‘Artificers’ - innovative individuals who look forward wisely and solve collective problems today through applying their ingenuity with what is available. Integrating thinking, doing and being in ancient times was called Poiesis and in Medieval times ‘artificing’ and today can be seen in Action Learning and the Artificer.

Artists in Action: Many artists in this technical age are faced with perpetually learning new protocols for artistic production. Several media require elaborate production knowledge and technical skill. Much of this leading edge tech has to be self-taught, then unique applications in art may be discovered. One needs technical craft to produce digital fine art, for example. Today's artist also has to find and meet commercial and competetive goals in promotion, marketing and design.

Practicum: Blending personal and business acumen in the enterprise of your life. The four principles, as well as examples, of the Science-Artificer approach are discussed including their exemplar projects. Finally, the importance of the Artificer approach to ‘futuring’ and creating living breathing examples today of a future our children can live with is emphasised and collaboration sought. Having a product in demand now means you're dead in five years. The University system cannot solely answer 'how can we then live?' (note live not think). A system of learning needs to be practical and respond to the huge transdisciplinary and intergenerational challenges upon us such as:

  • environmental and economical
  • social, ie crime, violence and unemployment
  • ethical, ie from genetic and biophysical engineering
  • from 'classroom teaching' to 'elsewhere learning'
  • artificial intelligence and the web

Research Training: To be real you have to get out in front of the competition and indeed even the customer. Not so far that the customer is lost sight of but rather far enough to be able to explore alternative futures in which the customer may find herself in 20 yrs or so. Further the conventional academic qualification ie the PhD is in many ways inappropriate for professional students ie the 'business' of business is lateral thinking, decision making in turbulent environments, compromise, constant innovation, rapid and decreasing product development cycles, multi management etc. None of these readily fit into a conventional PhD.

A Science-Artificer or artificer learner now may be defined as:

someone who while being deeply and broadly technically skilled is reflexively orientated and who ethically and participatively explores the big picture and prioritises, chooses, designs and enacts forward wisely by creatively developing prototypes towards a world transformed. [Paul Wildman 15-12-03]

French: Bricoleur - A bricoleur is a ‘Jack of all trades or a kind of tinkerer, a professional do-it-yourself person.’ There are many kinds of bricoleurs - interpretive, narrative, theoretical, practical and political. The bricoleur produces a bricolage - that is, a pieced-together set of representations or components that are fitted to the specifics of a complex situation [closest English equivalent – tinkerer – though usually used disparagingly]

French: L’esprit Accor – is the art of blending skills, of combining traditions of the past with the modern innovation, adding the generosity, discipline, imagination and warmth which can carry our work to a higher level of excellence. L’esprit Accor then is a transforming vision of success (the closest English equivalent is – efficacious magnanimousness/morale – 20 per cent fit).

Critical Futures Praxis – here futures related praxis is used to problematise or criticalise the present.

Futuring – proactive action research to establish actual futures oriented demonstration projects today – to show that a different future is possible. This may be termed Futuring ‘acting ahead wisely’ and is called in this study Artificing commonly know as Artificering. Here reality is established through enactment that is the braiding of thinking and doing. Certainly in terms of futuring this research project suggests that a Artificer approach may be seen as one direct application or manifestation thereof.

Intentional Action Research - in this concept action research is directional and intentional in that it anticipates a change in the status quo and works from that perspective backwards

Communicative Action - Communicative Action refers to active citizen engagement in discourse-ethical dialogue with diverse others in order to develop actionable outcomes towards a better collective world.


Photo credit: Ellen Sanford, Bird on a Wire, Costa Rica




In Australia there is a term for someone who can act forward wisely and solve problems with what is available while developing innovations ‘in the field’ so to speak that respond to broader needs – this person is called a ‘Artificer’. NB: A Artificer is committed to the use of personal ingenuity for self reliance and excellence at her task of developing innovative exemplar project and is not to be confused with a ‘backyard mechanic’ who does shoddy work.

The Artificer is deeply ingrained into the Australian national psyche indeed the runner up for the national anthem – Waltzing Matilda – is about a bushie who steals a sheep for food and ultimately takes his own life rather than be caught by the law. Conventionally a bushie is someone who can fix a practical problem with ‘fencing wire’ and do a great job to boot and the Australian Broadcasting Commission’s Artificer series (see web site section in resources) literally shows just that particularly in indigenous communities.

SAGI ~ Showcasing Exemplar Projects & Resources for more Durable Futures

"Compassion is the deepest form of memory." --Eve Ensler


SAGI MISSION: The immediate goal of SAGI and glocalization's scale-relativity is practical development of pilot projects and best practice exemplars and policies that can be applied in many if not all areas. It includes proposals and concrete initiatives that promote balance of local and global dimensions via information sharing on a global or transregional basis. We foster truly innovative research initatives linking with the best researchers in social, physical and life sciences, in and out of universities to establish new forms of science-art.

SAGI VISION: Glocalization is a potential movement, an artful and heartful peace-building activity combining realism and idealism. It is a bottom-up view of the complex process of harmonizing local and global needs for sustainable futures. It brings globalization issues down to the human scale.

Social Synergy: Glocalization links committed local and global actors, including virtual personalities, individuals, local, national and international business, governmental and nonprofit entities, coupling and decoupling for positive sum solutions. We can harness the benefits of multinational globalization, ethical economics and repurposing open-source information for local realities by extensive local and long-distance interactions.

SAGI AFFILIATES: Creative Class Network Transnational Party


“The concept of learning is changing from an emphasis on cognitive learning only to one of linking learning styles, seeing connections in dissimilar ideas, and applying new knowledge in new ways. This group will dialogue about how learning can meet the needs of the present through hands-on action, and, at the same time in parallel, focus on creating new knowledge for the future.” ~Wildman

Founding Members:

Paul Wildman, Ph.D., Australia

Iona Miller, CHT, United States



Paul Henrickson, Ph.D., Malta

Leane Roffey Line, Ph.D., USA

Laurence Gartel, Digital Pioneer

Leutrell Osborne, Sr., CIA veteran

David Valdez, Musicologist, USA

Robert Pope, Science-Artist, Au


Paolo Manzelli, Science-Artist, Italy


SAGI Annual Conferences

2009 -



Each year SAGI awards its choice in Grey Literature, i.e. that which exceeds the bounds of conventional peer review.

** Changing your mind because of emotion - that is faith.
** Changing your mind because of thinking - that is philosophy.
** Changing your mind because of facts - that is science.
**Changing your mind because of manipulation is mind control.



Artificers then may be seen as a type of action learning that:

· Focuses on the learner, not only the thinking (academic education) but also action (although much action is seen as ‘behaviourist’ vocational education), such that it…

· Draws from experience, yet is proactive and intentional, towards a better world and…

· Embraces the overall Design process covering Idea | Design | Implementation
(I | D | I): including intelligent understanding of the basic concept; prototype design; establishment and critical reflection on subsequent outcomes by…

· Embodying the agency of the learner; not only in seeking to address structural issues/projects but is also…

· Directed to the good of the person and the good of society (integrity and ethics) i.e. virtuous action towards the good (of) society by…

· Linking action directly to the priorities from the ‘global problematique’ and is concretised in an exemplar project or master piece, that…

· Moves from praxis to poiesis i.e. from doing to making and shaping, i.e. action as prototype development, for the general good through a focus on critically informed instrumental action.

Artificer Learning or Artificer Learning then is a form of action learning focused on the learner - who learns by making or shaping an action decided on collectively and intended for some particular application towards a better world. Such learning is always threefold – internal to the learner (integrity, values etc), external to the learner (ethics and how the world works), and bridging between the two (dexterity delivered content).


or a more direct

Paul Wildman [Kalgrove Pty/Ltd - ]

PO 73 Northgate 4013 Brisbane Australia

ph +61 7 32667570. Mob 0412027818


Bush Mechanic in other languages Ummanu The Seven Sages, who wrote the great epic poems such as those of Erra and Gilgamesh in the Babylonian epics. ‘Ammenon, another of the forms into which Enmenluanna was corrupted, is in (1) Akkadian ummanu, 'artificer,' 'artisan,' which, when translated into Hebrew, becomes Kenan and in an abbreviated form, Cain.’ (George Barton). In the Apocalyptic literature Jubal, Jabal, Tubal-Cain and Naamah are all summed up under the name Genun. Pilikam, [(2) Sumerian ‘with intelligence to build.’] In (3) Babylonian Semitic it would be literally Ina-uzni-eresu, or, ummanu, ‘artificer.’ The (4) Hebrew translation of this is Kenan, which means ‘artificer.’ Also Melamkish gives us the Hebrew Lamech by the simple elision of the first and last consonants. Langdon makes the suggestion that Lamech is the Sumerian, Luma, an epithet of the Babylonian god Ea as the patron of music. (Barton, George, Archaeology and the Bible, p. 323). No. 4 on the list, Ammenon is the Babylonian Ummanu, meaning ‘artificer,’ and is the equivalent of Kenan (Cainan) which means ‘smith.’ (5) Hindi Jugaadu – artisan. (6) Americanfarmer astronaut. Juggad. n. an improvised or jury-rigged solution; inventiveness, ingenuity. Jugaad literally means a work around, which have to be used because of lack of resources and will power. This is a Hindi term also widely used by people speaking other Indian languages, and people of Indian Origin around the word. Jugaado/Jugaadu a person who practices Jugaad [see ]. (7) French bricoleur. In (8) ancient Greece a word also often used for craftsman was demioergos (public~demios and productive~ergon). (9) Japanese daiku – the carpenter the great among craftsmen he is the master builder and the designer through the use of his carpenters sketch book where ideas, prototypes and experiences are recorded via. Tatami layout (tatami are floor units that link all rooms in a common denominator were originally a mat the size of two men sitting and eventually came to mean the whole floor unit of about 1x2mtrs) sketch of floor plans which is drawn by the family that will live in the home in conjunction with the daiku in order to achieve Enfilade [old French – to thread a needle - from Sennett (2008:259&263)] The sequence of, interface and flow between, rooms of a house so that one room yields gracefully to another – based on floor plan and door design, generally with a vista down the length of the building viz. Queenslander hallway ~ in all a crucial aspect of architectural design. Other terms: sub-altern, demiurge, practical philosopher, futuring, critical futures praxiser, anticipatory action learner, Prohairesist – Greek for one who chooses ahead wisely – (Bushie extended to acting ahead wisely); one who practices Poietal knowledge ((10) Greek) viz. producing – forming and making and therefore designing - i.e. artificing; Phronesisist Greek for one who practices wise action, practical wisdom (Bushie actually!!) ethical praxis. Creactivist (Paul Wildman).


Science Artists in Action

In order to understand the Science-Artificer approach, we need to embrace the vital role of praxis in the design process viz. Idea | Design | Implementation (action). I have found that, in social innovations in the ‘real’ world, up to nine tenths of project energy is absorbed in implementation and compliance rather than (re)conceptualising an idea or active experimentation towards improving the concept’s application. This compares, for instance, with up to nine tenths of the energy expended in the conventional academic process in conceptualisation. And regrettably in Vocational Education today, which is assessed by correct behaviour not understanding, up to nine tenths of energy is directed to action, not as praxis or poiesis, but in behaviour, not to understanding as in conceptualisation let alone active experimentation. Additionally, the actions of those concerned with implementation tend to be limited in scope to operations only and bigger conceptual issues are seldom engaged.

This fundamental structural mismatch in education (action-less conception and concept-less action) has emerged over the past 200 years and been identified and explored previously by many educational innovators, yet possibly has not been adequately applied to futures/foresight. This article maintains this as one of the fundamental critiques of the positivist and post positivist paradigms by action learning/action research circles, and one of its key areas in urgent need of redemptive innovation.

Emergence of the division between thinking and doing

Boyte after Arendt, explains that it was Plato who introduced ‘the division between those who know and do not act and those who act and do not know’. Boyte [1], Arendt [2].

Newton’s view extended this Platonic perspective in that for him ‘The Universe was a mechanical one whose order was maintained by a distant God’, and the best man could hope for was to understand the mechanics of it all – not the underlying rationale. Newton, in fact, wrote more on alchemy, at essence concerned with ultimate causes and transformations, than mathematics: he saw the universe tinctured and enviviated by emotion and love. These works, however remain unpublished. Coulter [3], Christianson [4]. After the tradition shaped by Plato and enhanced by Newton, in the West, we have doggedly followed a staunchly mechanist view, that culminates in the structural separation of thinking and doing in our schools, Universities, bureaucracies and scientific research laboratories.


What this means for today's humans - some 200,000 years after the transition from Homo Erectus to Homo sapiens - is that our learning abilities and creativity are still very deeply connected to our manual capacities. The two are linked by dexterity. Cultures such as ours dichotomize 'mind' and 'body' and hold to what Wilson calls a 'cephalocentric view of intelligence,' whereby the importance of the hand-brain nexus is bypassed and the role of dexterity is largely ignored. Wilson [5]. As a result, we overvalue symbolic knowledge (the ability to manipulate words and numbers to describe or represent meaning in abstract theoretical linguistic symbols) while undervaluing 'bodily knowledge' or 'hand knowledge' (or what Wilson calls mimetic knowledge i.e. knowledge which uses conceptual-manual dexterity to directly transform physical reality i.e. the world around us and vice versa. Wilson [6].

Such Mimetic knowledge he severely differentiates from imitation because mimesis includes more than just copying and includes elements of intentionality and understanding and capability generally manifest through dexterity i.e. learning or as I call it here ‘futuring’. For example in car manufacturing in the 50’s and 60’s many accused Japan of just copying the design of western vehicles and selling them back to the West at a much cheaper price, however in the subsequent 25 years it has become clear that the situation was one of mimesis not simple copying as the Japanese mastered the deeper conceptual and design arts and now have generated for instance in Toyota one of the most innovative and largest vehicle manufacturers on earth, and many of the companies producing the vehicles originally ‘copied’ e.g. Leyland are not in business.

Mimetics then are acts that embody a theory of knowledge, an epistemology, that manifests in intentional, representational and concrete acts (e.g. making a stone axe 1,000,000 years ago or an exemplar project today as discussed in this article) that are not mythic (symbolic narrative) or theoretic (abstract calculus) but mimetic. Thus they are not just copying as in monkey see monkey do, but replicating with understanding including intentionality leading to the capability to manipulate the elements of our physical environment to create meaningful actions and objects in our lives. For Wilson this mimesis involves the invention of intentional socially encoded representations and their articulation into communal reality. Wilson [7]

The results of this split are readily seen to day in terms of the specialisation of skills, separation of academia from actual social change projects, separation of producing from consuming e.g. we are moving rapidly away from being ‘prosumers’ - having our own gardens, making our own clothes, and the pejorative position that vocational education or the self-taught takes in relation to higher education, and so forth. Arendt claims this is the challenge for modernity: to re-braid thinking and doing, in sort facilitating the re-emergence of mimesis.

FUTURING: The New Social Cradle

We can create an evolutionary politics to build a more creative future. We can empower ourselves to resist status quo politics and shape ourselves a better destiny - a 21st century Manifest Destiny that fulfills our positive spiritual potential. If we don't want a dark future for humanity, we must reinvent ourselves and our culture from the foundation upwards. Even if that is fantastically radical, it can still happen, one inspired person at a time and cascade toward a visionay approach to large-scale societal transformation that heals personal and global socioeconomical scars.

Competent citizenry can learn to impliment constructive visions for our collective planetary future. Deep and broad visions can stimulate reflection and lively discussion of contemporary solutions that can become the scaffolding for action plans from the community level upwards. A courageous and truly integrated vision would include a detailed strategy for a vibrant and life-sustaining future. Individually and collectively we have to redefine what it means to thrive with more compassion for others, not just survive. The paradigm needs to switch from "dog eat dog" to "we're all in it together."

Futuring includes six synergetic aspects: 1) mapping acceleration, 2) anticipating, 3) timing and 4) deepening the future, 5) creating alternatives to the present and 6) transformation. Aspirational futuring includes environmental scanning, forecasts, scenarios, visions, audacious goals and understanding change and strategic issues (analysis). Trends identify key forces shaping the future. Environmental scanning includes global, local, political, economic, technological, environmental and social trends. Roadmaps help us visualize strategies and collaborative foresight. Paradigms are the assumed truths of our logic. Acceleration is built into the physics of the universe.

We propose a negentropic paradigm for the valuecosm and governing principle of ecological development. ‘Edge’ artists as strange attractors are a source of negentropy in society, catalysts of contemporary life. We can draw from the organic metaphors of quantum physics, field theory, and chaos theory to illuminate the state of the arts.


  • HELP ME (Basic Survival)
  • TRIBAL We (Collective Survival
  • GRATIFY Me (Immediate Wants)
  • RIGHTEOUS We (Stable Authority)
  • COMPETETIVE Me (Material Success)
  • HOLISTIC Us (Global Harmony)
  • INTERDEPENDENT Me (Sustainable World)
  • SPIRITUAL We (Collective Renewal)
(c)2008-2009 Iona Miller and Paul Wildman for SAGI; All Rights Reserved; Educational Purposes Only. Fair Use terms apply.