So what is The Freedom Lab…what does it actually look like? Well, as I mentioned before, I’m not actually sure yet. I want to co-create it with others, which means it will grow and get input based on interactions with others. But a direction, or at least a way to start, has begun to form in my mind and I would like to get something started soon!
Basically, to start with anyway, it’s an event. I want it to be in the spirit of the conscious dance community, and also the overwhelming diversity of creativity, that is in London. There are so many incredibly beautiful and deeply creative human beings in this crazy city, and I’m hoping to be able to co-create with some of you awesomers!
The event itself would focus around something I will call the Co-creative Crucible (that name just popped into my head while I was in the shower today, so will probably change into something less dorky at some point). This would be the main focus of the event and everything else we do would be to support that. In the Co-creative Crucible we would be free to create, for it’s duration, spontaneously together, everyone using their own independent creative skills and passions. So let’s imagine, for example, that 20 people showed up to this event. Within that group of 20 people you might have 3 musicians, 2 singers, 1 visual artist, a 5Rhythms facilitator (or some other kind of facilitator), and the rest dancers. Now that’s a very vague and rough way to make an example, but whenever you have a group of people together there are always going to be amazing and beautiful combinations of artists and creative passions. What I’m really interested in is creating a forum, a crucible, for everyone to be able to express their own passion fully in an open, improvised, co-creative dynamic. No set agenda. Nothing pre-planned. Just an open space for us to be truly free and ourselves, together. To begin this process there would probably need to be some light form of a structure, both in terms of the event itself, and also having a few people that would be able to guide it a little bit in the beginning, a kind of launching off point. But the point is to launch away from individual guidance, from our old model of leadership, into a natural dynamic of relating, where we all get to be ourselves free from the confines of hierarchy that is so strong in the world we live in. It’s a challenging thing to do but I know it’s possible and I know so many of us yearn to relate together in this way, and many of us are already exploring this in our own ways.
Like any event that involves movement, and any kind of engaged creative activity, it really helps to have some kind of a warm-up. So as people start to enter the event space someone can lead a very open warm up to bring us into the space, and into ourselves. The purpose being really to set a trustful and relaxed space, a welcoming space of openness. Then before the crucible begins someone, probably myself at this point, would explain what the process is. Now explaining what a spontaneous and co-creative process is is a total oxymoron, but it’s just a way to launch off into actually doing it together. We would all gather around the edges of the space, with the centre of the room being the focus of the crucible. We are now ready.
There would not be any set timing to this process, but as it is based in the form of a wave (like a 5Rhythms class or any other movement meditation/ecstatic dance practice) it would have it’s own life-course. We can trust in this and follow it’s natural course. We would set the room up in such a way that all creative participants have what they need to create. DJ’s, musicians, singers, visual artists etc. would have the desired equipment, amplification, etc., and of course us dancers have floor SPACE!
Everyone will be set, knowing their focus of creative self expression, but there would be no plan, no script. Now to begin with, it would probably make sense to have a few people, for example a DJ, a few dancers, maybe a 5Rhythms facilitator who are ready to lead very lightly, as a jumping off point. But this might not even be needed, and the whole point is to free up everyone’s dynamic spontaneous creative contributions. There really is nothing like that open space of energy and positive expectation to guide one’s creative expression.
For the duration of the crucible whatever emerges comes from truly natural and inspired co-creative impulses. If you feel the impulse to sing, you sing. If you feel you want to dance, you dance. It’s really that simple. One aspect of the format is that we allow the paradox of performer and audience to merge into one. In this situation you are both performer and audience, as one. There is no ego in this, you are not there to show off or be seen…but in being seen the light of immediacy is brought to you, that energy that wakes you up and allows you to be even more free, is there. We dance together, we dance on our own. There is no agenda. If collective dances happen, if they emerge, just let it, enjoy it, give to it, be it. Whatever you need. Whatever we need. If we respect the space, each other, ourselves, this crucible, then whatever happens will be trustworthy, and we can really let go to it. Of course many parts of this are not new, it’s really like a jam session, but we are setting it up in such a way where we can all be involved, and we get to do it consciously with each other. We get to see each other, to learn and get involved…just like we do with all the amazing practices that are around today..
So how do we get this started? Like I said I am likely to start with a few people that can provide some kind of basic structure: DJ, facilitator, anyone that wants to be involved really. Then it will be a case of inviting people to this event and asking people who want come to share what their passion is on the event pages on Facebook or in a Facebook group. This would then build the event as we get closer to it. If someone says the are a painter and they want to hang their work at the event, then we can do that. Or they are a singer then we can figure out if they need amplification etc. The event would grow and build and when we get to the event there will be a natural collective energy that would help guide us all.
In terms of the financial side of things I would want these events to be as cheap as possible to start with so that they would be open to people and we can really experiment. It would be great to be able to cover costs to start with. Then in the future, if it ever became successful, it would be up to those involved to figure out what made sense. While I would love for this to eventually become some form of a financial income, to start with I really just want to explore it and see where it can go.