Stories That Reconnect – Mapping a Social Arts process

*In 2021 a new series of of Social Arts workshops and storytelling: “Stories that reconnect, see with new eyes”: a space for listening, awareness and imagination. It suits for everyone searching for a creative personal journey and a meaningful collective experience.
If you are interested, please fill up this form bit.ly/stories-that-reconnect to get more information about the next dates.

Ilaria Olimpico
imaginaction.org
thealbero.wordpress.com
https://www.linkedin.com/in/ilaria-olimpico

Storie che riconnettono – condivisione di cosa è successo e cosa emerge – gratitudine e orizzonti

Questo che segue è un racconto di cosa è successo e cosa emerge dal mio lavoro:

è  un segno di gratitudine per tutte le persone che hanno permesso e permetteranno la creazione di spazi di ascolto, profondità, consapevolezza e connessione,

è un lancio di semi per possibilità di incontrarci, progettare insieme, condividere pratiche e sogni per il Futuro.


Dall’inizio del lockdown di marzo, offro online uno spazio di Storie che Riconnettono:

storie che ci riportano a casa nel nostro corpo, storie che ci riconnettono tra di noi, con il Mondo e con la Vita, storie narrate con voce, suono, immagine, scrittura, segno grafico e movimento. 
Sono interessata a continuare l’esplorazione che cerca le corrispondenze tra diversi linguaggi: immagini, narrazione, movimento, poesia. Così come sono interessata alla dimensione di conoscenza e di consapevolezza – di noi stesse/i e della realtà sociale – che questi linguaggi facilitano.

La prima edizione di “Storie che riconnettono” era una sperimentazione online, in cui persone da diverse parte di Italia hanno immaginato, raccontato e condiviso insieme, soprattutto attraverso immagini e parole. La prima edizione si è conclusa con l’immagine di una Cicogna con un uovo dei desideri. Il desiderio che il gruppo aveva espresso era: “continuare a raccontare”. E così è stato. Le partecipanti hanno apprezzato: “La magia della parola, del racconto che unisce, che annulla le distanze, anche tra chi non si conosce”; “La forza dei racconti che ti fanno ritrovare in un attimo…. dove tutto è possibile”; “La narrazione collettiva è una forte terapia della bellezza e della rigenerazione”.

Un filo che risale dal cuore alla bocca racconta cio’ che ti tocca” (risonanza poetica dalla prima edizione di “Storie che riconnettono”).


Dalla sperimentazione si e’ formato un gruppo di donne interessate a continuare a riconnettersi attraverso le storie. E’ emerso cosi’ la versione “Storie che riconnettono – cerchio di donne”. Finora, si sono svolte 2 edizioni, in cui abbiamo attraversato i passaggi femminili attraverso storie, immagini e movimento. La terza edizione è prevista per la primavera 2021.

Abbiamo sperimentato un tenero “Storie che riconnettono intergenerazionale” con dolcissime bambine e le loro mamme e zie.


Sono stata molto, molto felice di poter svolgere grazie ad Agnese Talegalli e la Coop Il Cerchio, il lab Storie che riconnettono pluriculturale,(al link potete trovare il nostro racconto di come è andata). Se lavorate in contesti multi-inter-trans-culturali, sono molto interessata a co-disegnare possibili progetti (come forse saprete, collaboro ormai da più di 5 anni con ANCI UMBRIA, come facilitatrice in progetti di inclusione con cittadine-i di Paesi Terzi. In questo momento, facilito con Mara Moriconi il lab sulla valorizzazione delle competenze attraverso un lab di storytelling).

In estate, Storie che riconnettono è diventato un corso di Arti Sociali inserito nel Summer Training organizzato da ImaginAction, insieme ai corsi tenuti da Uri Noy Meir e Angelo Miramonti. E’ stata un’esperienza arricchita dal feedback del mio mentore Hector Aristizabal.


Il 26 Settembre, ho potuto offrire Storie che riconnettono nel Playground per la comunità internazionale di praticanti di Teatro dell’Oppresso,ricevendo feedback e avendo la grande opportunità di sentirmi parte di una rete più grande. Grazie a Francesco Argenio Benaroio e tutta la comunità Playground per tenere questo spazio di sperimentazione e intervisione.


Probabilmente, ci sarà occasione per sperimentare un lab Storie che Riconnettono Adolescenti in collaborazione con delle scuole di secondo grado. Se siete insegnanti, dirigenti, educatrici/educatori e vi interessa, contattatemi via email.


Nel 2021 partirà Storie che riconnettono – Vedere con Occhi Nuovi, laboratorio che si propone come spazio per ascoltarsi, condividere e vedere le sfide del nostro tempo, attraverso immagini, felt sense, movimento e suoni.

Un ringraziamento speciale alla mia famiglia ImaginAction e a Uri Noy Meir per il supporto e l’ispirazione.


Vi saluto con uno stralcio da “Guizzino”:

“Andiamo a nuotare nel sole e a vedere il mondo,” disse felice. “Non si può,” risposero i pesciolini, “i grandi tonni ci mangerebbero”. “Ma non si può vivere così nella paura,” disse Guizzino “bisogna pur inventare qualcosa”  – Leo Lionni

 inventiamo, immaginiamo qualcosa insieme, per poter nuotare nel sole e Vedere il Mondo nella sua più alta potenzialità…


Ilaria
— Ilaria Olimpico Social Arts, Facilitation, imaginaction.orgthealbero.wordpress.com

Lost in Narration

I am deeply concerned about the polarization of narrations and the spread of conspiracy theory, or better to call them “conspiracy fantasies“.
The pandemic and the election of Biden are now, of course, the focus of the public attention and at the centre of the polarization.
It is fundamental to have access to a plurality of narrations. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said in her excellent TED talk: there is a danger in the single-story, many stories matter.
The plurality of narration is a richness; the polarization of narrations is a risk. I can feel this risk today more than ever. The phenomenon of the “trutherism” is disconnecting us from each other. On the other side,a plurality of narrations can open to a sharing of information and perspectives. This metaphor illustrates the difference between polarization of narration and the plurality of narration: I am my opinion (not open to listen, not available to disconfirm my data), or I have an opinion (open to listen, to disconfirm, to change opinion, to integrate more info). The Art of Listening is the key to avoid disconnection among us. “In order to understand what another person is saying, you must assume that he/she is right and ask him/her to help you to understand why it is so” (Marianella Scalvi).
Inspired by the post-colonialism and gender approach, I want to shed light on these questions about narration: who is telling the story? Who is not? What did the teller choose to tell? And in 2020 it is crucial the question: who is the initiator of this telling? Who is multiplying it? Through which platform? What is the relation between this platform and the communication power?
The pandemic amplified our relation with social media, and the dependency on virtual connection, as a consequence of the lack of physical relationship. We are continually browsing into news and “counter-news”, friends comments/posts and “enemies” comments/posts. What is mainstream, and what does it mean “counter-news” or alternative narration? Alternative to what? And what is their purpose?
Are we aware of the trap of social media and their algorithms? Are we aware that the algorithms make us reading over and over again, something that confirms our beliefs and opinions? Are we aware that We are part of the system that we are trying to analyze, criticize, understand?
Are we aware of the mechanism of our brain in processing information and its shortcuts (bias, cognitive dissonance, availability heuristics, apophenia…)?
In a world of infodemic and increasing polarization, we can be dried up by the effort to stay aware.
How can we discern fake news and “true” news?
What I see and sense, it is telling me not about what I see and sense, but above all, how I see and feel. As a wise quote says: “We see the things around us not as they are, but as we are”.
Maybe, this wisdom can save us from losing ourselves in not healthy narrations. How can we keep this wisdom and share a common field of dialogue, without fall into an absolute and lazy relativism?
Maybe, we can always ask ourselves: Does this reading help me to connect more to myself, to the others and nature? Or does this reading lead me towards a disconnection from me, the others and nature?

Ilaria Olimpico


About the overlap between the spiritual movement – new age – and the fast-spreading conspiracy theory – QAnon – check here

Joker Exchange Online – Meeting The Risks and Opportunities of the COVID-19 Crisis

Uri Yitzchak Noy Meir, Anne Larcher

Abstract

In this article, we narrate and analyse patterns of engagement and harvest key learning from the Joker Exchange Online (JEO) events on 11th April and May 2nd. We map the impact of these online events to inform future events as an effective collective response/strategy to global challenges. At the same time, we are Theatre of the Oppressed practitioners who attended/presented in the JEO, and this informs our research and engaged interest in theatre and community work on the margins of theatre, activism, and social change. The article has three parts: the first part look at the “triggers” for the Joker Exchange Online and its aims; the second part reports and analyses testimonies from JEO participants; the third part outlines key learnings, suggestions, and considerations for similar future global online events.

Noy Meir, Uri Yitzchak and Larcher, Anne (2020) “Joker Exchange Online – Meeting The Risks and Opportunities of the COVID-19 Crisis,” Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Journal: Vol. 5 , Article 17.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/ptoj/vol5/iss1/17

Social Arts in Pandemic times – PPLG response to covid

#whatisPPLGforyou
#PPLGresponsetocovid
#PPLGcommunity #PPLG2019

Reality manifested stretching in between Blind Panic and Great Hope,
Retreating Silence and Crazy Infodemic.
In the beginning of the lockdown,
I could feel my body split in at least two parts:
the low part connected to the Earth, finally breathing;
the upper part confused, staging the worse scenario and the best scenario:
Death and authoritarian management of fear and pandemic.
Pause and wise co-creating possibilities from crisis.
I missed and keep missing wise ears, wise eyes, wise hands.
https://thealbero.wordpress.com/…/proliferazione-di-espert…/

I could have time to retreat, reflect and write. Also about my work.
I discover the potential of connecting across borders without moving.
During the lockdown, we connected through participative storytelling meetings online.
The first group was a prototype of how we can transfer a workshop in presence
into a meeting online keeping the warm sensation of sitting in a circle.
The second group was a women circle exploring life passages
weaving images, stories, body resonance and creative writing.
https://thealbero.wordpress.com/…/storie-che-riconnettono-…/
The third group was really a gift: a group of refugees and Italians.
We regained our capacity of imagination, we learnt how to weave together stories
welcoming the visions and the perceptions of the others.
Where I can’t get with my rationality, bring me there with your imagination!
https://thealbero.wordpress.com/…/dove-non-riesco-a-vedere…/

Meanwhile, the project funded by Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) was slowing down, trying to find its smart version online. And we did it. A workshop about
recognizing skills and gifts for migrants.
Apparently, more distant in the local community, I could connect more with the international community, through the Joker Exchange Event, through ImaginAction Summer School.

Many questions arise from these experiences:
How are we combining the emerging, surprising power of connecting online across borders and the basic need to connect in a physical way there where we are with our body and senses?
How these two movements (across borders online and coming back to local and physical) can
strengthen each other?
How can we transfer the capacity of our body in its feature of sensing and facilitating through senses to the online dimension?

WHAT IS PPLG FOR YOU

I am really grateful for being in connection with a wide and diverse network of
researchers, therapists, social scientists, artists, psychologists, social and youth workers,
performance activists and community organizers. I find this an enormous richness.
To face the challenges of our times, we need a plurality of perspectives, methodologies and gifts.
We need a trans-cultural, over-cutting and compassionate way to see, sense and co-act.
May we, as PPLG, respond to these needs. This is my wish.’

Ilaria Olimpico

Photos: PPLG2018

Life!

“… l’esigenza di facilitare il collegamento tra i sentieri del passato con quelli del futuro, per riconoscere che i cammini che si seguiranno sono sempre attraversati da quelli originari attraverso cui si è transitati.” (Ebook EspAr)

La cornice del percorso è ispirata alle fasi principali della Teoria U, teoria del cambiamento evolutivo elaborata dal prof. Otto Scharmer del M.I.T. di Boston e dalla sua equipe del Presencing Institute.

Spesso la traccia della U si sovrappone alla traccia a spirale del Lavoro che Riconnette di Joanna Macy, iniziando con la Gratitudine, passando per Onorare la Ferita, per poi Guardare con Occhi Nuovi e Andare Avanti.

La Metodologia fa riferimento alla pratica dello storytelling partecipativo integrata al teatro immagine e alla tecnica del photolangage del Collettivo Artistico TheAlbero sin dal 2011 (Images and Stories process).

L’orizzonte del laboratorio di storytelling è uno shift nella consapevolezza, nell’intenzione di “… far emergere un nuovo modo di vedere le cose, una nuova immagine di sé, una inedita consapevolezza dei condizionamenti interni ed esterni” (Ebook EspAr).

La mia intenzione e’ far emergere l’unicità di ciascun@, tra passato e desideri, sfide e possibilità. Questo porta a un processo personale di empowerment e vedersi con occhi nuovi, e un processo sociale di rimozione delle “etichette” (sia collegate alla dinamica di vittimizzazione dei rifugiati/e, sia collegate agli stereotipi negativi).

Reminder prima di ricominciare

il Laboratorio di valorizzazione delle competenze del progetto LIFE.

Ilaria Olimpico

Storie che riconnettono – cerchio di donne – Testimonianze

Un laboratorio dedicato alle Donne per esplorare i Passaggi Femminili,
attraverso le storie, le immagini e il movimento corporeo.

Testimonianze:

Ho apprezzato tantissimo le diverse storie che hanno scandito e accompagnato il percorso e mi sono lasciata trasportare in luoghi lontani. Ero lì affianco alle protagoniste mentre quello che narravi, o che narravamo insieme, si trasformava in immagini nella mia testa... Mi ha permesso di vedere meglio e di più attraverso gli occhi delle altre. (A.B.)

Partecipazione, condivisione, supporto nei momenti bui, liberazione di spirito e di energia. (R.P.)

Ho apprezzato l’alternarsi di momenti in cui i diversi linguaggi si susseguivano. (R.P.)

Mi sono piaciute tantissimo le storie sia quelle raccontate da te sia quelle narrate insieme e ho apprezzato la possibilità del co-narrare, facendo germogliare il racconto dal terreno preparato dalle altre, così semplicemente come veniva, nutrito dalle immagini. Il corpo ha scontato il limite della lontananza fisica, del toccarsi. (A.B.)

Aver dato un’immagine, un personaggio, una scena, un movimento….ad ogni momento di passaggio della nostra vita è come avere una chiave speciale per aprire quello spaccato di noi ogni volta. (C.R.)

Sento che sono entrata in connessione con donne diverse e nello stesso momento,cosa rara nella vita di tutti i giorni.Ho rafforzato il mio femminile grazie al confronto con donne più grandi. (C.C.)

Porto vicinanza, ascolto. Porto anche le storie che anche a distanza continuano a manifestarsi così, quando vogliono. (A.T.)

Tanta bellezza! Tanta ricchezza! Tanta pienezza! Grazie con tutto il cuore! (M.P.)

Ho apprezzato molto anche la tua grande capacità di stare dentro e fuori dal gruppo con estrema fluidità. Mi ha fatto sentire “mi posso affidare”, “mi posso confidare”. (C.R.)

La consapevolezza che l’età è, di per sé, un arricchimento e che siamo belle!

La facilitazione … portata avanti con molta delicatezza. (F.B.)

Mi sento più radicata alla terra, forse anche grazie alla condivisione con altre donne. (C.R.)

Prossimo lab donne: https://forms.gle/7Ar93giZgWrcMBq67

Storie che riconnettono – cerchio donne – primavera 2020

Unfolding the Invisible, Social Presencing Theatre online practice, during Covid-19

Each Saturday, a group of SPT practitioners, co-facilitated by Uri Noy-Meir and Marina Seghetti, dived deep into an online exploration of how awareness practices and social art can relate to the collective challenges we, as a global community, are going through and sought to perceive how our inner practice increases our capacity for making a contribution to the world…

(by Marina Seghetti and Uri Noy Meir)zoom article marina uri

https://link.medium.com/h4svLnxIo9

View at Medium.com

“Images and Stories” – Part 1

The kinaesthetic process entitled “Images and Stories”, is rooted in the Aesthetics of the Oppressed as envisioned by Augusto Boal. Like in Boal’s early work with Newspaper Theatre “Images and Storie” it is a transformative and reflective process of collective meaning-making.

As they develop the process ImaginAction’s artist-facilitators, Ilaria Olimpico and Uri Noy Meir,  are weaving Theatre of the Oppressed (TO) with other methods and thereby exploring the limits and borders of the practice.

This article was initially published at Ensayando el Despertar – Miradas Movilizadoras Desde el Pluriverso del Teatro del Oprimido”* (rough translation: “Rehearsing our Awakening – Mobilizing Perspectives from the Pluriverse of the Theatre of the Oppressed”).

THE INVITATION 

 “We are in a war, a war of images, and we are losing” – Augusto Boal**

Mainstream conventional media channels (such as TV channels and cinema) have been overthrown by digital media channels such as websites, Facebook and Youtube. Yet, “Free information” has, unfortunately, does not guarantee freedom, and if anything the cultural resilience within communities and individuals has been dramatically compromised through the attention economy.

In Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), Brazilian theatre director and playwright, Augusto Boal, calls to move from the “monologue” of traditional performance into a “dialogue”. Transforming and liberating the passive “audience/public” by giving it the means of producing their own images— tell their own stories, and change their conditions.

In 2010 I was inspired to explore ways to and TO and Photography. I was encouraged to it by A. Boal’s account of a participatory photography project in Peru when he was introducing Image Theatre in his first book The Theatre of the Oppressed. I found further inspiration in his last book The Aesthetics of the Oppressed, where he proposes photography games which “dialogue about the images provided, the ways each image is perceived”.  It was then through the collaboration with Ilaria Olimpico, writing short stories, exploring participatory storytelling and facilitating workshops that the “Images and Stories” process, came to be.

A NEW LANGUAGE 

“We have become passive spectators and consumers of visual imagery that we did not create and that we do not necessarily understand. We must become creators of the imagery that tells our own story, the untold story. To re-engage ourselves as creators, we need to return to the playful, imaginative, creative approach of children.” – Uri Noy Meir (ZoomOut)

Participatory photography and TO invite us to transform ourselves from consumers to creators of visual imagery, participatory storytelling invites us to transform ourselves from “stories” into storytellers. “Images and Stories” is essentially a process in which participants become storytellers, through the creation of images, collages, sounds, stories, scenes and performances. Storytelling is an essential human skill and stories are a powerful way to create and recreate meaning for individuals, groups, communities and society. Becoming better storytellers and “owning” our story is essential in the process of conscientização (becoming conscious of social constructs) and empowerment of “oppressed” groups and individuals.

You are not YOUR STORY. You are the Storyteller of YOUR STORY!

When John Croft, the co-creator of Dragon Dreaming, said that in my first Dragon Dreaming participatory project design workshop, it vibrated into my very being. John invited us to remember our very first memory and try to remember what happened the day after… Usually the answer is no, this is because the way we tell and organize reality is not a straight line; it is a series of jumps from memory to memory, story to story, time to time.

It was an “Aha” moment, a deep insight, something I did not know not to know. It was as if something clicked; I could see how the creator force lays asleep inside me, inside all of us. We can not go back to the past, but we can change how we tell it, and in that sense, and so it changed. We can not travel to the future, but we can improve our choices and actions that will define it, and thus change it. If we choose to see the world as a constant battle of good and evil, poor and rich, white and black, it becomes that. When we realize we are not our “story”, but the storytellers of that story, we become empowered and realize our gifts and potential to create and change our reality.

Past global events like the fall of the Berlin wall can show us the hidden dynamic of how the “stories” we tell ourselves can change overnight. Cultural revolutions happen as both a personal and collective change of awareness/consciousness, through reflection/contemplation on the interiority of the social conditions. We neither “objects” nor “subjects” of history we are interconnected to it and co-creating it together with the “natural world. Neoliberal capitalism is both a structural pattern of many social realities as it is a collective story. It is a story which feeds on and feeds into an ego-centric thought pattern, and a dualistic worldview which separates us from nature. For this collapse, we need to make space for new possibilities.

Storytelling is an essential human skill, and when we train ourselves in being the storytellers of our lives, we can find strength in moments of weakness and meaning in the times of complete desperation.

On the “social-political” or structural level, we can make a difference through the stories tell, hearing the unheard, giving voice to the voiceless, and empower communities and individuals to find their place in history by creating their own stories through the arts and theatre. If we consider the individual to be inseparable from what and who is around them, we could see the collective story of our humanity as a whole. Connect to the sources of our freedom and power we hold, see beyond the veil of having only “one” story and co-evolve together, knowingly.

NEW CHALLENGES 

The individual and collective subconscious are being brainwashed every day through images and stories that manipulate and distort our attention to serve the “limitless growth” story/economy in a finite planet, training our psyche to be a passive consumer.
To protect the living ecosystem which sustains our lives and future, we must liberate our individual and collective psyche from that story.
“Images and Stories” is about adapting TO into the changing times and context weaving into new methodologies while maintaining a connection to its roots solidarity, creativity, humanity.

The TO tree, like all trees, must be able to grow new branches and new roots. We innovative and creative processes, through the soil and roots rhizome, connect to the living system around. My hope is for images and Stories be a way to connect, men and women, communities and earth, self and nature.

*Ensayando el Despertar – Miradas Movilizadoras desde el Pluriverso del Teatro del Oprimido (Joffre-Eichhorn (ed.), KickAss Books 2019) is a compilation of articles (45 texts from 66 contributors) by Theatre of the Oppressed practitioners from all over the world. You can order the book in Spanish from Hjalmar at communitybasedtheatre@posteo.de

Uri Noy Meir

**The quote of Augusto Boal: “We are in a war, a war of images, and we are losing” was cited by Brent Blair in the closing circle of a workshop in the 4th Muktadhara Festival in, India, 2010.

https://imaginaction.org/images-and-stories