Internal Gesture #1

Archetypes for a journey / A Tarot to Reshape the Arts

Spring 2021

Archetypes for a journey / A Tarot to Reshape the Arts is an experimental tool structured as a set of tarot cards specially designed to reflect upon issues, circumstances and situations that affect art workers and cultural organisations. Pau, a member of Reshape and also of ARRC, proposed a collaborative reading of the Archetypes and the practice of a Ritual.

During spring 2021, we engaged in Archetypes for a journey / A Tarot to Reshape the Arts, an internal gesture created by a group of curators, researchers and artists as part of the project Reshape.

‘By Archetype, we understand a model that gets repeated over and over again in society. In order to change the way we work, we need to change the archetypes by which we structure our practice or our organisation. We chose to develop a set of archetypes based on the Major Arcana in the tarot as it is known in the West. These archetypes were developed in an attempt to flesh out the different ‘senses’ we want to embrace.

By Rituals we don’t mean a metaphysical expression towards another unreachable realm, but materialist practices that connect us to the here and now. Through shifting our attention, the world shifts. Psychological research shows that rituals have actual effects on people’s thoughts, behaviours and feelings. We propose a set of rituals that propose ways to bring the senses and archetypes into our daily lives and work environments.

Both the Archetypes and the Rituals are imagined as tools for artists and art-workers, to use as means to shift focus in their daily life and work. The tools are designed to be adapted depending on the setting of the practice on an individual or institutional level. Archetypes for a journey / A Tarot to Reshape the Arts is first and foremost an invitation to play and observe’.

In Transnational and Postnational Practices Manual by Martinka Bobrikova & Oscar de Carmen, Pau Cata, Petr Dlouhý, Heba el-Cheikh, Gjorge Jovanovik, Marta Keil, Dominika Święcicka, Marine Thévenet and Ingrid Vranken

‘An enticing journey of discovery and exploration as a team. A great tool for working together with other people, breaking the ice, getting to know one another in an organic way, overcoming possible discomfort and being productive whilst having fun. Useful and surprising’.

‘The Tarots (both images and words are incredibly rich!) enable fluidity and combine a practical approach to asking questions with a conceptual opportunity to elaborate possible answers. I also appreciated the rituals, the fact that they left space for individual reflection away from the main sessions to then report back and discuss further within the group’.

   Miriam La Rosa

‘Unexpected. Surprisingly joyful. Revealing. A quite magical way to be prompted to think about the ontological questions of our network, as we are defining for ourselves not only what we will be and how we operate in the world, but also what/how we want to become.  It was a surprisingly effective experience at helping us identify our desire’.

‘The artwork and design of the cards themselves are thoughtful and provocative. The questions we were asked to contemplate around each card drawn and it’s aim (Past, Present, Resources, Future, etc) were complex, articulate, emotional, and often unexpected. This really did a lot of work to break open our own regard for the question at hand’.

    Patty Healy McMeans

‘I liked that we had multiple sessions. And I enjoyed how we articulated the reading in two parts: focusing first on the impressions of the card (a sort of visual analysis), and later on a more in depth comment, based also on the questions connected to each card which are very rich and useful in instigating a broad scope of thoughts/reflections for the group discussion’.

    Angela Serino

‘I enjoyed the structure we created; visual reading, followed by questions and rituals. I found the phrasing of the questions gentle and inclusive. I think it’s really useful as a group exercise and enables real collaboration – I enjoyed it less when doing it on my own but that is my personal reflection’.

Morag Iles

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