When I saw a Facebook post from Moni, the head organizer of the Berlin Mental Health Festival, asking for volunteers, I offered to shoot video.
So far, I've recorded a poetry night and two panel talk at sari-sari, a storytelling night at the wall comedy club, a stand-up night at cosmic comedy/kookaburra club. All events for the Berlin Mental Health Festival!
Also all without any compensation.
Tips greatly appreciated.
Check out my Patreon and PayPal details why don't ya?
in addition to video coverage of other events,
I hosted a performance-soundwalk-
hands-on workshop-dining experience
on Sunday, November 08, 2021.
The purpose of it was
to gather, together;
to ask questions and to connect.
Through ritual, essay, embodiment,
dance, dialogue, and dining,
we made space for
reflection and connection.
The experience is a response to:
"Wait, what is a mental health festival?
What could it be?"1
This mental health crisis is made of many crises, interdependency, you see.
It is a mental health crisis, but let's remember the crisis comes from many sources,
like capitalist greed, state violence, oppression, climate collapse.
Plus last year, they threw in a bonus pandemic,
a little viral cherry on top.
It’s a lot
Call it what you may, just remember what it's made out of—so you can identify proper counter measures,, if you know what I mean, abolition and so on, building a robustly caring world.
One question: What could a mental health festival be? It could be so many things.
A more specific question: given the state of affairs comprising this crisis,
in what ways can we – you and me - respond to this crisis, here and now?
The psycho-social-artistic research for the project is rooted in heals_pace, a long-term collaborative, creative project on care and connection. This research began June 2020, as a direct response to the COVID pandemic.
heals_pace is a long-term collaborative project on care and healing. It starts with a retreat series. The goals of the retreat are 1) to provide helpful wellness tools along with space and time of recovery, to prevent exhaustion and burnout, 2) to imagine and enact new ways of taking care of one another, and 3) to curate spaces, safe to warm, to share our stories of resiliency, of love, of grief, and more.
heals_pace is a long-term collaborative project on care and healing. It starts with a five-part retreat series and storytelling project.
Each retreat of the series lasts five hours and includes breathwork, embodiment practices, and vegan food. The series presents five conceptual tools and daily practices for dealing with modern life. The concepts are conveyed through self-guided exercises, which also invite contemplation. Retreats are simple and spacious in design.
At heals_pace, you will spend your time in solitude.
You will be slowing down.
You will observe a physical and social silence, disconnecting from your mobile computer and connecting with yourself.
With your full attention, you will notice sights, sounds, smells, tastes. You will observe your body, your physical sensations, your thoughts, your feelings.
You will do some walking, stretching, sitting, eating, looking and listening, some thinking and writing, and maybe some sharing.
During the final retreat, you may choose to share part of your story to a small audience of fellow storytellers. There is healing power in telling our stories, for both the speaker and the listener. Let’s share our stories of struggle and resiliency, love and grief, violence, beauty, despair, recovery, laughter.
Storytelling is recorded and later may be combined with other forms of expression—like visual text, painting, dance. There are endless possibilities of collaboration. The key is vulnerability.
Stories will become part of an open archive, to be accessed by future retreat participants. Stories will also end up online, where conversations between audience and creators can take place. Virtual screenings and discussions will reach an international audience, where we will share our vulnerability and hold space for one another.
heals_pace aims to be nourishing and collaborative and creative.
The first 20 hours of retreat (split into four sessions) are all about self-guided restoration—sensed in and through the mind-body-spirit. The project also strives for collective creativity and experimentation with new forms of care and healing. Bringing together healers from various modalities and activists, artists, and self-healers, we can create something profound.
At heals_pace, you should feel safe, cared for, and able to rest. That’s the idea. But we gotta learn how to make this thing together. We need a trauma-informed approach, as inviting as possible, and experiences designed for maximal variability, so that the series is accessible to all, including refugees, people from various racial and cultural backgrounds, of various sexual identities and genders, for all kinds of bodies and personalities.
Self-reflection and self-love—this is the foundation we build upon.
If we work together, with an orientation toward love, openness, care, and healing, we can reconnect with ourselves, with others, and with the whole world around us.
If we work together, we can heal ourselves and we can put an end to the violence of imperialism, capitalism, heterosexism, sexism, white supremacy. We can create sustainable systems and mitigate the devastation of climate collapse.
We can build a better world. We must.