Newsletter #1: Two Insight Salons
Over the past weeks we have been making strides. Thanks to our salons, and the beautiful collective members, the form of InsightOS is emerging.
Here are some of the ‘cultural selections’ that we were gravitating around in our first two Insight Salons. Enjoy :)
#1 Playful Chaos
We used a poem by Allen Ginsberg to start proceedings: ‘A Supermarket in California’. The poem has a suitable domain of keywords referring to shopping and consumerism; the search for poetic images; relating to those that came before; queer desire; and the bringing of children into the world. It was felt that Ginsberg is a poet who encapsulates playful chaos
It was from this poem that we each picked out the words that magnetised our attention. We merged these words with archetypes to create research personas: Neon Fruit Ruler, the Beard Pointing Caregiver, and the Shade Artist.
To accompany this poem, we matched it with a performance by hyperkinetic pop musician and trans icon SOPHIE:
Our image for the salon was a sketch by Bruce Nauman whose recent show at the Tate Modern explored the dark side of play. He emphasises the sinister side of the game Musical Chairs, and surrounded the gallery viewer with demented clowns:
We learned that using poetry and visual art to create a shared experience is powerful and grounding; and we started to develop our technique. We also got to begin stress-testing our Insight Salon model:
#2 Refashioning Activism
Our second Insight Salon was focused: fashion.
A shawl designed by Alexander McQueen was used as our mobilising image, setting the gothic tone that we would then continue to explore:
Using Alexander McQueen as our inspiration encouraged us to use the ‘gothic’ as our sense making schema. As such, we used the OST to the vampiric film ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ as our soundtrack:
Salon collaborator Lauren had started work on their page: What’s Going on in Fashion, so we had plenty of industry insight to lean on for our discussion.
The first of our sources for building our vocab was an interview with Alexander McQueen where he talks about his process of collaboration and we get a glimpse into his unique mind:
Alexander gave us plenty of ways to shape our fashion mindset. So we complemented this with a poem that captures an activist spirit: Sylvia Plath’s poem ‘Mushrooms’. The mushrooms here are a mycelium field of soft fists that insist on their emergence
We watched these videos with our microphones and cameras off. A moment of peaceful, solitary tranquillity. As always, the object here wasn’t to interpret or analyse the material; it was to absorb it. We picked out keywords that vibrated for us and used them to build our Insight Salon characters. We leaned on the following archetypes to further help our character development:
These are all familiar faces with strong cultural resonance. This made it easy for us get into character. We created descriptions and starter sentences to make the process even more fluid:
Once we had developed our characters, we took inspiration from the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ style of book and created three gothic scenarios:
And also helping us orientate ourselves in the world of protest and activism is this talk by political philosopher Guy Aitchison