Prof. Stanford Anderson: Batuz and Global Citizenry

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Batuz is a determined man. One recognizes this in his steadfast commitment not just to painting, but to the distinct character of his painting – not character in some light sense, but rather in the profound way in which his paintings provide metaphors of his vast social commitments. The paintings constantly return to the same organization: two vertical fields with a common, irregularly invented boundary that has itself a presence.

This intense boundary has its counterparts in the life of Batuz. Born in Hungary, matured as a painter in Argentina, achieving success in North America only to raise questions of how his thought and concerns should be larger than his artistic career. He began a search, based largely in Europe, but energetically maintaining his ties to the Americas. His thought was now richly diverse: historical, philosophical, social – and political, but political in a broad and generous sense. Batuz recognized the existence of kindred spirits across disciplines and across national boundaries. Bravely, with uncommon idealism and energy, he imagined fostering communication among diverse but similarly generous and enquiring people. He gave the vehicle of his energies a name – the Société Imaginaire.

The Société Imaginaire: this would not be an institution with a fixed base and a core of persons identified in time, place and activities. Batuz provided a center, selflessly and energetically reaching out to those who might share in his program. He invented “portfolios” in which noted persons of art and literature collaborated to make enduring documents of what could be the shared product of participants with strong, diverse commitments but also a common will for the enhancement of life across all boundaries.

Boundaries are always there as something to be recognized and overcome. In recent years, Batuz extended the field of his creativity from the bounded canvas field to artistic/social events in time and space: organizing military and experts of Antarctic research teams to create and erase boundaries in the undefined field of Antarctica; bringing Polish and German soldiers together in a line across a river that forms a common boundary of the two countries. That ephemeral activity was also the source of materials for a vast collage relief/painting, “Helmets for Peace,” in Batuz’ distinctive manner. Event and work expand the significance of one another. Most recently, the Bundeswehr, in its international commitments in Afghanistan, gave Batuz the opportunity to create events involving German soldiers and Afghan people that once again witness the will for communication across boundaries.

Batuz treads new ground: alliances with military in programs for peace. What at first appears to be an unlikely alliance, Batuz now sees as both real and strategic in the interest of overcoming boundaries and winning peace.

Large numbers of nations commit soldiers to peace-keeping, and indeed peace-realizing, missions under the United Nations. These soldiers cease being national troops. No longer do they represent a country, but rather a will to peaceful development, and to peace itself. Batuz recognizes the historic significance of these events and commits his energies to them.

Nonetheless, Batuz’ energies are more properly, more necessarily, to be devoted to his long-term cause: the ambitions and ideals manifested in the Société Imaginaire. Cannot the limited size and energy of the Société be extended to far greater numbers across the nations of the earth? A civilian version of what is modeled in the nationless soldiers of the UN Peace missions. With further advantages: the persons of this civilian body have broad cultural and social capacities and they will not be rotated out of the Peace mission.

The creative career of Batuz, his invention and sustained support of the Société Imaginaire, and his recent international activities are simultaneously extensive within their realm and yet also a small step in what Batuz now envisions: the creation of a global citizenry that corresponds to the now-existing cause of world soldiers on a peace mission.

Signature of Prof. Stanford Anderson

 

 

 

Prof. Stanford Anderson
Professor of History
Former Head of Architecture,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, Massachusetts