It feels like a privilege to let ourselves simply digest, yet it is a vital process. We need to chew on things, absorb things, let them transform, pee/poop it out. Ideally this last part can become compost as well so it all circulates endlessly. It comes back over and over again in different forms.
For two days I invite 4 colleagues to join me around the blue table. I get tricked by myself again and prepare a well structured and full-on program. From the first sentence on, another feeling of time comes to the rescue, like a warm blanket reminding us that we can also just follow the flow and pretend for a while it is endless. Things will happen, meanings will be unfolded, articulated, ideas will be born. Struggles and vulnerabilities will be shared and acknowledged.
It comes through different images: We juggle with two many balls, we walk on a thin line, we could fall on the other side, we feel responsible, we want to do more, we feel lonely in wanting to connect people, we are not patient enough, we are too ambitious, the word “impact” and its “neoliberal” appropriation is chasing us in our sleep. Even things we pretend not to care about: Are we there where we thought we would be? Some of us are on the verge of burnout, some of us battle to create a feeling of home and locality, some of us feel misplaced in all the fields they belong to.
So we talk about the necessity to do less, the value of friendship, the need for different systems of measures, and our search for collective matters . We wonder how to deal with power dynamics in social and art practices. One of us suggests that maybe we are afraid of touching power because we have seen so many times power being abused. As a possible response, we dive into the notion of “reciprocity” - reciprocity as a way to care in balance, with collaborators, partners, communities. A mutual dependence, a mutual learning process. An ongoing movement: you are the caregiver as much as you are the one who receives care.
We look into circular logic - if I take care of you, others will take care of me. We think of the time a tree takes to grow before it is strong enough to invite other organisms to join in. We think of seeds being planted that might only grow when we are long gone. We listen to Angela Davis talk about radical self care. We come back to and try to redefine simple words we use a lot but sometimes forget to look into. We make up new definitions.