• Marisa

Revisiting 'cultivating reciprocity (a message for the arts ecology)'

In anticipation for the release of my podcast conversation with Mary Mcintyre discussing how to stay healthy while interfacing with systems that aren't made with your health in mind, I'm reflecting on our recent collaboration on my project 'cultivating reciprocity'. This project was presented by The Walls Artspace (Gold Coast) and supported by Outer Space (Brisbane) as part of a group show, Solitary Vice, which moved online at the beginning of the Covid-19 restrictions. You can view the show in its entirety here.

This project comprised a group therapy session with a collection of Brisbane-based emerging artists and with Mary Mcintyre, a local buddhist somatic psychotherapist and Insight meditation teacher. It was facilitated and recorded online in our respective homes, together while apart, during the beginning of the Covid-19 social distancing period. Together, we dove into our doubtings and reckonings with our local arts ecology; its capacity to cultivate artistic health, our capacity to cultivate a healthy ecology, and its relationship to our own practices and wellbeing.

The result was a collection of "artist koans", which we created around a line of text from each of the participating artists. A koan is a paradoxical anecdote or riddle without definition, that is used in Zen Buddhist meditation practices to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning. When workshopping the scripts for these koans, we tried our best to faithfully represent the intent of each line and the experience of each person during the session. Some of them are simply the line repeated, whilst others had a koan constructed around the "need" that we felt the line was implying.

The artists' skillset was evident in their ability to distill a 2-hour long therapy session into a single line of collection of words (Mary, who facilitates a lot, was really surprised by the depth of these outcomes- I told her it was because they were artists!) Apart from her therapeutic training, Mary’s skillset contributed massively in her ability to distinguish and hone the “essence” of what each statement and person was saying, and the baseline universal concept behind it for the recordings.

As part of a public program at The Walls we conducted a second session, which differed in its tone with a different group of participants. Those lines were transcribed onto my studio windows as a daily reminder of the discussion. Just a small gesture for such a generous group!

You can also watch my artist talk with Mary here! Thankyou to The Walls and Outer Space for supporting these extra public programs.

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