Date: Ongoing (drawn to attention May 1st - 3rd, 2009)
Materials: Human beings, umbrellas (unused), paper, glue, chalk, ink, Joseph Beuys (photograph and legacy), vague questions,specific answers, stones(painted), ideals(7), a park(big, busy, central), a lake, a tree, bread, poem, song, Manhattan (vertical and horizontal), assorted etc.
Description: There is solid ground beneath our feet. Events held, friendships forming, pure intention, positive feeling, Waldorf will, living thinking. There are Giants' shoulders beneath our feet. To compliment the tipping of our hats, we offer up the highest humble praise and attempt to do what they did. No footsteps followed, but new trails stumbled through. The "what" doesn't need to be copied, but the "how" is a bright, bright beacon pulling us onward.
But did it happen? Is it happening?
Yes, friday night superseded any of our wildest hopes.
Yes, the group jumped right in and yes we knew that this
was going to be a big deal. Yes, there was that long
pause when we were letting the other train go past that
we didn't know if we should count as a stop or not. Yes,
the improv circle in the Penn Station platform landing was
one of the best parts. Yes, we hadn't even planned on it
and yes, we know there is a lesson there for us. Yes, it
took work to make the sprint to MOMA creative and fun.
Yes, Nathaniel knows how to bring it - and our groups
eager listening did indeed sanctify that skyscraper spot.
Yes, Beuys was happy that we were there.
Yes, we were waning and hungry and wanting a respite
from so much awareness. Art is rest too, right? Right!?
Yes, we were a little relieved to be free of the big group,
sit down and talk with our smaller selves, chat,
harmonize, re-calibrate who we are, who we think we like
being. Yes, it was fine being "normal". Yes, Manhattan is
a nice place for walks down the sunny side of the street.
Yes, the juice is magical. And the barefeet on stone. Yes,
the mission directions look nice - already dog eared and
all not perfect. Yes, it's absolutely clear that it's hard to
make a big deal out of this. Yes, it's feeling a little forced
- but God, that sunshine feels good. Yes, we're just one
small group among thousands in this city. Yes, we're
getting the feeling that our mission is no more
inherently important, or beautiful or inspired than what's
pulling the people all around us. Yes, we realize that
there is probably a lesson to learn in this. Yes, the warm
(but not too warm) breeze is perfect.
Yes, that was a major oversight - not part of the plan.
That part where the transparencies with explicit directions
and places for each of the groups to be never left the
Mercury backpack. Yes, this is social sculpture and yes
this is what is actually taking place, meant to be, and has
become a vital part of the sculpture we are all living now.
Oh, yes I see, that panic, not-quite-right has us finally
moving, reacting to what is not what could be or what's
dancing around in our little heads. Yes! This is it! This
is battle stations and watch checkings and assigning of
tasks and yes, we can do this and my god we're so
capable and why did we just spend the last two hours
piddling when there is so much movement all around us
asking to be danced with!?
Yes, this whole thing is harder than we thought it was
going to be. Yes, it's more flawed and real. Yes, placing
the circle under the tree is a good idea. Yes, the tree has
bloomed a hundred thousand buds since we were in this
exact spot a week ago. Yes, it's inspiring to be here
working alongside of you. Yes! Banners from trees and
thresholds to step over.
Yes, Sunday was the least planned day because we did
not know what would happen - what we'd be wrapping up
or reflecting upon. Yes, there are many, many ways that
this could have all gone. Yes, there were ways that we
might have been left more satisfied. No, satisfaction is
not necessarily the point. Yes, movement was/is. Yes,
moving pulls you off center. If we were satisfied, would
we still have work to do? Yes. There is so much work to
be done. Yes, Beuys is onto something when he says we
must change our concepts in order to actually see. Yes, a
sure fire recipe for such a conceptual change would be
handy. Yes, it feels more like moving from clue to clue
than recipe following. Yes, clue to clue sounds like the
artistic process. Yes, this means trial and error. It means
compassionate listening and articulate doing. It means
we must learn to speed up and slow down
simultaneously. It means courageous acts of storytelling,
abundant offerings, mercurial heralding, seeking wisdom,
making our paths more beautiful, discovering stillness,
achieving, noticing and creating depth all around us. Yes,
the star we are listening/looking for comes from within
each of us and is in a living relationship with the world.
"We are stones gathered around a pond..." and yes, we
took hands and yes something happened and we can
never go back.
"...the moments of real impact were in the instances when the
world came to greet us and not the other way around. We
prepared the space with willingness and then had to wait to be
met. And then pow...something really rare would take place and
silently we all knew it."
"The ending of our weekend was one of tolerance and
openness, but also dissatisfaction seemed palpable.
What does it means to expect one to engage with one’s
innermost being (meditatively) without giving them clear
indications of what they are getting into?"
"If I could just step out of the way to see the reflection and
support the idea that we already know! There is nothing else to
learn, its now the time to do! Get embarrassed! Try! No one
else will be our full inspiration, we can not rest thinking
someone else will bridge the gap of point periphery for us, we
must do that. Putting a garden in a new space attracts
"I caught a glimpse of history's rich tapestry unfurled behind,
and a sense of the future emerging as our hearts and minds
open, to new spaces. What to do now?"
"...it was so much that it was too much. I was so vulnerable, so
soft already coming into the city, and then our group was really
trying to be touched by everything around us...there was so
much life, so much dynamism."
"Then I run into ThinkOutWord. I wonder. Can it be true? Are
there people organizing in a living, breathing way, in which one
doesn't have to be chosen at birth, or voted in by the majority,
or have many letters and titles after one's name to be given a
chance to speak and do?"
"I applaud the taking of suck risk and, even if it were to be
understood as a massive failure, for so brazenly committing
such a monumental mistake."
"The process was driven by established rules and constraints
until we left them and invented our own. There was a mandate.
There was no direction at all. Apply a new lens. Remove hefty
goggles. It was both and neither. It was boring, enlightening,
"...it was an interesting challenge for me that weekend. It was
really just a start. A weekend on social art was always going to
be a case of me putting myself deliberately in a situation
where I would need to confront this."
- A. B.
"I also love what it has brought to life within me, and hope that
it did for everyone else too. Questions only come when the
time is right."
"With all these great individuals radiating such positive
courageous energy inspiring others around them,
we must be moving in the right direction.
We will achieve great things."