Karen
Christopher

this antenna for optimal reception

Simon and I found a creative co-mentoring method by making work on a mentor ship.

We found out what happens when you put yourself in motion in the pursuit of answering a question. Rather than sitting down to talk or think or write we composed an action or a task to commit and in the commission of this task or action we had an experience which was available to interpretation and was available to sensation and was available to becoming an answer to a question we didn’t even know how to ask.

There were two mentorship intensives and a handful of meetings to prepare in person as well as online via visual communicaton or email. The second and final residency took place in a studio at the Performance Centre on the Tremough campus of Falmouth University. We composed a plan of great ambition and even though we didn’t manage to cover it all, the points we did work through were given the time they demanded and we made great strides toward a clarity of purpose and ways of thinking through particular questions that I think will strengthen his sense of agency and self-determination through the next steps of his worklife.

Work took the form of a repetition of three forms of addressing each of six areas of interest we identified. For each point of interest we engaged in 1) discussion and 2) activation through creative staging followed by 3) 15-min sessions of creative written reflection. These three modes of working propelled us through two intensely focussed days of exploration and elucidation.

The working method mirrored a practical approach to independent studio practice. By including a set of practical investigations we demonstrated what happens when you put yourself in motion in the pursuit of answering a question. We found a form of deflection that affords perspective on details too close for comfort or too far to see clearly. The process shakes out unconscious realisations and fosters spontaneous changes of direction in conversation. It reveals hidden avenues and connections. In addition to sitting down to talk or think or write, we composed actions or tasks to commit and in the commission of these tasks or actions we had experiences which are available to interpretation and available to sensation and available to becoming answers to questions we didn’t even know how to ask.

Through an active mode of looking we learned something about our field, about blankness, about openings and about finding what to look for by looking.

Tags: workshop, THICK TIME

Posted on Monday, 13 May 2019 by Karen Christopher

the whole room is the listening machine

How to begin:
a plan helps
a plan helps to get a start in
it seems what you really need is to be moving before you start
you need to know that you are traveling in a direction but not where you will end up
it is easy to say let’s just decide what to do when we get there but if the first minutes—or hour of the studio time is spent in figuring out what you will do then it is likely you will end up mired in decisions: uncomfortable, itchy, thirsty, hungry and possibly bored

so start by telling stories or showing something or working physically the plan that you arrive with maybe altered considerably but you will have a read on where you are by virtue of its relation to the plan

How to spend the time:
routine
it helps to vary the texture of what happens, I like to have a routine at the start of a session—if there will be consecutive sessions over the course of a week or two or a month or more then a routine for the start of each session tones the interaction and allows thinking to align in the room.
depending on the kind of work and the style of the participants it may be that 15 mins is enough time for the routine activity or it may take an hour. It might be a physical routine like a series of stretches or walking or dancing or other physical activity. It may be a mental routine or reading or writing or drawing. it can be whatever fits the project and the people involved.

contact
it should fluctuate between intensity of interaction: combinations of solo, duo and whole group interaction should alternate (depending on how many people are involved)

grip and release
it is good to alternate between full focus and relaxed dilation; between sticking closely to a plan and following digressions and interruptions; between energetic and swift thinking and dream-like gliding with the flow down desire paths and avenues of interest

research
it should be understood that sometimes you have to get out of the usual confines and participate in what you might call field research, sometimes you need to take on outside activities together and open up to contamination and outside influences

the old and the new
work with the material you have and be open to the new directions and areas of focus that present themselves. make it new but do not be afraid to develop the old and familiar

know where you are going but be happy to diverge
stick to your strengths but ride on the strengths of others
try new approaches but be willing to stick to the tried and true if that’s what feels better
follow advice and stick to your own internal logic

make rules for yourself and break them
look at the clock and realise time doesn’t matter

love what you have and constantly exchange it for something else

take breaks—sleep—eat

the space around you should be expansive

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ear canal drawing: By Henry Vandyke Carter - Henry Gray (1918) Anatomy of the Human Body (See "Book" section below) Bartleby.com: Gray's Anatomy, Plate 907, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=566848


Tags: listening, guidelines , eat, sleep

Posted on Wednesday, 1 May 2019 by Karen Christopher

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