Thursday, April 26, 2007

A stone with a purpose.

Video still: Anti carrying the stone from the residence to the park.

I moved a stone, an obstacle that blocked the flow of creative thinking in the life of the children. What happens with stone when it has been moved? Does it remain an obstacle but just in a different location, or can it serve a new purpose?

Video still: Digging the hole.

During the exhibition ritual I promised to lay the 'altar' stone in the park that separates the house from the town. A symbolic gesture, wishing it to a stepping stone for the kids to the town and the foundation for new developments, connections, ways of thinking. Today I got confirmation that the stone has not become another obstacle in a new location, but that it has indeed has already become a stone with a different function as a rock, a foundation for something new.

Video still: Kids watching with interest.

I visited the director of the orphanage to thank him and to say goodbye. He thanked me for showing a different way of working with the children and that as a result he will think differently and will continue to do so in the future. Well that was just music in my ears. It gives me hope that change is always possible, no matter how 'stuck' systems or people seem. The Berlin wall came down, maybe one day the parameter fence of the orphanage will too. From the inside out hopefully as that would be most empowering.

Video still: All set.

The director cannot do this alone, he will need support from visionaries who can envisage change, new possibilities, different modes of thinking and operating. I hope he will have the courage to implement change. He has Szilvia as an ally, which is a great start. Accessing creative thinking is a crucial tool for growth. A simple art project as I did with the children can make a difference and is proof to me that access to the arts in its widest possible meaning is extremely important for humans and human development.

Video still: Tucking it in.

I derive great satisfaction from knowing that what I have set in motion will not stop with my departure. I am an idealist, wanting to move mountains, easily frustrated when they don't move the way I see possible. With online support from friends in New Zealand (Lynsey, Marica) and The Netherlands (Henriette) I have learned to be satisfied with the small subtle changes. There is no such thing as charity, there is always an exchange when one engages with other people, a teacher is also a student and the student is also a teacher. This is the foundation of critical pedagogy which, alongside writings by Paolo Friere has influenced my way of working with people and communities. This has been true in this project as well. I have learned so much and have been able to grow personally for which I am really grateful.

Video still: paying a spontaneous tribute.

So, I am saying goodbye to all the readers of this blog, as my role as Bridge Guard ends with my departure tomorrow. I will be traveling to The Netherlands and Turkey to film, followed by an adventurous holiday in Syria, what comes after that I have no idea. I will continue posting on my own blog: as I continue my Bardo, my journey of transformation. I know my life has changed as a result of my experience here. I plan to be back in Sturovo his summer to finish video projects and I hope embark on a new adventure as well that may begin in Sturovo. I will keep you posted. Thank you for your company and interest.

A big thanks to the town of Sturovo for the residence, Gyuri Himmler from the cultural association 'Sturovo and Vicinity' for providing local support and last but not least the initiators of the residency Karol and Hanneke Fruehauf.

The best of luck to Theresa Cebrian, the 8th Bridge Guard who will arrive shortly in Sturovo from Spain.

Marcel Baaijens, signing off as the 7th Bridge Guard.

Video still: I have embedded sacred New Zealand jade (Ponamu), the two halves of my pendant, as 'protection' on either side of the stone.