From the 26th to the 31st of October 2021 Anna Maggi, Antje Schwarze and Rita Venturini started a new adventure in Quinta Ten Chi, Sintra, called Welcome Home: Leave your Trace. The main idea was to apply Theory U to creative collaboration, with a lot of Social Presencing Theater as part of the journey. The week started with 12 people focused on taking a U Journey at the Quinta, exploring their creative impulses and to what they felt emerged from the land. All explorations asked people to connect and listen to what Nature wanted to see happening, both inner and outer Nature.
After discovering the space and feeling the individual impulses, the invitation was to find the intersection between the two and manifest that as a moving sculpture and objects of nature that attracted individual attention. During the presentation of each person’s “Seed Dance” (a practice from Social Presencing Theater) Anna Maggi created a Visual Sensing expression of all the dances/intentions and the participants completed it with their nature objects, creating a sort of 3D mapping .
The day after the participants explored the 3D mapping from all directions, seeing beauty and hard truths in it before collectively transforming it.
The transformation created a sense of clarity and purpose that manifested in the next day’s creation of a detailed schedule of a program shared with the general public during the weekend PLAYGROUND. Effortless collaboration ending in a fun and playful experience for all that joined for the latter part of the event.
After all was done we realize we had stumbled onto something. Yes the U journey was powerful, AND particularly powerful when the shared intention of the participants was co-created as a work of art, not so much as a statement in words. Words came later, to invite other people to join, and even in this step the art part had fundamental role, becoming the background of the flier.
What happened? Maybe some of what happened could be inferred by some ideas shared by
Timothy Morton in his 2015 article What If Art Were a Kind of Magic?
Here a quote from that:
“Art just is tampering directly with cause and effect, because art is what cause and effect actually is. “
If we continue with this kind of thinking it is not surprising to see that a shared intention expressed as an art piece can be much more powerful than a very detailed description of the intention in words. It might be less easy to understand it without seeing the finished “effect” of that intention (in this case the PLAYGROUND) but it is more powerful in making the intention itself manifest.
Intention and Action
Also if we think about our human challenges around collaboration (I am sure many of us have had some) we usually find those embedded in the clear cutting imposition of words. Words make us disagree, either because we think that we understand each other clearly with them, while in reality each one of us have their own interpretation of each word, or because we react (positively or negatively, doesn’t really matter) to them with judgment, losing presence to what is in the moment, and becoming trapped in our habitual thoughts patterns.
Making our collective intention as art can help us be more truly generative, at least that’s what we felt happened in Leave your Trace October 2021 – join us for our next edition in March/April 2022, to see how much magic we can cocreate!