The Laputa Project
An island in the sky…
“I walked a while among the Rocks, the Sky was perfectly clear, and the Sun so hot, that I was forced to turn my Face from it: When all of a Sudden it became obscured, as I thought, in a Manner very different from what happens by the Interposition of a Cloud…”
Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (1726)
While Jonathan Swift’s satire originally fostered a fair critique of academia that does, in many ways, endure—scholars constantly bickering about the world while levitating above it—the image of a floating island continues to thrill the imagination. Now, during the Information Age, where data is stored in ‘clouds,’ and an individual’s ability to experience the world is limited only by how fast their Wi-Fi is, Swift’s version of Laputa doesn’t have to be ours.
The Laputa Project is my latest multimodal endeavor to seek out and recognize the unique experiences of educators, activists, and artists, who are doing their best to leave the world a bit better than the way they found it—and succeeding. I am convinced the last liminal spaces in the world happen to be in classrooms, on stages, and in galleries, where people suspend their disbelief in order to be informed and entertained and maybe irrevocably changed. Because social change begins as personal change, it is my belief that change agents are change agents not necessarily because they want to affect change, but because they’ve been changed in positive, progressive, and productive ways, and they would like to pay it forward.
This ongoing project seeks to function as a kind of intellectual and intuitive oasis—an annex curated to find out who these people are, what they’re doing and why, and how well it’s working wherever they are, whatever their educational background. You can keep up with recent developments from the Laputa Project here which began as an experiment to bring a multimodal experience to my classroom through rhetoric & composition but will continue to be populated with interviews, brief documentaries, and other resources I’ve uncovered that might help enhance the quality of a person’s life. As the Haitian proverb surmises, “Many hands make the load lighter.”
Additionally, you can listen to my original “reveries,” narrated role-based meditation set in mythical Laputa, written for 21st century imaginations of all ages. Reveries are best enjoyed with headphones while lying down or sitting still with your eyes closed.