We started a new project, "Commune". It is all about group research and activities and we were divided in the groups of three: me, Russell and Febe. Now we decided to start planning right away so we will be ahead of time and we will try to do some days within reading week.
We do not have any structure and to be honest I do not understand this project really well. I hate being forced to hang out with someone, it is like a nervous tick I get so this project will truly be something challenging. Therefore, it is better for me to do the research as soon as possible and start working on my own project.
We made a group call with Febe as she wasn't with us yesterday and explained what she missed out. She didn't agree with the fact that we should be open and speak our minds, it is too forced. This is very unfortunate because I really wanted to get to know everyone, may be I should have stood my ground? I just don't want to force my team members to do anything for the sake of my project. May be I should ask some leading questions to get to know them like "What is the scariest memory you have?".
We started working on the manifesto. We came up with the name, "Home Base", it is our safe space where we will be isolated from the world, therefore no phones and no distractions. Boredom will probably play a huge part on the experience and hopefully I will get them to open up. The day for us will be 9 hours, from 11.30 to 20.30, we were discussing possible locations which are Russell's room, a studio that we can rent or Sharo's common room in her accommodation.
It is lesson time. We presented our Manifesto to Tim and explained our idea to him. He made couple of suggestions like always stay in a new place, build a new fort every day and go out after the day is over for the contrast. Taking his ideas for the consideration we thought it would be quite nice to go out for dinner after the day is over. We got a little conflicted when we were asked to lead the day though. As we are staying at the same place all the time, there is really nothing to lead, only the activities. I thought it will be very pressuring if we had to entertain the others for the entire day so we decided that it is better to create the list of possible activities, print them and put them in a jar. When we decide that it's time for another activity, we will take something out. Tomorrow we are going to shop for some board games and card games.
Sharo messaged us and said that her accommodation agreed for us to book the space for 3 days but we have to leave at 19.00, which is perfect because then we can go have dinner out somewhere.
The first day was quite eventful. We spent all day at Sharo's accommodation either staying in the fort of in the kitchen cooking lunch. It felt like we spent more time in the kitchen than in the fort as we had a lot of stuff to cook. I tried a lot of foods I never ate before, this lunch was like a small celebration of Chinese new year. In the fort we played cards, watched a movie and I also gave them a tarot card reading. I honestly didn't think the reading was accurate, all the reading was quite pessimistic and it probably did disrupt the mood between us.
We have been told that we have to clean up the common room before leaving, therefore now we will spend some time in the morning re-building the fort before staying there.
In the evening, after we cleaned up the common room, we went to dinner where we had a really good conversation. I felt like we all managed to open up a little after I talked a bit about my family, which they found very interesting. I spoke about my mother and father's story: how they broke up, how me and my mum ended up here and my dad's bankruptcy. This conversation was brought up by my tattoo, when I was trying to explain its meaning. After a good chat we all went back home, preparing for the next day.
For me, today's day was full of conflicts and sports. Today we built the fort in the corner so we would have more space to do some yoga and body percussion.
The conflict started whilst we were doing Sharo's activity of body percussion where we followed the youtube video to create the music and rhythm. Febe, Russell and Shari learned the combination fairly quickly whilst I was a bit behind. I remembered the movements, but I just couldn't do both at the same time. I had a lot of pressure to do things right, as we had to do the movements together, as a group. The activity was during lunch time, most of the group were quite hungry and I ended up being rushed and later frustrated. Out of irritation I isolated myself to have more focus and calm down a little bit. At the end, with some help from others, I ended up learning the moves.
At lunch time Febe and Russell decided to do some reflection on what happened, during which I started feeling like a lunch bag. They were trying to analyse my behaviour and say that it was very wrong that I isolated myself from the group to try to get it by myself and that we were supposed to do it together. Russell started saying words like "maybe this is something you should work on", which really set me off.
During Russell's activity we did some clay making and then drawing. This is when Febe started saying bad things about my personality whilst judging my sketches. Luckily for me Sharo was protecting me throughout this whole thing.
During our dinner I didn't feel part of the group anymore. Most of my team became strangers to me and I realised my previous goal of "getting to know each other and become friends" now turned into a new goal "how not to have a nervous breakdown in front of all these people".
I was not excited for today's day. The mood was not right anymore and we were all tired of each other at this point. We built the same fort as yesterday, reception has told us that they have to have a meeting in the common room at 15.00 for an hour, so after we watched the film at the fort, we left it and didn't come back.
At Sharo's room we did my activity of drawing portraits of each other, as it can show much more about a person than you would think. When I was little I found out that all the portraits we draw are actually the reference of yourself. The person we see the most in our life time is ourselves, therefore we know our own facial structure the best. I found it interesting how we found drawing some faces more difficult than the other's. For example, Russell found my face the most complicated to draw, whilst I found his the same, as most people in our group. Febe also found Sharo very complicated to draw, on the other hand, for me Sharo was the easiest.
I could stay with the group much longer, it was very hard and tense for me therefore I left early. I am very glad that this research is over, but at the same time I didn't reach my aim at all (getting to know each other and get a feel of their personalities), what's more I reached the exact opposite, which upsets me.
I met up with Sharo today. We planned this day on Tuesday outside Russell and Febe because we actually got along throughout these three day. I talked to her about what bothered me and we came to conclusion that we need to have a talk, all four of us together and solve all the tension.
So last week we did go for a walk. Russell was meant to organise the day and we went far away from the centre to a really big park. It was. quite nice and quiet, putting aside the fact and we got lost.
I decided not to write about it because we decided not to make it a part of a Commune project. We got a new member, Sharo, that wasn't there and today we had a workshop that showed us that we really need to have a structure before planning out the days.
Listening to some ideas other students came up with stimulated our own imagination. I really liked the idea of "putting yourself into another person's skin". To develop this idea I talked to my group mates to make sure that the location we will choose is not going to be some outdoorsy, cold and uncomfortable place where we went last time. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the walk, it's just I got very tired and if we would do this three days in a row, documenting my research will be the last thing I would do. Also comfortable surroundings will help us open up. My personal aim for this project is to have a feel of another person's character, have some strong opinion about them. I don't care if we will become friends or enemies, I want to get out of the project with some strong feelings.
After the workshop this is what I've been trying to talk about with my group. Me, Sharo and Russell went to the cafe to discuss possible rules and structure for our future manifesto and, frankly, we've spent a lot f time there but already had some outlooks done. We decided to stay in a pillow fort and do activities to get to know each other like listening to each other's music, watch a movie, play board games and card games, etc. We made a plan that this is going to be our bonding experience and we need to try to be as open as possible and speak our minds.
My Day Planner
On the first day we watched the movie called The Shining all together. I have never seen this film before and really wanted to watch it for a while. You can distinctly tell that it was made as a literature, rather than a full length film. There were many metaphors and mysteries that are up to a viewer's interpretation. There are a lot of theories and thoughts about what really happened in that hotel but we would never know the answer.
The movie introduced the idea of "cabin fever", the state when people turn mad being in a solitary confinement and don't receive enough sunlight. When I first saw it, I came to think that Jack might actually represent me throughout these three days as I will also be locked up and isolated from the world and that's what actually happened. Throughout these three days all four of us had a lot of clashes, therefore staying in a fort was very tense for me. Of course I didn't turn into Jack but I was still thinking about how my situation reminds me of cabin fever.
Another movie that we watched together was on the third day. It is an Italian movie called Perfect Strangers that I also felt a strong relevance to throughout these three days. The film is about a group of friends (all married) that decided to play a game where they will share their phones with each other. Every text, every phone call they are supposed to show and share. Their relationship went really downhill, the evening ended with shouting, tears and break ups.
One of the characters said that this is what happens when people lose their privacy. Which is what we had for three days as well. For me it started as group activities and doing fun things together and talking, but in the end turned into disagreements and tension.