Your Village Newsletter
Documenting this Queer Momentum and co-creating it at the same time. Dreaming a Community into being, with dispatches from the Pre, the Main, the After, the U-Bahn, and other Party Spaces.
Moon, 27 February 2023
__Shining a spotlight on:
__Silence after the Storm
__My new Party Superpower Tool
__The Party as Do-It-Yourself Learning Space
__Dreaming of a Community
__People have done this before!
Read bit by bit or make good use of your time on the U-Bahn and just get through the whole thing at once. No excuses.
__Busy doing my magic in the darkroom. Photo by Robert Dryn.
Silence after the Storm
It is Sun evening and I am on my way to my social work nightshift. The days before were like a whirlwind, as I travelled from one Party Space into the next, nothing going quite as planned, but everything still happening for a reason. Time neatly folds around everything if you let it. I breathed in stories and moods of people, had what feels like a million conversations and other encounters, and now I get to breathe out again. Returning to silence, letting images of what happened pass, digesting - the best way to ensure a soft landing. Comedowns have basically disappeared since I started writing again, making me think they are largely like a traffic jam of unprocessed experiences. "You can't process complex emotions on a bender", someone said, and exactly that is what is needed in order to learn.
It seems like the calm mood has descended over the city. My fellow passengers in the U-Bahn are spreading soft vibes. Some are having conversations in languages that I don't understand, and they sound friendly and engaged. A woman is sketching a man quietly smiling to himself. It occurs to me that she is courageous for showing that she notices what is going on, making her perception visible to me, a stranger. I have been making myself visible in a similar way, moving through The Party with my notebook and copies of the Partyfiesto. I could make my observations without anyone knowing, but instead I choose to put myself out there. Documenting this __Queer Momentum and co-creating it at the same time, by putting what I witness into language and giving us an extra layer to reflect on. And it is coming back to me, as people find me in The Party and pick up on things I have been writing about. Nice, it's working.
__That being said, here's a little plug: do invite me for your podcasts and radio shows, I have stuff to talk about, and also I am looking for a publisher of the book I am writing and someone to fund this Life Research Community Building Social Sculpture project.
The last two weeks I haven't been hosting, except for a potluck dinner, bringing Friends from the Afters together in a different mode on what I believe still counts as a weekday. Instead, I have been enjoying full Guest Liberties in bars, clubs, and other people's homes, which creates a whole new range of possibilities. From being able to just dance or make out without having to think about the rest of the Party, to listening to someone's favourite classical music piece and making other Guests draw horses in the ___Portable Party Notebook. Meanwhile, I am busy finding out who is here, what stories, interests, and skills you are bringing, how you ended up in this space, and what you are currently experiencing. Doing my Life Research with you in Real Time.
__Making Guests draw Horses at an After
My new Party Superpower Tool
A catalyst for getting the conversations to an interesting place, Partyfiesto is turning out to be a great __Party Superpower Tool. Over fifty people signed it last week alone, giving their Fuck Yes to what it says. It led us to talk about consent, quality of presence and attention, the importance of knowing what space you are in, and the freedom that comes from being clear about what the boundaries are. And, from a Host's perspective, the importance of setting boundaries in the first place - honouring our own needs so we can actually be there for you. We need to want to do it again, so we need to be happy!
Originally, I wrote Partyfiesto to convey the spirit of my own gatherings, but then I realised that actually, I want all spaces to be like this. And so I started taking it wherever I go, finding the people with whom it resonates (even the Gays* in Olfe on a Thursday night were all over it - in spite of the "no grindr" clause!). A great barometer for gauging how likely we will become friends, and a way to connect with other Hosts over our favourite topic: bringing people together and exploring what these (temporary) communities might be capable of.
__Snapshots from last week at The Party
The Party as Do-It-Yourself Learning Space
When I think of The Party, I see it as a kind of Do-It-Yourself Learning Space - a phrase I once invented for a personal research project that ended up winning a prize. Back then, this was my definition, and I think it more or less applies to this Queer Adventure we have been up to here:
__Do-It-Yourself Learning Spaces redefine what learning can look like, what desirable outcomes are, and what knowledge and capacities are needed in the world of today. Grounded in a sense of meaning and purpose, they are facilitated by individuals operating at the grassroots and in the cracks of the system.
Now before you get startled about some imposition that we must learn at all the times - this is not school, this is Life, and this is Life in spaces we choose to be in at our own will. Learning works best when we play, riding the wave of energy of our desire to engage with a situation, without expectations, without an outcome in mind, just open and curious. This way, Life will make us learn from Experience effortlessly. Schools, in contrast, do a terrible thing: they spoil the fun of learning and alienate people from their natural curiosity. I could write an entire rant about this - it was once my field of research - but now I first want to share some dreams I had about dysfunctional systems and how to change them.
Dreaming of a Community
__Someone said: We can't be Free if we don't Belong
__Tattoos of another After Guest
I have been dreaming about nothing other than building community lately. Not just in waking life, also in my actual sleep. It started around Christmas, when suddenly I started seeing the same faces in different spaces over and over again. For the first time I was getting a sense of a Village emerging and hearing this experience reflected in conversations with others. Since then, it seems like the more we've been talking about it, the more tangible it is becoming. A feeling of familiarity has been emerging among people that is almost uncanny, if you consider that most of us have only known each other for a few months, weeks, or even just hours. Things can go fast if we open up to each other very quickly - our doors, bodies, hearts.
André Fau, me, and a group of people (the Village) were on a piece of land with a river flowing around it. We stood around a pile of materials the state had given us to build a house. It came with an instructor and a detailed manual of how to put it together. But we looked at it and decided to use that material in a completely unexpected way: to build something far more beautiful than the original plan foresaw.
André Fau, me, and the Village stood among the remnants of what had once been our prison. What we had done was taking all the materials that were there and use them to transform that space into something else entirely. It felt amazing and we were looking at our work in awe and with great satisfaction. One of the things we did was growing ginger roots through all the spaces - they can grow underneath walls to the other side. Ginger is a rhizome: an organism that doesn't have a center and can develop from all different points.
The image that is emerging is quite obvious:
__We take what is already there in the Old Reality (that's all we have) and use it in unexpected and surprising ways to build the New Reality - from the inside out. Our greatest resource and catalyst for this process is us: when we each shine and combine our energy, skills, and creativity, we can grow this Social Organism / Social Sculpture from all directions.
Now that would be something to work towards, and in nearly all dreams I remember having since, I am busy figuring out how to do it. Luckily...
People have done this before!
In a conversation I had with Fran, they remarked that the principles outlined in Partyfiesto are reminiscent of hedonism and __Epicurian communities. To refresh my understanding, I decided to do a little research. Epicurus was born on the island of Samos in the late 4th century BC. Why we know of him today is because he initiated a movement based on the question how life could be lived as art (basically). Together with his friends, he created a learning community around the philosophy we came to know as hedonism, saying in short:
__Pleasure, pursued intelligently and ethically, is the goal of life.
These people - a mix of free citizens (men), slaves, and women - mobilised forces and drew on each other's financial means to purchase land. It was on the outskirts of Athens where they founded their first Garden, a place where they were studying, living, hosting, and partying together. It became the blueprint for other Garden communities sprouting up across ancient Greece, __their network being carried by friendship, which was taken so seriously that it was considered an object of worship.
Good for us: they documented their life research in a bunch of publications still available today. For example, they wrote about practicing honesty with each other in order to learn (Philodemus on Frank Speech), investigated negative personality traits, and developed measures to overcome them. I am thinking, if they could outsmart their Old Reality and create a new one from the inside out, we can do it too. Writing it in Real Time as we go.
For now, I close with this newly invented and warmly received Toast by another Host:
__Cheers to Sluts building each other up!
__See you at The Party xxx
P.S.: Maria-Paula is looking for a room or apartment in Berlin from May. Hit us up if you have any leads! This is Maria-Paula and me, self-declared Ficken3000 Icons, on Christmas 2022 (when it all started):