Saturday, 19 January 2008
I found this picture of my sister, cousin and myself lounging under a tent made from my Dad's Moroccan blanket a few years ago when I was going through some old photos at home, and I made a painting of it. We used to make a lot of tents in the summer, the simplest was constructed from a big green umbrella with some kind of sheet draped over the top to make it completely private. Then of course there were house-tents made with chairs and sheets, and filled with cushions.
I was talking with my sister this morning about making tents, and working in silence - two ideas that came to me out of the lab project meeting last week. I want to do a simple activity with others in silence; maybe to re-enact the enjoyment of making a temporary shelter with sheets and pegs, and explore working together without telling each-other what to do. Floss told me about her friend Dawn who has been on some two week long silence retreats, where speaking is forbidden and even eye-contact is discouraged. Eventually incredible closeness is created, though normal means of communication are frustrated: in this community incidental body contact produces a real intensity, quite apart from the bumping into each-other that we experience everyday that we even become numb to in our cover-crowded city.
I find this alternative communication really interesting, and I would like to propose getting together in a small group next Friday and making a very simple tent in silence. Other activities like cooking or lighting fires - quite basic communal tasks -could also be done this way, to explore communicating and negotiating without using voices. It may or may not work, but it could be an interesting experiment!
If anyone is interested in joining me next Friday in Victoria park with some blankets and pegs, reply to this post with a comment. I propose to document it with photography, and film or sound recording. If it rains, maybe we can make an indoor tent.