Forest is a living creature. It's growing and changing, going through seasons and different rhythms. Forest stands for multitudes. It contains everything and gives everything space to be. It's a place where all kinds of species coexist and live together. Everyone is being authentically who they are: a tree is a tree, a rock is a rock, a hare is a hare even if she changes her colour for a winter.
La Foresta is a forest too. A forest of stories, experiences and events, dedicated to embodied culture — a culture that shares its values with the forest and grows from deeper listening and more sincere communication, from re-uniting human intelligence, body and mind, thinking and feeling, theory and practice. It’s a platform for transdisciplinary experiences celebrating collaborative creativity and sustainable living, de-standardisation of human life and search for more poetry and purpose. It’s an art-for-life’s-sake project. It sees art as means of inviting people into experiences, of what a nourishing life can be.
Foresta Collective are people taking care of and contributing to this online forest of La Foresta. It's not a fixated and defined entity. As a real forest does, La Foresta too is relentlessly evolving and growing into itself, transforming through meaningful encounters. It is a process of continuous ‘becoming’ (as Gilles Deleuze put it) and ‘becoming with’ (as Donna Haraway extended). Strolling through this website you will find insights into things we do. New approaches to work and education, to creativity and arts, human relationality and togetherness, transdisciplinary practices and embodied intelligence — these are the core subjects at the heart of our interests and the work we do. Finding new forms of those are the key elements in making space for a more sustainable society to emerge, that is inspiring people to live and develop in their plurality being part of Earth's ecosystems and cherishing all life forms on this planet.
Stories are born in the journeys. They contain bits and pieces of the world we notice. Stories are conversations in words and images, through which we explore subjects we care about, such as human creativity and connection to the natural world, wellbeing and embodiment, new cultures of learning and working, and how these and other contexts contribute to living a fulfilling sustainable life. You will also find here our online gallery space, featuring works of our selected artists - authors of La Foresta's seasonal portraits.
Encounters with others can be mirrors or windows through which we see pieces of ourselves or learn something valuable about the world. We don’t know the others we only know ourselves. We don’t know ourselves we only know the others. Here you will find dates and snapshots of the events that we organise: "Body Matters" dedicated to reunification of human intelligence, "Woods in the City" interdisciplinary event series and "cocreation.Woods" immersive multi-sensorial experiences.
We design and facilitate learning experiences for a variety of different audiences in a larger context of embodied culture. The subjects range from Permaculture Gardening to Aesthetics, Film-making to Personal Sustainability. Formats vary between workshops, labs, courses and retreats. Dedicated to the art of being human.
We also create projects for children and young people of different ages that grow from the values of embodied culture. Based on learning through experience, transdisciplinary connections, collaborative interaction, diversity of forms of expression, as well as movement and embodied awareness being an integral part of any creative process we design for kids.
Our projects grow within a larger context of embodied culture. Culture is like the soil we are in. It nurtures us and shapes us in profound ways. We look at embodied culture as a holistic force that fosters social transformation and leads to more sustainability and creativity in life. And if we cultivate culture like we cultivate the ground, we feel it’s time to re-rooting, working the ground — re-orientating our culture. So what do we mean by embodied culture? Here are its key values and principles:
Attention and Presence
Embodied Culture is a culture with an expanded field of attention at its roots, inspired by the integrity of Earth’s living systems. Embodied Culture is based on listening. More deeply than we usually do. It’s about showing up and tuning in. For real. About presence and attention. About detaching from the many stories we tell ourselves. Detaching from the established beliefs, landing into the present moment and paying honest attention to every situation, to the knowing that comes from direct experience. It is often subtle, so we need to listen carefully. Through this process we become more conscious. More aware. More present in the unfolding of life that is happening every moment. Less stuck in prejudices, out-dated ideas, or anything else that comes from lack of attention to the present.
Integrity and Honesty
It’s seeking re-integration of the world in a larger sense. bringing the disciplines back together. And also on the human level — our health is in our re-connection, in that all parts of ourselves are integrated. Thinking, feeling, senses, intuition, rationality, physicality — all the different aspects of human experience are playing together like a jazz band, unified in free play. Integrity also means the integration of human inner and outer worlds, our physical and non-physical being. Integrity is unified human intelligence, its tangible and intangible nature. In the body all systems work with each other. Each is there for something. Integrity also has to do with integration between theory and practice. With overcoming discrepancy between what we say and what we do. With living our values. Without being embodied and lived values loose their meaning.
Sustainability and Embeddedness into Environment
Body, through its senses, is continuously aware of the quality of the living environment, of where is ‘yes’ and where is ‘no’. This also includes personal sustainability. In its interoceptive awareness body experiences personal wellbeing as well as what and when something disturbs it. When we are attuned to the world around and our compass of inner and outer awareness is leading us through life, we start seeing how everything is connected.
Plurality and Balance
Like forests we contain multitudes. Embodying all the different aspects and qualities of ourselves, we invite more integrity and balance into our lives. Plurality also means embracing the full spectrum of being human, the bliss, the challenges, the past, the heritage you have from where you come from, the future, the possibilities that are there for you. Embodied culture is a lifestyle where human intelligence is unified in its multifacetedness, where human needs are respected in their plurality — physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual, inter-personal, environmental, and so on. People are porous, mouldable. If you treat someone with a certain assumption it is very likely that the individual will grow to be what you expected — as a response to the way you treated them in the first place they will develop one-sidedly. We live in a world governed by plenty of beliefs and assumptions. Neoclassical theory of economics is based on the assumption that humans are selfish and the main things they want is to maximise their own gain. In reality humans are very complex, multilayered, multifaceted beings. Our mental, physical, emotional, social, environmental well-being are not separated from one another. We genuinely care for all of these. But what happens if the structures around us do not? If we are educated to develop one-sidedly, to develop on assumptions others are inflecting upon us. It’s like putting on glasses that will colour everything into one tone. So embodied culture strives to give space to the differences to be there and nourish each other. Body is a metaphor for opposite qualities co-existing and needing each other for a healthy life: in the body there are hard stable structures, and there are fluid liquids, always in movement. We are a meeting between nature — the impulses, the unconsidered, something that just comes to us without our conscious choice; and culture — a long history of human learning and creation. Embodied culture seeks for a balance and union between nature and culture in a society, between a civilised self and a wild self in an individual.
Flow and Creativity
Flow is connected to balance between human control and respect for natural state and development of everything. Many contemporary structures are still based largely on control alone (to make people do things, to educate them and often force them into certain ways of being, to land agendas, to fit reality into someone’s ideas, etc). In embodied culture structures are based on attention — what is naturally evolving or wants to evolve and how can it best be guided, how to co-create with reality and with each other. It’s a reorientation of culture from the excess of effort (anything that includes forcing something into being predictable, like singular simplistic identities) to a more balanced one that pays more attention to listening, not only to doing. When things are not being forced into being but allowed to unfold real creativity becomes possible. Creativity that gives space to originality, to personal honest expression, and replaces a fear-based need for learned stereotypes or repetitive ideas of other people.
Relationality and Togetherness
In the same way as body experiences quality of our living environment it experiences quality of communication and relationships with people around. Embodied partnerships are based on eye-level encounters and listening, trust and respect. Collaborative mindset replaces competitive one. Strong individual agency and connection to others and the environment exist together. Everyone is different. Differently oriented to how we perceive and notice things, how we feel, what we want. When this is acknowledged, when old patterns of communication based on dominance, compliance and standardisation are let go of, relationships can be free of manipulations, everyone can be in their strength and jealousy is redundant. Embodied culture is not based on making people be or do something someone else has planned for them, it is not based on carrot and a stick, no awards and punishments, no top-down power, and therefore no fear-based power-games, no straight line of education toward a norm. Norm is individually chosen. The individual becomes their own agency. Boundaries are an important aspect of personal agency: establishing them where they are needed and removing them where they are unnecessary is a continuous process. From this practice individuals meet each other from a different place.
In the world where everything moves all the time uncertainty is part of a healthy life. Balance between knowledge and mystery. If we think we have all the answers, or even that a certain subject is clear and “settled”, we might lose humility and curiosity in the face of this conceit. In reality our understanding of any given subject is never complete. Striving to be comfortable challenging the received wisdom, to avoid the “insightful ignorance” (term by Columbia neuroscience professor Stuart Firestein), learning becomes experience-based. Experiences are at the heart of change.
Wellbeing is an integration of all of the above. it comes from co-ownership of one’s own path with life. from being involved and engaged, not a passive figure to be moved by someone else. it comes when individual agency connects with others and forms healthy partnerships, embodying active connection, belonging and shaping the world together. when everyone is able to survive as themselves, stay true to themselves, stay whole, integrated, and be able to do their best work. individual wellbeing is also social and environmental well-being. it comes from inner integrity and outer integrity with & within living systems, surroundings, living beings, and things.
Formats We Work In
interventions and events for broader audience
educational programmes and workshops
writing and publishing