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That night he has a dream. He's building a machine. He's made it out of wire and string. A little bird. It sings to him. He can do anything. It'll sing to you, too. If you're listening. Hello Hello. He could build a city, has a certain capacity, makes a little bird and then they say it's not a bird and he says Okay, it's not a bird and he and the bird just laugh. I could be talking about anyone.
       History repeats itself. Somebody says this. History throws its shadow over the beginning, over the desktop, over the sock drawer with its socks, its hidden letters, its bottle of gin. History is blue. History is a little man in a brown suit trying to describe a room he is outside of. History says So, we meet again. History says Let me tell you just a few things, maybe. I know history. There are many names in history but none of them are ours.
       Milan, sunset, 500 years ago. Leo's drawing mechanical birds in a little notebook. Who gave him permission? A flying machine. A glimmering failure. He draws and draws: bat wing with leather strap, flexing spring, linen tent, aerial screw, rudder, propeller, pulley, rope… he's trying to blueprint the impossible. It doesn't work. It doesn't. Does it matter that this dream won't be realized in his lifetime?


Einstein invents himself a brother and puts him in a rocketship to prove a point, says Thought Experiment and means Playground, gets into an elevator and begins to fall through space at the speed of falling through space. It feels like acceleration. It looks like the absence of gravity. He's writing it down on the back of his hand and giggling. Either he's made a mistake in his math or everyone else in the history of the world is wrong. He gets back into his elevator again and whoops and screams a little. He says Trust me. He says These things take time.


The first time he uses pebbles and they find their way back home. Papa's not really thrilled about this so they go out and try it again, the ditching the kids part, making him carry a loaf of bread to keep his hands busy. Keep 'em where I can see 'em, the stepmom grumbles under her breath. Ah, yes-we use what we have, we do what we can. And then the birds. Well sure, they're hungry, too. In this story everyone's hungry. Go figure.


Gordian. Complicated. Figure it out and you'll rule Asia. Sometimes, when you can't imagine a solution, you need to imagine a larger imagination. Call it thinking outside the box. Then again, swords work, too.


She's on one side of the box, the outside of the box, thinking. There's something inside that box, she's sure of it, and it's probably thinking something also.


And then there's Faith. Pick a thing, anything, and start pretending. Does it work? I couldn't really tell you. It worked for Dumbo. Then again, it didn't work for Leonardo.


So what are we doing here? We're not really sure. We've got a lot of heroes and we kinda want some more. We're rather fond of Einstein-he needed a little more elbow room to figure stuff out, so he invented it. For the most part that's what we've done, that's what we're trying to do-make that place, figure it out. And you can't figure it out without making mistakes. That's the beauty of Davinci (well, some of it anyway). He didn't have space-age polymers-hell, he didn't even have an internal combustion engine-and still he kept on dreaming.
       Like Hansel, we'd like a map, some landmarks, a trail away from doom, more knots in the rope, a ratchet that catches and holds so we don't have to start from scratch each time we want to rise from the floor. Sure, Gretel was smarter, but we're not crafty. We're the kind that gets lost in the woods, blames the birds, and falls for the candy trick every time. We're the kind that opens the wrong box. We're the kind that wants more help.
       We called it spork because we wanted to. It's fun to say. And it's a tool, a hybrid tool-half spoon, half fork-and yes, the plastic spork isn't really great at being either, but that just makes it funny. And like I said, we're more about inventiveness and striving. The business of the artist is to be exciting. By exciting I mean it really does something to you really inside you. Gertrude Stein said this. We like this. We also like Marcel Duchamp, who said You must be playful with your work or you will bore us. Come play with us.
       So here it is, the thing we built-our mechanical bird. We want to fly. We want to sing. We want to build a nest in your tree and whisper in your ear. Do we have a manifesto? Not really. Do we want to remind you of something? Yes: the world is good and we belong here.

-Richard Siken