Around the Institute

Reflection & Exhilaration

October 1, 2019  • Institute Staff

It can be hard to find a quiet moment during the summer at the Aspen Institute. The entire campus is alive with sound. On one end, students at the Aspen Music Festival are practicing their newest orchestral pieces. On the other, Institute participants are arguing about the ethics of genetic engineering. The air is electric. Ideas jump from person to person. It is exhilarating and inspiring and chaotic.

But in Anderson Park, you will find respite. Intentionally placed in the middle of the 40-acre campus between the rooms where you rest and the rooms where you engage with ideas, this is a place for reflection—for transcendence. It forces you to look up at the resplendent mountain vistas before turning your gaze to pools of shimmering water below. Herbert Bayer’s signature landscapes lend themselves to such moments. The Bauhaus artist’s influence is present throughout the Institute, in buildings and outdoor spaces and even the landscapes they frame.

Much like the Bauhaus movement, the work of the Institute is a rebellion against the norm—against what has been done before. Our summer programs celebrate progress and innovation. At Aspen Ideas: Health and the Aspen Ideas Festival, speakers and attendees this year discussed everything from the Green New Deal to fresh ways to think about our emotions. The Aspen Security Forum tackled current challenges to our national security. At the Resnick Aspen Action Forum, global leadership fellows examined the borders both internal and external in their lives. And at Bauhaus: The Making of Modern, we marked the centennial anniversary of the German school recognized as the 20th century’s most revolutionary experiment in art, architecture, and design.

The change of seasons conjures the same emotions as that in-between space in Anderson Park. As we slow our pace in preparation for cool weather, we can allow our ideas, and ourselves, our own room to reflect—and even seek the transcendence Bayer’s landscape makes real every summer.