What did ‘Your Life is a Work of Art’ evoke for those who came to this session?

* A desire to be creative in spite of the frustration of various barriers
* The focus on details - life as art even when not creating ‘art’
* That art isn’t something to be bought and sold
* Art and activism - an intention to change the world
* Reframing how you see what you’re doing
* Chaos theory and the unknown impact we have on others
* A sense of right livelihood and the stories we tell through our actions
* A process of acceptance of self esteem, rejecting perfectionism

* A reminder of the drama teacher saying ‘Never forget that people will see you as weird’
* ‘A performance is the suspension of process and process is a performance in flux’
* Buddhist principles and quantum mechanics
* Allan Kaprow getting sick of samey art
* David Edgar - hungry for art which feeds us like bread rather than the empty calories of fluffy spectacle
* The broader canvas of your whole life
* Making autobiographical work eg the show Undertow Overflow - or Undertow Overshare as it was once referred to in a Freudian slip
* Being interested and not intimidated by the thought of who is watching

* The imagined critic or Augusto Boal’s ‘cop in the head’
* The stress of curated presence on social media
* The idea of shame and where it comes from, who does it serve
* Brené Brown and ‘Daring Greatly’ and ‘Braving the Wilderness’
* Silvan Tomkins and the essences of emotions and the Hindu concept of Rasa
* A search for meaning and how we create meaning for others
* Our sense of self and wider spheres of belonging
* Taking a bit of a different breath

* Regenerating - cycles - cellular change
* Making work inspired by trauma vs capitalising on being stuck in trauma
* Living life as a work of art vs presenting it as a work of art
* Turning poison into medicine
* The way that people sometimes simplify your life and frame parts of your experience for their own purposes
* Being stuck, boxed into one representation as an Iranian woman
* The danger of a single story - Chiminanda Ngozi Adichie
* The privilege or freedom of being able to switch perspective

* Quick changes and experiencing/playing with what people notice, how they judge us
* Taking control from a performance point of view - costume changes of everyday life
* Feeling stuck in how we can exercise creativity
* The constraints of paid work or education vs the freedom of our own time or voluntary work
* The pressure to present or sell any artwork we create
* Reframing things and becoming ‘artist in residence of my own life’
* The pressure to fulfil your POTENTIAL
* Using the principles of open space in daily life

* Shadow work and Carl Jung
* Moving towards making work as catharsis rather than to be liked
* Dream journals, individuation, active imagination, working with the images that arise - image streaming
* Anthony Methivier and hyperfantasia
* Fooling - parts work - internal family systems (IFS) - the aspects that swirl around our core, chilled self
* Being unaware of these parts is like doing open space without the beginning bit being explained and having a room full of children doing whatever they want
* How dreams let us play with these and sometimes we let ourselves
* The question of what is NOT art

* The question of war and again of the shadow and of conflict
* Fooling and masks and the persona
* Gaulier and the idea of our ‘inner idiot’
* The jester who is licensed by a wise ruler to mock
* The shadow and the golden shadow
* How ‘fine’ can stand for fucked-up, insecure, neurotic and emotional
* Brian Eno’s oblique strategies
* How do I feel? What do I need? Questions on cards to check in with at any given moment.

Those who came included:
Robbie Foulston, Beth Pannet, Tyrrell Jones, Nathan Jackson, Isaac Ackiampong, Freya Almond Palmer, Ben Harrison, Joanne Lee Hartley, Ruby Wheatley, David Richmond, Frances Merriman.

Some links relating to ideas or people who came up in the conversation:

“Kaprow's work attempts to integrate art and life. Through Happenings, the separation between life, art, artist, and audience becomes blurred.”


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single storyTED6 Oct 2009 - https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_ngozi_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story?language=en




16 lessons from legendary clown school instructor Philippe Gaulier