Saturday, July 11, 2009

Gift economy and "wreckage"!

Morning pages collage by Lani (totally influenced by my Wreck This Journal experience)

I am SO enjoying the wreckage over at 14 Secrets, I've started to think it is a wildly creative, generous, and generative activity. Actually, I've always felt that there was something extremely satisfying about mail art. I've learned so much from my fellow players but these Wreck This Journal RR's are really marvelous, uniquely creative. I'm beginning to see more clearly that participating in this way, in a group with other people, sharing insights and techniques as we go, working in each others' Wreck This Journal is all a part of the whole amazing "gift economy" or "gift culture". We are giving to our fellow players, but something is growing and transforming in us as well.

Dave Pollard has a wonderful essay on The Gift Economy, very much worth reading! This is a perfect quote from his essay where he is describing what happens when we participate in a "gift economy":
...we open up possibilities, we begin to feel and realize our own power, capacity, and mastery, we recognize that generosity has nothing to do with charity, and we sense the movement and strength of collective understanding, will and passion. We realize that together, collectively, collaboratively, we know more, and know better...

I feel as though this quote describes the mail art process itself, but most especially the "wreckage" process over at 14 Secrets. Here's how one of our moderators, Gena Lumbroso, describes it:
The excitement for this crazy project is so contagious. I think this wrecking project has been delightful. I liken it to rebuilding an interior... tearing down walls, ripping off old paper, washing walls, all the creative undoing - usually done with people close to you (the type that you can always call on, the ones that see you through thick and thin...) who chip in; it creates a special bond and lots of laughs and moments of joy. Yessiree, I feel like this project is like a remaking of 14secrets, shaking it in its very foundations, bringing out all that is good and fun and colorful, wacky, spiritual, delightful, loving, crazy, exalting, joyful, hilarious, new, old, inventive, lively, bubbly, exhilarating, exuberant, lovely, funny, rich, creative, happy, thoughtful, provocative, enriching, empowering, outlandish, adventuresome, self-discovery, relational, prosperous, fantastic, high vibrational, (now add your own).

But some non-virtual cultures are based on this "gift economy" like this video illustrates how it works in Mali. (Very inspiring.)

And if you like Keri Smith's Weck This Journal, and you feel intuitively there's a connection between generosity and helping our creativity grow, then you might like her book Guerilla Art Kit. It's full of subversive seeds of generosity. Your art will never be the same.

Morning pages collage by Lani

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