COOP ~ Reality Settings: Art, Biology & Computation from Month to Month

Seminar 6: June 2020

In this the 6th seminar of Reality Settings COOP will we continue our networked model of online/offline activities. We have decided to spread our sessions out over two weeks, starting on the 8th of June and ending on the 19th of June. Overall we attempt to steer our group towards conversations and activities that support manifestations of our research, experiments and encounters into the years concluding format. This slight turn will be infused with an introduction to LARP (Live action role play) design and somatic practice as well as a guided tour into a cinematographic experiment with generative breakdown of digital images.

Since seminar 5 we have caught up with Federico Campagna (who we met in seminar 2) via his live two-part seminars on Prophetic Cultures organised by Ignota Books in London. We recommend those who were not able to participate in the seminar to check up with the recordings that have been shared from the seminars. The conceptual topology and questions offered here would be good to bring into our ongoing discussions of reality settings.

We will start the week by a series of sessions where ongoing research, experiments, concrete work in process in the coop context are shared by each member and small group. The aim is to gain an overview of active interests and feed those with input or link-ups across the group. This should lead to a clearer understanding of what forms of work and concrete trajectories the COOP members want to focus our time on.

During the week we will be visited by LARP designer and somatic consultant Susan Ploetz, who is currently based in San Francisco and Berlin. Over two sessions Susan will introduce us to the different strands and histories of LARP design and her particular interests and position in the field as someone who is interested in: “bodymind-technology interactions, imagination as interface, perceptual expansions, procedural expression, and emancipatory emotional dissonance.” She will also go through her experience as a somatic consultant and the overlapping interests in bringing that practice into LARP design. 

Structure for June 12th and June 19th meetings with Susan:

June 12th

1. A brief intro

2. Some warming up

3. Jumping right into a sample of some somatic/sensory awareness-based "magic materialism" game mechanics Susan uses in both her Sasanel larp and the Larping AI (soft robotics Tokyo version)

4. Time to debrief/talk about the experience

5. A small provocation/call for response to think about/engage with in the days between

June 18th

1. A short somatics-based exercise

2. A talk/discussion around Susan's practice and the traditions she draws from, situating the work within the topics/framing discussed on Friday

3. Time to talk about the assignment/responses/questions/etc.

Material to access before our meetings:

  • Interviews with Susan:

https://oudekerk.nl/nieuws/hopefully-it-provides-a-glimpse-of-an-embodied-way-through-this-difficult-time/%20 https://tankmagazine.com/issue-80/talks/susan-ploetz/ 

  • On Nordic Larp:

Jaakko Stenros: What Does Nordic Larp Mean?

Johanna Koljonen: Introduction to Nordic Larp and Games: Painting Life with Rules:

https://youtu.be/fH_RLgR4DI4On

https://youtu.be/UOVf06NCBGQ 

Two great websites about Nordic larping, and tons of resources

https://nordiclarp.org/

http://larpschool.blogspot.com/p/what-is-larp.html

http://larpschool.blogspot.com/p/resources.html

  • About Somatics

Thomas Hanna: What Is Somatics

Shared to you via email an intro to bodymind centering, the tradition of somatics that is closest to what Susan was trained in.

If possible we will watch the beautiful short video work Anathema by the Otolith Group, on the imagery and imaginaries of liquid crystal displays.

We aim to conclude the week by preparing the process of working towards our final project in August. This includes deciding on overall directions for the curatorial framework, one or more formats, outlining a work plan and deciding what kind of expertise might be needed from outside the group. For our final session we will be planning our month together in August, that could be remote, clusters of smaller groups in different locations or a on-site based COOP week where all are invited to join the group in Berlin.

 

8th June, Monday

Time

Activity

10 - 13:00   

One on ones / self organized work.

14-18-:00

Share what people are working on; present research, experiments, concrete work in process.

Feedback sessions; with breaks

Individually and/or group based sessions of 30-40 minutes. 10-15 minutes presentation. 15-20 minutes feedback.

20-22:00

Film: Anathema

 

12th June, Friday

Time

Activity

10 - 13:00   

One on ones / self organized work.

14-16:00

Share what people are working on; present research, experiments, concrete work in process.

Feedback sessions; with breaks

Individually and/or group based sessions of 30-40 minutes. 10-15 minutes presentation. 15-20 minutes feedback.

 

19-21:00

Guest: Susan Ploetz

LARP

 

18th June, Thursday

Time

Activity

10 - 13:00  

One on ones / self organized work.

14-16:00

Curatorial session: Summit ideas / format mapping.

 

19-21:00

Susan Ploetz

LARP fields, own practice. Body, machine, intelligence, narrative, plot.

 

19th June, Friday

Time

Activity

10 - 13:00  

One on ones / self organized work.

Afternoon

14-16:00

Planning August: Online / Distributed meet-ups / Berlin.

 

 

Seminar 5: May 2020

During week four of Reality Settings COOP, we will be exploring a networked approach to education in times of quarantine.

We will be talking to two previously invited remote guests that we had to cancel meetings with due to the outbreak of Covid-19 while the DAI was roaming in Tunisia. Every day will start with an optional embodied exercise led by three COOP members and their invited guides.

The daily schedule will consist of one or two relatively short group calls and a lot of time for individual work in smaller groups and with the COOP tutors. This does not mean that you are expected to work throughout the set time slots. Instead, everyone is free to allocate time towards the COOP activities as they see best. Consider the week as a chance to have access to other members of the group. Meanwhile, it is vital to take time for other things that are important for your well-being and day-to-day activities as well.

Also, we have reserved one evening for screening a film together. The suggestion is to watch Spaceship Earth, a documentary about the Biosphere 2 project, premiering on Friday the 8th of May 2020.

We will have external input from editor and writer Elvia Wilk and art historian Lars Bang Larsen:

Elvia Wilk will talk about the challenges of developing fictional narratives at the crossroads of climate and biodiversity crisis. This includes examining and constructing stories that no longer rely on the human as central figure and protagonist, that seek an arc beyond the utopic or the dystopic (with regard to human persistence), that seek to reconcile the human scale with other scales, and that focus on weird and interstitial zones of experience beyond human conception and rational frameworks. Elvia will do a short reading as well as present her current thoughts from initiating a working group on narrative development.

Lars Bang Larsen will lead a conversation on the reality altering effects of psychedelics in artistic contexts across different continents in the 20th and 21st centuries. He will also share his conceptual take on the concept of reality settings and help us frame and guide our development of it as a group.

Both of the guests will guide us through a set of questions or tasks informing further investigation. After our calls with Elvia and Lars, we will have at least a day to talk about and work from their ideas and prompts individually or in smaller groups. The form that these discussions, or explorations take is totally free.

Jenna, Bjarke, and Aslak will be available for one-on-one calls during the time slots.

We want to see this as an opportunity for experimenting with our educational collaboration during this unusual time, together apart. We recognize that using online platforms for teaching cannot replace physical encounters. However, our suggestion is to meet on Discord, which some of you might already be using. We would like to record all our communal sessions, both for the record and in case some of you might miss out and want to catch up. 

As the week ends, we would like to talk about the next steps and think about how to move forward with our COOP. We expect this week to guide some of our thinking about the summer. At the same time, we will need to be open to more changes as the situation develops.

Reading:

Elvia Wilk

Jim Bendell: Deep Adaptation (2018) link

Kim Stanley Robinson: The Coronavirus is Rewriting our Imaginations (2020) link

Lars Bang Larsen

Pia Lindman: Selfhood of Cells (2019) link

Lars Bang Larsen: Anti-Disciplinary Feedback and the Will to Effect (2011/2018) link

Optionally: Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: “Memories of a Molecule”, from A Thousand Plateaux (1976) link

We have made two suggestions for our schedule. Please see below.

Reality Settings Resort: Embodiment je t'aime, quarantine my ass (shakes):

As we are exploring a space online we are meeting a new reality in our bodies. To not forget that our body is our home and we do not live in our virtual spaces we would like to invite you to a refreshing start of the day in our Reality Settings Resort: Embodiment je t'aime, quarantine my ass (shakes). Harun inspired us (We should have quickies and tantric durational sessions in the mix.. ) Thanks to our Coop elders for facilitating the space for this and inviting us to invite some of our favorite body healers and have 1 hour of bodywork a day to gain space in the physical realms. 

Meditation,butoh, dance improv, voice activation and massage will be au rendez-vous. Of course this is all optional for those who would like to try. 

We will start everyday at 10am except Wednesday we start at 3pm. Come as you are, as you were, as you want you to be. Take your time, hurry up, choice is yours, don't be late. 

Schedule

Monday 10.00 - 11.00

Embodiment session with Annabelle Stapleton-Crittenden 

Butoh and breathing

For this 60 minute session we will open with some breathing techniques (pranayam) and some yogic movement to wake up the body, which will then lead into some Butoh-inspired exercises.

Butoh is a contemporary Japanese dance practice that emerged in the late 1950s and is heavily influenced by traditional Japanese Noh theatre combined with Surrealism. It's quite a meditative form and involves a process of becoming, activating an embodied imagination through poetic verse and imagery. It's an interesting method to explore the narrative possibilities of the body-as-vessel in dance with consciousness. 

No prior yoga or dance experience required, it will be accessible to all. If you have any concerns about injuries or conditions which you think might effect your ability to participate, please get in touch in advance so we can make sure you feel safe and comfortable, and I can be sure to offer variations where appropriate. astapletoncrittenden@gmail.com

Originally from an Australian rainforest, I've been based in London for over a decade. My work is in the realms of healing arts: I practice and teach Kundalini Yoga and Meditation, offer sound healing journeys for holistic wellbeing, and work with gentle plant medicines. I also guide people blindfolded through collaborative intuitive storytelling experiences, activating and exploring the imagination both personal and collective. I do this with words, music and foley sound, 1:1 or in groups, and it's always completely improvised each time in response to the participants' imaginations.

Tuesday 10.00 - 11.00

Embodiment session with Lisa de Liema on Discord

https://www.lisadeliema.com/

We will start with a grounding practice. In martial arts (and my massage practice) to be grounded is a very important element. It means you feel connected to your body, your breath and the earth, focused on keeping and holding your own space. It means feeling and dropping into your centre and drawing attention to your feet which are connected to the earth. It is a meditative, visual exercise that is designed to give you a stronger focus and holding your own.

From grounding practice we will flow into a yoga/tai chi style stretch, where we focus some energising movements and stretch out the the biggest muscle groups and how to unwind your own knots.

We will end with some focused self massage techniques for the desk monkey. You will learn some very effective moves to massage your own hands, wrists, upperback and neck.

Wednesday 15.00-16.00 

Embodiment session with Lani Rocillo 

Lani will guide us through a sound activation session.

Lani Rocillo creates music and a practitioner of sacred arts. She has trained in Sound Therapy, Energy medicine and Shamanic Practice.  She works with the mediums of sound, plants, breath and performance with the intention of opening space to explore and access our innate capacity to heal, realise balanced health, compassionate purpose and grounded creative potential.

Thursday 10.00 - 11.00

Embodiment session with Anna Tzakou on Discord

https://annatzakou-geopoetics.com/

Contemplative dance practice/meditation/body improvisation

Friday 10.00 - 11.00 (60 mins)

Embodiment session with Lucia Garcia on Discord

https://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellors/lucia-garcia

Hypnotherapy/deep relaxation

 

11th May, Monday

Time

Activity

Format

Resp.

Practical

Morning

10-11

Embodyment activity - Open session

Communal activity

Erato, Alex, Ilgin

Optional

Morning

11-12:30

Run-through of programme.

Conversation about the teaching format and tools people want to use throughout.

Group conversation.

All

All should be present

Early evening

18-19:30

Elvia Wilk call

Reading session lead by Elvia.

Lead-in to field / questions / workshop.

Reading.

Introduction

Elvia, Aslak,

Jenna, Bjarke

All should be present

12th May, Tuesday

Time

Activity

Format

Resp.

Practical

Morning

10-11

Embodyment activity - Open session

Communal activity

Erato, Alex, Ilgin

Optional

11 - 13

14 - 18

Group-based work or individual work that explores the field / questions / workshop introduced by Elvia. Can be based on existing trajectories in the COOP or new ones.

Explorative / Developmental work

All

Planned in our own time

Parallel

11-16

One on ones with Bjarke, Jenna or Aslak

 

Call-ins to ongoing developmental work if needed.

Individual conversations

Bjarke, Jenna, Aslak

Planned in our own time

Evening

20-22:30

Online film screening.

  • Spaceship Earth & conversation with Mark Nelson (Institute of Ecotechnics)

Watching a film & conversation

Aslak, Bjarke, Jenna

Optional

13th May, Wednesday

Time

Activity

Format

Resp.

Practical

11-13

Group-based work or individual work that explores the field / questions / workshop introduced by Elvia. Can be based on existing trajectories in the COOP.

Explorative / Developmental work

All

Planned in our own time

Afternoon

15-16

Embodyment activity - Open session

Communal activity

Erato, Alex, Ilgin

Optional

Afternoon

16-17:30

Elvia Wilk Call

Group discussion of developmental work.

Reflexive session around narrative possibilities.

Group discussion

Elvia, Aslak,

Jenna, Bjarke

All should be present

14th May, Thursday

Time

Activity

Format

Resp.

Practical

Morning

10-11

Embodyment activity - Open session

Communal activity

Erato, Alex, Ilgin

Optional

Morning

11-12:30

Lars Bang Larsen call.

Lecture by Lars.

Introduction to working questions / fields. of further experimentation.

Lecture

Introduction

All

All should be present

14-18

Group-based work or individual work that explores the fields / questions introduced by Lars. Can be based on existing trajectories in the COOP or new ones.

Explorative / Developmental work

All

Planned in our own time

Parallel:

14-17

One on ones with Bjarke, Jenna or Aslak

 

Call-ins to ongoing developmental work if needed.

Individual conversations

Bjarke, Jenna, Aslak

Planned in our own time

15th May, Friday

Time

Activity

Format

Resp.

Practical

Morning

10-11

Embodyment activity - Open session

Communal activity

Erato, Alex, Ilgin

Optional

11 - 13

Group-based work or individual work that explores the field / questions / workshop introduced by Elvia. Can be based on existing trajectories in the COOP.

Explorative / Developmental work

All

Planned in our own time

Early afternoon

13-14:30

Lars Bang Larsen call

Group discussion of developmental work.

Reflexive session.

Lecture

Introduction

All

All should be present

Late afternoon

16-17:30

Closing session.

Reflections on process.

Next steps for the group.

   

All should be present

 

Seminar 3 & 4: 10 - 17 March 2020

During week three of Reality Settings COOP we will be developing our own experimental methods for investigating reality settings. 

As part of this field research we will spend time modelling, testing and concretising work-in-the-making that have been brought to the COOP by its members. The aim is to give space for developmental processes, individual and in smaller groups, to take place throughout the week.

Scientist and editor Sam Hart will be joining us for 8 days in Tunis. Sam will provide input towards experimental design, information gathering, and synthesis, following the work of the COOP as a partner throughout. He will present material from his transitional background from genomics research, online publishing, personal investigations into philosophy of biology and computation, his strategic work within the cryptocurrency industry, and several other arenas of experience.

The daily structure during the week will consist of a collective activity (a lecture, site visit, discussion) and time for working on experiments. Presentations for the group and collective discussion about the ongoing processes will be dispersed throughout the week.

We will have external lectures by editor and writer Elvia Wilk, anthropologist Eduardo Kohn, and art historian Lars Bang Larsen. 

Elvia Wilk will talk about the challenges of developing fictional narratives at the crossroads of climate and biodiversity crisis. This includes examining and constructing stories that no longer rely on the human as central figure and protagonist, that seek an arc beyond the utopic or the dystopic (with regard to human persistence), that seek to reconcile the human scale with other scales, and that focus on weird and interstitial zones of experience beyond human conception and rational frameworks. Elvia will do a short reading as well as present her current thoughts from initiating a working group on narrative development.

Eduardo will talk about his disciplinary work towards an anthropology of life and development of sylvain thinking based on a long partnership with the Runa people living in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Sylvan thinking posits that forests - that highly “absential” emergent product of a vast network of a vast network of nonhuman semiosis - is a real thing and not merely a human abstraction. A thing that can provide a kind of ethical orientation for the sake of the various human and nonhuman life forms it sustains. Eduardo will share the development of his practice, his experiences of building collaborations with indigenous peoples and the focus of his coming work on sylvan thinking.  

Lars will lead a conversation on the reality altering effects of psychedelics in artistic contexts across different continents in the 20th and 21st centuries. He will also share his conceptual take on the concept of reality settings and help us frame and guide our development of it as a group.

10th March, Tuesday

Time

Activity

Format

   

Evening

Catch-up and thoughts since we last met.

Group conversation.

   

 

11th March, Wednesday

Time

Activity

Format

   

Morning

10-13

Sam Hart presentation (X, Y)

Lecture

   

Afternoon

14-18.30

Introduction to Experiment workshop by Sam

Start of individual or collective experimental work.

Group conversation

   

Evening

19-22

Planning session for the week to come.

Group conversation

   

 

12th March, Thursday

Time

Activity

Format

   

Morning

10-13

Individual or collective experimental work.

Individual and group work

   

Afternoon 

13-18.30

Possible field trip or visit from Tunisian practices

     

Evening

19.30-22

Sam Hart presentation (Z, H)

Lecture

   

 

13th March, Friday

Time

Activity

Format

   

Morning

10-13

 Reading and preparation for Eduardo Kohn conversation

Group discussions

and reading

   

Early Evening

 17:00-20:00

 Call: Eduardo Kohn

Video Call

   

Evening

20:00-22:00

 Dinner and decompression

Group conversation

   

 

14th March, Saturday

Time

Activity

Format

   

Morning

10-13

Individual or collective experimental work

Individual and group work

   

Early Evening  

16-18

Elvia Wilk Call

Skype Lecture

   

Evening

19.30-22

Elvia Wilk Call

Skype Lecture

   

 

15th March, Sunday

Time

Activity

Format

   

Morning

10-13

Status on experimental work and individual conversations

Group discussion

   

Afternoon 

13-18.30

Possible field trip

Trip

   

Evening

19.30-22

Possible field trip:

Trip

   

 

16th March, Monday

Time

Activity

Format

   

Morning

10-13

Individual or collective experimental work

Individual and group work

   

Afternoon 

13-18.30

Lars Bang Larsen skype lecture

Lecture

   

Evening

19.30-22

Film screening: Anathema/Zama

Film screening

   

 

17th March, Tuesday

Time

Activity

Format

 

 

Morning

10-13


Presenting / Rounding off experiments

Group conversation

 

 

Afternoon 

13-18.30

Presenting / Rounding off experiments

- Questions for August (+Jenna)

Group conversation

 

 

Evening

19.30-22

Wrap up, organization of notes, planning of PAF week

Group work

 

 



 

Seminar 2: 26 - 29 January 2020

In the second week of our Reality Settings coop we will focus on artistic, art historical and philosophical approaches to specifying reality settings. Jenna Sutela will unpack her different ways of relating to and working with reality altering materials, such as words, machines, and bacteria. She will be calling us from Helsinki and presenting a set of initial directions that will lead into a broader conversation between all of us.

The Danish art historian and curator Lars Bang Larsen will join us for three sessions in Epen and lead a conversation on the reality altering effects of psychedelics in artistic contexts across different continents in the 20th and 21st centuries. He will also share his conceptual take on the concept of reality settings and help us frame and guide our development of it as a group.

To end our days together we have two calls with the London-based Italian philosopher Federico Campagna. During the first call, he will go through his conceptual work around reality systems, as framed in his book Technic and Magic and outline the different influences this concept has on his own thinking and writing. During the second call, we will have a more open conversation around the ideas relating to reality settings that are emerging within our group and how they might relate to, diverge from, or expand upon Federico's practice. We will also be screening material selected together with Lars Bang Larsen on Tuesday evening. The ultimate goal of the days we have together is to hone in on a common conceptual direction of work for the group.

Lars has provided three texts to be read in preparation for his sessions. They are Pia Lindman: Selfhood of Cells (2019), Lars Bang Larsen: Anti-Disciplinary Feedback and the Will to Effect (2011/2018) and, optionally, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari: “Memories of a Molecule”, from A Thousand Plateaux (1976).

Federico has asked us to read the introduction to his book Technic and Magic.

 

26th January, Sunday

Evening

Catch-up and thoughts since we last met

Group conversation.

 

27th January, Monday

Morning

10-13

Call: Jenna Sutela

Presentation / Extended Conversation

Jenna.

Bjarke and Aslak

Afternoon

14-18.30

We start or end with a walk in the area.

Lars Bang Larsen presentation on Art and Psychedelia

Presentation

Dialogue

Lars Bang Larsen, Aslak, Bjarke

Evening

19-22

Film screenings selected by Diakron and Lars Bang Larsen

Screening

Lars Bang Larsen, Aslak, Bjarke

 

28th January, Tuesday

Morning

10-13

Call: Federico Campagna

Lecture + Dialogue

+

Conceptual Discussion with Lars Bang Larsen

Lecture + dialogue

 

Conversation

Federico Campagn, Lars Bang Larsen, All

Afternoon 

13-18.30

We start with a walk in the area.

Preparation of questions and areas of importance for conversation with Federico in the evening.

Dialogue

All

Evening

19.30-22

Call: Federico Campagna

Extended conversation.

Conversation

Group + Ferederico

 

29th January, Wednesday

Morning 

10-13

Each student / or in groups write / draw reflections / organize notes from the past days.

We finish with a conversation about common directions of travel for the coop.

 

Decompression and Planning

All

Seminar 1: 1-4 December 2019

In the first week of our Reality Settings coop we will open up a broad dialogue on the subject of reality settings, take a deep dive into the field of synthetic biology and introduce our practices and interests to each other. 

Diakron will present our ongoing project Primer, and the numerous initiatives and collaborations that have grown out of it which straddle the intersection between science, technology development, the production of the future and art. Artist and co-tutor Jenna Sutela will call in with a presentation of her work with non-human organisms, sound, sculpture and algorithms. Each student will be tasked with introducing their practice, as well as particular areas of interest, experience or practical traction relating to Reality Settings. We will start a process of collective research and note-taking as well as set up research platform(s) for working together throughout the year.

Science writer and author Britt Wray will give a remote talk on the current state of synthetic biology and its recent history. She will introduce us to the science underlying these new developments and the diverse set of interests, practices and businesses that together define the field and its future impacts. Britt is a trained biologist, an expert on the field and is the author of Rise of the Necrofauna: The Science, Ethics and Risks of De-Extinction and a co-host of the BBC podcast Tomorrow's World. She is currently researching for a new book on the psychological impacts of climate change.

To start an exploration of the aesthetic potentials of altered states, reconfigured biology and human perception we will watch Andrei Tarkovskys seminal Stalker, based on the sci-fi novel Roadside Picnic by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky.

There will be no required readings for this first week. We will introduce a syllabus with seminal texts that can guide our readings throughout the year - one that will grow gradually for each month, and should be seen as an access to resources for independent research as well as collective readings.

Sunday, 1 Dec.

Evening

Meeting each other for the first time.

Presentation of the course plans.

Questions and conversation about the course.

Group conversation.

Presentation.

Monday, 2 Dec.

Morning

10-13

Jenna Sutela remote call

Presentation of Jenna’s practice and main interests.

Quick intro to Diakron / primer and the practices and main interests of Bjarke and Aslak.

Presentation / Conversation

Afternoon  

14-18.30



Student introductions. Their practices and interests / ideas for the COOP

We end with a walk in the area

Presentations

Dialogue

Evening

19-22

Film Screening: Stalker by Andriy Tarkovsky

Screening

Tuesday, 3 Dec.

Morning

10-13 

Student introductions. Their practices and interests / ideas for the COOP

Presentations

Dialogue

Afternoon   

13-18.30



We start with a walk in the area.

Student introductions. Their practices and interests / ideas for the COOP

Presentations

Dialogue

Evening

19.30-22

Call: Britt Wray.

Conversation

Wednesday, 4 Dec.

Morning  

10-13

Each student / or in groups write / draw reflections / organize notes from the past days.

We finish with a conversation about what came up.

 

Decompression and Planning

 

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