What this text is aiming at, lies somewhere between and beyond all words.
A group of people are waiting to begin the exercise, which will take place in the next room. They are all standing around, relaxing and gathering themselves within, waiting for the impulse to come. One by one, they get and follow the impulse of walking into the next room, to find a place on the floor, and there for a while they make a stand, and wait in open anticipation. As the last member of the ensemble steps in, she closes the door behind her. The group stand waiting, not looking at her but knowing, that she is now walking across the floor, now stopping, waiting. Now they all stand there, waiting, the impulse to begin the exercise (which has in fact already begun) hanging in the air like a fruit ready to drop from a tree.
The impulse comes. Someone must have been first. In a flash, the group moving as one, everyone soon finds themselves squatting close to the floor, softly gazing forward – and then they all move in unison into the next part of the exercise, gradually once again coming up on their feet, running as one toward the middle of the room, running as one toward the walls, and back again, and so on. The exercise continues, shifting between various preconceived movements, the members of the group for the duration of the session moving as one body – just like swallows or sardines sometimes are observed to do.
The ensemble has been practicing this exercise for a long time together, in order to develop connection within itself on a deeper level. And so it is that the connection plays out it’s benefits in the collective manifestations that they do. They are able to function as one – but they are also shining stars on their own orbits within this unified whole; they all make singular journeys, within the collective process, singular journeys which together constitute that process, ultimately being the result of each and every singular journey within it.
Now, let us approach this notion with another image: see, each singular journey proceeding, as a ship proceeds on it’s course. The landscape is eternally changing. Sometimes vast empty waters from horizon to horizon, some times little islands, or great masses of land, are visible from the captains post at deck. The landscape also includes the weather, currents and waves, living creatures of water and air, and other vessels at sea. There is a constant change all around – the more the captain observes what is around him, the more stimulation he will receive.
He has to be very observant. It is a matter of survival, pleasure and success. The winds, the currents, the hidden reefs, the arrow on the compass sometimes slightly resting, sometimes spinning violently – all these factors decide how the journey will fare.
Applying this image to life as a whole, we see that every individual is on a journey, or rather, many journeys simultaneously. We are all constantly involved in not just one but a multitude of collective processes of creation, regardless of what we do and how we live. All these processes ultimately being one and the same – evolution on planet earth, orbiting within a cosmos of extreme vastness, unimaginable landscape of landscapes, every little part contributing to the whole in it’s way. It does not always feel or look that way – often what we see in the moment is entropy, disconnected fragments – which also is true to the captain as he stands on deck – though in his deeper understanding of navigation, he takes in all as a whole, and steers his ship accordingly, in a mixture of open intuition and agile perception.
And so it is also to the members of the ensemble, as they do their collective group-exercise together, everyone reacting and maneuvering as one to the landscape of the room and of each other: they are not aware of the connections that they have, unless their deeper understanding of the whole is given room to register and be awake. It is by practice, that they learn to live and act from their deeper natures, and only when perceiving from their deeper natures, will they see more than mere fragments in relative synchronization, as the exercise plays out, in order to awake those deeper natures of creative instincts, drives and apprehensions, to take the stage and turn the room around.
For all it’s romanticism, I still do feel that these images are good metaphors for the perspectives of the collective process, of the singular journey, and of the dynamics between them. Much more can be said about it, but in it’s simplicity, the image as described already contain the essentials of what would be my conclusion as a whole: it is a journey in a landscape, and most of what is said and done, will go unregistered by everything except nature herself, who in her turn does not share with us what it is that she registers, or how.
What this text is aiming at, lies somewhere between and beyond all words.
The members of the ensemble are individuals, captains on their own ships, part of each-others landscapes. Collectively they manifest something within a specific frame, which is made strong by their own strict observance of some specific rules, that allow them to let go of everything outside of this frame. For a temporary period, they are fully immersed in very simple and direct tasks, which they all shift between as one. The situation that they create, is as much an exercise, as it is a performance. The interchange occurring is reminiscent of a poetic image written, by Fernando Pessoa – “I am like a room, filled with innumerable, fantastic mirrors, which distort into false reflections a unique, previous reality, which is in all and isn`t in any of them…”.
In this environment, powerful discoveries and transformations can and will occur. The deeper drives and the deeper understanding, deeper nature, Mother Nature as We if you will, is a layer which all members of the ensemble share and access together. It seems to me, as if this layer is potentially accessible to all of us. When it swells over it’s brims and a group is gripped by it’s fascination, it quickly establishes itself as a kind of alternative but oddly familiar paradigm of inter-perception, with which it is very easy to flow and find inspiration, a sense of meaning and almost metaphysical apprehension. Let us call it The Current.
It is a place or state of being, where synchronicities are abundant, and which is always hard to describe by any other means but poetry. Yet all it takes, is that a group of dedicated humans go there together with openness, holistic engagement and some perseverance, through a properly working frame. Then, this temporary sense of miraculous spontaneity, will occur. It is reminiscent of playing, but it is even more than that. It is reminiscent of flow, but it is more than that as well. It is like music without sound, like luminous spirals of poetry beyond all written entries and endings. It contains both flow and play. It is ours – everyone’s and no-one’s possession and potential. Perhaps even the original source of our culture.
Now, who makes this happen? What is the source, of this source?
Was it Jerzy Grotowski, basing this work on his previous explorations of “Beehiving”, that developed this exercise together with Jairo Cuesta and many others, who made it happen? Was it the artistic leader of the ensemble, who had later received the knowledge of this frame, and told the group to manifest it, who made it happen? Was it the group itself, those, who made the decision to engage, and did the deed – was it them, that made it happen? I would answer, that it was the latter – the group itself. The Current is beyond human designs – it is a phenomenon, a paradigm, a part of fundamental reality, something that I think we all collectively share, as a state of potential holistic apperception. There are many routes to reach there.
Together, the members of the ensemble makes it happen.
We return to the ship at sea. The landscape is flowing and changing. Like a room filled with innumerable, fantastic mirrors, distorting a unique previous reality into false reflections…all apprehended by the captain at deck as he makes his navigational choices, pursues a course of his will, in relation with all that the landscape presents him with, both that which he can perceive, and that which he cannot perceive – all factors play into how the journey fares.
The journey and the landscape can in the end, perhaps only, be understood through reference to Tao. Let us then not speak too clearly, but instead explore our lives, by singular journeys in a collective process. The Current is available at every step we make, many routes and frames can get us there, all factors play in.
The ensemble is reaching the end of the exercise. Again, they are down close to the floor, their eyes gazing in full emptiness ahead – and they relax, dropping to the floor like fruit.