Making Our Cities

2011/12/29

The idea of thinking about our world as a design project is … something that is critically important for citizens from all backgrounds to understand, that the world that we live in – the cities that we live in – are not something that happens to us; they’re things that we make and that we live within as a result of the way that we make them.

Bruce Mau
Nielson Design Lecture
State Library of Queensland
Brisbane, Australia, 2011


Writing as essential maintenance and repair

2011/04/07

Today was one of those days where something goes askew in the brain or elsewhere in the body and I felt inexplicably miserable. What brought me out of it, after a little musical and literary sympathy from Mssrs Oberst and Tan, was writing myself into the place I felt I needed to be – in this case, the gorgeous hills and vineyards, just to the North-East of Melbourne (remembering them at about this time of year, incidentally).

This approach, of writing as both a way of working through things and of connecting with the world, is the beautiful kernel of Writing Our Way Home and A River Of Stones. The latter in particular draws on some of the observational traditions we see in Japanese poetry, using writing as a way of developing a better sense of connection with the world around us; the former aims to foster a sense of community in such writings. Whether you join the community or not (after all, the writing and observing are more important than more time on-line!), these sites and their related books are a good reminder of how brilliant writing can be for exploration and a spot of mental repair, and also offer abundant inspiration if you need a little push to get started.

You might also care to pop by A Handful of Stones, which is a “small stone” blogzine with a broader scope, including fiction. There are some gorgeous pieces there – only bite-sized and yet often completely satisfying.


Another brief endorsement

2010/09/18

Shaun Tan is magnificent.  I’ve been lucky to have him speaking and showing his work in Berlin twice in the last year, and lucky to have good people spotting such!  Let’s let the man speak for himself from here…

Shaun Tan on Inframe.tv

Thanks to Kusi Okamura for reminding me of this lovely little video.


More moving and writing from Liz Erber

2010/08/23

Reports are that the previous workshop series have gone well – enthusiastic involvement and surprises.  A nice way to explore new territories, and I’ll be aboard myself as soon as time avails.


Moving into Writing ↔ Writing into Moving

2010/02/14

My friend and multi-talented super-hero, Liz Erber, is about to run a course integrating movement and writing, using each to inspire and explore the other.  Having seen her combine dance and poetry to magnificent effect, I can heartily endorse the course for any movers, writers and in-betweeners in Berlin.

Moving into Writing Writing into Moving

Facilitated by Liz Erber

K77 Studio

5-week series: March 1st – March 29th, Mon. 6-8 pm

6-week series: April 19th – May 24th, Mon. 6-8 pm

This course is designed for all levels.

No dance or writing experience necessary, simply the desire to move and to put pen to paper.

All languages and styles of writing welcome!

In these series we will create an intimate and safe space for body/movement exploration, writing and the intersection of the two. Sessions begin with a physical and/or writing warm-up, followed by a specific body exploration that serves as a jumping off point for our writing. From our writing we return to body/movement, and thereupon continue making our way between the two forms. We will work individually, in partners and sometimes share our work in unique group scores involving reading, movement and writing. Over the course of the two series we will explore a variety of ways of moving and engaging/activating our writing voice. Course structure will remain flexible so as to fit the needs and interests of the group.

This course is about freeing the body and the pen, leaving aside expectation, accessing the unexpected.

Movement investigations informed by: anatomy, imagery, developmental patterns, contact improvisation, and more.

Structures to be explored are great for developing: self-awareness, a unique voice, writing, performance work, choreography.

Cost: 5-week series: 40 Euro / 6-week series: 48 Euro

8 person limit, please register as soon as possible

To register contact Liz Erber

K77 Studio, Kastanienallee 77, 2nd Innenhof, 3rd floor/ Prenzlauer Berg

Bring warm, comfortable clothes to move in, your journal/paper, and, of course, your favorite pen(s).


Important, inspiring and bally amusing

2010/01/18

TED has shared truly magnificent ideas in abundance.  This, by Sir Ken Robinson,  concerns a bunch of things very dear to me:

He contests that our schools, traditionally geared towards industrial utility, wring the creativity out of children.  Of course, that’s not to say that our education system is all bad; I loved an awful lot of it, after all.  Nor that it doesn’t teach worthwhile skills or excludes creativity (although it often doesn’t rank too highly in priorities).  But Robinson proposes that our education system cannot, as it stands, adequately prepare children for a future that is getting increasingly harder to predict over a progressively shorter timeframe.  Creativity is, however, something humans have always needed, regardless of culture, and can only become more important in the years ahead.

A point he raises about the industrialised origins of our modern education system: our education systems train people for work, but why don’t we train them for the rest of life as well?  There are some subjects that teach us about the world, our society and a bit about how to live in it, and of course, a lot of stuff useful for work is also useful elsewhere, but when it came to electives, most of us picked subjects that we (and perhaps univerities) considered useful for the work we thought we might like to do.  Those didn’t leave much room for anything else, so creativity usually fell to the luck of having the right friends and/or family.

I’ll stop the text equivalent of thinking out loud here and leave the rest to Sir Ken, but would also like to very enthusiastically recommend this wonderful piece of wisdom and inspiration, from Dr Karl Paulnack, which discusses why music matters and discusses how art is an essential part of being human.