Saturday, 3 July 2010

South Beach San Francisco 3 July 2010

I was struck by the gentle, subtle and introspective nature of this intervention. Usually, I think of interventions as frantic actions fraught with nervousness that mirror the crisis nature of the situation being addressed. Agents of Change, however, mindfully sought to be the change we seek. Practicing deep listening before the intervention, seeking out a calm locale for our work, and releasing any pressure to be any way other than I am by meditating on the waters
before I had my conversations with random passersby was a radically new way to approach the work for me. Can it be any wonder that so many people talked with me in such a short time and that my conversations about global warming and rising sea levels flowed with a miraculous ease? This does give me much food for thought and encourages me to think of releasing inner pressures as a genuine form
of activism. When we are gentle with ourselves, we allow the world around us to flow with ease and arrive at the solutions we need. By Anthony Williams

Saturday, 5 June 2010

San Francisco 5 June 2010

First of all congratulation for the wonderful project that you are developing. For me was a useful experience and I hope that the project could grow and take a solid form in the future.

It was good to share our thoughts and concerns in the first part and become part of a group "outside the world". Listening to Laura and Lale concerns, and talking about my own ones was a enrichment experience. We use to forget to worry about the important and deepest concerns in our daily lives; to establish a space to do it is necessary to impulse new changes and find our personal and collective challenges. It also helped me to put in order my ideas and give shape to thoughts that usually i´m too busy to take care of. 

Doing the "performance", standing with the stick and the vest in a public space near the sea was an interesting experiment. I love the idea of sculpting society and become an agent of change give the possibility to open a dialogue with people that is not aware, involving them in the project. My own concern was related with inertia as a human state and problem. During the first part I shared with Laura my feelings about the disappointment that my generation suffer, and the lack of hope that make people think that everything is too big or in such bad state that it´s impossible to be changed. People that have all their necessities covered and are immerse on the consumerist society prefer not to think about many problematics because they think that they will not affect their lives. For me ego, comfort, selfish and inertia make people blind and are obstacles to develop social changes. 

In relation with this I love what social sculpture essentially means and the possibilities that it offers. It can be a useful tool to open people´s mind and agents of change that wake up other minds are completely necessary to try to have a better world. However, after this first day, I feel that the project or maybe myself, need a more concrete proposition to make a bigger impact. When I talked with some people I found difficult to connect with them to share personal thoughts and concerns. When

It will be great if someday the project become from a experiment to a tool. It´s clear that there is people that stop in the street only because you are wearing strange complements, so we can use that time with them to give a message and change their minds.

From my personal experience I felt too connected with the idea of the rising level of the sea and climate change. I´m worry about climate change but I think it has become a hook for politics and bussines and is enough covered by mass media. During the experiment, when I explained the meaning of the stick and why we were near the sea, I noticed that many people is bored and tired of listening about it. Some talking with the people that asked what we were doing confirmed my concerns about inertia, ego and selfish. When I told them about the rising level of the sea most of them answered that they won´t be alive to see it, so they just does not care.

When I asked them about their own concerns they told me about personal worries and didn´t think globally or in more abstract terms (one guy how was moving from another city or the marihuana law, for example). In other occasions they said that they didn´t know, or that they were also worried about the climate change but ended talking to me about soccer. In one hand it confirmed my impressions about occidental contemporary society, and in the other hand make me want to put more effort in changing it.

From this I´ve been thinking about how to engage people, and how to truly make them think and share their concerns. One person was grateful because our conversation made him think about his concerns and he realized (as I also did in the morning) that he didn´t think much about them for being thinking in other things. It was the person that was more interested and not only asking about the stick, so I could tell him about my concern about the inertia. He understood and agree with my point of view but he didn´t had the time to think about a proposition. The good thing is that maybe he still thinking about it after our encounter. 

As a personal conclusion I feel that o become a real Agent of Change is necessary to have a solid discourse to share. When I was there and people asked me what we were doing I realized that It can be the perfect situation to make other people that are not involve to think about their own concerns and change their minds in some kind of ways. Most people were only curious and stop for a moment but that is enough if we achieve some kind of engagement or effect. The question "what are your concerns?" is the starting point for make people stop and think, something that they seemed to have forgot to do. 
By Clara

Monday, 19 April 2010

AOC Muizenberg South Africa 17April 2010

...'The question that I worked with at the beach is one that has been with me for quite a while now and it was also my point of departure for the presentation I did at the AOC symposium.

How should I work in this world?

This question is not something specifically related to my art, but rather something that is part of my entire being in this world.

So then one might suggest that the question could be 'How should I be in this world?', but to be seems so final, whilst work implies a continuous doing. In the time after AOC on the beach, I've come to realise that there is another word that could change in my question, as to make it more workable, so at the moment it is: How might I work in this world?
Connecting things, people, ideas, impulses, myself to myself and to others, to the planet and to many other things. I have also been reading a bit of Deleuze and Guattari and have been making drawings to help me understand some of their work and this has in turn helped me
to understand my own questions more. Connecting is creating.

There are a few things that emerged on the beach, that I have been thinking about: the image of the little whole that you made on the sand and then connected to another little whole in the sand the suggestion that if one might be with the sand for long enough, one might start to understand what it is about one of the other participants was concerned about how to deal with
guilt. i've come to realise that i also struggle with this. why?! I don't understand, but its been good to identify that this problem exists intent...' By Lara

Friday, 16 April 2010

AOC Muizenberg South Africa 10April 2010

After a very complicated week, James, I feel grateful for the Agents of Change meeting and the chance to explore my concerns around interconnectedness, the chance to feel heard, and the chance to feel whole during the social sculpture exercise. From our talks I have learned that we are connected, yet at the same time there does have to be some sort of focus on ourselves, our own fears and our own concerns, and sometimes just voicing them helps a lot.

There has been a lot to think about this week, and I feel as though Saturday's meeting helped me to take a new direction. James, you helped me to understand the value of listening, and what that means. My friend Jennie and I were talking on Friday night about what it actually means to be the quiet person in the group, and how activists can be so passionate and alive. Jennie said "Just listening can change somebody's life." Feeling listened to on a few different occasions this week, including with Agents of Change, helped me to realise that this is true, and that as a quiet and more gentle person, I still have a lot to offer.

Some reflections run deep, and it takes a while for the ripples to reach the surface. This week has been one of great thought. James, I appreciate both your listening and your sharing with me. Thank you.

Design and Sustainability: Agents of Change, Informal symposium at Stellenbosch University, 27 March 2010

Stellenbosch Informal Symposium, I learned a lot, and it shaped  a new direction for the work I was doing for my thesis, and my focus for ADIPSA topics as well.  At first, while co-ordinating ADIPSA I focused quite a lot on culture and identity but from the Agents of Change group I learned how this extends out into environment and how dynamic the world is, with people shifting and changing the environment as the world shifts and shapes people.  Reality became more dynamic and in flux, and I felt very motivated.  Joseph Edozien's ( )work on the economy, and taking people out of a hierarchy of oppression and into building trust between groups so that we can explore multiple aspects of reality changed my way of viewing diversity facilitation from searching for voices not heard, to a constant dynamic process of multiple realities.  I appreciated the symposium a lot, and the people who shared within this.  Muizenberg beach Agents of Change brought home the reality of listening and of creating space for all voices to be heard, and the impact this has.  I think it helped change the student passion into something softer and more open. by Nicci Attfield
further writing by Nicci: