Saratoga Springs has proven itself as a conduit for health and healing for decades. As we sink deeper into the wonders of the 21 st century, it is a great time to expound upon the subtle technological wonders of our world to usher in a more comprehensive understanding of our collective reality that will enable us to grow in the path of least resistance for many generations to come.
It is our contention that along with great technological progress comes incredible responsibility. As humans make the transition from mere species to collective organism, we feel it is time to begin to understand the underlying patterns and thought structures of the greatest creative engine known to man: nature. At Invisible Architecture, we will combine the judicious use of electronic technologies with what are now seemingly archaic tools of the natural world to usher in a new type of lifestyle that provides symbiosis, balance, and harmony.
Our downtown store location will serve as a hub for a diverse customer base that will be capable of generating profound outcomes. By working closely with the Skidmore College community as well as the vast holistic health and agriculture resources already present in the Saratoga area, Invisible Architecture will continuously seek and gather unique gems of thought from all around the world and bring them to Saratoga with the intention of creating community, facilitating partnerships, inspiring creativity, and dissolving countless boundaries.
We have found that cultivating a mutual respect for both the wonders of nature and the accomplishments of man catalyzes a largely untapped source of knowledge and clarity that reinforces both the importance and undeniable advantages of symbiotic behavior. As manifestations of this planet, we feel that if we point our compass in this direction, we can in turn unleash a torrent of new activity and prosperity.
There are countless fields of study now well understood which exemplify these ideas, but a unified and accessible vision has yet to make its way into the average American's lifestyle. Some of the disciplines we will draw from will be:
Electronic/Ecological Information Systems
By steeping ourselves in a rich brew of these incredibly diverse and dynamic modes of thought, we can help transform ourselves and the community from the ground up, placing Saratoga on the map as a wellspring of imaginative thought-streams.
Invisible Architecture (IA) would like to begin this journey at 439 Broadway, the former residence of the very beloved Mila Cave, Tibetan Gift Shop. As of now co-founder, Tenzin Norgay, still holds the lease of this location till the end of May 2009, and is willing to pass the store onto IA as soon as possible.
Following the model of Saratoga Coffee Traders - a fair-trade, organic cyber cafe located just three storefronts down – IA will walk the line between official restaurant and retail store. In addition to secure Wi-Fi, much of the stocked items will include books, music, movies, crystals/minerals, hula hoops, teas, incense, fair-trade gifts, and local artwork. All of these items will be from companies of the highest caliber, and through continued interaction with Skidmore and the holistic arts/agricultural distributors of the region, we will create a line of products that will be difficult to match.
Additionally, we will carry the entire stock of Katalyst Kombucha, an employee-owned company in Western Massachusetts Kombucha is also known as the Manchurian Mushroom, a misnomer because no mushroom species are involved. Kombucha is actually a mixed culture, a symbiotic community of yeasts and bacteria. Recently, the interest in kombucha has reached a fever pitch.
Currently only Four Seasons carries kombucha in the downtown Saratoga area, and by purchasing Katalyst products we will be supporting somewhat local endeavor. Our hope is that the people of Saratoga will take to the healing and effervescent nature of kombucha, making IA as viable of a location as any cafe or bar in town. Late night weekend hours will provide a venue for students and residents alike, giving them the opportunity to sidestep the predominantly alcohol-based nightlife of Saratoga. Late nights at IA can and will feature film screenings, talks, workshops, and live electronic music composition performances.
In conjunction with our vision of combining both Earth-based and man-made technologies, IA will also seek to hire a team of Skidmore-based, Macintosh OSX Certified Consultants. Our Mac consultants will be available at the Broadway location during certain hours, as well as on call, for anyone in the area who seeks assistance with their Apple products.
In addition, a few of IA's current founding members are currently seeking positions as Apple campus representatives. If this comes through, we will be licensed to assist in showcasing various Apple technology on the Skidmore campus as well as the greater Saratoga area. Workshops and talks on using Apple products could take place at the downtown store in addition to presentations of original music and movie productions.
Another project we are interested in is the refurbishing of personal computers that people are no longer satisfied with. We have found that over the years personal computers (mainly machines running Windows) become corrupted due to a lack of proper security on behalf of Microsoft, as well as an unnecessary amount of preloaded software that overtime renders the machine slow and often inoperable. Also we have noticed that the curiosity of children can often wreck a machine.
Rather than becoming Microsoft consultants, we will offer the service of comprehensively revamping any machine and reloading the system with the open-source, Linux-based Ubuntu OS. The open-source enterprise which includes such software as Mozilla Firefox is in many ways analogous to the organic farming movements due to its grassroots style of production, plus it is all free. Ubuntu has many different distributions in dozens of languages, including one specifically designed for children, which features a vast array of educational software. Rather than just get rid of these machines that are not as much physically sick as they are mentally ill, we hope too recycle them and make them useful once more, either for ourselves or for some of our friends in other parts of the world that are not as fortunate.
As soon as possible, IA would like to take a trip away from Broadway towards both the Catskill Mountain Region and the World Wide Web. In the Catskills is a farmland owned by a friend of IA's that currently generates incredible produce including blueberries, blackberries, and peaches. IA plans to have part of its team spend time in the Catskills developing and maintaining a permaculture, organic garden featuring a wide array of herbs and vegetables. Similarly we will establish a strong presence in the WWW, including social networks, blogs, and various other like-minded online communities.
In addition, while in the Catskills we hope to experiment with the vast amount of techniques associated with mushrooms and mycelial networks highlighted by Skidmore College Distinguished Scientist, 2009 Keynote Speaker Paul Stamets in his most recent book Mycelium Running . IA feels that Stamets has developed the blueprint for an incredibly bountiful system through the cultivation of mushrooms that can serve as food and medicine for both humans and the entire ecosystem. This location, on one hand, could easily serve as a farm for produce to potentially be used in small-scale food items in the Broadway store, as well as a research facility to further investigate the mind-blowing implications of what Stamets calls “Earth's natural Internet”.
As this aspect of the project begins to take hold, we would in turn like to both consult members of the Skidmore Biology and Environmental Science Departments as well as members of the local agriculture community in turning the Capital region into a hotbed for fungal research initiatives. Ultimately, we would like to turn the Catskill location into an organic farming, yoga, and healing retreat for the community as well as kombucha production facility.
If Saratoga Springs is to become the “wellspring of imaginative thought-streams” that we believe it can be, the IA project must have the support of one of the greatest source-pools of information in the region: Skidmore College. In order to create such a relationship, Invisible Architecture founder Jason Takahashi wishes to share the following statement:
“ The time of world-class talent at Skidmore College, in all fields of academia, being inhibited, however so slightly, by certain traditional notions of what “faith” or the “spirit” is, is coming to an end. As the sun continues its ascent on the new millennium, insights gained from the study of information technology, neuroscience, physics, and ecology render our world a vastly different place than what centuries old books with a history of death and violence can illustrate while still maintaining credulity. It is not as if we have entirely or collectively crawled out of Plato's cave, but the chains are being broken. As we speak, heterarchical online communities like Wikipedia and YouTube that are fueled by user-led content are redefining the nature of our cognitive and physical experience as we know it, because an information age, just like a direct spiritual experienc e, dissolves boundaries between us and the rest of reality. And if more reality becomes part of our everyday experience, the flowers that we begin to grow from such soil become more complex, more intricate, and as an effect – more deeply layered and more profoundly beautiful. So what I feel is at stake here is somewhat of a paradigm shift, a major division in ideology, separating bloggers and readers of the New York Times, “spiritualists” and the forever-faithful. How, if at all, are we to travel safely through this apparent birth canal from one world to the next? How can we collectively let go of the comfort and warmth of the aminotic fluid of the womb in order to see, with nothing less than excitement , what it is that follows? Perhaps we can start by appointing a multidisplinary, multidimensional Dean of Religious and Spiritual Life that can handle the unimaginable amount of questions students will be asking in not only the next decade, but the many decades following this one. Many of us feel the human adventure has only begun, that history and its fictions were mere stirrings beneath the pond, and that at one point, perhaps in our lifetimes, something of such immense beauty will rupture the plane that we might not even be capable of recognizing it. As members of the developed world who still have the time to think about such things, we feel an immense responsbility, both on ourselves as well as on our communities, to move in these directions with respect, dignity and most importantly creativity – not only for ourselves, but in honor of our ancestors and all life on this planet.”