The Global Art Project: The Dragonfly

Currents and Futures


The Global Art Project:  The Dragonfly  

[Most of the time, my topics are deadly serious.  However, that’s not the only kind of writing I do.  I’d like to share a piece I wrote awhile ago, the seriousness hidden inside the humor.  It’s actually based on a dream!  It was nice waking with a smile on my face, having dreamt this!]  


Imagine a delicate dragonfly, with glass wings, a metal body and spindly metal legs.  It’s thin, outstretched wings shimmer iridescence in the sunlight.

Now, imagine this dragonfly 100 miles long and 75 miles wide.  You see it above you in the sky, because it’s in low Earth orbit.  The first global work of art.

What did it take to create the dragonfly?

All it took total human cooperation.  All of the nations of the Earth had to come to consensus.  It took most of the productive output of humanity for 50 years.  For decades, all the people of the Earth had to work on Project Dragonfly.

All of the money, every penny of it, that was spent on killing and oppressing other humans was diverted to Project Dragonfly.  (This provided more than enough money for several dragonflies.)   The scientific research capacity of every Western nation had to be diverted from genetic manipulation and building better nuclear warheads to the logistics and technology of building a 100 mile long dragonfly and launching it into space.

The Grand Consensus:

The people of the world got the notion to build the Dragonfly.  No one knew (or cared) where the idea started.  Once it got going, the nations of the world were swept up in the fervor.

In order to build it, the work had to be parceled out by continents:

The South Americans were assigned the wings.  National boundaries had to dissolve, military dictatorships overthrown, drug trafficking halted, poverty, illiteracy and pollution eliminated.  South America could not afford petty squabbles and demeaning poverty anymore, not if they were going to rise to the task of building the wings.  The industrial capacity of South America was diverted from cars and washing machines to the framework for dragonfly wings.

The Russians were assigned the body.  They were initially pissed off — they wanted to build the wings (everybody in the world wanted to build the wings!  That’s why the body parts were assigned by lottery).

The Russians complained that their role was not “important” enough.  They had to be convinced that they had the most important role, the one piece that held the rest together.

The Dragonfly Revolutions:  “Get Over It!”

The Chinese built the head — early.  It’s amazing what over a billion people can do once they set their collective mind on it.  They built it early and launched it early.  For decades, the ten mile across Chinese built head tumbled in its circum-polar orbit.  Was it an accident, or did it appear to be smiling every time it passed over Europe and the United States?

The United States government complained bitterly that the face on the dragonfly head “looked too Asian”.  The US government supplied experts analyzing high-resolution photos taken from spy satellites showing that the eyes were “slightly slanted”.  The Americans threatened to pull out of Project Dragonfly unless the Chinese made “appropriate changes to bring the features in line with those of accepted civilized society”.  Hard-liners in the US government threatened to shoot down the dragonfly head as “a threat to national security”.

The world was stunned by the Chinese Ambassador’s three word reply:  “Get over it!”  These three words became the rallying cry of the Americans who rose up and overthrew their own government, voting out of office all Democrats and Republicans, and making it a crime for anyone to contribute over $10.00 to any political campaign.

The Africans were assigned the legs.   The nations of the world knew that, unless something changed, the dragonfly would be legless.  Africa, ravaged by its history of colonialism, AIDS, poverty and war, was unable to feed its own people, much less build hundreds of miles of dragonfly legs.

There were only two things to do: find another continent to build the legs, or the countries of the world would have to unite to heal Africa, as well as provide the capacity to build the legs.  They opted for the latter.  Announcing the Earth’s first “Global Marshall Plan”, the UN President stated: “We are not just lifting current and future generations of Africans out of the quicksand of war, disease and poverty.  The nations of the world get something in return.  Dragonfly legs!!”

The Americans built the tail.  The early plans called for each tail segment to be sponsored by a corporation, with a different flashing corporate logo on each segment.  The same mass uprising that overthrew the government also passed the 41st Amendment, outlawing corporations as “a plague over the Earth”.  The rest of the world quickly followed suit.  The amount of money freed up from corporate salaries more than paid for Africa’s Marshall Plan.

The European Union got the task of assembling the Dragonfly in space.  They went at their task with gusto, inventing new methods of travel in space that made rockets obsolete.  As stated by the French head of the European Union:  “We accomplished this task so well because, after all, the dragonfly idea came from France in the first place.  Dragonflies are very French insects…”

Viewing the Dragonfly

So, the next time you see the Dragonfly, tumbling in its polar orbit, please remember that what looks like a carefree piece of whimsy is really the first tangible product of human global cooperation, a product that pulled us from the brink of human catastrophe and set the path of true globalization of the human species.

Next time the Dragonfly is passing overhead, go outside and look at it.  Really look at it.  Stretch out your arm and point, remembering its huge dimensions mimic that of a dragonfly right beyond the tips of your outstretched fingers.  Remember that the Dragonfly has made obsolete concepts like “corporations”, “nations” and even “poverty”.  Humans, for the first time, have evidence for that which many always knew: we are one family.

What’s next?  Given our massive productive capacity, there is no question that there will be another global art project.  Suggestions range from a butterfly (not the most original idea) to constructing a gigantic vagina in space, through which the entire Earth would pass.  So far, nothing has captured the imagination of the world’s humans.  But, everyone has faith that something will.



[Please feel free to forward.  I am interested in your comments and opinions.]

PS:  Incidentally… here’s a photo of the current International Space Station, showing that NASA lacks both artistry and imagination… 



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21 Responses to The Global Art Project: The Dragonfly

  1. Lurlene Shamsud-Din says:

    Oh Sharif! Thank you for the gift of light and laughter. Peace and love. Lurlene

  2. Adin Rogovin says:

    May your story spark a global conversation that brings it alive.
    And, the “apocaloptimist” in me imagines our government(s) sending millions of little dragonfly drones to spy on us before your project emerges.

  3. Sue Holper says:

    I just enjoyed what I can only name a “laughter orgasm”–waves of it taking me by helpless surprise. Thank you Sharif!

    • Eric says:

      I had been outside since about 4:30pm. I went inisde at about 6:30. After a shower I started a load of laundry and when I looked outside the whole yard was alive with dragonflies! Our yard is almost two acres. It was an amazing site. They were zumming around in what looked liked figure eight patterns no more than 6 to 6 above the ground. I called my neighbor to the east (about 1mile away) and she also had dragonflies in the back part of her yard.The weather has been very hot and rainy. Today was 90 with little wind and high humidity. It has rained maybe three day this week. The last rain was yesturday.I live near Grinnell, Iowa 2miles from RockCreek State Park.I did not think to get a net to catch any. I was in shock and awe.I know that they were very large, at first I thought they were hummingbirds!By 7:30 almost all of them are gone. I will watch again tomorrow. I think your reaserch is very interesting.

  4. Sharif says:

    To the person who attempted to comment as “Anonymous”: I don’t post anonymous comments, unless there’s a reason for anonymity. (Generally, job policies or personal security/protection.) It’s too easy to be a sideline critic, when one does not have to take responsibility for one’s words and actions.



    PS: Please feel free to re-submit, with your name and email address…

  5. Sharon Jordan-Evans says:

    You’ve got me thinking (and dreaming) now Sharif:)

  6. Starr says:

    Beautiful. Art brings people together in ways nothing else does. And gets us to see how silly all the other stuff that caught our attention was. Sharing for sure!! Thanks, Sharif! 🙂

  7. Tim says:

    Absolutely wonderful…and motivating! I am peltered by e-mails all day decrying the very things you mentioned and Oh are they ever worthy of scorn and change but you’ve touched on what really motivates…beauty, play, hope and imagination of something not yet seen. Wonderful! This is magic stuff!

  8. inger easton says:

    Wonderful night time reading, for all ages……………Please write more of these!

    • Beyone says:

      I saw a dragonfly swarm in the last part of July. I am afiard I do not have the date, but it was about 10 a.m. and hot. I live in Hunt County, Texas, in the northern part about 10 miles south of the county line. I noticed the swarm because it was in the front yard near the house when I let my dogs out. I live on 14 acres and have a pond, but the house is about 400 yards from the pond and surrounded by burnt to a crisp grass. I remember because I thought it odd that they were zooming around in a loud swarm of probably twenty dragonflies so far from water. There were at least two kinds of dragonflies in the swarm. Mostly drab brown bodies with clear wings and two or three of the ones with pale bluish white bodies, pale bluish white wings with brown racing stripes. I never saw the swarm again. I am sorry I cannot be more precise on the date or species. I do not know much about dragonflies. I saw the notice in the Nature Blog Network this morning that you were seeking reports and it reminded me of the swarm.

  9. Lori Bennett says:

    Well how about a few ‘Jellyfish’ ??!! Whose presence covers and elicts a self healing process of the hole(s) in the Ozone ? Hmmmmm~ Iridescent, Transparent and vibrationally living as a catalyst for healing.

  10. Carol Hunter says:

    My dear Sharif!

    You have me laughing, weeping and very touched!
    You’ve captured so many stereo-typical national personalities beautifully. Having worked for years in Russia, China and the US, I’d have to say you are not far off at all. As if you didn’t know?

    The concept of a “shared goal” for humanity is beautiful and natural and so at odds with how world groups now act. Still, we know it’s possible!

    Love your mind and how it works. Tim and I will certainly share this with many others. I can see it as a discussion question in our leadership programs. Will advise how people respond.

    Sending love and excellent health to you,

  11. Jaelle Dragomir says:

    Sharif…. what a perfectly powerful dream. As a power animal, the dragonfly is a symbol of transcending illusion and gaining true power, awakening to and bringing in one’s highest vision. The dragonfly brings in compassion beyond our current collective imagination. I loved this story, please publish it widely. I can see the story happening. Fiction? I think not.

  12. Tim Rouse says:

    What a great dream. A dragonfly is a bit of a stretch dream. I wonder what collaborative project could excite all humanity. It could well be stopping the effects of global warming hopefully before the oceans rise too much.
    As usual, great writing. Thanks, Love, Tim

  13. Shirlene says:

    Thanks, Sharif…… Great metaphor – a global, whimsical, fun, positive project is exactly what this world needs to heal. Now just what could that be?

  14. deborah says:

    This is a story to put in the library of the positive possible futures. The more stories the more visualization, the more shifting, the more change becomes recognizably do-able, the merrier!

  15. Michael Saccomano says:

    Sharif – an absolutely GREAT idea. Creating A World That Works for All in the 21st Century! Thanks for doing this. Mike SacIONS and

  16. Ellen Lenox says:

    Wonderful Sharif, truly wonderful! I`m thinking of using it in my next Advanced English class, for group discussion… Like the idea? Now what`s with the gigantic vagina in space? Earth being born again? Something more?

    • Sharif says:

      That sounds great! If you decide to use it in your class, I’d like to know how they respond.

      As for “the gigantic vagina in space”… the question is whether the Earth would be seen as coming OUT of it, or going INTO it. (That’s probably why our future selves are still debating it!)



      • Markus says:

        The view from space … and what we have to burn to achieve it … I wonder … what we are … what eye in space informs who? Positive potentials therein lie … for sure … and the design of the dragonfly … well, it’s about the symbol, the design … how intelligent is the design and what is it’s intention? I am attracted to “that” … mysterious creative motivation to co-create Beauty.

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