Lyudmila Pekhovskaya is a performer of Russian and Gypsy songs and the owner of vocal-variety studio and art gallery in Warsaw. She asked me to think out the idea of development of her projects. Sometimes, to promote the project, you need to be beyond it. I propose a logical step: in addition to the studio for singers and gallery for artists to create a service for listeners and spectators.
“I don’t understand music, you don’t understand music, we don’t understand music …”
Any service can be sold only when it fills a certain vacuum in this world. I know a lot of people (and I put myself at the first place on this list 🙂 ) who are not able to enjoy the arts. And they would have no objection to learn this.
Alas, the education of contemporary man is based on the assimilation of descriptions, rather than on immersion in the spirit of the subject. Everybody of us carries his own feasible cultural baggage, we keep on Internet services lists of books we have read, films and perfomances we have seen, concerts we have visited, we rate willingly the works of art: “I like / dislike”, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 stars”. The problem is that when faced with global or parochial masterpieces of genres difficult to understand, when faced with the chance to discover something truly new in this world – we don’t fill anything. Here everyone has one’s own Achilles heel. Perhaps you are a great book reader, but when you are once again led by anybody at the premiere of the opera or operetta you’d experience a painful spiritual longing, as if you would be in an endless queue for sausages in 1981. And you can’t understand: whether the genre is so out of date or whether you have some important organ not evolved.
Perhaps you are a film fun with exceptional sensitivity. However, a fine understanding of film language doesn’t help you to find a common language with your own son, obsessed with rock music or jazz.
Perhaps you are a deep expert of bard’s songs. But you are internally suffering from the fact that all your attempts to obtain the pleasure of communicating with the masterpieces of painting and sculpture leaves you cold as marble. Not Mona Lisa’s smile is a mystery for you, but a centuries-old interest of her fans.
A person is an integral entity. And if he is insensitive to individual arts he would be insensitive to individual life situations. Do you know how to enjoy the bouquet of wine or are you just relaxing while drinking? Do you know how to communicate with nature – or are you simply worming-up the bones between the gathering firewood and cooking kebabs? Do you know how to be given to sex or you only perform the conjugal duty? Do you know how to extract from any food its taste’s symphony or just calories?
Say, what for you ride at full speed across your life with 90% of feelings switched-off ? Why do you miss the most interesting, tasty, bright, fragrant, harmonious? Maybe you have elected to save the world or to open the meaning of life to contemporaries? I hope it is so, otherwise your victims are not justified.
The point is not to get “excellent” on the exam on art perception. Rates are much higher: either you serve the time in anather’s perfomance or you live your life to the fullest.
Principles of the School of feelings
“School of the feelings” is the working title of the project. Its mission is to train people to practice intensive sensual perception of different art forms and aspects of life (i.e. the project should not be limited with music and painting: after all, person is an integral entity!).
To awaken the human perception, no need to load a person with theory and history of art (such information can only play a supporting role). The most important thing is to help to everyone to actuate new fillings in his emotional experience (as everybody remember, appreciate and understand the smells, sounds, colors associated with his loved ones, friends, unusual situations, etc.). Therefore, the optimal shape of the school is the collective psychological training.
Group members take their seats in a circle, listen to music fragments, taste foods, feel the texture of different materials, etc. they share their impressions, compare perceptions, play everyday situations, tell about their experiences and suggest to each other new points of view on the subject, new ways to enjoy the seemingly long-known things.
The role of a psychologist so as an art critic in this school is to direct only. As a trainer he proposes the theme of the next train session to the group members, helps them to be liberated, to start a conversation. And then – a group works itself. The trainer would only correct sometimes the course of the session, give valuable information from the history and theory of art, extinguish the imminent conflicts or lead them in a controlled, constructive direction.
As the experience of different groups of psychological support shows, after a while the group members become each other’s friends, special friends (people helping each other to grow), and their meetings will acquire a special significance (the significance of time and place where a person becomes a “fluid” one and receives the possibility to change). And after a while a series of discoveries would begin: “My God, how delicious! I did not know that a slice of cheese could be so appetizing! “Or” Hey, today I dreamed that I see what color are the sounds just like Scriabin, “or” And today I walked you through the park and heard every leaf rustling. And at this moment as if I revealed myself anew. And you know, I am wonderful! ” If I’m exaggerating, let professional psychologists correct me.
A vocal studio audience and the artists exhibited in art galleries can play a very important role in the classrooms of the school. After all, living “interactive” voice is always better than a tape recorder, and a real painting, sculpture, you can touch and can talk to the author of is always better than reproduction. By the way, to participate in classes of “Schools feelings” would be a unique and very effective training for singers and artists themselves. Here’s to you this “resistance of the material”, I mean people who do not understand your art. Try to reach them, to find common language with them – and you’ll be on the forces to gather halls.
The important question is how to advertise school’s services. There are two dangers: “to keep back” and “go too far”. If one would be too evasive and drow one’s proposal with the pathetic words: that, for centuries the art awakened the best strings of the human soul, etc., then nobody would understand what a revolution in his life the school promises. If you would go to a frontal attack: that we are the victims of the Soviet past turned into unfeeling cogs, etc., then this “truth” alienate potential customers.
I recommend to go by “advertising paths” of firms that develop adventure tourism. Offer your customers a real adventure, the discovery of the world and themselves and you wouldn’t trick them. Tell them: “Together we’ll paint our lives, the lives of ordinary citizens, in bright colors, together we’ll learn to manage our perception of the world that sometimes is more important than the ability to manage the world” – and this proposal will be as honest as realistic and attractive.
From the school to the community
If the organizers of the school would build their work competently and wouldn’t cause a serious error, it will be almost certainly that many graduates would like to maintain communication with each other. It is even possible that they would consolidate as a club (as it often happens with the training teams, whose members have really helped each other’s personal growth). A club will be able to collaborate with the vocal studio and art gallery to which, in theory, would not be amiss to add a concert agency. For example, the club could discuss and offer interesting tour post and advertise it by word of mouth, and the agency could pay rent for the premises of the club and sponsor the creative actions by its members on city holidays.
Moreover, with luck, the school philosophy could go beyond it’s limits and begin to live independent life, give impetus to the emergence of a new subculture. The graduates would be the first carrier of this subculture. Such chance really exists as the philosophy proposed is quite simple and at the same time voluminous to gather critical number of supporters.
Our sensuality is the goal, and the path, and the criterion. If the colors, smells and sounds of this world become brighter for you, bring you more joy then you are living right. If the reverse, you shy away from the path intended for you. Maybe you need to give up something or take something new again to start living life to the fullest and take from it everything that it offers.
I have no illusions that this article would create a new subculture (at best it will help a concrete reader, who was in need of such thoughts). Such impetus can be given only by practical work and dinamic personalities. For example, such an impetus can be given by you, Ludmila, if, of course, you want this, if you would find like-minded people and be able to help in practice to the personal growth of people who would come to your school.
There are wo words about the proposed name of subcultural movement: Open Sensitive. As it is known, the increased sensitiveness means greater person’s ability to feel, to distinguish and respond to external stimuli. But it is often accompanied with an equally high level of anxiety, fear of new situations. On the contrary, “open sensitiveness” assumes a joyful willingness to meet something new, that would help you to discover yourself. It is also the name that associated with Open Source, the movement with open initial codes. Anyone who turns out to be close to Philosophy of Open Sensitive, can take any part of it that would help him to develop himself, and he would have the right to edit, enhance, and develop that philosophy by enriching it with his sensuous and intellectual experience.
It seems that now I’m obliged to offer a wholistic view at that who is an “Oupen sensitiver.” In other case the representatives of this movement will be from the outset confused with members of other subcultures (e.g., emo, or even the ancient Epicureans).
Credo of the “open sensitiver”
1. An open Sensitiver does not tend to excessive stimuli, he does not cut his hands, not tears anybody’s eardrums, not “burn” the olfactory receptors. He learns to get maximum pleasure from the ordinary pleasures available to the modern urban person, he paints his weekdays with bright colors.
2. An open Sensitiver constantly seeks to the new sensations in the perception of art, in sex, in eating, in the relations with people and the environment.
3. Decorating with new feelings his life, open Sensitiver is simultaneously searching for “patterns of joy” (including shades such as: “My sorrow is light” and ” a fever of sweet horror”), that are replicable in other circumstances.
4. An open Sensitiver is actively interested in other people’s experiences of art, sex, food, etc., to understand what he misses in his life.
5. An open Sensitiver actively shares his sensual experience with others, to notice in time his own unwitting self-deception with their help.
6. An open Sensitiver searches for “patterns of joy”, not as a collector, cataloger, but as an effective manager of his own emotional resources.
7 An open Sensitiver consciously uses “patterns of joy” to live in peace with himself and other people despite the stresses of modern city.
8. An experienced Sensitiver is able at any moment to “remember” the desired mood with “patterns of joy” one day found.
9. An open Sensitiver having reached “the stage of enlightenment”, e.g. the ability to find “patterns of joy “on his own – don’t imposes its sensual picture of the world to anybody, but only responds to direct questions of others.
10. The need for new sexual sensations is not an excuse for the constant change of partners and family breakdown. Sensitiver who is able to find a new sensation with a regular partner reaches the highest levels.
11. An open Sensitiver rejects drugs and other stimulants with effects of irreversible addiction, which deprive him of control over his senses and mind.
12. An open Sensitiver enjoys alcohol as a taster e.g. for the sake of taste, not for drunkenness. Sometimes he uses a sip of alcohol to “remember” a sense of rise, when he can’t overcome the “ordinary of feelings” otherwise, One is not obliged to give up drinking “on holidays”, for “company” or “because of fatigue” just to be aware what one actually drinks for. And let him not to call himself “an open sensitiver”at this moment.
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