L. S. Benschop Institute for the Preservation & Veneration of Imagination & Nostalgia
The L. S. Benschop Institute supports and promotes the use of imagination and nostalgia in both professional and everyday creative work by providing opportunities and resources to creative workers and the community at large. The Institute participates in and encourages research, development, exhibition, and distribution of imagination- and nostalgia-based creative works. The Institute's opportunities for creative workers include public lectures and open discussions, open critiques, experimental social activities, and other public events. The Institute's resources include the Archive of Miscellaneous Obscurities and Anonymous Belongings and the Institute's Library, as well as the results of the Institute's research. The Institute enjoys a vibrant network of cooperating creative workers willing to share their equipment and experience to creative workers engaged with the Institute. The L. S. Benschop Institute offers a contextual framework and a supportive environment in which to honour, explore, and document for posterity the meaning, function and manifestation of imagination and nostalgia in the creative work of our everyday lives and our fine arts.
The Technologies Preservation Officer, Division of Research & Study
The Recipe, We all need a recipe. Begin with a recipe. “The Creative Production Division with support from the New School of Inquiry: Domestic Preservation and the Archive & Library Special Collections at the L.S. Benschop Institute for the Preservation & Veneration of Imagination & Nostalgia” (aka Lisa Benschop) exhibits her recipe for Nostalgia in Buffet. Hand written on an index card, placed in a worn wooden recipe box from another era the solitary instructions describe a creative process. Her recipe suggests personal history, gathered with “fondness and nostalgia”, acknowledges the significance of creativity that results in originality when reverential memory triggers imagination. Thinking about some recipes for creation by artists over the years, F.T. Marinetti’s 1932 “The Futurist Cookbook” begins the recipe roster for how to venerably disseminate doctrine creatively. The 2010 “Street Art Cookbook” by Benke Carlsson and Hop Louie also comes to mind as a means to explore a creative processing. In her essay entitled An Aestheic of Nostalgia: Wallace Berman and his Proximity to the Object published in the UBC Undergraduate Journal of Art History Issue 1 | 2010, Sophia Zweifel writes:
“Berman’s works not only simulated a patina of age, but were consciously placed within a history that Berman was constantly in the process of safe-guarding against the changeableness of society. The social, personal, and physical interactions between these pieces and their beholders, helped to construct his group’s identity, one strongly rooted in the shared sense of their own collective present. Along with that sense of a shared moment, however, came the subtle consciousness that this present was constantly being transformed into history.” ()
"At present people tend to relinquish the task of envisaging the future to a professional elite. They transfer power to politicians who promise to build up the machinery to deliver this future. They accept a growing range of power levels in society when inequality is needed to maintain high outputs. Political institutions themselves become draft mechanisms to press people into complicity with output goals. What is right comes to be subordinated to what is good for institutions. Justice is debased to mean the equal distribution of institutional wares.
The individual's autonomy is intolerably reduced by a society that defines the maximum satisfaction of the maximum number as the largest consumption of industrial goods. Alternate political arrangements would have the purpose of permitting all people to define the images of their own future. New politics would aim principally to exclude the design of artifacts and rules that are obstacles to the exercise of this personal freedom. Such politics would limit the scope of tools as demanded by the protection of three values: survival, justice, and self-defined work. I take these values to be fundamental to any convivial society, however different one such society might be from another in practice, institutions, or rationale.
Each of these three values imposes its own limits on tools. The conditions for survival are necessary but not sufficient to ensure justice; people can survive in prison. The conditions for the just distribution of industrial outputs are necessary, but not sufficient to promote convivial production. People can be equally enslaved by their tools. The conditions for convivial work are structural arrangements that make possible the just distribution of unprecedented power. A postindustrial society must and can be so constructed that no one person's ability to express him- or herself in work will require as a condition the enforced labor or the enforced learning or the enforced consumption of another."
The L. S. Benschop Institute for the Preservation & Veneration of Imagination & Nostalgia is on the move. Currently on location in a remote summer residency, the entire organization is preparing for growth and relocation in Autumn of this year.
"In our work, or preparing-for-work environs, spontaneity, which pairs with freedom, is often restrained. This is understandable because the long-range objectives of production and education cannot be readily achieved by departing, according to one's whims and fancies, from the charted course of action. Dedication, repetitive drill, and singleness of purpose are the guide lines. Not so with the recreative life. Spontaneity here is indispensable. It is the voluntary doing that has top priority and is the kernel of freedom. Also in work and formal education the choices are often too rigid. The choice is between the extremes with little or no shading in between. In leisure is does not have to be all or nothing. The recreative life is more like life itself. Life is not all left or all right, all up or all down, all day or all night. The bulk of living is in the middle ground, with a wide range of choices from beginning to end and in between. In leisure the decision need not resolve itself to do-nothing or be-the-expert. We can sit on the side of the pool and dangle our feet in the water without trying to be a member of the club swimming team. We can sketch the country barn without first passing a course in art. We can grow tomatoes because we like to grow them and not because they must be sold at market." p.111
"If art is really an insight into reality and thus approaches the spiritual, its close relationship to leisure is established. If art is our imagination, however regulated and controlled, which emerges in an aesthetic form through the process of organic evolution, it is not only related to play, it is play. And if, finally, art is an expression of our feelings which, when released, results in beauty - as I believe it is - it chooses for its explanation the least challenged, the most sensible, and the most acceptable theory of recreative behavior - a means whereby we give vent to our need to express and create."
"The health and happiness of society depend on the labour and science of its members; but neither health nor happiness is possible unless that work and science are directed and controlled by the workers themselves. A guild is by definition autonomous and self-governing. Every man who is a master of his craft acquires thereby the right to a voice in the direction of his workshop. He also acquires security of tenure and of income. Indeed, his income and his tenure should depend on his qualifications rather than on the tally of his labours. He should begin to receive an income from the moment he has chosen a calling and been admitted as an apprentice of a trade or profession - which will be long before he has left school. His income will rise with his qualifications, and will depend entirely on his qualifications. Any rational society will naturally make use of the services of a qualified worker, because it thereby increases the general well-being. If it fails to do so, that society is restricting production; and if such restriction is in the general interest, then society should pay the worker for his qualifications until they can be used, or otherwise pay the worker to train and acquire more immediately useful qualifications. The talents and acquired skill of a person are his property: his contribution to the common wealth. Society should be organized to secure maximum utilization of its inherent wealth, and the productive organizations themselves will then decide how this common wealth is being increased - by machinery or handicraft, by large factories or small workshops, in towns or villages. The human values invloved, and not an abstract and numerical profit, will be the criterion."
Imagination is a process by which wholly new thoughts and possibilities are created; nostalgia is a process by which old thoughts and experiences are recollected with fondness and reverence. In preserving and venerating imagination and nostalgia, the L. S. Benschop Institute acknowledges the importance and value of these mental processes to creative work which has as its aim a greater understanding and articulation of our human experience.