A poem - I think some of you will love this one - it certainly made me laugh creativity coach and author Sam Bennett's homage to "Women Who Workshop." I think it is to all workshop junkies out there in praise of our unstoppable search for more or better. Guilty as found!
Can you go to too many workshops? I don't think so.
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Transfixing and hauntingly delicate Karakuri puppet, mechanical dolls and automata from Japan.
"The word 'Karakuri' means a mechanical device to tease, trick, or take a person by surprise. It implies hidden magic, or an element of mystery. In Japanese ‘Ningyo’ is written as two separate characters, meaning person and shape." (LAW 1997, p 18)
LAW, J. M., 1997. Puppets of Nostalgia. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Sited from http://karakuri.info 31.08.16
What better gift for an 18th birthday than books, especially if it is a surprise gift from the Italian government.
Christopher Hooton, in the Guardian describes the new and farsighted policy, "In a move designed to remind young people that culture can enrich one’s life and bring people together, Italian citizens are to get a €500 (£430) ‘culture bonus’ on their 18th birthday."
Wonderful to see a government place such a high value on culture. Perhaps the move will be picked up by other countries as Italy sets an example.
“The initiative sends a clear message to youngsters, reminding them that they belong to a community which welcomes them once they come of age... It also reminds them how important cultural consumption is, both for enriching yourself as a person and strengthening the fabric of our society.”
See full article here
The news around the world is a whirl wind. We search for a horizontals that seems it will take us forever to re-find. In this light whilst leafing through old journals I found an inspiring quote from the determined British film-maker Terry Gilliam who has seen his fair share of up and downs, and the twists of outrageous fortune.
Read it to take your mind back to its creative problem solving centre...
As a child, I always drew funny creatures, funny characters. But I think the trick is not to grow up, not to learn to be an adult. And if you can maintain the kind of imagination you all had when you were babies, you would all be wonderful filmmakers. But the world tries to make you grow up, to stop imagining, stop fantasizing, stop playing in your mind. And I’ve worked hard to not let the world educate me.
Whole article: Ten Lessons on Filmmaking From Terry Gilliam
It's a rainy Saturday in Buenos Aires and Oscar Edelstein just shared a homage to the late Muhammad Ali on his Facebook page.
Maybe it's strange that an avant-garde composer would be moved to post about the passing of a boxer, especially with so many perceived divisions between high and low culture. Yet perhaps what Edelstein noticed with the nose of a life-long experimenter was Ali's spirit as a searcher speaking out, and looking for meaning and new perspectives.
So it seems a moment to follow Edelstein's lead, and share the historic interview with Sir Michael Parkinson, who said today that Muhammad Ali "was the biggest star they've ever had boxing, and maybe ever will have."
The interview is the famous speech where Ali asks why are all the cultural images - from angels to Tarzan in the jungle - are of white people.
Asked about the first time he met him backstage, Parkinson said: "It's not often, given the job I had, that I was allowed to be gob-smacked, but he did gob-smack me as he walked across the floor. I'd never seen a more graceful and beautiful man. He was extraordinary."
As Edelstein wrote, "This man was the greatest boxer that I have seen but someone who also thought, and this is what they never forgave. See the interview, it is really not to be missed."
The interview is from 1981, an incredible 35 years ago, when this kind of discourse around race was not so mainstream. So it seems that Ali's bravery in the ring was really therefore nothing compared to his fight to speak out.
Ali died the same day that in her final commencement address as first lady, to graduates of City College in New York, Michelle Obama talked about diversity; free speech; the achievements of United States such as Google, eBay, the artificial heart, the telephone, blue jeans, Russian-born Irving Berlin's "God Bless America," the Brooklyn Bridge and the White House; and she even acknowledged that she wakes up every day in a house built by slaves.
She remembered "the son of Polish immigrants named Jonas Salk who toiled for years in a lab until he discovered a vaccine that saved countless lives" and "the story of the son of Jamaican immigrants named Colin Powell who became a four-star general, secretary of state, and a role model for young people across the country."
Michelle Obama spoke about the danger of building walls.
Of course we all know that walls can be physical but also intellectual and emotional, they can be of class as well as of race or religion. My naive hope is for a future where the only walls we will need are those to put bookcases against.
In remembering the brave voice of Muhammad Ali, I hope that we also take a moment to remember to include in that list of achievements of the US many more figures such as (to name a few) John Coltrane, Spike Lee, Prince, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Josephine Baker, and of course next on the list, let us now hope, that Muhammed Ali will be there.
Thank you for provoking us to see the world from a different angle, Muhammed Ali. When you get to heaven may you float like a butterfly, and please let us know that the angels really are from all walks of life.
RIP Muhammad Ali.
He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.
Recently I shared on the Clear Insight Productions facebook page the image above. Then this week I was amused when a colleague in the USA, a writing coach called Elaine Bennett, picked it up and wrote about it in her blog (see here). She took my impulse to share it (which I did partly just because for me the words fuzzy felt just make me feel warm and cosy), and wrote about it in a way that wouldn't have occurred to me in a blog post entitled "You don't think like us". Apparently Phil Lucas is a British comedian - a fact that I hadn't even looked into. What had struck me was the way the image humourously captures that certain kind of determination to adapt to the circumstances come what may - something with which all "creatives" can identify. Elaine Bennett wrote about another aspect, that of how her corporate clients say, "We love talking to you... Because you don't think like us and you don't talk like us" - sometimes it is good to be reminded that being absorbed in culture gives access to ways of thinking that are vitally needed in the world. Hats off to creativity and to Phil Lucas who made a great piece of viral marketing.
Good news for the arts in London: “Supporting the arts and creative industries will be a core priority for my administration — right up there with housing, the environment and security — as one of the big themes that I want to define my time as Mayor Sadiq Khan,” he added. “There is no question London without culture would be a much poorer place and we can’t rest on our laurels. We face stiff global competition."
Recommended FREE on line webinar
Procrastination is Genius In Disguise
with Samantha Bennett - actor, teacher, creativity/productivity specialist
April 9th, 2016 at 10am PT/1pm ET
Sam has gone from being an actor and improviser to now having a fabulously successful organsation that trains creatives in getting their work out there. For that reason her company is called the "Organized Artists Company."
She is a mine of information on marketing, creative process, project planning, and boundary breaking with a gift is for kicking people into action who have got a stuck on their creative path. Plus being an improviser she is really funny and has a great book on procrastination and creativity.
In only a week's time Samantha is offering her newest webinar "Procrastination is Genius In Disguise" which is a godsend for when you have too many projects in a drawer, too many balls in the air, and no clarity on how to move forward. It is FREE. Plus, when you register you get INSTANT ACCESS to Sam's "Get Started: Just 15 Minutes a Day for One Week" Project Plan PDF.
Here's what some of her clients say:
As a teacher Sam is incredibly motivating and generous, and so even if it is not for you, then please pass this on to a friend who is going through the frustration of not being able to see the creative wood for the trees! A phase that most of us have been through at one time or another. This webinar is free so there is nothing to lose.
Link to page to join up for the webinar: https://goo.gl/myY5YX
As a creator I have often been drawn to the concept that noted director Peter Brook (amongst many other things known for being the co-founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company and author of the key theatre text "The Empty Space") calls "the formless hunch" - it is that feeling that doesn't go away and though it maybe as vague and un-solid as a gentle waft of perfume in the air, something of it pertains and lingers. It is like something that you cannot put your finger on, but that will not go away.
For me, one such "formless hunches" is the presence of the horse. It makes little sense as I am not, nor ever have been, a rider - yet as a child as an avid reader I loved novels with horses (I seem to remember that one was of course Black Beauty by Anna Sewell).
Living in Aberystwyth (West Wales) from 2000, I was very lucky to be close to Equilibre Horse Theatre, a company founded by Jane Lloyd-Francis alongside the dressage company, Carreg. Equilibre Horse Theatre (which sadly is no longer running) was a wonderful experimentation with actors and horses that led to a production each summer. Regular actors were colleagues such as Ian Morgan who comes with an impeccable pedigree of years in the Grotowski Workcenter, and is a long term member of the "Song of the Goat" (just this week mentioned in the Guardian guide to 10 best alternative city breaks as one of the reasons to visit Wroclaw). Directors included Centre for Performance Research's Richard Gough, and designers like Simon Banham (co-founder of Quarantine) so the work was always highly visually, physical and filled with vocal colour and intensity.
This opportunity combined with my fascination of choreographers like Trisha Brown and the whole post modern dance movement which Sally Banes outlined and marked in "Terpsichore in Sneakers" where she mapped out the important shapers (such as Judson Dance Theatre, Simone Forti, Yvonne Rainer, Steve Paxton, Trisha Brown, David Gordon, Deborah Hay, Lucinda Childs, Meredith Monk, Kenneth King, Douglas Dunn and The Grand Union) and their steps to move through and beyond the restrictions of classical technique. Virtuosity for virtuosities sake was questioned and choreographers like Brown took to exploration of alternative performance spaces, and the lines between trained and un-trained movement, so that pedestrian movements such as walking or falling were equally relevant in a choreography as would be a jeté or arabesque.
In this vein, to work with horses that have an extensive movement training was completely intriguing. I began a brief collaboration in with Jane Lloyd-Francis in my site specific work "Seapiece" in 2002. In the spring of 2010, the Arts Council of Wales funded a period of research and development of a project that I called “What if? / Beth os?” so there was a chance to continue the exploration.
My idea was to investigate ideas about landscape and its representation in performance based around questions of how to make a song of a space, and how to make a portrait of a landscape.
I was returning to West Wales after a large amount of time spent in Argentina. So it was as if as well as the voice of Dylan Thomas in my head, I had added the labyrinthian words and world of Jorge Luis Borges. Thus I began this work thinking about the strange mirror that exists between Patagonia and Wales, where despite a separation of 13,000 kilometres and many years, there still persists a community of Welsh speakers. I was thinking of landscape and travel where the horse has been a key to our development.
During the working process composer Oscar Edelstein came up with the title “A Horse Bleeding Shakespeare” that perfectly captured the magical epic presence of the horse and its ability to be a macro or microcosm.
The final result of the research process that culminated in a day's filming on Ynyslas beach.
An exhibition is being planned in Buenos Aires for later in 2016 and at the end of 2016 there will be a full colour book.
It was a "formless hunch" that led to images that I had not predicted and was thanks to an incredible team of collaborators.
To be updated please send a message to email@example.com
Complete set of 55 images
The images in this series of 55 are available as limited edition fine-art archival prints sized at 375 x 500 cm each limited to 15 plus 5 Artist's Proofs. All prints will be hand numbered and signed by the artist. They will be also supplied with Provenance Certificates authenticating the type of paper, date printed and number in the edition. In addition there is a PDF explaining more about the work.