Reflections about gatherings

'Our phones are blocking our neck muscles!'

(from a dance workshop at K3 — how we don't have to only look forward as we move forward in a line — free to looks sideways and talk to each other)

Questions


A projector, a microphone, two speakers, another speaker, facing a group of people, all facing the projection.

Why is such situation so commonplace in today's education, art and design symposiums?

What do these technologies do to the sociality of these situations?

How does this format affect the atmosphere of the space, the arrangements of the furniture, and the people present?

What qualities of attention does this cultivate, individually and as a social gathering?

Observations

The slide format is linear, or creates the illusion of linearity. There is a plan, prepared beforehand: a beginning a middle an end, and the rush to go through them in time. (Tufte’s critique of info simplification/ppt)

The information is dispersed centrally: one to many, talking down. There is an implicit hierarchy in the roles because of the positioning and the microphone: it is much easier for speaker to speak, listeners to listen. (as introverted person, why is it that I prefer one on one conversations much better than those with more people?)

bodies frozen in space, looking at screen. privileges the visual sense. passive. (Actually, I love day dreaming in darkened lecture halls, some of my brilliant ideas came from the boredom and distraction that came from such. But I felt a certain horror after giving an artist's talk at a school: of seeing hypnotized faces light by blue light. Surely there are more engaging ways of relating to these people and sharing my practice, than sending them off in a trance in a darkened room?)

More Questions

If the goal of these situations is sharing: knowledge, experience, stories, what other way is there to do this?
Is it possible for the format to follow/embody the content?
Could we relate to each other as humble fellow human beings, rather than one person standing above the other?
How to play with the situation of bodies gathered together in the same space and time, and do something that cannot be substituted by a streamed video?
Why is it that I feel so much more comfortable after the talk, when people come up to me with their individual questions and we start a conversation, which is improvised?
and lastly, my selfish desire as a presenter: Could I make these occasions interesting for me, each single time?

Borrowing & Inspirations

Evolving Formats