Our intuitive reaction to the news about the direct impact of the financial crisis on us was to invent a new way to facilitate a productive relationship between students, faculty, staff and our work. We were moved to symbolically remove the walls of the institution and to join with the wider community and display the Cooper environment that is an intrinsic part of the fabric of New York and the fact that our work responds to that. We were moved to unify as a community which included all members: students, faculty, staff, alumni, administration and supporters to solve the problem imposed on us which threatens the core of the institution.
Invention here is the key word. Cooper Union can be seen as a crucible for experimentation. The event on Wednesday taught me a positive lesson and showed me a glimmer of hope that I intend to capitalize on and I hope to best relay that lesson to you.
Since our intuitive reaction was to invent, I asked myself what that really means. Now I would like to take away the blinders that have been directing our sight so that we can see ourselves in the bigger picture of the time. There is, at this very moment, a real but invisible oppressive force inflicting havoc on the world. I would like to call the origin of this force: the financial machine. A machine that we, the humans, created to help us (and it has in the past), but has now turned against us. We have explicitly seen right here at Cooper Union, its vindictiveness where it is seeking to destroy a visionary accomplishment of the human race. This accomplishment in physical form is The Cooper Union. It is the achievement of the fundamental human right to education. Cooper Union has begun to react! We must uphold the responsibility entrusted in us to defend this right, to defend Humanity. We must be leaders in the fight against the financial machine, the leaders of a necessary cultural revolution. Why can we be the leaders? Precisely because we are so well equipped to be leaders. We must be the example, the shining beacon that the human race needs in these oppressive times.
The financial machine seeks to divide and conquer. This is not a fight between the 99% and the 1%. This is not a fight between the rich and the poor; the administration and the students. This is a fight for freedom! We need to outsmart the machine. We need to unite as one body, one front, the unified Human race and exhibit the real force that Humans are capable of. We, The Cooper Union, are prepared to lead this front. Our weapons of choice are the strongest and most proven weapons that Humanity possesses: the Advancement of Art and Science in the spirit of innovation.
We have learnt that we cannot put confidence in speculation and insecurity and we can only rely on the inventiveness of the only humanistic forms of expression: science and art. The art, architecture and engineering being produced at present is going to be the most important of the era. The students and faculty of Cooper Union are deeply immersed in the global problem and our work is influenced by and is made in response to our circumstance - the present tense situation.
Just as the military is paid to study for use in service to their country, we are paid to learn for use in service to Humanity and we are charged with the responsibility of defending it. Artists, Architects and Engineers of Cooper Union: allow your environment to inspire your thinking! Create work that is about the advancement of your field in this time! Your work is the start of a movement towards freedom.
Action is imminent.