my current main project is a trans-european collaboration, We have a situation!. it's a series of live, trans-border, online-offline participatory performances addressing current cross-cultural european issues, and the first "situation" takes place in london, 19-23 march.
the collaborating partners are four arts organisations: Furtherfield in london, APO33 in nantes, MAD emergent art centre in eindhoven & Schaumbad Freies Atelierhaus in graz. apart from Furtherfield who i have had an association with for more than 10 years now, they are all people and groups that i have met through UpStage, who share an open source and experimental philosophy and sense of social justice. we're also working with developer martin eisenbarth, & the project has funding from the european cultural foundation.
the idea of this project is to use cyberformance as a way to creatively present local issues (situations) to trans-national audiences, to then generate meaningful inter-cultural dialogue around the particular issues and come up with possible solutions. it is based on a belief that people across europe are dealing with crises that have unique local aspects but also share aspects with related issues in other european countries, and that by facilitating conversations between ordinary people through a creative event, better inter-cultural understanding can be achieved. we may even be able to help each other by bringing new perspectives to the problems and proposing creative solutions. click here for the media release.
each "situation" comprises a week-long workshop with local artists to develop the cyberformance, followed by the online and local performance event and discussion. you will be able to join the online events from live links on the web site, http://www.wehaveasituation.net/, and you can check the situations calendar for dates, times and time converters.
the tiny himalayan nation of bhutan has announced its intention to be the first 100% organic nation in the world. bhutan is a buddhist country that measures the health of the nation on GDH (gross domestic happiness) rather than GDP. having a total land area of only 38,394 square kilometres & a population of around 750,000 is probably helpful in achieving their organic goal - apparently their only competitor is niue, population 1,300. if smallness is an advantage in going totally organic, new zealand should have a good chance. we might be giants compared to bhutan and niue but globally we're tiny. and conveniently isolated. we should use these facts to our advantage before it's too late.
the concept of "gross domestic happiness" is a nice one, and it connects to the spirit level and to prosperity without growth. happiness is more important than material wealth, and having the latter does not guarantee the former. at this particular moment in my life i can say that my own personal GDH is high. i'm happy (partly because there is so much snow outside! ), i have everything i need, i'm loved and supported, and my work is enjoyable, rewarding and not stressful at this moment. i realise or course that i'm exceptionally privileged in this position, & that it's most likely temporary - new stresses and challenges are probably just around the corner. but it's important to acknowledge and enjoy this moment of high personal GDH