Interfaith Dialogue by Images

art, recent work, teaching, time-out

Before words, there are images. Before reason, there’s love and courage. Before theology, there’s faith.

Radiant autumn leaves and crisp air outside; indoors, preparations are almost finished. My colleagues Jana and Sofia are carrying chairs around. Samia is away, waiting at the bus station to greet the participants. I’m laying a table with needles and threads of all colours; making a display of tambours along with pieces of cloth, cut to fit.

Morning workshop, preparations; photos Jana Jakob, Sofia Nordin

Just before 10am, they all arrive: twenty women of different faiths, ages and backgrounds, walking down the long slope to the school building by the lake. After coffee and an introduction round – followed by a moment of silence – we gather in the studio. Everybody is invited to use needle and thread to “draw” what they bring into this day of Art, Sisterhood and Interreligious dialogue.

Morning workshop: capturing images by embroidery;
photos Jana Jakob, Sofia Nordin

Another 45 minutes of concentration, intermixed with laughs and chatting… and so, the embroideries are more or less ready for presentation, accompanied by a few words from the maker.

Most of us have never met before, but as as the day passes, we’re getting to know each other; our inner worlds revealed, by words and images.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Images from the soul; photos Jana Jakob, Sofia Nordin

Next comes lunch – and then another round of sharing. We take turns in listening to each others’ stories. Divided into smaller groups, and tutored by Jana, we practise awareness to factual experiences, to emotions and to inherent values; an exercise, which demands concentration but nevertheless leaves us light in spirit.

191005 42 JJCoffee and fruit break; photo Jana Jakob

For the afternoon workshop I have prepared large sheets of cardboard, washing them repeatedly with Chinese ink. Now they cover a row of tables, assuring there’s space enough for everyone to stand side by side and paint.

First, some experimenting; trying out how wax and pastel crayons, acrylic paint and tissue paper go together with the dark background. Then, take a step back and look for what could emerge from those colour samples… Everybody takes her pick of a new starting point, and begins to work it out. As the individual paintings are expanding, brushstrokes suddenly meet and begin to intersect. How to handle the encounter? In some places, colours blend into each other. In other places, they form distinct edges. Then, again, some bordering fields may be overlayed by stars or connecting dots…

The larger picture unfolds. An adventure.

Painting workshop, process photos (above, photos by Jana Jakob and Sofia Nordin);
in-between spaces (below, photos HHW.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The concept for this day of interreligious, feminist dialogue sprung from experiences of an ongoing study circle in Scriptural Reasoning; from a yearn for expanding methods and deepen insights. Also, from the awareness that love and courage can be recognized across cultural borders; that personal faith can be revealed without argument; that images can come to life.

Konst, systerskap & dialog

 

 

191005 54 SN

 

 

 

Two Excursions in Art

art, beauty, teaching, time-out

This past week, I put the brushes aside for some days to go places and see people…

First heading West to the city of Gothenburg and HDK Academy of Design and Crafts, where I was invited to introduce the DasArts feedback method to a group of students and teachers at the Jewellery Art Programme. I already knew contemporary jewellery as a dynamic field, and the works of these students were no exception. Dealing with a diversity of topics (such as biomorphology, symmetry, space/surface transformations and trauma healing), they thoroughly proved the potential of thinking through materiality.
***

Encouraging inscriptions at HDK:
“Art and Learning/Give Boons and Glory”; (to) “THINK”

During the course of two days, five student projects were presented for feedback; added time for tutorials and evaluation resulted in an intense time schedule, to say the least. Nevertheless, everybody managed to give focused, warm attention throughout the whole workshop – an admirable accomplishment, especially at the end of a semester with exhibitions and examinations drawing close.

Every time I practice this feedback method, I discover new features; in this group, the evaluation talk highlighted themes like stepping out of anonymity, cultivating a practice over time, and shared experience as a common ground for individual development and change. I’m truly grateful to teachers Klara Brynge and Märta Mattsson for the invitation, and to the whole group for our shared experience.

And then I returned home, only to jump forth into another event…
***
***
web-flyer2_0
For the time being, I’m re-framing my engagement in the Storytelling by Art context; and I was lucky enough to be invited to the annual conference of the European Outsider Art Association (this year held in Sweden). The programme – under the theme of E/Quality – turned out to provide a wealth of inspiration, experience and networking potential. Local hosts were the marvelous people of Inuti; a foundation, which provides space for “artistically talented individuals with intellectual disabilities and individuals within the autismspectrum”. Inuti is currently running three supported studios in central Stockholm, along with an adjacent art gallery; and building an art collection as well.
***

Snapshots from the EOA conference, day 1;
Inuti Lilla Essingen studio (above)
and performance by Anders Wettler (below)

Inuti spoiled us by introducing us to their exceptional studios featuring live art manifestations while in Stockholm – but one conference day was spent in the small town of Sala (approximately 130 kms northwest of Stockholm). Here, we visited Little Istanbul – the ongoing life achievement of self-taught artist Jan-Erik Svennberg – before continuing to the Ivan Aguéli Museum.
***

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Visiting Jan-Erik Svennberg’s  Little Istanbul

***

Now digesting the nourishing, artful, challenging experiences of my excursions; thinking and re-thinking as we walk.

images from the Land of Mir II

recent work, teaching, time-out

A piece of paper, some ordinary crayons or pencils. A sustained awareness during hours – days, maybe. The resulting image unveils the nature of a unique world; sometimes calling for the sensibility of a butterfly’s antennae, sometimes chaotic, disproportionate, disturbing. Sometimes orderly, even bordering to the surreal. And sometimes overflowing with the vitality and power of living colour.

All works depicted here were performed by participants in this summer’s creative workshop at Gillberga, Södertälje (Sweden).

From top to bottom: a crayon pencil drawing by AE; two graphite pencil drawings by PS; a wax crayon painting by TK.


NUrope XIII, Kiev and Lviv: Interrupted Histories Continue

art, teaching, time-out


One of the local hosts of the Nomadic University: Les Kurbas Theatre Centre

Thanks to the dedication of Curator Yulia Usova (Perfect Art Institution, Stockholm/London/Kiev), the Nomadic University will soon see its 13th oasis happen in Ukraine – and for anyone interested in the field of art, culture and economy in contemporary Eastern Europe, this is a unique opportunity. We are invited to understand the current situation through professional people seeking to work along independent thoughtlines; artists, authors, journalists, theatre workers and film-makers will be sharing their experiences and views.
Programme here:

Kiev-Lviv programme, October 3 – 6 2011

Interested to join? Yes, it’s still possible. For application, go to:

http://www.nurope.eu/application.html

busy days; recognitions

art, recent work, teaching

Saturday, conducting a talk/dialogue at a seminar on spirituality in art (no, I wouldn’t lecture on that; but dialogue will show, unfailingly, how spiritual awareness is at hand);
Monday, presenting “terrastella” drawings for the Pimeyden Kodat/Darkness project and Turku 2011 Foundation;
Tuesday, preparing an exhibition at Vidarkliniken, Järna;
and today, if the volcanoes let me through, leaving for Zadar (Croatia) to plan for the next NUrope oasis.

Thank you, Anne Külper, Ulf Sand, Päivi Lönnberg, Robert Bacalja, Josip Zanki, Reiska and Bengt for your door-openings and invitations.

NUrope X:II

art, recent work, teaching, time-out

sketchbook pages; graphite pencil on paper, ca 30 x 20 cms each

As the “China goes Europe” oasis proceeds, a number of European artists, curators, academics and business people share their views on China. Nomad and artist Stella Fajerson adequately asks for the complementary perspective, but the Chinese persons involved are mainly invited to give their view on how Europeans could understand the Chinese mind – not their own European experiences.

Looking back, this appears as a want. Maybe this oasis serves just to prepare a common ground. Maybe it takes another one to actually address the theme.

The most significant experience to me was a short exchange on the subject of modesty and self-confidence.

modesty – self-confidence

NUrope X:I

art, recent work, teaching

During the presentations, I sit with my sketchbook open; making some quick drawings of people’s postures, hands, moves… as habitual. Afterwards, somebody approaches me and by gestures asks for the book. I lend it to him, and he turns the page to draw my portrait on it.

Next day, the programme goes on with a couple of lectures on the post-colonial theme. While opening the sketchbook, I hear the speaker say “How can we describe the other?”
Well, that question alone doesn’t seem functional any more; it was necessary, yes, and now it’s time to move on.

master narrative

Theories, methods and practices II

art, recent work, teaching

‘Method’ as a way of making out one’s direction between perceiving and conceiving…

The first word to stand out here is ‘one’; because this is something to be carried out by one-self.
Conception springs from perception, and perception is sensual experience; thus, personal.

By this definition, ‘method’ does not apply to the use of intellectual pre-conceptions.

Theories, methods and practices I

art, recent work, teaching

“The common-sense understanding of the word ‘method’ may be something like: ‘a set-up of presumptions and techniques used systematically to arrive at a certain result’… A method, understood as a procedure or a process, should be something going on between theory and practice.”

Let’s say, now, that ‘method’ is a way… a human act of making out a direction from what is perceived (the sense-world) and conceived (thought).

This is rather a broad description.
A special case, with a more narrow, or precise, definition, would be ‘scientific method’. ‘Scientific method’ – and the science produced by it – may be seen as the core of modernity.
In the post-modernity we currently share, some people would have science devaluated to ‘just another story’; a contextual truth told by just another group of people (male white Western scientists?) to fit their own agenda.
The funny thing about this attempted devaluation is that it frequently seeks to legitimate itself exactly by the (ab)use of scientific terms – preferrably fetched from the most prestigious fields of mathematics and physics.
In this aspect, mathematicians and physicists Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont pointed out some French philosopher queens and kings to be very naked. This was done already back in the nineties; I cannot find that kind of philosophy better clothed today.

Logic thinking, scientific method and quantitative research springs from a millennia-long, careful cultivation of thought – not only in Europe.
On the other hand, science cannot (and does rarely) claim to interpret our life-worlds fully. In everyday life, we alternatively employ logic thinking and the language of art and myth.
It shouldn’t be too provocative to say that logos and mythos are both generic human modes of thinking; that they both tell us beautiful and challenging truths; and that they ought not be confused.

The initial quotation is from a text of mine called to care in a peculiar way; see page in English.
For Bricmont’s and Sokal’s elucidating review of some post-modern philosophers’ methods, see Impostures intellectuelles (French version) or Fashionable nonsense. Post-modern intellectuals’ abuse of science (English version); Bricmont and Sokal 1997/98.