The beauty about working with friends is: they let you get away with – nonsense. Because they love and trust you, you fly. And then you realise, you’ve flown ahead. And then you fly and rest on a lamp-post, like this hornbill suddenly sighted in urban Singapore.
UnSpoken was birthed entirely because of a mother’s longing for a serious education for her son, who has yet to be understood by the world at large. And it is really birthed, because she found friends who believe in serious education for her son, and his friends.
We are inaugurating UnSpoken on April 19th, 2017 Auditorium at 10 Square, a most amazing venue partner. Our hearts are eternally grateful to all who made UnSpoken possible.
A MOTHER’S INQUIRY
a Human Engagement Studio project, 2017
in collaboration with 10 Square @ Orchard Central
coming together to play
and documenting our discoveries
I never felt that play per se actually connects. I am not sure but I think, the connection we seek is –friendship. Not even relationship. We are somewhat in relationships and are subtly aware of relationships most times, but the times when we feel isolated is more the lack of someone who is interested in what we are interested in. Someone who is as excited about the area of exploration of life as we are. Someone who is committed enough to learn the content matter, the necessary skills. Practise them to mastery for the intense discovery that awaits just round the corner to be found. Someone who is equally intrigued and piqued. Someone who isn’t in competition with us, but together in play with us to discover what is next. To discover with integrity what is to be revealed. Someone who dives into the mystery of the time-space-content that we are curious to discover. Someone who doesn’t suddenly abandons the search of the discovery, leaving us going – what did I say, do? What happened?
It is a match of passion. A match of let’s have fun together. Of let’s play together. A meeting of deep service.
The gathering has to have such qualities to hold. To bind.
But the binding loose, without having the need to formalize rules of play.
Trust, camaraderie. I got your back, you got mine. I am not alone.
Being in a group doesn’t mean you can’t be alone.
You can be on your own and never feel alone and truly, isn’t.
And you can be known by many, yet you feel lonely.
What do children who are predominantly seeking to play and discover with integrity need?
- To just be
- To explore and engage the world in safety, security, responsibility and freedom
- To be supported and enabled
- Share & Care
And eventually, the children’s gifts are known to society. They are the gifts of grace. They inspire because they have triumphed over so many obstacles. Unnamed by us, because we have not experienced such struggles ourselves. And this space can only be revealed, named, by them, to us.
And so, I have humbly named this project UnSpoken. In anticipation of the gifts of dignity that only the children can confer to me. Because they are older than I am. Having walked a much deeper journey of humility, patience, tenacity and grace than I am able to. But because of their being, I am inspired to live deeper than I would previously have been able to imagine the possibility.
I have included in here my inquiry about education:
April 6, 2017
A RESEARCHER’S INQUIRY
As I reflected further during the ground preparations for UnSpoken, and during the deep dialogues as Human Engagement Studio, I started to realise I had missed out democratic exchanges or in a very big way, it is about citizenry. The way I approach learning is very much hypothesis-based and then testing it out. So I realise why now when I work in a group, it becomes very challenging or mis-interpreted. And so, I started to pull out these various threads, and am committed to examining and learning these a little more carefully, patiently, and gently. Because human engagement isn’t abstract and it isn’t about objectification, but about feelings, sensitivities, support and care.
a human engagement researcher
April 15, 2017
A POET-ARTIST’S INQUIRY
There is a part of me that absolutely loves poetry, art, music, drama and theatre. I have been longing to explore this in a very big way. What intrigues me most about is the voices of pre-verbal/non-verbal children and adults. How do we truly hear their voices? And how do we speak back? And how do we dialogue together? I am not content with just a choreographed symphony. I am about hearing deeply and having real heart-to-heart conversations and connections.
My feeling about this is that we have to move. We need to speak in space. Integrating space is the most realistic form of communication as we are living in 3D, in gravity, and in a cultural conception of time. I also feel the rest of the media and its rich compositions of communication will emerge if this freedom is permitted, and not misunderstood.
But before we label communication as art or dance or song or poetry or even voice, I feel there needs to be this waiting, and allowing for emergence, of what the form itself wants to be named. I feel perhaps we are too eager to name the forms, having too much art theory and art history thinking, canonisations, references and education. I feel perhaps that finally, I am finally ready to listen, mutually “jazz” and compose – live. And with others.
It takes a very strange courage and defenselessness, but I am realising it is because I am still hanging on to dear life to my acquired forms of communication and art expressions. And that, freedom of creative expression isn’t so much about the recognised form, for me, but about being authentic to the truths that need to be heard, understood, and if I am the speaker, then I speak. In however and whatever manner that it can be heard and understood. And my own real, real necessary learning, is to speak in a way, that is allowing dialogues, non-violent; that is peaceful, gentle. And harmonious.
And the content, absolutely precious, because it is the seeds of new friendships, and the encounter, a communion of our heart hopes. And the communication, when “spoken” honestly, is actually an embrace of each other, with the truthful integrity that only a true friend can offer each other.
And what does that embrace do? It is the embrace that sometimes we cannot give ourselves. There are always places that our self-compassion cannot forgive or journey on our own within. And so, a friend comes along and embraces us, for exactly those moments we can’t walk on our own.
So, art for me, has in a sudden turn, become about friendship.
April 15, 2017