FORM Arcosanti :: 2017

It’s a Sunday afternoon at the FORM festival at Arcosanati. Mother’s Day, actually. I’m watching Phil Elverum of Mt. Eerie sing the most pained songs about the mother of his daughter, his late wife, the artist Geneviî¨ve Castrée.

“Death is real,” he sings over casual strums of his acoustic guitar, from a small stage under a gorgeous half-dome, one of the structural features favored by artist and architect Paolo Soleri. Founded in 1970, Soleri built Arcosanti in the Arizona desert atop the concept of “arcology” – architecture in alignment with ecology.

In many ways, this scene typifies what people might think about FORM from the outside. There’s a cool breeze sweeping in from across the canyon. The desert sun shines over us, and there are dozens of clusters of artfully dressed and composed young people – the kind who might, without any affectation, refer to themselves as “influencers" or "creatives.” But in this moment, none of the cynical jokes you might make about flighty millennials gathering in the desert for transformative, transcendent experiences could possible take root. Tears are welled up in my eyes; the moment's real.

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