I feel compelled to write on the subject of enchantment. Well actually perhaps it’s more about both enchantment and it’s time old enemy expectation!
“In the sphere of cultural creativity not least, we have the advantage that the basic resources and building blocks of cultural creativity – the knowledge, the practise, the human impulse to express ourselves creatively – are held in common. These abundant human resources are accessible to everyone.
At every given point we can draw from this rich reservoir to imagine and create anew.”
From Perspectives section of Making Common Cause – Exploring the Potential of Cultural Commoning, VAS.
I want to break down what is being said here. Through sophisticated explanation of this incredible point, I read “we can” and “we have” – there’s an I, me, myself! I have, what is gifted to me in human experience as my sight, my hearing, my whole sense of self! We can use these things to experience if we choose to or we can wait to see if anyone else can wake them up? I know which one I’d rather…
Let’s take a recent example of a unique and beautifully curated event in a local park featuring light and sound installations by artists which received page after page of facebook complaints of mostly comparison to previous years. (there were positives too).
I am not going to review the event here as I’m not that sort of blogger but you can head to my instagram to read my gushing response to being enchanted for the evening if you’d like to.
My question to the complainers and I hope they read this…if we didn’t arrive wholeheartedly ready to enjoy an experience and discover it anew through the friends and family we brought along can we really complain? If we arrived full of expectation from last year and ready to look for improvements aren’t we always going to be glum if it’s a completely different experience?
Surely we need to take some responsibility of how we feel in response or accept that it’s our human condition to look for ways an experience was better or worse than it’s previous which will always ultimately show us disappointment somewhere?
Do we really expect our local community firework show to be bigger and better each year? Do we sub-consciously hold in the back of our heads and tell our children only if it reaches cinematic X-factor proportions are we satisfied the team of community volunteers (who could have easily not bothered) tried hard enough to enchant us and spent money wisely?
Do we want to be force shown lights and colours and fire and fast paced cuts and edits until our brains give up completely in sensory disrepair? Do we long to feel completely bamboozled and drunk by experiences before we know they’ve served us and our money is well spent?
Where’s the mindfulness in that? Are we really looking to numb out that much? Surely arts experiences aren’t comparable to a bottle of vodka on a Friday night? For the arts sector to survive and even hope to thrive again we have to meet them half way here surely!?
Or will austerity force us into our own four walls dreaming of a life that was as we decide not to make moves to support activities and events perhaps with a more inward focus of growing roots in our local spaces?
Isn’t it our responsibility to meet enchantment presented to us as a gift head on, with the most heart felt version of our own creative response? Can’t we own and embrace our own interaction with art and life and creativity and human expression?
As Danny Boyle issued his invitation to the Pages of the Sea project earlier this year, he told us about our beaches; “these are amazing democratic spaces, anyone can come here, there are no rulers and that’s why we wanted to create a community artwork here”
I was involved in the project and it’s very hard to articulate the magic that day created….for me because it was art and community in a public space – my favourite type – it’s where a lot of connectivity lives! It inspired one of my monthly intents which you can read about here if you’d like.
And from that experience, I am still working through the wisdom uncovered…
Conscious Silence is available to us all and it’s not dimming our voice or quieting our thoughts for me it’s about using our other senses to really understand and make sense of situations and experiences because I am noticing more and more we want to be heard but I’m here to say if you take a step back and engage all of your senses you might find you have a lot less to say.
I’ll leave you with my partner and my little boy showing their enchantment at Enchanted Parks this year and I’m so grateful for the experience and the joy it brought to them and L’s 82 year old Grandad Ray (not pictured), a widower who last visited the event in 2013 with his wife Jean.
Thanks for reading and I would love to reply to your comments.
(all photos from Enchanted Parks art installations 2018 – not all artists known)