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November 17, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona ArtBeat: urbanSTEW

  |   Video
  • Get a taste of urbanSTEW as Co-Directors Jessica Rajko and Robert Esler describe their nonprofit organization that explores “synergies between art, technology, and culture”.
  • Jessica Rajko - Co-Directors,urbanSTEW
  • Robert Esler - Co-Directors,urbanSTEW
Category: Technology   |   Keywords: urbanSTEW, technology, culture,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Before we get to tonight's "Artbeat," we want to let you know that the state Supreme Court has reinstated Colleen Mathis as chairwoman of the redistricting commission. Again, the high court has reinstated Colleen Mathis to the chair of the independent redistricting commission. We'll have much more on this story on tomorrow's Journalists' Roundtable. But for now, it's Arizona "Artbeat" time. We get a taste of urban stew. It's a nonprofit organization that describes itself as exploring synergies between art, technology and culture. Here to explain what that means are two of the group's codirectors -- Jessica Ryko and Robert Esler. Esler, correct?

Robert Esler: Yes, sir.

Ted Simons: I got it right. It might be the only thing I get right. This is an interesting project. What is urban stew?

Jessica Ryko: Just like you said, it's looking at the synergies between art, technology and culture and by that, we mean that we're trying to think of different things we can do. Projects that span across different fields of art, technology and culture. And we usually do things that involve all three, but the gamut in which it involves each of those can vary and we do projects that might lean more to the art side. Like case study, which was a performance project that we did. We also have other things like rehearsal assistant which is a mobile phone application which looking at helping the rehearsal process and do things like workshop where is we can educate people how to use technology for art making or whatever purpose they may want.

Ted Simons: Sounds like everything from mobile phone technology to what we would recognize as an old-fashioned art installation, correct?

Robert Esler: Yeah, we'll take anything we can find and we call it hacking. We'll take it apart and use it for art if we want, write software for it and then make art out of it. Just like any other tool, we hack into technology and use that to make art.

Ted Simons: So cultural sensible art and technology, what does that mean?

Robert Esler: That's a good question. One of our projects, called radio healer, taking technologies and discussing through performance and art and through music and dance, their impact on our surrounding culture. Started by Christopher Martinez and Randy Kemp, former members of urban stew and they have native American and Chicano background and we took those elements and when Jessica came in and other members, we brought in our cultural experiences with technology and that was a way of working with what technology actually means in our lives as artists as well as people.

Ted Simons: That's -- that makes sense. This is now starting to come together finally. But again, other examples of how that cultural sensibility comes into play when there are so many avenues of expression here.

Jessica Ryko: Absolutely, I think it's the thing we're trying to, number one, understand what the culture of art and technology is here in the valley. We try to network with other artists who work with technology and art. And other things we look at, how do we address different cultural needed or issues, through art making with technology. Something like what Robert just explained.

Ted Simons: It sounds like it's another way to look at art. I don't want you to define art for us, we don't have time for that. But is it a different way to consider art?

Jessica Ryko: I guess in a way -- one of the ways we think of ourselves as an organization, we're not so interested in making a certain type of product and a think a lot of artists get coined at making a certain thing -- music, dance, visual art or sculpture. But because we come from these different backgrounds, we're really interested in different ideas and our projects vary across many platforms trying to bring to life an idea we might have. And that’s the nice thing about our organization. We are collaborative and look working with other people. Especially people we don't necessarily share the same methodologies with. And we're trying to see what happens similar to radio healer, when you bring all of these people together and have an idea and we found through the process it really expands the limit of what we can do with an idea.

Ted Simons: So how did this particular idea get started? Inspirations for this?

Robert Esler: You know, I think it was an organic thing that happened. We all came together and we had this passion for art making. But we also had this dynamic interest in what technology can do in making art. And I could say that, maybe urban stew is more of a philosophy, maybe more of an advocacy group or maybe more of an idea, but, you know, when we came together, we saw we had this commonality, you know we were dancers, musicians and visual artists, but we knew that we had something critical that we could talk about when it came to technology itself.

Ted Simons: Are audiences connecting with what you're doing?

Robert Esler: Oh, yeah, oh, yeah, especially when you use something like a Wii note from an videogame console, and have that as part of your instrument you're playing, they go, I know that. And it's doing something different and they connect.

Ted Simons: What about the non-tech savvy audience?

Jessica Ryko: Even if we're non-tech savvy, we use it all the time and one of the things we do is finding ways to relate to art and technology in the way we use it every day. Like using a Wii mote, or for example, in case study, that project came out of creating an online video blog series and putting it on facebook. While we do things with technology that maybe people don't understand, we try to bring it back to ways that people use technology on a regular basis, like with the Android mobile phone platform.

Ted Simons: Same case as where you don't know what the singer is singing, but you like what's sung, this is the same situation?

Jessica Ryko: Exactly. And we've done workshops in the past. We did a series in the mad cap theater called stew shots and spent one day a month looking at a different topic and teaching people entry level, how to deal with complex technology.

Ted Simons: Congratulations on good work there and we'll keep an eye out. Hard to miss considering the nature of the projects. Good stuff.

Jessica Ryko: Thank you.

Ted Simons: Again, we want to remind you that we've heard that Colleen Mathis has been reinstated to the independent redistricting chairmanship. That's it for now, I'm Ted Simons, you have a great evening.

Arizona Town Hall: Energy

  • Participants in the 99th Arizona Town Hall on “Arizona’s Energy Future” discuss the group’s recommendations.
Category: Energy

Gandhi and Occupy Wall Street

  |   Video
  • Occupy Wall Street protesters can learn a lot from Mahatma Gandhi according to a leading expert on Gandhi’s teachings on civil disobedience. Hear what Dennis Dalton, a retired political science professor from Barnard College/Columbia University, has to say about the topic.
  • Dennis Dalton - Retired Political Science Professor, Barnard College/Columbia University
Category: Business/Economy   |   Keywords: Wall Street, Mahatma Gandhi,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: The occupy Wall Street movement turned two months old today as dozens of protestors were arrested for blocking streets near the New York stock exchange. Here in the valley, Occupy Phoenix protestors remained fairly low key as they took their message aboard the metro light rail. Meanwhile, a leading expert on the teachings of Mahatma Ghandi says occupy groups have a lot to learn from that political leader. Dennis Dalton is retired professor of political science from Barnard college, an affiliate of Columbia University in New York City. I spoke with him recently about Ghandi's teachings on civil disobedience. Thanks for joining us tonight on "Horizon."

Dennis Dalton: Thank you, Ted, for inviting me.

Ted Simons: You betcha.

Ted Simons: Let's start with basics. Who was Mahatma Ghandi?

Dennis Dalton: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Born in 1869 and assassinated in 1948. The leader of the Indian independence movement.

Ted Simons: And he did it by way of nonviolence and civil disobedience. How did he pull it off?

Dennis Dalton: Not easily, when you think of his competitors, there were mass political movements in the 20th Century as history had never seen before. Lenin's Bolshevik movement in Russia and MAO's movement in China. And Hitler’s Nazi movement in Germany, and finally Ghandi's movement, all at the same time, 1930s, fired by the great depression. Ghandi, alone, managed to do it through nonviolence.

Ted Simons: How did he do it? I know reaping what you sew is at the core of all of this. But there's so much to civil disobedience, so much to nonviolent protests. How did he do it, when everybody else was taking a whole different avenue?

Dennis Dalton: There was a history of civil disobedience as we know, but he did in it in part because he was influenced by Henry David Thoreau and also Leo Tolstoy. And he gave him advice in 1910, but mainly Ghandi did it through his own brilliance, he combined leadership of a charismatic kind, with a set of ideas that are magnificent and worked down to the grassroots level. The answer, leadership, ideology and organization.

Ted Simons: Could the folks in Germany, the folks in Russia and China, could they have also done -- achieved that kind of success? Or was it something peculiar to the folks in India?

Dennis Dalton: That's a excellent question. It couldn't have been peculiar only to the folks in India, because Martin Luther King managed to pull it off in the United States. And transfer the whole idea of nonviolence, the organization, leadership, from Indian soil to American soil in the 1960s, so the answer is that it's not culture-specific to India. It's transferable and King proved that.

Ted Simons: Time specific?

Dennis Dalton: Time specific too. Time specific to a particular period of concern about inequality and injustice. But not time specific universally, perhaps.

Ted Simons: You mentioned Thoreau and talk about this, has it changed much?

Dennis Dalton: It’s changed to some degree, because after all, we don't have the mass movements we had then with Cesar Chávez. There was no mass movement of the same kind that Ghandi had nor with Thoreau. Nothing remotely like that. But we had the mass movements as we said in other countries. What was specific, Ghandi, the way he interpreted nonviolence. Let me read one part briefly of what he said. Power, he said, is of two kinds. One obtained by the fear of punishment, using violence, and the other by acts of love and compassion. Love and compassion when properly expressed can be a thousand times more effective. Yet it's often diluted or contaminated by anger and its influence thereby undermined. A word for nonviolence, must not wish ill to any opponent or use any verbal abuse. This constitutes a counterfeit of true non-violent power because it never intentionally wounds another. There's no place in it for anger or malice. That's what Ghandi and King both practiced and that's what is lacking in the protest movements today. As well as in many other protest movements.

Ted Simons: We're at a time where it's 24/7 news cycle.

Dennis Dalton: Yes.

Ted Simons: Where the culture seems to be much more in your face. You read the comments on any newspaper, website, people can't wait to be as mean as nasty as they can be, mostly anonymously, but not always. There's very much of this thing happening. Can nonviolence, the idea of no anger or try not to let it spill forward, can that work in this climate with all of this information flying at us from all of these different directions?

Dennis Dalton: I was involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, I saw Martin Luther King. Speak, act, practice nonviolence. Martin Luther King insisted on using the same kind of creed, nonviolence, as Ghandi, and he managed to use the media in a way that as Ghandi would say, gentle, compassionate in every way, non-violent and managed to avoid in his campaign anger. It can be done today. It can be, it's not that the media is dictating necessarily hatred and malice and partisanship. It's for us to seize, a right way of performing civil disobedience and that right way must be purged of ill will toward an opponent. King repeatedly told me and America, just as we refused to shoot our opponents, so we refused to hate our opponents.

Ted Simons: Again, I've got to ask, in today's climate -- we look at the occupy Wall Street movement, the occupy fill in the blank movement, mostly peaceful but infiltrated by those -- the rent of mob folks, who show up and throw chairs through windows. Beyond that, can you do it in this climate when everybody wants to be mean and nasty.

Dennis Dalton: Think back to the 1960s, to freedom summer, when three civil rights workers in myself, were -- in Mississippi, were badly tortured and murdered and think back to blacks in Birmingham, Alabama, subjected to dogs and hoses. Think back to Martin Luther King, winner of the Nobel Peace prize, being thrown in prison. What gets much worse than that? We can do it today. It's not that we're having a climate so violent -- I agree it's malicious and all the rest. But we can manage it.

Ted Simons: What do you think of the occupy movement?

Dennis Dalton: I think it's three things -- leadership of a Ghandi and King kind. Ideology of a Ghandi or King kind and an organization of a Ghandi or King kind. That's a gold standard that the occupy movement needs to set but it was set by Ghandi and King in India and America.

Ted Simons: We've talked to folks involved in the occupy Phoenix movement and those three points, they seem to not want any part of those factors. They want to keep it as it is, relatively amorphous and leaderless, a people's movement. Can that succeed by way of nonviolence and if so, how far?

Dennis Dalton: We look back at the 20th Century and the movements I just cited, most of them bad, one of them good, that is, Lenin, Hitler, MAO, and Ghandi, those movements succeeded because they had the right chemistry, that's a perfect storm of ideology, leadership and organization. We haven't seen a movement succeed without those. I'm sympathetic to the way in which the occupy Wall Street movement insists on equality in this country. The greed that's enveloping us, I'm sympathetic to much of their cause, but they need to set the gold standard established by Ghandi and King. They need to look to those people and those movements.

Ted Simons: It's good to have you here. Thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.

Dennis Dalton: Good to be here. Thanks a lot.

Solar Energy: AZ Sun Program

  |   Video
  • Pat Dinkel, VP of Power Marketing and Resource Planning for Arizona Public Service Company, talks about the Paloma Solar Power Plant, the first solar plant to reach commercial operation as part of the utility’s AZ Sun Program.
  • Pat Dinkel - VP of Power Marketing and Resource Planning for Arizona Public Service Company
Category: Sustainability   |   Keywords: Paloma Solar Power Plant, utility,

View Transcript

Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments that in the case challenging the ouster of Colleen Mathis from the independent redistricting commission. The IRC is responsible for redrawing Arizona's congressional and legislative districts. Mathis served as the commission's independent chairwoman alongside two Democrats and two Republicans. But earlier this month, the governor, with consent of the state senate, removed Mathis from the IRC claiming she violated the state's open meetings law and constitutional rules for redistricting. Attorneys for Mathis say her ouster is unwarranted and politically motivated. No word on when the high court will rule, although an expedited decision is expected.

Ted Simons: In 2006, the Arizona Corporation Commission approved a renewable energy standard that requires public utilities to generate 15% of their energy from renewable sources by 2025. Arizona public service company has been working to meet that standard in a variety of ways. One of its initiatives is the AZ sun program, which calls for a major investment in new utility-scale solar plants. The first two AZ sun solar plants went online just last month. Both are located in Gila Bend. Here to tell us more about the AZ Sun Program is Pat Dinkel, vice president of power marketing and resource planning. For Arizona public service company. Thanks for joining us.

Pat Dinkel: Good to see you, Ted.

Ted Simons: The AZ Sun Program, that's what we're talking about here?

Pat Dinkel: Yes.

Ted Simons: And give us more information. How long it's been in development and the eventual goal.

Pat Dinkel: It's APS's investment in solar energy for Arizona and it's specifically us providing financing for utility scale, which is really kind of short for larger solar projects in Arizona.

Ted Simons: And this is -- what? -- a four-year plan?

Pat Dinkel: It was approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission last year with a commitment for us to invest up to half a billion years for 100 megawatts over a four-year period. We brought two of those projects -- actually, two and a half projects online already this year and we're excited about that and the rest is coming online the next couple years.

Ted Simons: Let's talk about the plant. This is the Paloma plant. Where is this?

Pat Dinkel: The project, as well as a couple of sister projects located outside of Gila Bend. Actually in Gila Bend, but on the periphery. The Paloma and cotton center, located north of Gila Bend.

Ted Simons: And what kind of solar plants? What are we looking at here? What is that?

Pat Dinkel: The two I just mentioned cotton and Paloma uses two different types. One of them constructed by first solar uses a fixed panel that doesn't move, it's stationary during the time and the other project at cotton center actually uses what we call a single access. And -- axis, and will rotate during the day to follow the sun and that was constructed by a company out of Tucson. Little different technologies and efficiencies but a way to take two comprehensive and efficient technologies.

Ted Simons: How much energy?

Pat Dinkel: Each of the projects is 17-megawatts and that's a good size for the projects because what's really important about these projects and quite honestly, earth shattering we constructed the projects in may and went in service in August. That's unheard of. Our partner for solar, a major developer, says they've never done anything like that in the world and we're proud of that.

Ted Simons: First solar develops and builds these and APS owns and operates them?

Pat Dinkel: There's a tight participation. Gila Bend was a key partner in this. They have proactively and progressively managed their zoning process to where you can get the permitting in four weeks or less. So we specifically targeted that area because we knew they were very progressive. But APS went out ahead of time and bought the land and started the process to get it ready for the project and went out for a comprehensive solicitations. And then they do what's called a turnkey project for us. When it's done, we go ahead and operate it for the customers.

Ted Simons: I know there's concern when it comes to solar generating stations, especially far away from water. That the water needs would be great, A, and B, it would be disruptive to try and get water in the area by drilling or piping. Whatever the case may be. What are the water needs?

Pat Dinkel: We're conscious of the water conservation. The customers want affordability and the photovoltaic essentially uses next to no water. The grounds don't need to be maintained and we built these on farmland.

Ted Simons: This is thin film technology. This is their first involvement?

Pat Dinkel: The first project, a thin film, for solar. The other is not. It's a POLY technology. But, yes, the Paloma project is the first into thin film but it's a mature technology, first solar has been deploying it for years around the globe and makes an economic solution.

Ted Simons: Is that a concern -- by the time you invest and develop and build, A, here comes B down the pike and it's more efficient and better operating system. Is that a concern?

Pat Dinkel: That's something that we pay attention to and when I go back to about five or six years ago when we started rapping up our renewable power, that was something we were very concerned about. So we assessed each of the technologies to make sure we're putting in technologies that are viable. On these technologies they are. These are mature viable technologies, photovoltaic panels made in the gigawatts internationally and they're very mature technologies.

Ted Simons: Before you go, sounds like Gila Bend is becoming a central focal point for solar energy in Arizona and around the country, really. Talk about Gila Bend's partnership in the projects.

Pat Dinkel: They've been wonderful. Very progressive. Thinking back several years ago and a lot of cities and towns want to be progressive. Gila Bend is a model that I like to talk about because they've allowed us as a utility to bring the commercial players together to make the projects happen and I hope others learn from their lesson then.

Ted Simons: Some jobs at least during the construction phase.

Pat Dinkel: It does, about 300 jobs during construction and that's good for Gila Bend and those communities around.

Ted Simons: All right. Pat, good to see you, thanks for joining us.

Pat Dinkel: Thank you.