the TEMENOS art fellowship is a live/work creation-lab for artists with active practices (emergent or established) in any contemporary art form, dedicated to integrative inquiry ¹.
5 coordinators + 5 fellows. 5 days a week of deep, rigorous care of our own & one another’s vision/practice. Temenos fellows live in an intensive, immersive, collective engagement of radical creative practice within a participatory frame ².
There are no program fees (only room & board, and a small administrative fee).
1 - 3 sessions of 11 weeks (fall, spring & summer), each culminating in an exhibition/ conference, followed by a publication at the end of each year.
Fellows completing 3 sessions will be awarded a Post-Graduate Practice-Led Research Diploma in Radical Creative Practice
¹ In addition to creative practices, we ask fellows to arrive with integrative practices. This might include contemplative, meditative, centering, embodiment, or spiritual practices of any kind.
² TEMENOS is hosted within the participatory frame of La SOURCE Center for Research & Creation. Thus, fellows are also asked to participate equitably in the care of the collective spaces and to volunteer 4 hours each week to support the care of the garden, grounds, & animals. This collective care is treated as a vital component of the project's ethos to foster a cultural shift away from passive consumption towards active co-creation.
“Living life as an artist is a practice. You’re either engaging in the practice or you’re not. It makes no sense to say you’re not good at it. It’s like saying, “I’m not good at being a monk.” You’re either living as a monk, or you’re not. We tend to think of the artist’s work as the output. The real work of the artist is a way of being in the world."
- Rick Rubin, from The Creative Act : A Way of Being
Though each creative practice belongs to each individual in the group, we all exist together to support, encourage and secure the commitment we’ve made to the process.
Sharing the same rhythm (as with monks, for example) can synchronize individual movements and provide a container for growing intensity of engagement. This structure is vital, as it ensures there is no place to hide from the creative practice. Artists of all kinds know too well the various forms of resistance, procrastination, avoidance, distraction, and deferral that can prevent us from facing the proverbial ‘white page’. This structure of time is here to encourage us all to show up fully into the practice. Each day we cycle together through these four phases :
Just after waking, each of us has an invitation to invent the world anew. Choosing the state of the heart is the first phase of creating. This is done in two movements. Firstly, emptying all that the heart carries which does not belong to it - accumulations of feelings and inherited stories that do not serve. Once these layers are observed and released, with newly secured emptiness and spaciousness and to whatever depth is available, you can name a “point of reverence” that you will care for as your day unfolds. Heart-centered practice includes all meditative, contemplative, and embodiment practices (i.e. - yoga, tai chi, breathwork, or even a forest walk).
Think of this like a preparation of the grounds. You first clear anything growing on the surface, digging past the layers of accumulation. You loosen the topsoil, and maybe even amend it with essential nutrients, creating exactly the right conditions for growth, until you have thoroughly prepared the grounds for planting. And then, from that state of openness and receptivity, you choose the seed you will plant and lay it gently in the fertile soil of your core.
phase 1 :
phase 2 :
Now is the moment for meaning-making. Human beings are story-making-creatures. We thrive on vision. Learning, the quest for understanding, reflection, absorbing inspiration from all directions and sources, discussion, reading, writing or drawing practice, profound dialogue, musical improvisation… The head-practice gets the mind reengaged in the envisioning of the new world you are fostering. The mind is a connection-generator. It is fueled by curiosity and discovery - the ideal state through which to encounter ‘the other.’ Any other.
Here, the seed germinates. Its coding begins to activate and come alive. It sprouts. It reaches out its roots. It strives toward the sun - knowing, somehow miraculously, in which direction to extend even if it is still buried in darkness. It follows the subtle inner-knowing.
phase 3 :
Once the new vision, a new story has crystalized - it’s time to make it real. Time to live it. Working with the hands is about materializing that which lives until now only in the mind, the imagination, or perhaps raw and unshaped upon the page. It is also about care. Moving from words to action. Entering into the concrete, shared reality means listening to voices of various needs. This listening process might be called “response-ability.” The ability to respond. Often this is a period of tending to either the concretization of the idea-seed, or the honoring of commitments. These commitments are not outside of the creative process. They are a part of it. They are your laboratory in which to experiment how your heart and mind influence your way of doing and your impact on the environment around you. This is also a practice. We take a bit more time for this phase because the body (physical world) moves at a slower speed than the other aspects.
At the moment the seed-sprout pierces the surface of the soil, a new work begins. Now it is the time to protect and care for the plant as it grows. That might mean watering or feeding, fencing off or sheltering the young plant, eventually trimming or pruning. If, for example, you have planted an apple seed - it will take years of devotion to the health and wellness of the tree until it eventually gives fruit. This phase is the labor of love.
By uniting your heart, head, and hands into one whole - it is possible to leave the soulless cycle of transaction and enter into a disposition of offering. This phase is about transmission. Here, your inner and outer work merges into a state that is ready to be communicated and circulated. And this is the work - the vulnerability of making your gift available to others, and the faith that your heart-seed has given fruit that will provide the quality of true nourishment.
The fruit has ripened. Now is the time for harvest and distribution. Where will you take your fruit? Who will you give it to? Where will it travel? What will it become as it leaves your care? This fruit is not destined for the marketplace. In the market, there are buyers and sellers. Separation. Somehow through the act of offering, it is easiest to recognize the way in which all is connected, and all is shared.
The surest sign of a life guided by love
is a vibrant devotion to something beyond one’s own experience.
phase 4 :
the 4-phase day :
A simple way to make space for all that is most fundamental.
6:00 - 8:00 am
releasing & clarifying
(meditation, breathwork, tai chi, yoga, prayer, forest walk, etc.)
8:30 - 11:30 am
intellectual & artistic practices
(envisioning, inspiration, discussions, reading, writing, drawing, playing, etc.)
12:30 - 4:30 pm
crafting & cultivation
(response-ability, work/labor, action, fabrication, production, etc.)
4:30 - 6:00 pm
(exercises to move the learning & creation process into the world as offering.)
Together, we follow this program Monday through Friday. Weekends are unprogrammed. This is the basic frame. There are exceptions to this schedule on Mondays and Fridays. For details, reference the precise schedule.
With the exception of the "Whole-Practice" workshops at the close of the day, all other periods are self-determined: whether individual, in pairs, or in group/s - depending on the preferences and needs of each individual.
“One who works with their hands is a laborer.
One who works with their hands and their head is a craftsman.
One who works with their hands and their head and their heart is an artist.”
- St. Francis of Assisi
[...One who works with all this and their spirit is a true creator. True creation is the nearest humanity can grow towards fulfilling the highest call of our species’ potential.]
… our small and humble addition.
Temenos fellows, in addition to their own lodging here on campus, have continuous access to a number of inviting spaces and areas for collective use. These collective spaces indicate some fundamental beliefs about the environmental conditions that might best support the creative cycle.
The Library (includes the “library of love” collection of books donated to assist love-studies; a projector and cinema screen; a fireplace, lounging area and large tables for conferences and workshops)
The Greenhouse Dôme (a space for individual or collective alignment practices and performance practice)
The Stables (a collective atelier/studio for creative practices - especially material processes in the visual arts)
The Hearth Kitchen (a wood-fired outdoor kitchen, sheltered, with a view of the valley - also an inviting space for exploratory culinary art, traditional craft-work, or eco-creative practices
The Wellness Area (a space to see how care of the body can impact the state of the mind and heart. Includes a pool, wood-fired sauna, nordic bath, and sun/rain/moon-bathing deck).
The Valley (a protected natural habitat for wildlife, enveloped by forest and tree-line, with a stream and a bridge for crossing to visit our wise, old oak-elder. This is also a space available for land art and site-specific installation.)
The Forest (the neighboring forest, with its several rivers and bouldery hillsides, is accessible from the property and includes well maintained paths for easy and safe walks day or night (as well as plenty of wilder corners). This forest will lead you on a walking loop of about 90 minutes to and from “The Forgotten Village” - a 400 year old settlement of stone ruins in the center of the wood.)
And lastly, Our Animal-Family and their various habitats:
Living with animals can invite a powerful reminder to return to the most essential aspects of connection. Observing, bonding with, and caring for animals can increase inner-conditions for creative ‘fertility.’ Presently La SOURCE has on property a family of 12 goats, 3 sheep, a goose, a duck, chickens, and a dog; our neighbors also often pasture their horses on our grounds.
What we give space to outside determines what we give space to inside... Take that. Reverse it... Still true.
On-site resources and structures for cultivating extraordinary states.
Leaving the frame of typical daily life to explore other ways of being can provide very fertile grounds in which to plant. Therefore, we encourage and facilitate experimentation.
(Please note that none of these practices are expected, merely available for those curious and interested.)
Presently, this includes:
Periods without technology
Periods in silence
Periods of fasting
Periods in meditative isolation
Periods in creative isolation
Periods in darkness (otherwise known as ‘darkness retreats’)
… (and soon to come: periods in natural immersion)
Again, all of these processes are optional. We’re happy to provide more details on exactly how these practices can happen. We are also utterly open to the proposition of additional forms and will do all we can to safely support them.
A poet, a scientist, a farmer, and a monk
are sitting together around a table.
An unlikely gathering.
What do they speak about?
Imagine that they must build the world anew together.
They have millions of decisions to make. How will they deliberate?
Imagine, for a moment, a disagreement
regarding the prevention of poverty.
The scientist says
to the poet studying a fallen nest, “You’re wasting time.”
to the farmer tilling the field, “You must consider the big picture.”
to the monk praying for the world, “This is irrational; you will accomplish nothing.”
The poet says
to the farmer, “Your responsibility is heavy; your work is hard and long. You forget to live.”
to the monk, “You cannot reach the ears of god without a passion burning in you.”
to the scientist, “You are strategic and cold. Without beauty, the world is a meaningless mechanism.”
The farmer says
to the monk, “You can’t eat prayer.”
to the scientist, “All talk, no action.”
to the poet, “Child.”
The monk says
to the scientist, “Your facts do not yield true clarity.”
to the poet, “Your fascination does not reveal true beauty.”
to the farmer, “Your grains do not provide true nourishment.”
And they go around like this…name-calling…because they have not yet recognized the gifts each of them offers in the process. They have not fully invited the others into the co-creation.
The poet offers passion and hope.
The scientist offers discernment and vision.
The farmer offers discipline and care.
The monk offers perspective and devotion.
Why would any of these gifts be unwelcome?
There are structures in the world which support the heart, the mind, the body or the spirit. But typically these institutions feed one aspect to the exclusion of the others.
The love letter, the dissertation, the cookbook, and the prayer seem like incompatible universes. Here you will find ground dedicated to their encounter and, ultimately, their partnership.
This project is particularly well suited for creatives who find themselves standing at a threshold between worlds or between phases of life; or those with an urge to initiate a profound shift or deepening into their practice. These “threshold states” are varied, and might resemble one or more of the following:
Life Crisis : ‘a turning point,’ often immediate, fierce, unexpected/unconsented and frightening
Transition : an unplanned yet gradual passage into a new form of becoming
Horizon-striving : an actively sought experience of expansion found in reaching for the unknown
Initiation : an actively engaged (and often guided) process of transformation to unlock innate potential
Limen-dwelling : the ongoing occupation of in-between spaces; purposeful continuous existence ‘outside of the normative frame’
The path of the 'Psychopomp' : the accompaniment of others through threshold spaces with full fluency in the dynamics of the ‘in-between’
WHO? a PORTRAIT
Notice what you notice.
Every fear is a guide.
All resistances, teachers.
Each experience, a gift.
Time, a continuous invitation.
Space, an inexhaustible resource.
Creation, a perpetual calling.
Love, an inevitability.