Memories – the birth of a dragon

CASAdelDRAGON – the house of the mindful dragon

Memories… with this article we open a new category in our blog. From time to time we will look back and we will add a piece of history about the roots of familiafeliz to the common memory of the internet. There was a form of life before the rise of the internet, yeap!

In May 2000 we started to build the dragon on the wall of our house. It became later a symbol for the spirit and mission of our spanish home.

To understand the allegory of the dragon on the wall we have to step back to 1979. At this time Juan was a high school student and he was invited by the teacher to prepare a lecture about the greek philosophers Sokrates / Platon. By preparing the lecture he fall in love with greek mythology and the way of storytelling. At the same time he was studying chinese IGING and the rich animal-based chinese mythology. The chinese dragon Long is a symbol of power, strength, and good luck for people.

In 1986 Antje, Juan and a lot of family members and friends started to rebuild the ruine in the Calle Las Parras 19 in Cervera del Maestre. In the begining Juan was looking local TV in some lonely evenings to get used to listen Castellano. He was really surprised to watch spanish TV. Nearly every news about foreign countries was about a country in Latin America. In every news he watched minimum one notice about Cuba and Castro… Europe… european politics… that didn’t happened in Spain TV at that time.

Fourteen years later we arrived at the top of the house and decided to add a big sculpture on the highest wall. This sculpture should deliver its own story, the story of outstanding people and beautiful memories of community life. And it should give a hint on the future, of the house, of the village and of Spain.

Juan & Juan and Martina working on the dragon shape

The dragon is placed around the chimney shaft. The dragon enjoy the warm temperature of the place. He is looking over the highest terrasse of the house and he is facing the north.

The dragon, as a chinese symbol for power, strength and good luck, is looking to the future of Spain. This future will be much more defined by what happened in Europe (in the north).

Based on the concept and a raw design Martina – a beautiful mind and professional german stage designer located in Cologne – worked out the body of the dragon in detail. On a roadtrip to the south – to visit the castle of Alcala de Xivert in the Sierra d’Irta – Gabi, Antje and Juan passed a place of an truck accident on the national road N340. Beside the street they harvested a lot of broken blue ceramic pieces.

the dragons body with more than 500 kg of mortar

After 3 weeks of work the top of the wall and the dragon became alive. Short after this the people from Cervera del Maestre named the house CASAdelDRAGON.

When we curated the first exhibition in the gallery of the dragon house in 2007, we decided to use the image of the dragon for the invitation card, as a common brand for the new art gallery in the village of Cervera del Maestre.

By delivering invitation cards in the region (Amposta, Alcanar, Vinaros, Benicarlo, Peniscola, Morella) we discovered that the house was well-kown from its sculpture on the wall.

Amigos I. – the first exhibition

A lot of guests enjoyed the first exhibition in the gallery. Many of them helped a lot in the last weeks before the opening. Some people where thinking that we quoted the history of the local dragon FARAM. It was not the case. The dragon on the top of CASAdelDRAGON is a more mindful, wise and peaceful version. In fact we added a new dragon to the history of the village and many years later the local youth started to celebrate their dragons in a yearly festival.

Since 2007 the CASAdelDRAGON organised more than 30 exhibitions localy and in other european countries together with professional art partners. The dragon is still looking to the north and is giving us a hint, from where we will receive our future.

Its all about love – ever!!

The dragon is also a brave and strong commitment to Cervera del Maestre. Over the last 50 years the wonderful citizens of this village welcomed foreigners from all over the world and more than 100 people from different nationalities (France, Belgium, Netherlands, England, Poland, Ukraine, Norway, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Australia, Switzerland…) decided to settle in the village. The spanish home of familiafeliz is bounded to the house of the dragon and all its visitors and guests. In Chinese culture, excellent and outstanding people are compared to a dragon. Our dragon welcomed more than 100 visitors per year, some where attracted by art, education or community life, others by gardening or bio construction. Some stayed for days, others for months. A lot of them became friend with the mindful dragon on the wall. All of them where really outstanding people. They created CASAdelDRAGON as a community work, with the dragon on the top.

Kitchen sink design – Social art in progress – Part 1

open kitchen sink design – playing around with the design

In September 2019, we decided to add a kitchen sink to the open kitchen project in the art camp. After building different fireplaces and a rocketstove, we wanted to add an option to clean dishes nearby, instead of having to move them back and forth between the Casa del Dragon and the garden.

A key element of the project was to re-use waste water from the dishwashing process to water plants in the lower art camp garden area, especially the fruit trees.

The wise creator knows that he is only a facilitator, using what is donated to him by others.

Juan Petry

Together with Rebekka, we played around with potential shapes of the sink area around an old almond tree. We talked a lot about the workflows and processes of serving food, collecting dirty dishes, cleaning and storing them for another lunch or dinner session.

Besides ergonomic and logistic issues, we focused on the social aspects of cleaning dishes. We wanted it to be possible for the dishwashing station to be used by several people at once, allowing for small teams to work together. We also wanted the people washing dishes to be able to communicate with others nearby.

 open kitchen sink design - foundation and ibc tank placement
open kitchen sink design – foundation and ibc tank placement

Once we agreed on a suitable design for the kitchen sink area, we started to build the foundation of the sink, the main part of the construction. When we decided on the location of the foundation, we considered that the nearby dry stone wall would need to be repaired in the future, respected the roots of the almond tree and allowed for enough working space for the dish washing team.

For the foundation, we used small natural stones. A refurbished ibc-conformed pallet was placed on top of cement stones. This construction supports the weight of the water tank and the elevation protects the pallet wood from termites.

open kitchen sink design - Rebekka as a new bricklayer in action
open kitchen sink design – Rebekka as a new bricklayer in action

Wherever possible, we used old construction materials. Iron pieces were used to increase the stability of the wall, holding nearly 600 kg of weight (0.6 cubic meter of waste water) in form.

 open kitchen sink design - basement and final position of the sink
open kitchen sink design – base and final position of the sink

Even the sink is a refurbished piece that was donated by a friend (thanks to Angie!). To clean and fertilize the waste water, plants will be placed in the open area of the abc tank.

open kitchen sink design - worktable
open kitchen sink design – worktable

After finishing the raw structure of the sink, we added a worktable. In reference to the design of the open kitchen, we repeated a circular cutout between to pillars.

open kitchen sink design - service hatch for dishes
open kitchen sink design – service hatch for dishes

On one side, we added a space to collect dirty dishes. On the other side, we placed a service hatch for clean dishes. In the foundation, we placed a hole for better ventilation. It will be covered by a fine net to protect the inside from little animals.

open kitchen sink design - re-use of pallet wood
open kitchen sink design – re-use of pallet wood

The construction will also protect the stored items from the sun. The service hatch is designed to cover around 60 dishes and protect them from rain and dust.

open kitchen sink design - organic shape
open kitchen sink design – organic shape

Wherever we established a construction in a certain height we find glases and bottles lateron. A lot of visitors are likely to put used stuff wherever they stay. To work a bit against this habit we created a organic shape around the sink table. Later it will be also an invitation for next mosaic workshops to find another place to play with colors.

open kitchen sink design - natural fridge and storage under the worktable
open kitchen sink design – natural fridge and storage under the worktable

Nearly 300 bottles where used to create the circular wall, giving the worktable a solid foundation. In the center, we constructed a natural fridge, using a

open kitchen sink design - worktable platform
open kitchen sink design – worktable platform

We raised the outer arch of the circular shape and placed a piece of wood on the inner arch to create a frame for a 6 cm thick concrete platform. Small recycled iron pieces were added to the concrete, to increase the stability of the structure.

open kitchen sink design - plastering around the bottles
open kitchen sink design – plastering around the bottles

Next, we added plaster around the bottles and experimented with a new mix (6 soil : 1 cement : 1 lime). The challenge was to use the right scree to prepare the best mixture.

This kitchen sink is a piece of social art, supported and done by many people. One of the biggest contributors was for sure Rebekka. But also people like Angie from Benicarlo and David from Cervera donated materials to this structure. Many people collected bottles. Guests of the Casa del Dragon, like Amanda and Nina, prepared dinners for the hungry bricklayers. Others carried construction materials to the location. We have to honor all these people helping us to make this possible. Special thanks to Nina, Fronçois, Sacha, Youri and Ivan.

ceramic mosaic workplace

ceramic mosaic workplace design
Antje and Corinna selecting ceramics and playing with colors

In Summer 2019 we continued with some artwork in the open kitchen area of the color garden. The workspace for food, pizza dough and bread near the big oven in the dry stone wall became a work of art.

ceramic mosaic workplace - teamwork
Lisa from Germany is enjoying the flow of making mosaics

Our friend and guest in the CASAdelDRAGON Lisa joined this ceramic mosaic project. Like many other helper and supporter she contributed with a personal work and gave her “fingerprint” to the whole project of the color garden in Cervera del Maestre.

ceramic mosaic workplace - connecting people
Lisa, Antje and Corinna are using special glue for ceramics (waterproof)

Like other little projects this is real teamwork. By changing the position of working the group can balance the mix of colors, therefor the final result is looking like made by one single person.

ceramic mosaic workplace - the final view
The final result – the new ceramic mosaic workplace

Happy workers are enjoying their result. The new working space will be used in the open kitchen to prepare the food like pizza dough, bread or salads.

By enjoying the photos we like to remind you, that this social project of the color garden in spain is only possible because there are people behind the szene, working and donating to this.

It was a pleasure to be able to invite a friend like Lisa for a short retreatment in the CASAdelDRAGON. But we should keep in mind, its only possible because other silent beautiful minds are supporting a lot: Thanks to Eddy (Happy birthday!)and Angela !

From Chaos to Cosmos

familiafeliz Information Day september 2019

Information day – Familiafeliz | 2019-10-26 | 12578 Cervera del Maestre | Castellon | Spain

Obviously this greek mythology based title might irritate some guests of our upcoming information day but by looking closer to the ancient creation myths we find evidence for a neverending challenge of human mankind to substitute chaos and darkness with cosmos and light. Familiafeliz explore and develop a social space for personal happiness.

You should know in which type of game you are in – we are part of an infinite game.

Juan Petry

If you are interested in exploring an alternative way of living together in peace and harmony, embedded in social activities and a healthy environment and in friendly neighbourhood to classical societies, you are welcome.

We don’t share, we donate – and it’s important to understand the difference.

In most of the given economical systems you find always these clever people accumulating most of the ressources after a short time of grows and stability. If you organise people based on deals there are always some of them, being able to make the better deals. In Darwins competition modell this was an advantage in a growing market economy (last 5000 years) and it leads to an agony in competive market economies (next 5000 years).

If you sell and buy you organise your life in a classical economy. You divide societies in winner and looser. If you share you are focused more on social points than on money. Nevertheless you want to deal with you altruistic habit.. And a lot of times these commmunity designs leads to political, religious or environmental activism (and dogmatism).

We do not want to guide you in organising your daily life, we do not define what you should eat, should vote for or should believe, nor where you should want to live on this planet.

We host between 50 and 100 guests per year and a lot of times the visitors are wondering where this community showes up, and what are the binding features and advantages of being member of such an open minded weak community.

Redesign your idea of community! – Communities are created sometimes by locations (farmhouse), by terretories (country) or by skills (language), other are created by actions (platoon) or by believes (religion).

Familiafeliz is a communitiy based on a simple idea: well-beeing by donation without expectation.

Most societies are guiding their members by fear. Some of these members get tired and they like to leave these places of indoctrination. We might attract some of them but we are not a safe harbour being able to protect them from their fear: not, because we don’t want, because we can’t.

Leaving your comfort zone is a very personal journey and Familiafeliz try to establish a possible destination for those, who are looking for an alternative way of being by recommending their own responsability for their actions.

A lot of single mothers are asking us: how many kids are in place? A lot of environmental activists are asking us: do you reject to take airplanes and do you work on permaculture? A lot of spiritual people are asking us about gathering, ceremonies and meditation practice on a daily basis.

We try to be honest at all time and we give our answers based on the actual situation. But the real answer behind all this is: all this is up to you! Familiafeliz is not a ruleset and a new member has to fit in, it is a stage for personel development embedded in a trib of people gathered by the idea of respect and attention for the other and her / his well-being.

If you are curious to explore an alternative way of living for yourself, if you have time and ressources to meet us, we are happy to welcome you and to enjoy our information day with you. We can learn from you.

Check in here and announce your visit.

El sonido de amor – the sound of love

el sonido de amor – andreu and cecile in action

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.

el sonido de amor – a social sculpture is happen

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.

el sonido de amor – Jordi from Cervera del Maestre enjoyed his contribution

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.

el sonido de amor – the social aspect of art

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.

el sonido de amor – sound sculptures

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.

Klangprobe – sound sculptures by Andreu Ubach

experimental sound performance by Andreu Ubach

Monday, 2019-08-12 – 7pm – CASAdelDRAGON – sound performance and social sculpture featured by Andreu Ubach – admission free

As a homage to the sound sculpture pioneers, the Baschet Brothers, the Catalan artist Andreu Ubach performs in the gallery of the artist residence CASAdelDRAGON with self invented sound instruments.

In the special environment of the exhibition space, Ubach invites guests to create an experimental sound collage and thus to contribute to a social accustic sculpture.

Location: CASAdelDRAGON, Las Parras, 19, 12578 Cervera del Maestre, Castellon

organic education

organic education - homeschooling in Romania
organic education – homeschooling in Romania

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

african saying

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.

homeschooling - a mountain of bricks for a n oven
homeschooling – a mountain of bricks for a n oven

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.

homeschooling - cleaning and selecting bricks - tagging the construction
homeschooling – cleaning and selecting bricks – tagging the construction

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.

homeschooling - calculation and design of the foundation
homeschooling – calculation and design of the foundation

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.

homeschooling - working in a team and enjoying handcraft tasks
homeschooling – working in a team and enjoying handcraft tasks

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.

homeschooling -  the brick layer is enjoying the task
homeschooling – the brick layer is enjoying the task

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.

homeschooling - the milestone after day one (!)
homeschooling – the milestone after day one (!)

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.

homeschooling - second day and preliminary end
homeschooling – second day and preliminary end

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.

improvement by error

new generation of youth working in the catering workshop
new generation of youth working in the catering workshop

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.

catering workshop - working in a team
catering workshop – working in a team

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.

catering workshop - preparing for lunch in time
catering workshop – preparing for lunch in time

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.

Juan Petry

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.

David is cutting the salad
David and colleges are cutting the salad

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.

3-4-5 courses for 30-47 people
3-4-5 courses for 30-47 people

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)

daily gathering and plenum of the ApeaL summer school
daily gathering and plenum of the ApeaL summer school

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!

For sure, its all about L.O.V.E.

Martin Luther University Halle (GER) meets FamiliaFeliz

lunch in the art camp

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!

Cervera del Maestre in Castellon Spain

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 BenicarlĂł.

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.

Modification of the water tank
Filling the tank

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 PenĂ­scola.

installation of solar power station

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.

preparing an ancient stone wall

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

Installation of solar panels
The garden of familia feliz with ancient lines in the bachground

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!

Encoding realities – the journey of Arlo Laibowitz

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.

The burning heart sculpture - artwork of Arlo Laibowitz in the sculpture garden of CASAdelDRAGON
The burning heart sculpture – artwork of Arlo Laibowitz in the sculpture garden of CASAdelDRAGON

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!

Juan Petry

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.

Luftmensch - Arlo Laibowitz art work 2018
Luftmensch – Arlo Laibowitz art work 2018