Frametalks Day 6 & 7: Towards making social honey
On Saturday and Sunday, we re-entered thoughts and experiences from the previous week through several rounds of distillation.
On Saturday, everyone who participated in FRAMETALKS during the week to explore one or more of the 5 Realities was invited to join a process of distillation and reflection on the substance gathered thus far, and to work towards ‘making social honey’. Once more, we entered the 5 Realities, for 1 hour each: NATURE (NATUR), HUMAN BEING (MENSCH), LOVE (LIEBE), FREEDOM (FREIHEIT), and FUTURE (ZUKUNFT).
The first 20 minutes of each hour was devoted to silent individual reflection and the gathering of substance. Participants were encouraged to use the FRAMETALKS booklet. In the following 40 minutes there was the chance to share something of what had been gathered, actively listening to all that was shared. This gathering, distilling and sharing of was introduced as the first stage in the process of 'making social honey'. This took place indoors, in the circle of chairs around the deerskin frame, which, was a central element in the FRAMETALKS ‘instrument of consciousness’.
Everyone had the chance to look for what stayed with them from the previous days’ experiences, and also to see what potential new insights, thoughts, and questions emerged as part of the ongoing process. Despite the intensity of a 5-hour uninterrupted process, nearly everyone in the space remained focused and engaged, and the quality of what was shared gave a sense of the multi-faceted spectrum of experiences, but there was also a growing sense of shared concerns.
During the last hour of this first half of Saturday’s FRAMETALKS event, there was some concern about the making of ‘social honey’: where was it, and how could we now proceed from the thinking and talking to a new kind of doing? How could one implement what had emerged as new insights into the practical work towards an eco-social future? The process ended with an interesting and insightful dialogue around what it means to understand thinking already as a kind of doing (or, as Joseph Beuys once put it, ‘Thinking is already sculpture’), and the difference between ‘letting emerge’ and ‘thinking things up’. Most people in the room agreed that it was important to stay close to the fragile new substance that was already more than the individual contributions of each of the participants put together, and to help ‘give birth’ to what wanted to emerge.
On Sunday, there was another phase in the process of beginning to make ‘social honey’. Again, we went through each of the 5 realities, but this time we only had 15 minutes for each of them. Through this apparent confinement, it was possible to distil some of the most important insights. It was stressed that such a process of distillation is different from ‘crystallisation’: it doesn’t lead to a hardening of one’s views and positions, but rather, it allows for connected and ‘response-able’ (term coined by Shelley Sacks) new opportunities of thinking and doing. This process was further aided by a set of questions we worked with during each of the 5 realities: 1) What have I personally gained from the process as a whole? 2) What new insights have emerged for a) myself, and b) for working in the city of Kassel / in my community? 3) What future capacities can I identify / need to be developed to work towards an eco-social future?
Following this process, we entered a final phase of further reflection and refinement. In pairs, we had an in-depth exchange about what we had discovered, and the chance to write a further distillation onto blackboards, so it could be shared with others. In a concluding round around the deerskin frame, everyone had the chance to speak about what most mattered to them, and how they could imagine going on with that work. Even though for the moment the process had to end, there was huge commitment to make FRAMETALKS as well as other social sculpture forums and arenas an ongoing work in Kassel and elsewhere.