New Statement: FLOW

My creative practice this year has often returned to the theme of flow. Flow is also, of course, a way to describe the movement of quantities–swarms of insects, rivers of water, murmurations of starlings, or light. Flow is a psychological concept, a mid-point between challenge and feasibility written about in a book by psychologist/researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi PhD that was profoundly influential to me in 1991* .

Through creative practice, I’ve been practicing with flow in new ways. I’ve been working on being a steward of vision, a manager of the unknown. I’ve been working on being an energy-farmer, on figuring out how to be wisdom-gardener. How do I come to trust this flow? Are there swales for helping vision travel a bit more slowly through the soil of my life? In making these objects, I’ve experienced healthy flow. Sometimes I am joyously concentrated in the often repetitive acts of making these objects, in fascinating dialogue with the materials I’m working with and feeling the shifts in the ground around me. And I’ve experienced unhealthy flow–when too many ideas get tangled together at the headwaters, and making is stymied by planning. Or when I’ve walked myself into a fog of time pressure and feel the flow as thinned out, like a soup with too much broth and too little salt. Creative practice happens all the time, and gets everything involved: where the forks go in our kitchen affects where the paint lands on the plaster, and vice versa, with affects on the flow, the energy, and the vision being felt somewhere down the line.

This journey is certainly personal, and interesting to those of us who enjoy wholistic thinking, systems thinking, and design. But in retrospect, my wish that this work have some application to the macro issues of our global moment has been fulfilled. Wholistic thinking, while certainly not new, is by no means the operating language of our culture; flow is in competition with grid, the whole world round.

Pundits agree that in general, all kinds of flows are accelerating. With the advent of not just dominion, but irreversable domination of the earth, humans and human actions are literally flowing into every molecule of living soil, everywhere on Earth.

Will we accept complexity, and move into flow?

Will worship at the data shrine bring us into connection, into flow?  

* (TED talk:

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