UCBG’s Natural Discourse; an epilogue

I was reminded by some recent network news stories on UCBG’s “Natural Discourse” that I’ve yet to post photos from opening night back on July 14, 2012.


Did you have to read that sentence twice for full comprehension? “Recent network news stories”? Network news, as in Fox and CBS, covering “Natural Discourse,” a collaboration between artists and a botanical garden? (Quick, duck! There goes a flying pig!)

Surely, the world must have slipped off its axis. But it’s all true.


Was network news there to cover the opening? Well, no, not exactly.


Which is entirely their loss. The St. Germain cocktails were divine.


And the sarracenia were an exquisite choice for table centerpieces.


What a happy, celebratory evening it was.



MB Maher and his banner for the event.

So what exactly has attracted the attention of Fox News and the various feeder blogs that amplify its content in the middle of one of the hottest summers on record?


The answer lies in this structure, which I described back on June 23, 2012. SOL Grotto

The work of Rael San Fratello Architects, SOL refers not only to the name of the now-bankrupt solar cell manufacturer Solyndra, but also to its fate as being Shit Out of Luck when silicon prices fell. At that point, its unique thin film technology, which obviated the need for silicon, could not compete against China’s much cheaper, silicon-based solar panels heavily subsidized by the Chinese government.


It is a story with many facets.

The accusations include charges that President Obama is picking “winners and losers” in the field of green technology. Never mind that former President George W. Bush “picked” the hydrogen fuel cell and sank $1.5 billion into its development during his presidency.


As to charges that government has no role in fostering technological innovation, “[T]he government has played a key role, either as an early investor or a demanding customer, in the development of virtually every advanced technology we take for granted today, from aviation to biotechnology, to computers and the Internet, microchips, and now clean energy. Indeed, without a visionary government investing in key strategic industries, world-leading companies like Google, Genentech and Boeing would not exist.” (Forbes, “Solyndra’s Failure Is No Reason To Abandon Federal Energy Innovation Policy” 9/2/11)


This much at least is clear: Improbable as it sounds, UCBG’s “Natural Discourse” has become one of the hottest tickets in the Bay Area. Go there and see the controversial tubes for yourself.

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6 Responses to UCBG’s Natural Discourse; an epilogue

  1. hoov says:

    My first thought is that the news orgs showed up because the booze was so good.

    Unless one takes the time to read and read and read, the reality behind the superficial news stories of the day is never revealed. Government, along with everything else in modern living, is extremely complicated, and a one-minute story on the evening news cannot begin to explain it all.

  2. ks says:

    I’m waiting for the marine layer to come back..and it has !

  3. Jason says:

    Excellent post. I appreciate how you expose the politically-motivated and hypocritical attacks on Solyndra and the superficiality of tv news.

  4. Outlaw says:

    I’m confused. Is this the series of tubes that make up the interweb?

  5. Denise says:

    @Hoov, so many people were surprised to find sambucus was the ingredient in the booze! And, yes, read, read, read. Sometimes I spend whole days reading and feel guilty for doing so! Constant superficial coverage of complex, complicated issues just isn’t helping anyone.
    @Kathy, we’re cooling off too. Not a minute too soon!
    @Jason, so many interesting angles to this subject. Glad you enjoyed the post.

  6. Shirley says:

    Thanks once again for your thoughtful commentary. Any attention that this press is bringing to Natural Discourse is just fine with us. Who knew that all those folks at Fox news and the Wall St Journal were contemporary art supporters!
    Great photo of Mitch at the opening, I hope to see that banner back up there soon.

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