“Let’s Get Physical” is a two-part workshop series that can be taken either together or independently. These two workshops are built on the methodologies and strategies that drive The Operating System, as well as that have been at the core of Elæ’s teaching and social practice for two decades: a belief in the power of becoming not only comfortable but feeling powerful and capable in the ways in which we consider, articulate, document, record, archive, and share our work as creative practitioners (and then have the power to support others in doing so).
These workshops are designed for anyone who thinks of themselves (or, even, struggles to think of themselves) as a “creative practitioner,” in any medium. In fact, if you’ve lost the thread of what your “practice” is or can be, now and in the future, this could also be a meaningful space for you! This is a space less of quantification and more for imagination and becoming / alchemy: the way Elæ looks at creativity, archiving, articulation and documentation *is always through a speculative lens,* meaning that in part these workshops are designed as a space for compassionate reckoning, thinking about the radically altered human and ecological futures we’re already in, and largely unprepared for.
There is both speculative thinking, creative prompts, and explicit design thinking training built into these workshops, with the second session, “OBJECT and ORIENTATION,” offering an opportunity to make a concrete object / publication / project out of either work created in part I, or from a participant’s own existing practice. But first, we have an opportunity to put some of our work into … the record. For all this will include language, but it can span multiple media and/or platforms.
With the framework of “ARTICULATE and ARCHIVE,” our focus is on strategies of documentation. Whether audio recordings on our phones, the taking of daily photo logs, a particular timed observational notation strategy, etc, what sorts of “FIELD STRATEGIES” can we implement to become our own documentarians, first and foremost? How can we and do we tell our stories, firstly to ourselves, and how can this process of articulation assist us in clarifying the work that we want to do, are doing, could be doing in future?
We’ll explicitly think through the ways in which creators of different disciplines might and do address this productively, looking at precedent materials as well as our own past and present forays, learning from each other’s mediums. Each participant will produce a range of documentary media in the forms most productive to them, and be coached through the production of both of self-and-public facing articulation / documentation. Everyone in the workshop will leave with strategies that can be implemented in the long term, as well as a collection of texts, video, audio, images and other objects to use as serves their practice (for future publications, exhibitions / productions, for websites and/or social media, for grant applications, and beyond). We will also think collectively about the challenges faced by interdisciplinary creators (or those who seek to be).
In “OBJECT and ORIENTATION,” we’re specifically thinking about how we design, form, package, and share that work with others. Participants will be given a crash-course in InDesign and/or other visual tools for working on the page, and will consider how we strategize, organize, and present our work on the page, on the web, on social media, and beyond. This workshop is designed to assist any creative practitioner in the production of publications, objects, digital media, and strategically thinking about what it means to not only make our work but to consider the power (and possibility) of the forms that work takes. To consider the way in which audiences / bodies will experience not only the content but the form of our work is something that can be unfamiliar and uncomfortable for creatives of all disciplines.
This workshop is designed to assist in the physical design and completion of public-facing content, and/or strategic design planning for larger future projects. Over the course of the workshop students can opt to be assisted in the production and completion of a specific project or projects, and/or work towards a project, but all participants should feel free to work at their own pace. For those seeking accountability for a project’s design and production, this framework can offer that support. In general, however, the prompts and tools practiced collectively here will provide and allow for practice in some concrete, key, flexible strategies for addressing and working through communication, design and production aspects of your work in future.
Some of our core questions are:
* What does it mean to be a maker / artist / creator / writer / producer / performer / musician / designer / dancer / composer / choreographer / curator / educator (etc) in this time?
* How can articulating our practice (both privately, and publicly) assist us in re-animating our engagement with our work?
* How can articulation and documentation / archiving begin to help us see possibilities for the role we and what we care about can play in emergent systems / possible futures? And — how can we begin to seed these futures for ourselves and others supported by these strategies?
* How can the consideration of the ways in which we design, publish, post, share, exhibit, and form our work (and its documentation / archiving) help us strategize our relationship to our work now and in the future? How can we intentionally think across digital and print / analog media as we strategize the current possibilities for as well as future history of our own story (as well as that of our community and those whose work we value)?
* What are concrete strategies that can be implemented for creatives of all mediums to help ease the often painful, uncomfortable, avoided tasks of talking about yourself and looking critically at our work in the world, especially at a time when so many things can feel so uncertain, scary, and infuriating?
This two part series at its core relies on a flexible combination of writing / communication and other documentation strategies (including audio and/or video recording, photography, drawing and/or other media) to assist practitioners in getting to the heart of these questions. Tools and prompts offer adaptive alternatives for each participant, giving those in the workshop options to either rely on skills and strengths they already feel comfortable with, and/or stretching to include the use of other materials folks want to explore, with guidance and feedback!
In addition to concrete tools and strategies, prompts, exercises and feedback loops, this course considers some somatic / nervous system / bio-and-neurohacking implementation, so that we can come to understand our work as not only “mental” but the work of the body, actively seeking to re-condition many of the things we’ve “learned” (both cognitively and in our bodies) in institutions and capitalist organizations over the years. So much of what we’re working on is in fact entrenched in our nervous systems — when we give our systems new “information” without considering the state of the body receiving it, we may find that we’re not able to actually “do” or “receive” the work. Rather than getting frustrated by what our fried nervous systems are capable of without considering these factors, we’ll check in throughout both Part I and II of Let’s Get Physical with what’s going on behind the scenes — so, in part, we’re making physical the trace, the story, the documentation of our work, but we’re also recalling and reframing it as such, the other way we’re getting physical (reminding ourselves it always is).
About the Facilitator:
ELÆ MOSS is a multimodal creative practitioner, curator, cultural scholar and educator, and the system designer / architect of The Operating System and Liminal Lab. They are currently an Adjunct Professor at Pratt Institute, a Public Action Fellow at Bennington College from 2022-2024 and served as faculty at the City College of New York for over a decade. Their work employs text, installation, sound design, performance, digital tech and speculative theory in addressing the somatic, ontological intersections between persons, forms of language, and systems, focused on the study of resilient, open source strategies for ecological and social change. Recent projects include: the Year One Speculative Solidarities Salon at SSB Away in Abiquiu, New Mexico, curation of Liz Liguori: Light of Hand at La Mama Galleria, founding of and participation in the 2022 Autonomous Mechanics Field Cohort, [Move_Semantics]: Rules of Unfolding, co-curated with Jeff Kasper at EFA Project Space, the APRIORI Field Station at STWST/Ars Electronica, the Speculative Resilience Radical Practice Library for the Anarchist Bookfair at Judson Church & Bushwick Open Studios (re-imagined for MS:RU), How to Human: Disruptor Mechanism Protocol for the Segal Center’s Performing Knowledge Festival, Building Interpersonal Infrastructures at SOHO20, and Collaborative Precarity Bodyhacking with storm budwig and Cory Tamler for the Exponential Festival. Recent publications appear in Vestiges, Big Echo, No, Dear, Tagvverk, Matters of Feminist Practice, The Transgender Narratives Anthology, Choice Words: Writers on Abortion, and many more. Books include Ground, Blood Altas, Overview Effect, Sweet and Low: Indefinite Singular, Bodies of Work (with painter Georgia Elrod), and The Precarity Bodyhacking Work-Book and Guide. Find them online via IG @thetroublewithbartleby, or at http://onlywhatican.net.
[Image description: Elæ, a white nonbinary queer person with a dark brown overgrown mullet with greying temples, looks at the camera and smiles; they are standing in front of a yellow door, wearing tortoise wire aviator glasses and a grey sleeveless shirt. You can see black tattoos on their shoulders and forearm. Their hand is on their chest.]
ALL ACCESS PRICING MODEL / PAY WHAT YOU CAN / COMPARISON COSTS:
Liminal Lab is committed to providing a source of income for our collaborators and facilitators in an increasingly precarious time for culture workers and educators. However, no one will ever be turned away for lack of funds. We ask that those who can pay the suggested price, and/or help cover the cost of scholarship slots in each of our programs by sponsoring other participants.
NOTE: This workshop is a little different than our usual because it is based on explicit skill share, design methodologies, and project development. Elæ Moss, facilitator of this workshop and founder of The Operating System and Liminal Lab, will be working with each participant to develop their skills and hone specific projects over the course or either / both of these courses. This sort of direct feedback and skilled mentorship can often run from $250-500 an hour when working with consultancy rates through agencies and speciality houses.
The below rates, and this workshop structure, reflect a desire to offer this sort of feedback infrastructure in a collective environment, relying on the OS’s in-house methodologies and tools (built by Moss), as well as their two decades of experience teaching writing, coaching creative professional strategies, and designing virtual and print objects / books with and for creatives from all disciplines. Because of the highly specialized nature of this workshop series, there is not an open no-fee option, unless you can offer an equal exchange in bartered labor or goods. If you’d like to propose an exchange for this option, send a query email here.
The workshop numbers below are our standard numbers for our workshops, slightly modified for this series:
Compare the below to the cost for a similar accredited workshop in a university setting (where most of the $$$ goes to institutional bloat): $1500 (for each part, $3000 for both parts) — we show you this so we can begin to think about wtf is happening in our institutions, where both students and faculty get the short end of the stick. Compare these costs to private coaching / feedback rates similar to the skills and methods offered in this workshop at $250-500/hr.
At a standard “Market Rate,” at privately funded / philanthropically supported arts orgs: $500 / 1000
Recommended Sliding Scale: $30-100/session → $120-400 for 1 session, $240-800 for the two-part series
Precarity Pricing: $20/session – > $80 for one session, $160 for two-part series
Sponsorship: You may sponsor low fee participants in this workshop with a donation of any size.*if you have the funds to afford the “Market Rate,” we encourage you to support this facilitator by donating at that level, which will also support other students in this course who are unable to pay.