Nice article in the NY Times this morning about Lebbeus Woods that, I think, serves as a parable for the U.S. in general. Teaching "digital media" I am constantly confronted with the conflict between the practical and experimental; people who want to learn "computers" so they can "get a job" and those who want to explore the limits and possibilities of the medium.
Some question the wisdom of his choices. (They certainly haven’t made him a rich man.) But that he now stands virtually alone underscores a disturbing shift in the architectural profession during the past decade or so. By abandoning fantasy for the more pragmatic aspects of building, the profession has lost some of its capacity for self-criticism, not to mention one of its most valuable imaginative tools.
The article does a nice job of recognizing that our cultural creativity is linked to the experimental work of those who are not consumed with the goal of making money. We pay lip service to the lack of creativity from US industry while simultaneously strangling support for art because it doesn't appear to provide a direct, short term return....it's self-defeating.