“One thing that prevents us from… giving primary emphasis to the perception of what is new and different is that we are afraid to make mistakes… If one will not try anything until [they are] assured that [they] will not make a mistake in whatever [they do], they will never be able to learn anything new at all. And this is more or less the state in which most people are. Such a fear of making a mistake is added to one’s habits of mechanical perception in terms of preconceived ideas and learning only for specific utilitarian purposes. All of these combine to make a person who cannot perceive what is new and who is therefore mediocre rather than original.”
from “On Creativity” (1998)
In January 2018, a new chapter opened at Arts Letters & Numbers, with the initiation of a new programming series entitled ‘Sessions’. The intent of the program is to create an immersive space of inquiry and action, a place for deep questioning, thinking and making, where a small group of participants gets the chance to live and work together, delving deeply into a particular topic, theme or question. Our aim is to create the circumstances for moving past, as David Bohm puts it, “one’s habits of mechanical perception in terms of preconceived ideas", opening up new ways of thinking, imagining and approaching the pressing questions of our time.
The structure of the Sessions is not fixed, in part owing to the wide range of subject matter and disciplines they span. Instead, the form of each Session is developed in response to its particular focus, as well as retaining an emergent dimension, reflecting the necessarily open nature of the imagination: the genuine pursuit of new ideas entails that we remain open to the possibility that our discoveries may well change the very structure of the pursuit itself. Placing a variety of disciplines in proximity, and removing the barrier of anticipated outcomes, the Sessions aim to create situations that encourage experimental thought, action and interaction, through a variety of mediums and languages, through word, gesture, sound, image and substance.
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