CASAdelDRAGON in Cervera del Maestre in Castellon is a hotspot of contemporary art and invited the musician Andreu Ubach to perform one night with his extraordenary sound sculptures in the gallery.
Ubachs instruments are manufactured by himself, inspired by the Bachet brothers.
On Monday night Ubach explained and played on various sound sculptures and invited the guests to join the social process of making the sound of love.
In the beginning everybody was to shy to touch one of the impressive instruments. But Ubach and his charme moved everybody to join the performance.
Finding his own rhythm again and again and stimulate the other players to join his sequences is a big challenge for a professional drummer like Jordi Effe. But finally after more than 2 hours of constaniously playing the sound became a solid body and emitted some beautiful sequences of impressive melodies.
By changing position and instrument the group discovered again and again new rhythms and collages of sound pieces.
The very special accoustic environment of the little exhibition space in the house of the dragon moved the sound to magical impressions.
Overall we have to say thank you to Andreu Ubach for his short visit. We also want to underline the big help of Cecile in preparing the space and performing with Andreu in such an harmonic way that all guests where fascinated and impressed and highly motivated to join the performance.
The invitation to join social art projects is a neverending challenge for our community and we hope, guests like Jordi will carry these invitations ot other members of the village and abroad.
We grabbed some videos and sounds and we will publish it soon as possible.
In early summer 2019 Mihaela and Laura invited me to offer a workshop as part of her alternative schooling project in the village of Valenii de Munte, one and a half hours far from Bucharest.
To raise a child, it takes a whole village
Mihaela Stinghe (mother of 2 children, located in Bucharest) is doing homeschooling since more than 5 years and she developed several strategies to improve the outcome of her desire of an alternative and valuable education for her children. On one side she invites as much as possible other youth to join her activities and in summer 2019 she organised a little summer camp in her countryside mansion. On the other she invites other mothers like Laura to join the educative part and to expand the possibilities for the kids to develop relations to various adults.
With my invitation she went a step further. She challenged herself and the group to interact with a foreigner by using a foreign language and to share leadership in the design of daily activities.
In a first step the kids had to move hundred of old bricks from an neighbors garden to the right location, to select broken once, to pile them under different criteria.
They washed the bricks by using water from a river nearby and the tagged the wooden construction by drawing the outline of their hands and adding their names.
The youth measured the basement, cutted some roofing felt and calculated the amount of bricks we would need to create the basement of the oven. Then they started to fill the gaps between the stones with mortar.
Like baking a cake they tried to follow again and again the right recipe to mix the mortar and to finish the foundation (6 and + 2 cal + 2 cement + water). They also figured out how to center the iron barrel to define the fire chamber location on top of the basement.
The fire chamber under the iron barrel will heat up the inside of the barrel and therefor it has to carry the barrel. The engaged brick layer is discovering a suitable strategy to put bricks in place as well as not to loose the shape of the design of the chamber.
With creating the fire chamber we finished the first day of the workshop. The four stones at the top corners will support the iron barrel.
In the second day the youth continued the work to clean bricks, to select right dimensions, to mix mortar and to add them in a stable way to the construction. The preliminary end is shown on the left photo.
Organic education is a way to implement a social space for self orientated learning of youth in a natural environment. Some ingredients have to take place to improve alternative education.
Adults are initiating an activity and they are explaining goal, milestones, reason and motivation to do it. They advertise for help. They give up control in any step soon as possible and don’t try to push the outcome nor the daily results. They don’t judge about the individual contributions to the group result. They accept a different progress for all individuals. They even accept errors and failures as much as possible and if these mistakes need to be fixed they used them to offer the youth to develop strategies to fix it or to find workarounds.
They also accept all limitations of a given situation (technical or logistical problems or economic challenges). They explain their motives for any kind of interventions.
Homeschooling can be part of organic education if it leads to these habits of guidance. The isolation of one teacher in a classical school class is not a good foundation of sustainable learning, therefor also the single mother at home might be not a good idea.
Informal education is based on the social space in with a individual kid can decide about subject, teacher and time. In this workshop my subject was defined but it was so open and weak that below every youth could find a suitable activity (calculating, moving bricks, brick laying, mixing mortar, cleaning bricks or even playing basket ball, cooking, serving lunch or dinner).
More and more the Romanian society is suffering from loosing well-educated youth to other European countries. The only way throughout this might be to redesign education and to support initiatives like Mihaelas and to explore and develop alternative ways.
We have to realize that homeschooling might not be a solution for all youth in a society, because not all parents are capable to deliver this. Organic education is a way of education more than a quality of classical or alternative environments. It could take place in both, and it could lead to a future in which it might be a link between classical and alternative education, to gather the best of both ways.
Thanks to Mihaela, Laura, Pic and Serban for the opportunity to enjoy this experience. Thanks to Familiafeliz and my social network to cover costs and to support this workshops.
In summer 2019 ApeaL, a romanian NGO located in Bucharest, organized a new informal educative event for youth in the villages around Ciocanesti. It was the 10th edition of this summer school.
Serban Moldoveanu, the founder of CTS / ApeaL, invited me to offer a special workshop. According to my last contribution in 2018 – a workshop about lyrics only for girls – i proposed a workshop catering only for boys.
The workshop took place in the garden and open kitchen of Serbans property, which he used for a daily plenum after the summer school. This gathering of trainers and members of the management team – all recuited as youth out of the last years workshops – is always starting with a lunch.
My offer was, to organise this catering with youth as a workshop, challenging the mentality of the romanin boys a bit.
But it was also a challenge for myself.
Every day arround 10.30 am we started with cleaning up the workspace. Every day we talked about cleaning hands and tools and the responsability to cook for a number of staff members running the summer school as trainer of manager.
Every day we placed the raw food and herbs in order ( mostly 3 or 4 course menues). Every day we decided a responsible person for every course.
Every day we finished our task at 1.30 pm ready to serve the lunch.
My first challenge was the budget. As many NGOs ApeaL stick on private sponsors and personal engagement and one big donation didnt arrived.
Another challenge was the daily uncertanty about the guests we have to host for the lunch. We calculated for 30 menues, bit finally we had between 33 and 47 muenues per day.
The most challenging circumstance was not to know who would join my workshop. So every day we had a surprise, who was showing up. Beside a young guy named Robert and in the second week another guy named David there was no stability in the group, beside my brave and entusiastic german assistent Luzia.
Even a free translater was not in place every time.
The error is the source of innovation.
This workshop was also a big challenge for all team members. Every day at a fixed time we had to be prepared for the guests, no second chance, no excuses. Doesnt mapper what happened before, we had to work out a tasty and healthy solution for all.
This summer school, as many other educative initiatives in the field of informal learning, was an eye opener for me. The uncertanty about my staff crew explained me a fundamental difference in organising informal educational events. The kids where moving from one workshop to another. Like cherry picking they moved independent through all workshops and decided day by day where they wanted to show up.
And this seems to be not a fault, it seems to be a key feature of informal education.
Nevertheless we had every day enough youth in the team, even some girls shoed up and helped a lot.
I was not upset about this, because it gave me another chance to rewire the classical mentality in my own mindset a bit. These girls where looking boys in the kitchen working intensivly in having a good lunch for everybody. They get a real image from a boy putting onions or cleaning dishes and tools on the way to prepare the food.
Maybe these young woman will return in more classical orientated families, they will never forget the image of a boy cleaning and supporting actively the daily task of preparing the food.
One side effect of the workshop was even challenging the guests: no meat! The totally vegetarian food was accepted and we did our best to accomplish the mission by adding nice desserts and cakes and interesting variations of salads and vegetables.
We also started a documentation of this workshop for future summer schools as a blue print. We served more than 350 menues in 10 days of the workshop.
Lets put it in a quizz: 1. How many water we used for this (cleaning, cooking, drinking)? 2. How many waste we generated(paper, glas,plastic)? 3. How many manpower (hours per person) we spend on this catering at all (including shopping)? 4. How may money we spend per menue (3 or 4 or 5 courses)?
I will answer these questions in a later post 🙂 (link will be placed here)
Every day after lunch we came together for a plenum session to discuss the activities and challenges of the day and to place some requirements facing the management team. Part of it was also a direct feedback for our workshop result: in general they liked it a lot, especially sweet cakes amd fresh salads. Some where maybe to shy to apply for meat but everybody accepted the outcome.
I calculated with a group of 6 youth, in average i had 7, because of jumping from one workshop to another finally more tha 25 youth worked for one or more days in our team.
A lot of times we ask ourselves about the sustainable results of such an event, mostly trainers are motivated by having a change, a kind of development comparing start and end of a workshop. It was totally unpredictable what the real outcome will be. We will not know now, if it was a single event in the life of these boys or an important gate to develop in a certain different direction.
The only thing we are able to see is the growth of all these copii di Ciocanesti over the years, forming a happy family in time and enjoying the summer school, again and again.
Thanks to Luzia for extraordanary engagement and powerful support, Serban for making it possible to get such great moments in life, Pic for a huge ammount of hidden support and the great Laura for guiding the entusiastic boys day by day and translation work. Thanks also to Ioana for spending so much hours of private time to guide and help. And thanks to Rodica and Familiafeliz to sponsor this workshop.
And thanks to my private social network which is supporting me in delivering these workshops without fear and economical tension, like Antje & Corinna, Eddy & Angela, Cecile, Clara, Oana, Anita, Sorina, Francesc and Raquel. All these are my big heros of social entrepreneurship and a big light in the dark. Thank you for being part of my life!
A student excursion of the Martin-LutherUniversity Halle – Wittenberg to Spain – project Aquaponic – familia feliz (written by Nils Schlechtweg) 09.03. – 16.03.2019
This excursion had the aim to build an aquaponic system, we have already planned and realized it in smaller dimensions at University. Furthermore, our motivation was to learn something about life in the shared community of Casa del Dragon, the way of living and the culture in Spain. All these things were only possible due to the familia feliz, especially Juan Petry. He provided us a temporary home, a garden to realize our project and extend our research approach. Moreover, he showed us what it means to live together in a community and how to think sustainably. For our stay and for all we were able to learn there we say thank you!
What did we do this week? Day1: We arrived in Spain and moved in our accommodation.
Day2: We explored Cervera del Maestre, the garden of familia feliz and we made a plan for the next days. This included the building of teams, who were responsible for cooking and doing the dishes. In the afternoon we made a little trip to the beach of Benicarló.
Day3: The whole day we worked on our aquaponic system in the garden. The majority prepared and modified the tank and the water pipes. A small team of students went to a facility store and bought all supplies we needed for our project.
Day4: After breakfast we visited an ancient oil mill. There was a guided tour, which gave us general information about the press and the preservation of olives. Then we went on with the work in the garden. After lunch we visited the castle, the historical city-centre and the beach of Peníscola.
Day5: Before lunch we took care of the power supply, the tank positioning and the swimming platform and we began with the planning of the breeding station. Then we made a trip to Sierra d’Irta, where we had a great view of its special landscape.
Day6: On this day we worked intensively on our system, the breeding station and the electricity based on solar cells. Furthermore, some student groups helped Juan with the realization of a stone oven, the building of a historical line wall and tree cutting. Cervera del Maestre
Day7: On our last day, we finished our prototype system, got ready for the departure and said goodbye. We finished every day with a summary in which we discussed the daily achievements and results. Moreover, optional workshops about living in a shared community or “why does a man with wife and children go to Spain to become a farmer” were offered in the evenings.
How did the trip change our perspective?
Apart from that, we learned about the difficult realization of an aquaponic system.
This stay caused a change of mind on a psycho-emotional level.
So, some people changed their nutrition, thought about an environmental friendly life style or decided to learn Spanish.
We look forward to the next stay at familia feliz!
CASAdelDRAGON – the spanish location of familiafeliz – is a artist residence since more than 30 years. We hostet artists from all over the world. The visual artist Arlo Laibowitz visited us several times in 2018 and 2019. He partizipated in exhibitions, art performances and in the daily life in the familiafeliz community.
Artists are coming and going all the time. Arlo gave us a strong impact and high motivation to continue the project of hosting artists and give them space to develop their art projects. In a microeconomy driven world it might be not easy for a non profit orientated project without any public or private funding to organise accommodation, catering, hosting and social art activities but artists are also creative in finding solutions for that.
Arlo is working worldwide (Las Vegas, Shanghai, Barcelona, Valencia) and part of the burning community and engaged in figuring out new art performances based on temporal installations all the time.
Uncertanty is the space for evolution and the emergent feature of Love. Happy birthday, Arlo!
Arlo is a storyteller and he tells his stories by using the wide range of media which is available for contemporary artists of this century.
In his new project he will create a tree of love for the upcoming burning event NOWHERE 2019. He used crowdfunding to succeed (deadline beginning of june 2019). CASAdelDRAGON offer the space for premanufacturing the segments. Arlo will gather a group of supporters to prepare and move the parts to the festival in summer 2019.
Virtual worlds and media are playgrounds to discover and simulate reality in a laboratorial environment, but we should bring into account that we do this to face a glimp of reality and to get closer to the brain of others.
Arlo is passionated in cooking as well as in using all media to deliver the story, to reach the other, to get in touch with the audience and to get in touch with himself.
Nowhere is a good sample for his journey. It is a project to gather people, to enjoy the moment and to share happiness. The temporary momentum of the Tree of Love will remind us, to enjoy this moment.
The compost stack location we are calling Camp David as an homenage to our friend David from UK who was initiating the structure years ago. In May 2019 we started to repair and expand the space.
We can not control what happen, we have to control what it means.
Gerhard Schröder, former Prime Minister (1998-2005) of Germany
First we unmounted the rotten pallet wood and cutted wild herbs around the corner of the dry stone wall.
Later we prepared the foundation. We cutted the roots of the wild herbs as deep as possible and we separeted soil, little stones and roots.
We moved some natural stones from the Art Camp to Camp David. These stones where part of the dry wall where we have now the pizza oven. Have a closer look to the weel – the tire was a bit damaged after this tour…
As part of our strategy to minimise costs and entropy we used some bricks from local construction companies. The bricks came out of a old house in the village of Cervera del Maestre. The advantage for the construction company is easy to understand: less costs for garbage disposal.
In the frontline we places some of the heavy natural stones. Inbetween we placed some little stones and we added bricks from the backside to level the stone height for a next line of natural stones in the front side. The advantage of the little stones behind the bigger stones is given by the fact, that we expect a lot of water coming out of the bigger dry stone wall behind. In october 2018 we had 300 liter per square meter in less than 5 hours. The little stones behind and the pieces of bricks are holding back the soil.
On the way we used some carton to give lower wild herbs a strong disadvantage to grow.
According to the second law of thermodynamics you might have a closer look to this project. As we identify life in general as a system to lower entropy inside itself by rising the entropy outside in its environment even alternative communities should think about their environments before they judge to fast.
Rejecting the waste of the classical society – in this case the old construction material – would not transform and redisign a unwanted behaviour. The bricks are older than 400 years. They where burned in a time of less polution and smog. In the world of cosmetics these bricks are valued like gold for this.
If we want to establish another way on looking at the so called waste we have to expand the time frame in which we are acting. If you are just looking on the moment in which somebody dump construction waste into a bio dynamic garden area you will not get the whole picture. The bricks are manufactured in the 15th century. They are a very good storage of water. In storing the water they grow and get pulverized.
If you are looking the time frame of 1000 years you will start with a mineral material used 500 years to support life in a ancient house in Spain and you will continue with a water storage for the next couple of centuries. Finally you will end with a mineral material.
Less entropy equals more social behavior.
Camp David get famous in a historical view in being part of the peace process in middle east (1978). Whatever we do, we will meet a political implication. In this little project we try to make peace with the waste by using them in a best possible way, equal if it is the organic part inside of the compost stacks or the old bricks from a ruin in the mountains of Spain.
Permacultura Penyaflor is a hotspot of Permaculture activities and informal education near Tortosa in Catalunya. The space is founded by Cecile Thevenot and she invited a group of youth from Barcelona in 2019 to have a closer look to alternative living in the countryside.
Count by yourself: you can enjoy the illusion of a result once or you can enjoy every moment of the process.
The workshop (2 days, each time 4 hours) ended with success. The youth where able to test the stability of their work.
… but it was not the end of the story…
To protect the young plants form too much sunlight we added a roof with canyas. This amazing invasive plant is growing everywhere around rivers and creeks in Spain and was since ancient time a useful material for construction. It is flexibel and easy to move and to handle.
We connected the canyas with nods in two lines and linked them sometimes to the wood construction below.
To protect the plants from direction south west we used palm leafs between canyas. 8 leafs where enough for 3 square meter of wall (an it took us 5 minutes to fix it).
To have space for heavy pots with water and plants we used old wood from pallets.
After 6 hours we where ready to move all plants into the new buildung.
Life is a process, and – for us – infinite. The session of the youth was a milestone to reach the goal of having a shelter for the young plants. Cecile, a wwoofer from France and Juan continued the work.
Our world is focused on results, but in a process driven world a final result is an illusion. This shelter will be never finished and it will need attention and care over the next years. But on the way to return to compost and food for new generations of humans this shelter will be useful for the purpose of having shadow for the young plants of Permacultura Penyaflor.
The opposite of right for pessimists is wrong, for optimists it is left.
Compost is wellknown in literature. Homer wrote about it, Aristotle developed a theory of compost / humus. And if you have a closer look at the food chain, compost and all its creatures are the hidden leader in the circle of life.
David established a bigger location for our compost handling early in 2016 and maintained the space later in his short and long visits since 2018. This camp of bacterias and mushrooms is an important factor in our garden design.
Again and again David was unhappy with the situation and status of the stacks and the mixture of indrediences in the three different chambers.
According to Murphy all what might be able to go wrong will go wrong and even what might not be able to go wrong will go wrong equal.
Actually the fourth or fifths generation of supporters and contributers are maintaining the compost. And a lot of times we find new bio waste in the wrong section or useless quantities of gras or hay on top.
The compost as a symbol of health and life is also a good sample for the challenge to bind together people coming and going in a very dynamic environment to act for a specific usefull purpose.
We are not able to establish a ruleset, and not, because we can not create a list of rules under which the compost should be used. We have no chance to push through these rules and to keep them alive.
The only thing we can do is to invite people to use it in a propper way. And the minimum of right is here the right stack.
For sure we will not have the best compost, but we have the best possible compost.
The location is a bit abandoned in May 2019 and we hope we will add soon the section for terra preta (by using the materiall from the dry toilets).
The compost reminds always to the circle of life. So we are waiting for a new circle in developing this camp of davids compost stacks, as well as we are waiting for a return of its creator.
In April 2019 Permacultura Penyaflor hosted a group of youth from Barcelona. The group visit was organized by a local NGO from Sant Andreu and the reason for the trip to the south was, to give the youth some experience of alternative living in the countryside.
Cecile Thevenot offered some workshops and a guided tour passing important locations and installations on the plot.
Permacultura Penyaflor, Cecile and all the other helpers are donating their knowledge to a lot of guests per year, neither Cecille charged any money for hosting these 20 people for one week.
Cecile is very engaged in the region and abroad about Permaculture and alternative sustainable living in the countryside. She is aware about missleading effects of mass-consumption and together with herr old friend Pep and members of her family and wwoofers and friends and neighbours she try to establish Permacultura Penyaflor as a hotspot of alternative farming, alternative tourism and alternative education.
All this is happen without subvention, without any care or help of the surrounding society and even most of the parents of the youth from Barcelona had never heard anything about this amazing project in the south of Catalunya.
In ancient societies – and till now in some asian countries – it was a common behaiviour for guests to use the toilet of the host after being invited for lunch or dinner. These grounded people where knowing that organic waste has value (like the food) and is itself part of the natural alimentation of a vegetable garden.
When Cecile cook her hands deep in the waste she was searching for some insects and worms to explain the natural circles around compost. The youth where uncertain about this contact with “mother earth” but they where looking and listening carefully and concentrated. Nobody had to call for order. Nobody had to explain why this might be a pure and important lesson for life. Youth still have a fine sense to realize the importance of a source of knowledge.
In one other workshop we offered the group to build a shelter, mostly by using local organic material from the plot. The shelter will support shadow for young plants in summer and should be also a stable host against strong winds and to much rain.
By talking about tripods, triangles, nods, dimensions and construction principals we talked about mathematics, physics and chemics. It came along on the way to solve problems (stability of the construction, purpuse, risks) and it was not mentioned as a classical education session. Most important we talked 5 minutes about a technical solution to reach a stable position for a pillar and we worked hours on that.
Can you believe it, no smartphones at all… we as the trainers and teachers of this informal education events are paid with total attention by the youth. Looking in their faces we imagine the concentration in something important, a feeling of ballance between inside and outside.
Nothing is greater than the experience of realizing a project in a team and feeling the sense of engagement. Beside other positive sideeffects for the individual mental state we have to underline the fundamental advantage of informal learning: it is learning for a purpose, defined by the learner, not by the teacher.
Modern societies seperated the space for learning from the space for doing it. This was mostly initiated from weak members of a society who wanted to escape from the space of doing it, motivated by the advantage not to be in the global competition. The price we all pay for this are less and less well educated youth for complex modern contemorary societies.
Again and again each generation think it might know what is the best for the next generation by treating them with their old fashioned values. Again an again the outcome of people realize by taking their first individual steps in the society that they are not prepared for what they had to be prepared for. And again and again they route their children to the same temples of classical education and they argue, that their is no other way.
To empover the youth in getting the experience they are requesting for, is our first job. To empower them again, when they have their own children, to cultuvate more and more informal education around there kids… is the next.
People from Permacultura Penyflor are showing us the other way. We should take care about Cecile Thevnot and these people. They are facilitator, mentor, trainer, friend and they donate their knowledge and time. They give their best to the new generation, their attention and their love.