Process at Embryo Lab

June 15, 2016




1) Artist as Co-creator: Composer & Alchemist
2) Creating Conditions for Life & Art:
Autotelic Flow
3) A Safe Container for Investigations: Ritual




House As A Mirror: Observing the Self-Container




House As A Mirror: Observing the Self-Container

In last years “House As A Mirror” project there was a deeper investigation of intentions and the walls that we build around our emotions, psyche, and body. In continuation of this project, artists are encouraged to contemplate the self container and connect to its content then explore where container and ritual coincide.  Sensing where life and art interact and how this generates  possibilities of a meaningful relationship between these distincts yet not separate subjects.  As Kecya articulated in last years collaboration:



"With these questions, through observation I realize that a wall can also be part of a container. Just like the body has its surfaces, walls defining each cell and organ, the house also is a container with rooms and walls, and inside each room, more containers, over and over.  A wall is a structure that defines an area, carries a load, or provides shelter or security, creating a barrier to contain something.  It can be hard or flexible, soft- or hardware. A container is an instrument that creates partially or fully an enclosed space, which can be used to store and transport an object, or any substance, physical or abstract. It protects what is inside of its structure. A word also can be a container to the intention; a glass contains the liquid.  The holding space helps new things to grow and be nurtured, to stabilize their roots and bring them to full maturity. But also, it can be a barrier, bondage, a symbol of power and separation.  The mind can also create all kinds of physical and psychological barriers.  I find it extremely important to understand more deeply what kind of substances are being nurtured in the mind and its body. "


                                                                                              Kecya Felix, House as a Mirror 2015 




"In art, as in life generally, we need to study our craft, develop our skills, and absorb the knowledge and insight passed down by tradition. But whatever we have the attitude of a student who could still become more proficient in handling the material, or the attitude of an accomplished master, when we are actually creating a work of art there is a sense of total confidence. Our message is simple one of appreciating the nature of things as they are and expressing it without any struggle of thoughts and fears. We are give up aggression, both toward ourselves, that we have to make a special effort to impress people, and towards others, that we can put something over them. Genuine art - dharma art- is simple the activity of non aggression."

Chogyam Trungpa Rimpoche




Andy Goldsworthy 



Artist as Co-creator, Composer and a Scientist


This year’s Embryo Lab  is a continual exploration of of  these types of investigations and questions. The central theme for the Lab is around the practice of creating conditions, tapping into an autolectic flow and a curious mind-state.


What if the artist observes content as a composer capturing each note,  indiscriminately and non judgmentally?

Or in other words objectively as a scientist observes the components of a formula or prima materia,  and how it interacts with other substances and from this procedure modulates his experiments refining, separating, coagulating, and transforming gross material in fine art.   


Taking this idea of composition in ordinary tasks requires observing how your mind interacts with objects and subjects; Recognizing a moment of peace, joy, tension and release then observing this non judgmentally -  cultivating the eyes of an art alchemist of life.

What would it look like to bring this objective observation, focus and precision to our momentum. Observing how they interact with your sensory body creating internal landscapes such as intentions and emotions?    



Artist Andy Goldsworthy creates outdoor works of art from found materials. Working with the location, water, sun, leaves, stones and wood in the UK and Japan. Originally broadcast in the UK in 1992.



Here you can see the full documentary 



What is Autotelic Flow? 


"An autotelic person needs few material possessions and little entertainment, comfort, power, or fame because so much of what he or she does is already rewarding. Because such persons experience flow in work, in family life, when interacting with people, when eating, even when alone with nothing to do, they are less dependent on the external rewards that keep others motivated to go on with a life composed of routines. They are more autonomous and independent because they cannot be as easily manipulated with threats or rewards from the outside. At the same time, they are more involved with everything around them because they are fully immersed in the current of life."   


The other day my friend introduced me to the word…”autotelic”….I liked the way it rolled off the tongue so I quickly looked it up. I was blown away by the definition and feel that it speaks to this notion of clinging to a product quite nicely. Check it out…a phenomenon that is autotelic has a purpose in and not apart from itself.”

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes people who are internally driven, and as such may exhibit a sense of purpose and curiosity, as autotelic.[2] This determination is an exclusive difference from being externally driven, where things such as comfort, money, power, or fame are the motivating force.




                       Andy Goldsworthy




What inhibits us from tapping into an autolect flow?




3)  A safe container for investigation: Ritual


One healing methodology is the practice of observation and liberation  from the walls that inhibit creative flow is the power of setting intentions. Ritual is a great way of organizing time, space and intentions to the help us in the process  of our work.


Below is an article offering about ritual that inspired my own process. It is written by Jack Kornfield who is a bestselling American author and teacher in the Vipassana movement in American Theravada Buddhism. He trained as a Buddhist monk in Thailand, Burma and India, first as a student of the Thai forest master Ajahn Chah and Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma.






   Anna Halprin, Movement Ritual 















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