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Who are you, and where did you come from?

This was the question at the core of the latest salon hosted my myself and my partner-in-crime / collaborator, Mister Rowley. In an effort to continue our exploration of storytelling and connectivity, we wanted to create a space and a dialogue that would, in and of itself, allow participants to produce a work of art – a pure expression of themselves. We kept coming back to our understanding that vulnerability and a willingness to be intimate in those moments of vulnerability could open a door. So, how to get one there? We mused, and we kept circling around these questions: “Can poetry (or art) be made simply by the divergence and then collection of one thought to the next? And, can deeper, meaningful  exchange occur when a person is deprieved of a comfort or customary mode of exchange, such as speech itself and made to trust what they can offer in that moment?

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We invited participants to partner up (preferably with someone they didn’t know), and have a conversation. The catch: all questions and answers had to be written down. No speaking allowed. Three collections  of questions, (prepared by the host)  which became increasingly more difficult, abstract or philosophical (depending how you perceive them). Each section had a time limit.

This salon was produced in an effort to continue an exploration of storytelling as a means to encourage connectivity and collaboration. We wanted to see what level of trust could be spurred or jump-started by asking participants to silence their voices and use those less trusted senses to do the talking for them. Since all the answers and follow-up questions were to be written in succession on participants’ answer sheets, they were left with one side of the conversation by the conversation’s end. These texts were then read in their entirety as a poem by the person who wrote them.

 

Want to try? Find a stranger or ask a friend. See what you come up with. Be sure to send Home Is a video of that handshake (see collection 2*)


I

(8 minutes)

  1. Time or money?
  2. Light on / lights off?
  3. Text or call?
  4. Because or why?
  5. Here or there?
  6. Now or then?
  7. Ten good friends or one great friend?
  8. If you could pick any person, dead or alive, who would you want to have as a dinner guest?
  9. What’s the last song you listened to?
  10. What’s the last time you cried?
  11. Whats your favorite word?
  12. What’s your strangest habit?
  13. Do you have a secret talent?
  14. What’s the stupidest thing you spent a fortune on?
  15. What are your deal breakers?

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II

(15 minutes)

  1. What makes you happy?
  2. What are your deal breakers?
  3. If you were a brand, what would your slogan be?
  4. Describe a color by describing a sound. Can your partner guess the color?
  5. Describe the color blue to your partner. Imagine your partner is blind.
  6. Describe the physical sensation you have when you hear the word / words / phrase ______________ .
  7. Make three true “we” statements. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling … “
  8. Make a handshake with your partner. Practice it. Do your handshake as quickly as you can.*

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III

(12 minutes)

  1. How necessary are rules?
  2. What rules do you abide yourself by?
  3. Is there a difference between boundaries and balance?
  4. Who do you think you are?
  5. Who do you tell people you are?
  6. What do you see when you see yourself?
  7. Where are you coming to this moment from?
  8. Where are you now?
  9. Where do you want to be?
  10. What’s life’s biggest question which you are unwilling to know the answer to?
  11. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.

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