Barbara Bickel

To see the full blog with writings go to barbarabickelart.tumblr.com

Nomadic Inquiry

From January to July 2015 my creative life partner R. Michael Fisher and I embarked on a nomadic journey and I became a blogger. In July 2017 we entered a new juncture of nomadic travelling-- returning to Canada after 9 years of living in the USA. I continue to post new blogs. Earlier blogs are archived.

tumblr photo tumblr photo
Posted 1 week ago
<p><i>Lucid Transmissions</i> is a collaboratively made artwork created with my life partner R. Michael Fisher. It is a mixed media 3 x 2 ft artwork on canvas that incorporates the following materials; acrylic paint, pencil crayon, ink, paper, tissue, thread, fabric, balsam tree bark and buds, lichen and tumbled stones.  Upon my return last October from my solo artist residency in Banff, I entered Studio M* to find that Michael had brought a 9 foot fallen limb from a local balsam poplar tree into the studio. Having made a commitment to spontaneously play with each other in the studio, we began to play with this tree. This artwork is the second creative interaction with the limb. The artworking began when we took the bark off and collaged pieces of it onto a black gesso-painted canvas. Thus began the almost 3 month processual back and forth aesthetic dialogue with each other and the artworking through the oracular medium of creativity. It draws from each of our aesthetic and formal skills but is a unique outcome that does not resemble either of us as individual artists. It has been a grounding relational practice of recovery for us as a couple post-academic institutional life. We will be co-inquiring more deeply and writing further about the process. The found poem below, inspired by 3 philosopher’s quotes and the artwork is the first textual entry into our arts-based co-inquiry. The original quotes were chosen somewhat randomly prior to working on the art.  <b><br/></b></p><p><b>Ludic
Transmissions </b></p><p>Every instinct carries within<br/>itself a power of variation,<br/>ludic, in the widest sense of the word</p><p>Adaptation never comes without
inventiveness.<br/>Expressivity and creativity are the cutting
edge<br/>of the genesis of forms<br/>of life…. instinct          sensitive<br/>to the relations between<br/>particular elements<br/>composing the lived situation</p><p>War is everywhere and nowhere.<br/>It wants to see human bodies<br/>spread out on the same plane,<br/>at its direct disposal,<br/>sometimes cutting down possibilities of
movement,<br/>sometimes           opening them up </p><p>I and non-I, realizes the passage,<br/>onto a matrixial screen of vision,<br/>interwoven psychic imprints,<br/>traces and waves,<br/>from what is otherwise—either<br/>irredeemably lost<br/>or a potentiality,<br/>not-yet-born </p><p>Procedure or object,<br/>a phantasm         filtered inside trauma<br/>appears as its trace,<br/>… this assemblage is not private<br/>nor individual….</p><p>Shared subjectivity and
trans-subjective-objects open<br/>aesthetic channels<br/>for transmissions,<br/>exchange and inscriptions via artworks,<br/>but it is artworking that offers<br/>this sphere          the means for seizing
itself</p><p>Barbara Bickel & R. Michael Fisher,
January 2018</p><p>Found Poem with text in the following order
from:</p><p>R. Ruyer found in B. Massumi. <i>What Animals Teach Us About Politics,</i> Durham: Duke University Press<i>. </i>2014
pp. 13-14</p><p>Virtanen & Vahamaki. <i>The Structure of
Change: An Introduction. Ephermera Journal, Vol. 5(10), </i>2005, p. 665.</p><p>Ettinger, B L. Beauty and trauma. (extract
from “Beauty and wound: </p><p>Trans-subjectivity
in art” colloque <i>Art et Clinique</i>.
Mac-Mus?e de Marseille, </p><p>BLE Atelier.
Retrieved August 20, 2010 from <a href="http://www.thing.net/eyebeam/">http://www.thing.net/eyebeam/</a> msg00403. html.
1998.</p>

Lucid Transmissions is a collaboratively made artwork created with my life partner R. Michael Fisher. It is a mixed media 3 x 2 ft artwork on canvas that incorporates the following materials; acrylic paint, pencil crayon, ink, paper, tissue, thread, fabric, balsam tree bark and buds, lichen and tumbled stones.  Upon my return last October from my solo artist residency in Banff, I entered Studio M* to find that Michael had brought a 9 foot fallen limb from a local balsam poplar tree into the studio. Having made a commitment to spontaneously play with each other in the studio, we began to play with this tree. This artwork is the second creative interaction with the limb. The artworking began when we took the bark off and collaged pieces of it onto a black gesso-painted canvas. Thus began the almost 3 month processual back and forth aesthetic dialogue with each other and the artworking through the oracular medium of creativity. It draws from each of our aesthetic and formal skills but is a unique outcome that does not resemble either of us as individual artists. It has been a grounding relational practice of recovery for us as a couple post-academic institutional life. We will be co-inquiring more deeply and writing further about the process. The found poem below, inspired by 3 philosopher’s quotes and the artwork is the first textual entry into our arts-based co-inquiry. The original quotes were chosen somewhat randomly prior to working on the art. 

Ludic Transmissions

Every instinct carries within
itself a power of variation,
ludic, in the widest sense of the word

Adaptation never comes without inventiveness.
Expressivity and creativity are the cutting edge
of the genesis of forms
of life…. instinct          sensitive
to the relations between
particular elements
composing the lived situation

War is everywhere and nowhere.
It wants to see human bodies
spread out on the same plane,
at its direct disposal,
sometimes cutting down possibilities of movement,
sometimes           opening them up

I and non-I, realizes the passage,
onto a matrixial screen of vision,
interwoven psychic imprints,
traces and waves,
from what is otherwise—either
irredeemably lost
or a potentiality,
not-yet-born

Procedure or object,
a phantasm         filtered inside trauma
appears as its trace,
… this assemblage is not private
nor individual….

Shared subjectivity and trans-subjective-objects open
aesthetic channels
for transmissions,
exchange and inscriptions via artworks,
but it is artworking that offers
this sphere          the means for seizing itself

Barbara Bickel & R. Michael Fisher, January 2018

Found Poem with text in the following order from:

R. Ruyer found in B. Massumi. What Animals Teach Us About Politics, Durham: Duke University Press. 2014 pp. 13-14

Virtanen & Vahamaki. The Structure of Change: An Introduction. Ephermera Journal, Vol. 5(10), 2005, p. 665.

Ettinger, B L. Beauty and trauma. (extract from “Beauty and wound:

Trans-subjectivity in art” colloque Art et Clinique. Mac-Mus?e de Marseille,

BLE Atelier. Retrieved August 20, 2010 from http://www.thing.net/eyebeam/ msg00403. html. 1998.

Posted 5 weeks ago
<p><b>Recognizing Each Other Through Art, Ritual, and Dreams<br/></b><br/>“Keep your soul present to what we are being instructed in at this time, because out of the darkness comes so much breakthrough, it is a gestation period, a time of creativity.”</p><p>“Ritual is so important for the psyche and cosmos connecting again.” <br/>Matthew Fox<br/></p><p>This blog is inspired by women’s “truth telling.” It invokes a remembering of the power of women’s voices joined in unison for the healing of our wounded world.<br/></p><p>Releasing our indigenous selves through dreams, rituals and the creation of sacred objects is explored by <a href="http://soulpassages.ca/about/">Sarah Kerr</a>, a ritualist, artist and death doula, I recently met in Calgary. Her dissertation (2012) reveals the initiation journey as a shamanic inquiry. She wrote in her abstract: <br/><br/>“What can be learned by attending to the intersecting experiences of dreams, rituals, and the creation and use of sacred 		 objects? Underlying this question is a deeper interest in what happens when a dreamer/ritualist/artist attempts to channel 		 healing energy between the worlds on behalf of another person, a process that was discovered to be shamanic in nature.”</p><p>Early this fall, during my residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts, I met an interdisciplinary Australian artist, <a href="http://www.yantra.com.au/">Yantra de Vilder</a>, who wrote her dissertation (2016) on the artistic moment of <i>Ma</i>, building upon her masters thesis on trance and art. An excerpt from her abstract: <br/></p><p>“[this study] investigates and analyses the processes that can be used in recording, rehearsal and performance to create a state 		 that goes beyond time and personality – a between place, a space [she] refer[s] to as the Artistic Moment and view[s] through the lens of the Japanese concept of Ma.” <br/></p><p>Yantra enters the gateway into the creative trance state through collaboration and improvisation. <br/></p><p>My long time friend and colleague <a href="https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/items/1.0072473">Nané Jordan</a>, an artist, writer, scholar and birth doula, also wrote a sacred arts and ritual infused dissertation (2011) on the curriculum of a women’s spirituality graduate program. She wrote in her abstract:</p><p>"The woman-centred curriculum re-claims women’s history, pre-history, spiritual experience, social contributions and creative 	 expressions by integrating<br/>scholarly research, feminist perspectives and analysis, goddesses, activism, ritual, spiritual	 practices, and the arts. Through individual and collective processes of self-inquiry, healing and transformation, faculty and 		 students contribute to new knowledge and social practices that can holistically address<br/>local and global challenges of gender, social and ecological justice. This dissertation artfully illuminates intersections of spirituality and feminism in education that remain little known or understood.”<br/></p><p>	 As I engage with these women’s creative, ritual and academic work in this Solstice season of the dark, I am prompted to return to my own dissertation which explored similar ideas with a group of 13 women spiritual leaders. What evolved in the <a href="http://barbarabickel.netfirms.com/barbarabickel.com/phd/index.html">mindful co-a/r/tographic study</a> (2008) with these women of differing faith traditions was a relational worldview where we each transcended our individual spiritual and religious identities, and regarded and held each other as sacred aspects of the Divine. We came to this through the practice of ritual and trance inquiry, art-making and performing together. It was a powerful life enriching and at times exhausting undertaking taken on within the secular institution of the University. <br/></p><p>Walking and making labyrinths became my grounding practice that has continued for me. The labyrinth itself is a multi-faith symbol that reaches across cultures and times, as far back as the neolithic and bronze age. The labyrinth became an in-between women’s curricular <i>Ma</i> place for the women and I to enter trance and re-attune with our indigenous selves, and to recognize our Divine selves in each other.</p><p>Interestingly, each of the women whose dissertations I have introduced, live with an inter-spiritual understanding of the world that informs their art and ritual practices. I am inspired and moved by these studies and their teachings that create open and respectful recognition of all beings that interrelate in a global worldview of mutuality.<br/></p><p>Recently I have been exploring the generic aspects of the Indigenous Worldview through the work of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Arrows">Four Arrows</a>, as my life partner Michael is completing an intellectual biography on Four Arrow’s life work (to be published by Peter Lang early 2018). Four Arrows is an artist, activist and teacher who is calling for trance-based learning within education systems as a practice that can take us from fear to fearlessness. <br/></p><p>If we do not harness our indigenous selves and engage with the wisdom of ritual and trance-based inquiry and learning we are fated as a people to be hypnotized by forces that are evil. Our house is steeped in reflective, and sometimes fear-filled conversations on what is happening in the world and what appears to be a future with less and less sustainability. We talk about the world, and both its desires and needs in these days of lost truth/trust/respect and care for/with the other. The daily globally fed and growing worry and collective fear with its lack of compassion and care for the other is so very present in the current political climate. I am riveted by the "truth telling” being revealed in mainstream media, spoken by women– causing the twisted patriarchy to bow to the truth of their abuse of power and their use of fear to control and hurt women and ultimately all beings, human and non-human. </p><p>As these women artist scholars share, now is the time for entering the time/space of <i>Ma</i>, to dream and channel healing energy on behalf of others, for knowing ourselves and each other as Indigenous, as Divine. We are surely set for major reclaiming of a relational way of learning and unlearning. The good and beautiful work in each dissertation study above independently offers a reminder and a pathway to decolonize ourselves from the colonization of our spirits by a very toxic and out of balance Western worldview and imperialist democracy. <br/></p><p>In my current place of life integration I find myself returning to the rich and at times provocative work unearthed over the years in the company of mostly women. I am remembering and I am listening. I invite others to remember and listen in this time of such needed wide awakeness, re-teaching, change and transformation. </p><p>In closing, I gather a collective blanket of poetic words to wrap ourselves in from these four provocative teaching and healing studies. A prayer shawl to support the telling of truth that is emerging from more and more women in the world.<br/></p><p>Women<br/>experience
walking<br/>the
pilgrimage, entering ritual<br/>multiple
realms of knowing and<br/>not
knowing<br/>of
being and beingness<br/>that
spirit, through art<br/>leads
us to </p><p>collaborative
meetings<br/>facilitate
and expand the moment<br/>reverberant
in-between zones<br/>imbued
with pressure and release<br/>juxtapositions<br/>of
tension and surrender can result<br/>in
spiritual and creative emergence<br/>undertaking
the mysterious<br/>work
of the sacred</p><p>dreaming is a primary channel<br/>communication between the worlds<br/>a practice through<br/>which human dreamers can<br/>help facilitate the flow<br/>of healing energy into this world</p><p>rewiring
the senses is laden<br/>with
contradictions<br/>not
easy work</p><p>communion and transmission<br/>instances of transport<br/>between self and other<br/>when larger meaning is grasped and<br/>the interrelation of lives<br/>becomes apparent/transparent</p><p>We see ourselves in the other<br/>no matter the differences<br/>I am not alone in this work,<br/>I cannot do this work alone </p><p>Found Poem by Barbara Bickel</p><p>with excerpts found in the dissertations of:<br/>Yantra de Vilder, Nané Ariadne Jordan, Sarah Kerr, & Barbara Bickel<br/><br/></p><p>References</p><p>Bickel, Barbara. Living the divine spiritually and politically: Art, ritual, and performative pedagogy in women’s multi-faith leadership. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, 2008, p.7.  </p><p>de Vilder, Yantra. Towards the artistic moment: A personal exploration at the nexus of improvised inter-disciplinary and cross- cultural collaborative performance through the metaphor of <i>Ma. </i>Unpublished dissertation. Western Sydney University, 2016, p. 11.</p><p>Fox, Matthew. Science and spirituality: Together again. Retrieved Dec. 27, 2017 from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doYSdHWG2Ao">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doYSdHWG2Ao<br/></a><br/>Jordan, Nané Ariadne. Inspiriting the academy: weaving stories and practices of living women’s spirituality. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, 2011, p. 35.  </p><p>Kerr, Sarah. Dreams, rituals, and the creation of sacred objects: An inquiry into a contemporary western shamanic initiation. Unpublished dissertation. California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, p. 1.</p>

Recognizing Each Other Through Art, Ritual, and Dreams

“Keep your soul present to what we are being instructed in at this time, because out of the darkness comes so much breakthrough, it is a gestation period, a time of creativity.”

“Ritual is so important for the psyche and cosmos connecting again.”
Matthew Fox

This blog is inspired by women’s “truth telling.” It invokes a remembering of the power of women’s voices joined in unison for the healing of our wounded world.

Releasing our indigenous selves through dreams, rituals and the creation of sacred objects is explored by Sarah Kerr, a ritualist, artist and death doula, I recently met in Calgary. Her dissertation (2012) reveals the initiation journey as a shamanic inquiry. She wrote in her abstract:

“What can be learned by attending to the intersecting experiences of dreams, rituals, and the creation and use of sacred objects? Underlying this question is a deeper interest in what happens when a dreamer/ritualist/artist attempts to channel healing energy between the worlds on behalf of another person, a process that was discovered to be shamanic in nature.”

Early this fall, during my residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts, I met an interdisciplinary Australian artist, Yantra de Vilder, who wrote her dissertation (2016) on the artistic moment of Ma, building upon her masters thesis on trance and art. An excerpt from her abstract:

“[this study] investigates and analyses the processes that can be used in recording, rehearsal and performance to create a state that goes beyond time and personality – a between place, a space [she] refer[s] to as the Artistic Moment and view[s] through the lens of the Japanese concept of Ma.”

Yantra enters the gateway into the creative trance state through collaboration and improvisation.

My long time friend and colleague Nané Jordan, an artist, writer, scholar and birth doula, also wrote a sacred arts and ritual infused dissertation (2011) on the curriculum of a women’s spirituality graduate program. She wrote in her abstract:

"The woman-centred curriculum re-claims women’s history, pre-history, spiritual experience, social contributions and creative expressions by integrating
scholarly research, feminist perspectives and analysis, goddesses, activism, ritual, spiritual practices, and the arts. Through individual and collective processes of self-inquiry, healing and transformation, faculty and students contribute to new knowledge and social practices that can holistically address
local and global challenges of gender, social and ecological justice. This dissertation artfully illuminates intersections of spirituality and feminism in education that remain little known or understood.”

As I engage with these women’s creative, ritual and academic work in this Solstice season of the dark, I am prompted to return to my own dissertation which explored similar ideas with a group of 13 women spiritual leaders. What evolved in the mindful co-a/r/tographic study (2008) with these women of differing faith traditions was a relational worldview where we each transcended our individual spiritual and religious identities, and regarded and held each other as sacred aspects of the Divine. We came to this through the practice of ritual and trance inquiry, art-making and performing together. It was a powerful life enriching and at times exhausting undertaking taken on within the secular institution of the University.

Walking and making labyrinths became my grounding practice that has continued for me. The labyrinth itself is a multi-faith symbol that reaches across cultures and times, as far back as the neolithic and bronze age. The labyrinth became an in-between women’s curricular Ma place for the women and I to enter trance and re-attune with our indigenous selves, and to recognize our Divine selves in each other.

Interestingly, each of the women whose dissertations I have introduced, live with an inter-spiritual understanding of the world that informs their art and ritual practices. I am inspired and moved by these studies and their teachings that create open and respectful recognition of all beings that interrelate in a global worldview of mutuality.

Recently I have been exploring the generic aspects of the Indigenous Worldview through the work of Four Arrows, as my life partner Michael is completing an intellectual biography on Four Arrow’s life work (to be published by Peter Lang early 2018). Four Arrows is an artist, activist and teacher who is calling for trance-based learning within education systems as a practice that can take us from fear to fearlessness.

If we do not harness our indigenous selves and engage with the wisdom of ritual and trance-based inquiry and learning we are fated as a people to be hypnotized by forces that are evil. Our house is steeped in reflective, and sometimes fear-filled conversations on what is happening in the world and what appears to be a future with less and less sustainability. We talk about the world, and both its desires and needs in these days of lost truth/trust/respect and care for/with the other. The daily globally fed and growing worry and collective fear with its lack of compassion and care for the other is so very present in the current political climate. I am riveted by the "truth telling” being revealed in mainstream media, spoken by women– causing the twisted patriarchy to bow to the truth of their abuse of power and their use of fear to control and hurt women and ultimately all beings, human and non-human.

As these women artist scholars share, now is the time for entering the time/space of Ma, to dream and channel healing energy on behalf of others, for knowing ourselves and each other as Indigenous, as Divine. We are surely set for major reclaiming of a relational way of learning and unlearning. The good and beautiful work in each dissertation study above independently offers a reminder and a pathway to decolonize ourselves from the colonization of our spirits by a very toxic and out of balance Western worldview and imperialist democracy.

In my current place of life integration I find myself returning to the rich and at times provocative work unearthed over the years in the company of mostly women. I am remembering and I am listening. I invite others to remember and listen in this time of such needed wide awakeness, re-teaching, change and transformation.

In closing, I gather a collective blanket of poetic words to wrap ourselves in from these four provocative teaching and healing studies. A prayer shawl to support the telling of truth that is emerging from more and more women in the world.

Women
experience walking
the pilgrimage, entering ritual
multiple realms of knowing and
not knowing
of being and beingness
that spirit, through art
leads us to

collaborative meetings
facilitate and expand the moment
reverberant in-between zones
imbued with pressure and release
juxtapositions
of tension and surrender can result
in spiritual and creative emergence
undertaking the mysterious
work of the sacred

dreaming is a primary channel
communication between the worlds
a practice through
which human dreamers can
help facilitate the flow
of healing energy into this world

rewiring the senses is laden
with contradictions
not easy work

communion and transmission
instances of transport
between self and other
when larger meaning is grasped and
the interrelation of lives
becomes apparent/transparent

We see ourselves in the other
no matter the differences
I am not alone in this work,
I cannot do this work alone

Found Poem by Barbara Bickel

with excerpts found in the dissertations of:
Yantra de Vilder, Nané Ariadne Jordan, Sarah Kerr, & Barbara Bickel

References

Bickel, Barbara. Living the divine spiritually and politically: Art, ritual, and performative pedagogy in women’s multi-faith leadership. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, 2008, p.7.  

de Vilder, Yantra. Towards the artistic moment: A personal exploration at the nexus of improvised inter-disciplinary and cross- cultural collaborative performance through the metaphor of Ma. Unpublished dissertation. Western Sydney University, 2016, p. 11.

Fox, Matthew. Science and spirituality: Together again. Retrieved Dec. 27, 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doYSdHWG2Ao

Jordan, Nané Ariadne. Inspiriting the academy: weaving stories and practices of living women’s spirituality. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, 2011, p. 35.  

Kerr, Sarah. Dreams, rituals, and the creation of sacred objects: An inquiry into a contemporary western shamanic initiation. Unpublished dissertation. California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, p. 1.

Posted 7 weeks ago
<p>I love this photo taken by my partner Michael during the talk I gave this week at the Lunch on Art talk entitled <i>From Artist to A/r/ographer</i> in the <a href="https://art.ucalgary.ca/">Department of Art</a> at the University of Calgary. The photo beautifully reflects the overlapping and blurry qualities of the artist, researcher and teacher roles at work in the  a/r/tographer. I was invited to give this talk on arts practice-based methods at the same time I was reading the newly published book that highlights the writing of my mentor Dr. Rita Irwin, edited by Mindy Carter and Valeries Triggs - <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Arts-Education-and-Curriculum-Studies-The-Contributions-of-Rita-L-Irwin/Carter-Triggs/p/book/9781138205437">Arts Education and Curriculum Studies: The Contributions of Rita Irwin</a>. Preparing for the talk and re-reading Rita’s work as well as my own and others writing on a/r/tography reminded me of how significant and timely this form of research is. In the past number of years I have not been writing directly on a/r/tography, yet it is always embedded and active in my work. To return to the educational home of my BFA and share the ideas and practices of a/r/tography to a new generation of artists and educators was a gift for me and I hope to those that attended. In this time of global uncertainty - politically and ecologically we need creative practices that consciously turn to a relational, critical and ethical way of coming to be, teach, know and unknow.  <br/></p><p>If you want to watch the ppt and hear the talk learn a bit about a/r/tography and my journey with it here is the link.</p><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/245451716">From Artist to A/r/tographer</a><br/></p>

I love this photo taken by my partner Michael during the talk I gave this week at the Lunch on Art talk entitled From Artist to A/r/ographer in the Department of Art at the University of Calgary. The photo beautifully reflects the overlapping and blurry qualities of the artist, researcher and teacher roles at work in the  a/r/tographer. I was invited to give this talk on arts practice-based methods at the same time I was reading the newly published book that highlights the writing of my mentor Dr. Rita Irwin, edited by Mindy Carter and Valeries Triggs - Arts Education and Curriculum Studies: The Contributions of Rita Irwin. Preparing for the talk and re-reading Rita’s work as well as my own and others writing on a/r/tography reminded me of how significant and timely this form of research is. In the past number of years I have not been writing directly on a/r/tography, yet it is always embedded and active in my work. To return to the educational home of my BFA and share the ideas and practices of a/r/tography to a new generation of artists and educators was a gift for me and I hope to those that attended. In this time of global uncertainty - politically and ecologically we need creative practices that consciously turn to a relational, critical and ethical way of coming to be, teach, know and unknow. 

If you want to watch the ppt and hear the talk learn a bit about a/r/tography and my journey with it here is the link.

From Artist to A/r/tographer

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Nomadic Inquiry

From January to July 2015 my creative life partner R. Michael Fisher and I embarked on a nomadic journey and I became a blogger. In July 2017 we entered a new juncture of nomadic travelling-- returning to Canada after 9 years of living in the USA. I continue to post new blogs. Earlier blogs are archived.

tumblr photo tumblr photo
Posted 1 week ago
<p><i>Lucid Transmissions</i> is a collaboratively made artwork created with my life partner R. Michael Fisher. It is a mixed media 3 x 2 ft artwork on canvas that incorporates the following materials; acrylic paint, pencil crayon, ink, paper, tissue, thread, fabric, balsam tree bark and buds, lichen and tumbled stones.  Upon my return last October from my solo artist residency in Banff, I entered Studio M* to find that Michael had brought a 9 foot fallen limb from a local balsam poplar tree into the studio. Having made a commitment to spontaneously play with each other in the studio, we began to play with this tree. This artwork is the second creative interaction with the limb. The artworking began when we took the bark off and collaged pieces of it onto a black gesso-painted canvas. Thus began the almost 3 month processual back and forth aesthetic dialogue with each other and the artworking through the oracular medium of creativity. It draws from each of our aesthetic and formal skills but is a unique outcome that does not resemble either of us as individual artists. It has been a grounding relational practice of recovery for us as a couple post-academic institutional life. We will be co-inquiring more deeply and writing further about the process. The found poem below, inspired by 3 philosopher’s quotes and the artwork is the first textual entry into our arts-based co-inquiry. The original quotes were chosen somewhat randomly prior to working on the art.  <b><br/></b></p><p><b>Ludic
Transmissions </b></p><p>Every instinct carries within<br/>itself a power of variation,<br/>ludic, in the widest sense of the word</p><p>Adaptation never comes without
inventiveness.<br/>Expressivity and creativity are the cutting
edge<br/>of the genesis of forms<br/>of life…. instinct          sensitive<br/>to the relations between<br/>particular elements<br/>composing the lived situation</p><p>War is everywhere and nowhere.<br/>It wants to see human bodies<br/>spread out on the same plane,<br/>at its direct disposal,<br/>sometimes cutting down possibilities of
movement,<br/>sometimes           opening them up </p><p>I and non-I, realizes the passage,<br/>onto a matrixial screen of vision,<br/>interwoven psychic imprints,<br/>traces and waves,<br/>from what is otherwise—either<br/>irredeemably lost<br/>or a potentiality,<br/>not-yet-born </p><p>Procedure or object,<br/>a phantasm         filtered inside trauma<br/>appears as its trace,<br/>… this assemblage is not private<br/>nor individual….</p><p>Shared subjectivity and
trans-subjective-objects open<br/>aesthetic channels<br/>for transmissions,<br/>exchange and inscriptions via artworks,<br/>but it is artworking that offers<br/>this sphere          the means for seizing
itself</p><p>Barbara Bickel & R. Michael Fisher,
January 2018</p><p>Found Poem with text in the following order
from:</p><p>R. Ruyer found in B. Massumi. <i>What Animals Teach Us About Politics,</i> Durham: Duke University Press<i>. </i>2014
pp. 13-14</p><p>Virtanen & Vahamaki. <i>The Structure of
Change: An Introduction. Ephermera Journal, Vol. 5(10), </i>2005, p. 665.</p><p>Ettinger, B L. Beauty and trauma. (extract
from “Beauty and wound: </p><p>Trans-subjectivity
in art” colloque <i>Art et Clinique</i>.
Mac-Mus?e de Marseille, </p><p>BLE Atelier.
Retrieved August 20, 2010 from <a href="http://www.thing.net/eyebeam/">http://www.thing.net/eyebeam/</a> msg00403. html.
1998.</p>

Lucid Transmissions is a collaboratively made artwork created with my life partner R. Michael Fisher. It is a mixed media 3 x 2 ft artwork on canvas that incorporates the following materials; acrylic paint, pencil crayon, ink, paper, tissue, thread, fabric, balsam tree bark and buds, lichen and tumbled stones.  Upon my return last October from my solo artist residency in Banff, I entered Studio M* to find that Michael had brought a 9 foot fallen limb from a local balsam poplar tree into the studio. Having made a commitment to spontaneously play with each other in the studio, we began to play with this tree. This artwork is the second creative interaction with the limb. The artworking began when we took the bark off and collaged pieces of it onto a black gesso-painted canvas. Thus began the almost 3 month processual back and forth aesthetic dialogue with each other and the artworking through the oracular medium of creativity. It draws from each of our aesthetic and formal skills but is a unique outcome that does not resemble either of us as individual artists. It has been a grounding relational practice of recovery for us as a couple post-academic institutional life. We will be co-inquiring more deeply and writing further about the process. The found poem below, inspired by 3 philosopher’s quotes and the artwork is the first textual entry into our arts-based co-inquiry. The original quotes were chosen somewhat randomly prior to working on the art. 

Ludic Transmissions

Every instinct carries within
itself a power of variation,
ludic, in the widest sense of the word

Adaptation never comes without inventiveness.
Expressivity and creativity are the cutting edge
of the genesis of forms
of life…. instinct          sensitive
to the relations between
particular elements
composing the lived situation

War is everywhere and nowhere.
It wants to see human bodies
spread out on the same plane,
at its direct disposal,
sometimes cutting down possibilities of movement,
sometimes           opening them up

I and non-I, realizes the passage,
onto a matrixial screen of vision,
interwoven psychic imprints,
traces and waves,
from what is otherwise—either
irredeemably lost
or a potentiality,
not-yet-born

Procedure or object,
a phantasm         filtered inside trauma
appears as its trace,
… this assemblage is not private
nor individual….

Shared subjectivity and trans-subjective-objects open
aesthetic channels
for transmissions,
exchange and inscriptions via artworks,
but it is artworking that offers
this sphere          the means for seizing itself

Barbara Bickel & R. Michael Fisher, January 2018

Found Poem with text in the following order from:

R. Ruyer found in B. Massumi. What Animals Teach Us About Politics, Durham: Duke University Press. 2014 pp. 13-14

Virtanen & Vahamaki. The Structure of Change: An Introduction. Ephermera Journal, Vol. 5(10), 2005, p. 665.

Ettinger, B L. Beauty and trauma. (extract from “Beauty and wound:

Trans-subjectivity in art” colloque Art et Clinique. Mac-Mus?e de Marseille,

BLE Atelier. Retrieved August 20, 2010 from http://www.thing.net/eyebeam/ msg00403. html. 1998.

Posted 5 weeks ago
<p><b>Recognizing Each Other Through Art, Ritual, and Dreams<br/></b><br/>“Keep your soul present to what we are being instructed in at this time, because out of the darkness comes so much breakthrough, it is a gestation period, a time of creativity.”</p><p>“Ritual is so important for the psyche and cosmos connecting again.” <br/>Matthew Fox<br/></p><p>This blog is inspired by women’s “truth telling.” It invokes a remembering of the power of women’s voices joined in unison for the healing of our wounded world.<br/></p><p>Releasing our indigenous selves through dreams, rituals and the creation of sacred objects is explored by <a href="http://soulpassages.ca/about/">Sarah Kerr</a>, a ritualist, artist and death doula, I recently met in Calgary. Her dissertation (2012) reveals the initiation journey as a shamanic inquiry. She wrote in her abstract: <br/><br/>“What can be learned by attending to the intersecting experiences of dreams, rituals, and the creation and use of sacred 		 objects? Underlying this question is a deeper interest in what happens when a dreamer/ritualist/artist attempts to channel 		 healing energy between the worlds on behalf of another person, a process that was discovered to be shamanic in nature.”</p><p>Early this fall, during my residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts, I met an interdisciplinary Australian artist, <a href="http://www.yantra.com.au/">Yantra de Vilder</a>, who wrote her dissertation (2016) on the artistic moment of <i>Ma</i>, building upon her masters thesis on trance and art. An excerpt from her abstract: <br/></p><p>“[this study] investigates and analyses the processes that can be used in recording, rehearsal and performance to create a state 		 that goes beyond time and personality – a between place, a space [she] refer[s] to as the Artistic Moment and view[s] through the lens of the Japanese concept of Ma.” <br/></p><p>Yantra enters the gateway into the creative trance state through collaboration and improvisation. <br/></p><p>My long time friend and colleague <a href="https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/items/1.0072473">Nané Jordan</a>, an artist, writer, scholar and birth doula, also wrote a sacred arts and ritual infused dissertation (2011) on the curriculum of a women’s spirituality graduate program. She wrote in her abstract:</p><p>"The woman-centred curriculum re-claims women’s history, pre-history, spiritual experience, social contributions and creative 	 expressions by integrating<br/>scholarly research, feminist perspectives and analysis, goddesses, activism, ritual, spiritual	 practices, and the arts. Through individual and collective processes of self-inquiry, healing and transformation, faculty and 		 students contribute to new knowledge and social practices that can holistically address<br/>local and global challenges of gender, social and ecological justice. This dissertation artfully illuminates intersections of spirituality and feminism in education that remain little known or understood.”<br/></p><p>	 As I engage with these women’s creative, ritual and academic work in this Solstice season of the dark, I am prompted to return to my own dissertation which explored similar ideas with a group of 13 women spiritual leaders. What evolved in the <a href="http://barbarabickel.netfirms.com/barbarabickel.com/phd/index.html">mindful co-a/r/tographic study</a> (2008) with these women of differing faith traditions was a relational worldview where we each transcended our individual spiritual and religious identities, and regarded and held each other as sacred aspects of the Divine. We came to this through the practice of ritual and trance inquiry, art-making and performing together. It was a powerful life enriching and at times exhausting undertaking taken on within the secular institution of the University. <br/></p><p>Walking and making labyrinths became my grounding practice that has continued for me. The labyrinth itself is a multi-faith symbol that reaches across cultures and times, as far back as the neolithic and bronze age. The labyrinth became an in-between women’s curricular <i>Ma</i> place for the women and I to enter trance and re-attune with our indigenous selves, and to recognize our Divine selves in each other.</p><p>Interestingly, each of the women whose dissertations I have introduced, live with an inter-spiritual understanding of the world that informs their art and ritual practices. I am inspired and moved by these studies and their teachings that create open and respectful recognition of all beings that interrelate in a global worldview of mutuality.<br/></p><p>Recently I have been exploring the generic aspects of the Indigenous Worldview through the work of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Arrows">Four Arrows</a>, as my life partner Michael is completing an intellectual biography on Four Arrow’s life work (to be published by Peter Lang early 2018). Four Arrows is an artist, activist and teacher who is calling for trance-based learning within education systems as a practice that can take us from fear to fearlessness. <br/></p><p>If we do not harness our indigenous selves and engage with the wisdom of ritual and trance-based inquiry and learning we are fated as a people to be hypnotized by forces that are evil. Our house is steeped in reflective, and sometimes fear-filled conversations on what is happening in the world and what appears to be a future with less and less sustainability. We talk about the world, and both its desires and needs in these days of lost truth/trust/respect and care for/with the other. The daily globally fed and growing worry and collective fear with its lack of compassion and care for the other is so very present in the current political climate. I am riveted by the "truth telling” being revealed in mainstream media, spoken by women– causing the twisted patriarchy to bow to the truth of their abuse of power and their use of fear to control and hurt women and ultimately all beings, human and non-human. </p><p>As these women artist scholars share, now is the time for entering the time/space of <i>Ma</i>, to dream and channel healing energy on behalf of others, for knowing ourselves and each other as Indigenous, as Divine. We are surely set for major reclaiming of a relational way of learning and unlearning. The good and beautiful work in each dissertation study above independently offers a reminder and a pathway to decolonize ourselves from the colonization of our spirits by a very toxic and out of balance Western worldview and imperialist democracy. <br/></p><p>In my current place of life integration I find myself returning to the rich and at times provocative work unearthed over the years in the company of mostly women. I am remembering and I am listening. I invite others to remember and listen in this time of such needed wide awakeness, re-teaching, change and transformation. </p><p>In closing, I gather a collective blanket of poetic words to wrap ourselves in from these four provocative teaching and healing studies. A prayer shawl to support the telling of truth that is emerging from more and more women in the world.<br/></p><p>Women<br/>experience
walking<br/>the
pilgrimage, entering ritual<br/>multiple
realms of knowing and<br/>not
knowing<br/>of
being and beingness<br/>that
spirit, through art<br/>leads
us to </p><p>collaborative
meetings<br/>facilitate
and expand the moment<br/>reverberant
in-between zones<br/>imbued
with pressure and release<br/>juxtapositions<br/>of
tension and surrender can result<br/>in
spiritual and creative emergence<br/>undertaking
the mysterious<br/>work
of the sacred</p><p>dreaming is a primary channel<br/>communication between the worlds<br/>a practice through<br/>which human dreamers can<br/>help facilitate the flow<br/>of healing energy into this world</p><p>rewiring
the senses is laden<br/>with
contradictions<br/>not
easy work</p><p>communion and transmission<br/>instances of transport<br/>between self and other<br/>when larger meaning is grasped and<br/>the interrelation of lives<br/>becomes apparent/transparent</p><p>We see ourselves in the other<br/>no matter the differences<br/>I am not alone in this work,<br/>I cannot do this work alone </p><p>Found Poem by Barbara Bickel</p><p>with excerpts found in the dissertations of:<br/>Yantra de Vilder, Nané Ariadne Jordan, Sarah Kerr, & Barbara Bickel<br/><br/></p><p>References</p><p>Bickel, Barbara. Living the divine spiritually and politically: Art, ritual, and performative pedagogy in women’s multi-faith leadership. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, 2008, p.7.  </p><p>de Vilder, Yantra. Towards the artistic moment: A personal exploration at the nexus of improvised inter-disciplinary and cross- cultural collaborative performance through the metaphor of <i>Ma. </i>Unpublished dissertation. Western Sydney University, 2016, p. 11.</p><p>Fox, Matthew. Science and spirituality: Together again. Retrieved Dec. 27, 2017 from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doYSdHWG2Ao">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doYSdHWG2Ao<br/></a><br/>Jordan, Nané Ariadne. Inspiriting the academy: weaving stories and practices of living women’s spirituality. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, 2011, p. 35.  </p><p>Kerr, Sarah. Dreams, rituals, and the creation of sacred objects: An inquiry into a contemporary western shamanic initiation. Unpublished dissertation. California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, p. 1.</p>

Recognizing Each Other Through Art, Ritual, and Dreams

“Keep your soul present to what we are being instructed in at this time, because out of the darkness comes so much breakthrough, it is a gestation period, a time of creativity.”

“Ritual is so important for the psyche and cosmos connecting again.”
Matthew Fox

This blog is inspired by women’s “truth telling.” It invokes a remembering of the power of women’s voices joined in unison for the healing of our wounded world.

Releasing our indigenous selves through dreams, rituals and the creation of sacred objects is explored by Sarah Kerr, a ritualist, artist and death doula, I recently met in Calgary. Her dissertation (2012) reveals the initiation journey as a shamanic inquiry. She wrote in her abstract:

“What can be learned by attending to the intersecting experiences of dreams, rituals, and the creation and use of sacred objects? Underlying this question is a deeper interest in what happens when a dreamer/ritualist/artist attempts to channel healing energy between the worlds on behalf of another person, a process that was discovered to be shamanic in nature.”

Early this fall, during my residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts, I met an interdisciplinary Australian artist, Yantra de Vilder, who wrote her dissertation (2016) on the artistic moment of Ma, building upon her masters thesis on trance and art. An excerpt from her abstract:

“[this study] investigates and analyses the processes that can be used in recording, rehearsal and performance to create a state that goes beyond time and personality – a between place, a space [she] refer[s] to as the Artistic Moment and view[s] through the lens of the Japanese concept of Ma.”

Yantra enters the gateway into the creative trance state through collaboration and improvisation.

My long time friend and colleague Nané Jordan, an artist, writer, scholar and birth doula, also wrote a sacred arts and ritual infused dissertation (2011) on the curriculum of a women’s spirituality graduate program. She wrote in her abstract:

"The woman-centred curriculum re-claims women’s history, pre-history, spiritual experience, social contributions and creative expressions by integrating
scholarly research, feminist perspectives and analysis, goddesses, activism, ritual, spiritual practices, and the arts. Through individual and collective processes of self-inquiry, healing and transformation, faculty and students contribute to new knowledge and social practices that can holistically address
local and global challenges of gender, social and ecological justice. This dissertation artfully illuminates intersections of spirituality and feminism in education that remain little known or understood.”

As I engage with these women’s creative, ritual and academic work in this Solstice season of the dark, I am prompted to return to my own dissertation which explored similar ideas with a group of 13 women spiritual leaders. What evolved in the mindful co-a/r/tographic study (2008) with these women of differing faith traditions was a relational worldview where we each transcended our individual spiritual and religious identities, and regarded and held each other as sacred aspects of the Divine. We came to this through the practice of ritual and trance inquiry, art-making and performing together. It was a powerful life enriching and at times exhausting undertaking taken on within the secular institution of the University.

Walking and making labyrinths became my grounding practice that has continued for me. The labyrinth itself is a multi-faith symbol that reaches across cultures and times, as far back as the neolithic and bronze age. The labyrinth became an in-between women’s curricular Ma place for the women and I to enter trance and re-attune with our indigenous selves, and to recognize our Divine selves in each other.

Interestingly, each of the women whose dissertations I have introduced, live with an inter-spiritual understanding of the world that informs their art and ritual practices. I am inspired and moved by these studies and their teachings that create open and respectful recognition of all beings that interrelate in a global worldview of mutuality.

Recently I have been exploring the generic aspects of the Indigenous Worldview through the work of Four Arrows, as my life partner Michael is completing an intellectual biography on Four Arrow’s life work (to be published by Peter Lang early 2018). Four Arrows is an artist, activist and teacher who is calling for trance-based learning within education systems as a practice that can take us from fear to fearlessness.

If we do not harness our indigenous selves and engage with the wisdom of ritual and trance-based inquiry and learning we are fated as a people to be hypnotized by forces that are evil. Our house is steeped in reflective, and sometimes fear-filled conversations on what is happening in the world and what appears to be a future with less and less sustainability. We talk about the world, and both its desires and needs in these days of lost truth/trust/respect and care for/with the other. The daily globally fed and growing worry and collective fear with its lack of compassion and care for the other is so very present in the current political climate. I am riveted by the "truth telling” being revealed in mainstream media, spoken by women– causing the twisted patriarchy to bow to the truth of their abuse of power and their use of fear to control and hurt women and ultimately all beings, human and non-human.

As these women artist scholars share, now is the time for entering the time/space of Ma, to dream and channel healing energy on behalf of others, for knowing ourselves and each other as Indigenous, as Divine. We are surely set for major reclaiming of a relational way of learning and unlearning. The good and beautiful work in each dissertation study above independently offers a reminder and a pathway to decolonize ourselves from the colonization of our spirits by a very toxic and out of balance Western worldview and imperialist democracy.

In my current place of life integration I find myself returning to the rich and at times provocative work unearthed over the years in the company of mostly women. I am remembering and I am listening. I invite others to remember and listen in this time of such needed wide awakeness, re-teaching, change and transformation.

In closing, I gather a collective blanket of poetic words to wrap ourselves in from these four provocative teaching and healing studies. A prayer shawl to support the telling of truth that is emerging from more and more women in the world.

Women
experience walking
the pilgrimage, entering ritual
multiple realms of knowing and
not knowing
of being and beingness
that spirit, through art
leads us to

collaborative meetings
facilitate and expand the moment
reverberant in-between zones
imbued with pressure and release
juxtapositions
of tension and surrender can result
in spiritual and creative emergence
undertaking the mysterious
work of the sacred

dreaming is a primary channel
communication between the worlds
a practice through
which human dreamers can
help facilitate the flow
of healing energy into this world

rewiring the senses is laden
with contradictions
not easy work

communion and transmission
instances of transport
between self and other
when larger meaning is grasped and
the interrelation of lives
becomes apparent/transparent

We see ourselves in the other
no matter the differences
I am not alone in this work,
I cannot do this work alone

Found Poem by Barbara Bickel

with excerpts found in the dissertations of:
Yantra de Vilder, Nané Ariadne Jordan, Sarah Kerr, & Barbara Bickel

References

Bickel, Barbara. Living the divine spiritually and politically: Art, ritual, and performative pedagogy in women’s multi-faith leadership. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, 2008, p.7.  

de Vilder, Yantra. Towards the artistic moment: A personal exploration at the nexus of improvised inter-disciplinary and cross- cultural collaborative performance through the metaphor of Ma. Unpublished dissertation. Western Sydney University, 2016, p. 11.

Fox, Matthew. Science and spirituality: Together again. Retrieved Dec. 27, 2017 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doYSdHWG2Ao

Jordan, Nané Ariadne. Inspiriting the academy: weaving stories and practices of living women’s spirituality. Unpublished dissertation. Vancouver, BC: The University of British Columbia, 2011, p. 35.  

Kerr, Sarah. Dreams, rituals, and the creation of sacred objects: An inquiry into a contemporary western shamanic initiation. Unpublished dissertation. California Institute of Integral Studies, 2012, p. 1.

Posted 7 weeks ago
<p>I love this photo taken by my partner Michael during the talk I gave this week at the Lunch on Art talk entitled <i>From Artist to A/r/ographer</i> in the <a href="https://art.ucalgary.ca/">Department of Art</a> at the University of Calgary. The photo beautifully reflects the overlapping and blurry qualities of the artist, researcher and teacher roles at work in the  a/r/tographer. I was invited to give this talk on arts practice-based methods at the same time I was reading the newly published book that highlights the writing of my mentor Dr. Rita Irwin, edited by Mindy Carter and Valeries Triggs - <a href="https://www.routledge.com/Arts-Education-and-Curriculum-Studies-The-Contributions-of-Rita-L-Irwin/Carter-Triggs/p/book/9781138205437">Arts Education and Curriculum Studies: The Contributions of Rita Irwin</a>. Preparing for the talk and re-reading Rita’s work as well as my own and others writing on a/r/tography reminded me of how significant and timely this form of research is. In the past number of years I have not been writing directly on a/r/tography, yet it is always embedded and active in my work. To return to the educational home of my BFA and share the ideas and practices of a/r/tography to a new generation of artists and educators was a gift for me and I hope to those that attended. In this time of global uncertainty - politically and ecologically we need creative practices that consciously turn to a relational, critical and ethical way of coming to be, teach, know and unknow.  <br/></p><p>If you want to watch the ppt and hear the talk learn a bit about a/r/tography and my journey with it here is the link.</p><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/245451716">From Artist to A/r/tographer</a><br/></p>

I love this photo taken by my partner Michael during the talk I gave this week at the Lunch on Art talk entitled From Artist to A/r/ographer in the Department of Art at the University of Calgary. The photo beautifully reflects the overlapping and blurry qualities of the artist, researcher and teacher roles at work in the  a/r/tographer. I was invited to give this talk on arts practice-based methods at the same time I was reading the newly published book that highlights the writing of my mentor Dr. Rita Irwin, edited by Mindy Carter and Valeries Triggs - Arts Education and Curriculum Studies: The Contributions of Rita Irwin. Preparing for the talk and re-reading Rita’s work as well as my own and others writing on a/r/tography reminded me of how significant and timely this form of research is. In the past number of years I have not been writing directly on a/r/tography, yet it is always embedded and active in my work. To return to the educational home of my BFA and share the ideas and practices of a/r/tography to a new generation of artists and educators was a gift for me and I hope to those that attended. In this time of global uncertainty - politically and ecologically we need creative practices that consciously turn to a relational, critical and ethical way of coming to be, teach, know and unknow. 

If you want to watch the ppt and hear the talk learn a bit about a/r/tography and my journey with it here is the link.

From Artist to A/r/tographer

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