Finding a Way into Field


On Jan 14, I will scribe in support of MITx’s course U.Lab: Transforming Business, Society, and Self, where we anticipate ~10,000 live viewers from across the globe. I’ll draw on blackboard, alongside a small delivery team of ~8, where Otto Scharmer will speak to Presencing, Theory U, and Matrices of Economic and Social Evolution, co-developed with Katrin Kaeufer and others. The content is largely explained in Leading from the Emerging Future, or, as I noticed today when writing: LET. (ps. today, the 5th, i realize this is not the correct acronym – but i will let it be…)

The play on this acronym alone got me wondering, practice-oriented wondering: What it is to help “let” something come through, let something come to be discovered, found? Moreover, what is it to represent a space of “letting” – which could also be called a field – through mark, often object-oriented and therefore more visually full than spacious? How to convey BEING, in a moment, in essence?

Two of my grandparents, Junius and Margaret Bird, were archeologists tapping into another kind of field, in Central and South America from the 30’s to 70’s, discovering – among adventure – textiles that defined the existence of pre-ceramic cultures. Old BC times they touched, far back, with a curiosity-defining approach.

What if the art of scribing serves as a field gesture far forward (trusting that our planet will endure it’s current set of crises) as a weaving of sorts, created of the field for the field, producing artifact aimed towards current and future cultural insight? In preparing for U.Lab, then, I hold a far-flung aspiration that the chalky drawings on charcoal grey, like hands stamped on cave walls, might help us engage with ourselves and each other in this “letting” context, revealing a realm of ready potential we can step into through the act of choice.

(Kandinsky tapped a sense-root with Point and Line to Plane. I’d propose this is the century in which artists consciously extend “to field,” representing not only the intangibles of “within”, but also seeking to give language to an intangible, perceived, surround. This is well underway. An aside example: painter Deborah Barlow.)

In further musing on the visual representation of all this, I started remembering previous depictions: outlined areas, crosshatched marks, flecks, washes of color, literal representation. Then, my mind wandered away from the language of it back to an experience of it, an EVOCATION…

a summer’s day in Bearsville NY… a Grandpa’s joy in sharing corn… a flagstone patio gazing on a wild meadow of a backyard… mesmerized by milkweed carried in air… teased by light… lit… let… let to be of nature… let to be free.

The moment suspended all else. The moment scaled to hold all else. Field within Source.

*THIS is the place from which to draw.