we shall have to think up signs, sketch a landscape, fabricate a plan
on the double page
of day and paper.
Tomorrow, we shall have to invent,
the reality of this world.”
— Octavio Paz
We call our events series Woods in the City. These woods in an urban setting are a contact zone for transdisciplinary encounters and exchange that take place in 3 main formats: Woods Symposium, Woods Creathon and Woods Experience. These events series are dedicated to human and cultural transformation, to an exploration of questions around how do we want to live, to learn, and to work in the contemporary world, to a more conscious, sustainable and poetic living. Woods for us is a metaphor for a holistic being, sustainable eco-system, something real and magical at the same time, like real forests and symbolic forests in fairy-tales. Below you will find embodied principles uniting all our event formats.
* Holistic approach
We are multitudes. We are complex multi-dimensional organisms. As far as we know, through the millions of years of our evolution we had to sacrifice one of our senses (and the tail). The senses we are left with (arguably 5 to 7) need to be cultivated and celebrated in order to survive the digital age. Humans also have multiple intelligences with a similar destiny. Parts of us can become endangered species unless we pay attention to them, to our perception and life experience through them. So our events create a space for protection of multitudes of life forms in people. They merge together different aspects of being human, each finding their place “in the family of things”. From the point of few of Foresta Collective as a whole, we are interested in re-integration of the world in a larger sense. But also on the individual level, our health is in our re-connection, in that all parts of ourselves are integrated: our heart, mind, senses, intuition, physicality, different aspects of our experience are playing together like a jazz band, unified in free play.
Diversity of subjects, interests, people’s backgrounds, ways of knowing and forms of expression follows from the principle of holistic approach. In all our events we don't we just talk about things, we invite a variety of forms of being, thinking and expression to engage into an exchange of experiences and perspectives. People tick differently and engage with life in different ways. So we invite diversity of experiences where everyone can find their point of engagement — intellectual, physical, poetic, on the level of senses, and so on. From there new projects, collisions, and ideas to be shared and formed.
* Transdisciplinary intercultural mindset of cross-pollination
We are convinced that sustainable holistic thinking and collaborative creativity are powerful forces to tackle world challenges of today. This can’t be done by one industry or one school of thought but is a process of bringing together people from different walks of life to learn from and be inspired by each other, to experience and experiment, to imagine and co-create new forms. So we are talking about creation of a space for implementing the values in pursuit of more holistic vision through diverse ways of being, thinking, relating, sharing knowledge and experiences, coming together for reflection, for deep-reaching conversations, for unique forms of creative expression. In order to deal with complexities of modern life we need complex abilities, our worldview needs to expand, our outlook and perspectives need to be continuously refreshed and updated. This happens when different disciplines, backgrounds, ways of being and thinking come together, and engage in conversations, with openness to learn from one another.
* Personal engagement
A meeting between theory and practice is a crucial principle of all our events. It’s important to us that our contributors are personally involved with subjects of their work, that those do not just stay on the intellectual level. This way any question becomes connected to lived life of an individual and stops being an abstract concept. Personal engagement makes us poets and philosophers exploring life from a unique standpoint of our true interests and perception.
* Collective potential and a sense of community
We are interested in human togetherness, relationality, openness and depth created by honest encounters, in contrast to a widespread logic of alienation. We aim to ensure a “safe space” that grants a permission to be vulnerable and not cheesy at the same time. We see this as a cultural shift toward deeper community of conscious coming together of people interested in personal growth and societal transformation. Antidote to shallowness are deeper relationships that are formed by collectivity and individuality, a community that is not homogeneous, not necessarily agreeing on everything but always finding a way to engage in a dialogue.
* Space for new forms
Experiment is our mode of inquiry. Following the kindred thinking of Olafur Eliasson we are convinced that to insist on a continuous generous interaction with reality, challenging the established norms by which we live and understand the world, it is crucial to engage in experimentation as a way to keep this interaction with the ever-changing reality alive. We explore new forms, rhythms and strategies of engagement researching and re-imagining key ideas within the future of work, education, and what sustainable living can mean. Through a collective reflection and recalibration to cultivate an enhanced palette of tools and understandings with which to more fully embrace – and know ourselves part of – a complex, interdependent world, with its multiple connections and relations. Woods events is also a nomadic enterprise. Home-based in Berlin, but a traveller, a wonderer.
* Optimized for serendipity
Each event is a meeting between the planned and the unknown, moments of inputs from contributors and moments for individual reflection, moments of silence and moments of exchange within the group. Each leaves spaces for unorganised, unknown, unpredicted to occur and for Wu Wei to take over. Trusting the flow and paying attention to what wants to emerge, without forcing ideas onto reality. In the Taoist texts, wu wei (無 爲) is often associated with water and its yielding nature.
Woods Experience merges intellectual and cultural encounters, artistic interventions, embodied inquiry, conversations and other ways of expression and a multi-sensory dinner into one experience. It is also merging the subject and object, the situation and experience. It’s about immersing oneself in an experience rather than evaluating it from outside. What is being born out of this encounter is a cultural, intellectual, physical, emotional, and culinary journey.
Each time this event is being created thanks to a collaborative synergy of people from different walks of life. To give space to unique forms of creative expression to emerge and new ideas to be born, for each journey we invite a new team of artists, speakers and chefs to come and co-create this Gesamtkunstwerk. It emphasises the experience of immersion rather than evaluating observation. Each such laboratory for a holistic experience contains a mixture between philosophical outlook and culinary experience, intellectual input and reflection, silence and embodied awareness, emotional layer and artistic dimension, serendipity and the unknown.
Do you recognise that feeling — when you are surrounded by friends and like-minded individuals, you feel supported in this togetherness, you are inspired by new inputs, you bounce ideas off each other, and suddenly new clarity reveals itself, doors open, new horizons become visible, undiscovered perspectives come to life. From these moments usually best projects are born. cocreation.Woods is a doula for this kind of meaningful experiences. People from different walks of life come and co-create this multi-layered journey within a larger subject of sustainable living. We believe in the power of creativity and cross-disciplinary pollination to fuel meaningful action.
Our partner locations enter into the name of our events in front of the Woods. Our main partner for Woods experience in Berlin is cocreation.loft. Therefore cocreation.woods. See you at the next one!
Woods Symposiums share the same values as other "Woods in the City” events, and are dedicated to unified human intelligence, its tangible and intangible nature. Each time we invite a variety of people from different professions to look together at a certain subject, be it Language, Time, or Education. We try to create a space for many different perspectives to meet in the format of a 2-day symposium.
Our path is rooted in the journey towards cultural transformation, where values guiding human life are shifting: personal enlivening and purposeful living replace the traditional ideas of success, relationships grow to be mutually aware partnerships; attention to life around and within, balance and respect of differences, and holistic mindset become unifying embodied principles. This event series is our wish to create a meeting space for encounters and exchange where true collaboration becomes possible. We believe in collective intelligence beyond one-method-approach developed by an individual or an established school of thought, in sharing knowledge without the necessity to make others believe in something, whether in esoteric ideas or complex scientific concepts. We want to collaborate with people who are serious about their work and search for meaningful exchange with other people who care. We are interested in sharing experiences and knowledge in ways that relate to direct experiences of lived life and that can be understood by anyone independently of their background. There are no secrets, just different perspectives, different things we notice and experiences we live through; so we come together to share them. We also believe in artistic expression being equally important as lectures and conversations, therefore artists and a variety of ways of expression and interpretation are part of all our events.
The base of these events, as of the whole Foresta project, is embodied culture. In the context of contemporary Western society human body is usually looked at from the aesthetic, performative, or health-related angles. What drives us to create events and research labs dedicated to a more embodied culture is an interest in the intelligence of the body connected to lived life, in the relationship between physical states and states of mind, in the body as our perceiving, thinking, feeling, moving, and acting in the world. We look at the body as a process and a totality of our lived experiences, as a mediator between external forces: events, expectations, cultural beliefs; and inner forces: internal drives, conscious or unconscious desires, and invisible currents that move us. Body is an encounter between these socio-cultural, phenomenological, biological, intuitive and embodied cognitive conscious and unconscious phenomena — all taking part in orchestrating our engagement with life. To put it simply, we are interested in the body as a place where life happens and where we find out what is real and true for us, where our multiple intelligences meet (emotional, intellectual, somatic, intuitive, etc), which we are convinced is very needed in the context of global contemporary culture and its crisis.
Interdisciplinary Woods Creathon is a challenge, a call to thinking and acting, that lasts between 1 and 3 days and invites participants to think about and develop ideas/concepts/products/projects within the chosen subject in an interdisciplinary setting. Subjects can be anything that is important to humanity at the moment. It can be something general like: what is the future of food, education, relationships, cities, mobility, etc etc. Or something concrete like: How can innovative practices in the arts provide alternative ways of looking at social impact? Workflow is divided between inputs from both the ‘external world’ professionals (artists, scientists, designers, academics, etc) and ‘internal world’ explorers (embodiment, movement, body attention, and wellbeing coaches, artists, poets), as well as the implementation sessions where participants are working on their projects in groups and individually.
The program of a Creathon is designed to allow individuals and organizations to tackle challenges using collaborative innovation: access to a diverse community of innovators, tools, prototyping capabilities, a variety of methodologies that help to bring their ideas and projects to the next level. Whether it’s a team of students with an idea, a startup looking to build a new business, a company planning its innovation strategy or creating a new product, Creathon is designed to support the process and help you achieve a breakthrough.