PACK YOUR BAG and GO (ik ga op reis en ik neem mee…)
#greensilkroad post nr 3
The count-down clock strikes and jitters spread: what should we bring, what not? Do I need shoes for the mountains or can I go on chappals? Will it be cold at night? Do we need to buy a sound professional recorder? (Amazon offers to bring one to our house in the jungle, so not having a credit card is no excuse to procrastinate). If we want to make kalamkari fabric art with all the groups of kids along the journey, how much cotton should we bring? And what about the dyes and paints?
So here is an artists impression (ha! I can say that confidently now that I am traveling with two real artists, even though I am not qualified as such myself) of our Valise Vert, our Green Trunk for the Great Trunk Road. It is a pop-up storytelling edutainment fountain. Ideally, it would be one of those giant “hutkoffers” you see in puppet shows and ancient cross continental ocean liners, with a curtain inside and drawers and fold- than crayons?out attributes that make it look like a Transformer. But they’re a little unpractical to carry up the mountain, so we compromised.
It has a compartment for art materials: — sheets of paper and colour pencils (or crayons? which are lighter?) — sheets of fabric pre-treated for kalamkari (this is a hugely complicated process with boiling herbs and stuff, which I have not nearly begun to comprehend) — kalamkari dyes (again very difficult, it seems you need 3 weeks to make one type of paint) — beautiful seeds (not as planting material because that’s illegal) — other forest-art accessories like feathers — a long string to tie all the flags into a storytelling garland (- technical recording equipment would fit in this list, but is better kept on our body I guess)
Then a compartment for restoration ecology: — books on flora and botany are too heavy, but some introduction to forest species will be needed — a picture of the Epic Eurasian Forest (the one that gave birth to the name Green Silk Road) —
And finally, a section for community work: — Templates for group exercises like Community Canvas, Business Model Canvas, etc. — Maybe a hardcopy version of the interactive map, including a sign-up form — I am thinking a Dreamcatcher with Four Realms of Reconnection (is that too many capitals?)
1. Skills (gardening, dyeing, food preservation, soap making, juggling, body percussion, …) 2. Knowledge (oral history interviews with elders, forest legends, songs, sayings, …) 3. Artefacts (seeds, agriculture inputs, tools, music tracks, art pieces, …) 4. Places (nurseries, reforestation sites, schools, art spaces, community spaces, …)
This dreamcatcher idea is catching my dreams for sure: I see it as a net, moving along the route, collecting and connecting as it passes through, helping people make sense of where they are and how they relate to others. Humans like categories, tags, chapters, buckets in which to store the overwhelmingly complex web of reality. Well, at least I do. And the dreamcatcher combines this mathematical logic with the intangible subconscious -how cool is that? Sacred geometry is as paradoxical as a “romantic robot”, and what better way to represent the approach of the universal shared quality of our existence than a paradox? We humans are so close yet so far, so common in our aspirations and purpose, yet so unique as individuals.
OK, enough philosophising. Time to do some packing.