Design Science Studio : Living Systems Collaboratory

Honored to have been accepted to the Living Systems Art + Design Collaboratory presented by the Design Science Studio at the Buckminster Fuller Institute in partnership with habRitual and The Emergent Media DesignLab at the University of California, Irvine.

Current focus :


Physical Planetary Play Prompts

embodied edutainment experiences of ecosystemic empathy

ECORegulation is natural nervous system nourishment. Translating the heady research of somatic psychology into playful physical prompts, ECORegulation makes the therapeutic tools of regulating the nervous system available to all. Grounded in the mountain of scientific evidence in how to create states of calm via vagal tone modulation and developmental attachment theory, ECORegulation teaches us how to practice self-sourcing soothing somatic sensations from the ecosystem. ECORegulation generates touchstones of tactile training in frequently finding our center in low-states environments to easefully embody this de-escalation in emergency situations.

more about ECORegulation

original project proposal

I am passionate about developing ‘SomaSenZ’ – cultivating awareness of the holistic living system of the body as a synergistic sense. SomaSenZ is a sensation-expanding technique that begins by training sensitivity to one’s personal language of subconscious body communication, and subsequently expands this sense-sphere to include other beings, and ultimately the whole biosphere, as ‘one-self’. I believe integrated experiences of interconnection create peace, and thus planetary paradise, by making cooperation with all life the most continuously compelling choice.

What blocks us from access to our innate interconnection ? My academic background in psychology would postulate unaddressed trauma causes us to disconnect / dissociate from the actively painful or numbed signals of our bodies {and thus the greater planetary body}. This, compounded with our ego prioritizing protecting and providing for our solitary selves, creates a perception paradigm in which left-brain dualistic thinking dominates.

Thus, to make experiences of oneness possible, I teach spaceholding skillbuilding – developing capacities to hold safe space for the processing of trauma, and creating containers of trust in which the ego can surrender its ‘death grip’ on the myopic perception of separation.

In addition to graduate school training to be a therapist, I have 15 years of grounded ‘spiritual emergency’ work in intense transformational states as a psychedelic risk reduction educator and leader in the field. Through ‘extreme state spaceholding’ I have invented new ‘soma-techniques’ {via applying heady psychological academic and research to novel ‘in vivo’ situations} including communicating directly to other distressed nervous systems in ‘post-verbal’ states of animalistic terror often called ‘ego death’. This intense ‘in the wild’ work has caused me to understand that in order to open to experiences of oneness it is essential to create a baseline of safety and trust in the body.

Alongside this calling, I also design {and train those staffing} immersive somatically supportive sanctuary spaces. Therapists and religious builders the world over all agree that to set the setting creates both the possibility of, and predispositions to, particular mind-states {consider the research about cathedrals increasing feelings of awe, paralleled in biophilic designs / places of natural wonder as health-generating}. I am enthusiastic about continuing to develop and share scaffolding to create the safety to surrender into synergy in this collaboratory.

What increases sense of safety and trust in a space / spaceholder? Via extensive study of the vagus nerve, I have created guidelines that aid in allowing the scanning-for-danger sympathetic nervous system to regulate into parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ / ‘mate and relate’ mode, which allows for greater vulnerability, intimacy, and openness between people. This sense of embodied trust is the necessary social / interpersonal foundation for Buckminster Fuller’s ‘spontaneous cooperation’. One specific ‘Soma-tech’ project I am excited to develop is called ‘planetary play prompts’ – playful physical exercises / exploratory movement ‘scores’ that create tactile touchstone experiences of interconnectedness with other beings and Gaia via play-tonic physicality.

Planetary Play Prompts are an accessible-to-all, affordable, somatic, and grounding version of ‘the overview effect’ {the awe and sense of unity that astronauts experience when looking down at the ‘fragile blue marble’ of earth in the vastness of dark space}. These embodied edutainment experiences of ecosystemic empathy help loosen the vice grip of the dominant separation perception paradigm and allow us the somatic spaciousness to orient towards oneness.

Project lead background :

I am a queer multidisciplinary relational artist focused on generating embodied edutainment to inspire our co-evolution. My life’s purpose is to make healing accessible to all. I do this via utilizing my graduate academic studies in transpersonal / expressive arts / somatic psychology and applying this knowledge to invent accessible activities for diverse audiences; translating highbrow terminology/studies into explanations for how affordable technologies such as group dance can be used to process trauma; and creating/contributing to corporeal communities.

I have a 15 year career in risk reduction and community mediation that involves intense, intimate, and transformative spaceholding for those in challenging states of consciousness.

Why are you interested in this collaboratory ?

I would relish the opportunity to incorporate the knowledge of living systems theories more deeply in my work and collaborate on projects that help us remember our intrinsic interconnection. I have a feeling I have been a student of systems philosophy for a long while without having a name for the discipline, as I am a lifelong scholar in healing the rift caused by the dominant perception of separation between parts of the self, self / other, and self / biosphere. I come from an academic graduate level background in Human Development and Psychological Services, and Transpersonal Somatic Psychology with a focus on Group Dynamics.

 I continually seek to democratize the tools of these academic disciplines via accessible-to-all ‘embodiment edutainment’ and the visual / experiential / movement arts. As an embodiment educator for over a decade, I accomplish this through experiential techniques and explanations of how we can heal ourselves and each other {my current joy is in cultivating celebratory catharsis in community / ‘baking in’ group therapy processes and techniques into community building and networked web weaving}. My history in generating guidelines for spaceholding and founding healing communities / retreat center spaces that emphasize empathetic embodiment is a lifelong exploration into questions that are synergistic with those expressed in this program including : How can we create social systems / patterns and participate in placemaking that feels regenerative? What Soma-tech allows us to relax the barriers between self and other to make the felt sense of interconnection/oneness more available? How can we create environments and experiences that support prosocial / pro-earth group dynamics?

I feel as though I could better serve my communities and the biosphere by more specifically studying systems philosophy. As a ‘body nerd’ I would deeply delight in creating embodied experiences and art around the principals of living systems theories to increase accessibility / ground philosophy into practical physicality.

Success for my project looks like :

 at the 4 month collaboratory culmination ::

Releasing and publicizing a comprehensive systems philosophy informed ‘SomaSenZ’ filmed course covering : how to cultivate your capability to sense your subconscious via learning personal body language literacy, how to study / calibrate to the unique corporeal communication of others, and how to expand this sense of ‘one-self’ to include the biosphere with greater natural ease and frequency.

Launching and publicizing the first deck of physical planetary play prompts available for sale online! {potentially : poster / calendar / app containing each of the prompts}. Generating, photographing, and filming examples of creating a piece of art from each prompt {ideally more than one example for each prompt}. Planning publicity ahead of time – soliciting engagement and artmaking from others regarding the prompts via interactive social media challenges, posts, collaborations, giveaways, sharing the science / research.

Generating an edutainment ecosystem around the intersection of systems philosophy and my work towards more frequent feelings of oneness, specifically focusing on research related to: how to increase feelings of interconnection, how to increase the likelihood of entering a flow state, how to make collaboration easier, and beautiful visual metaphors / film of the body as a living system {and other artful metaphors and embodiment of the knowledge of systems philosophy}.

{{ Reach goal :

Releasing an additional filmed Spaceholding Skillbuilding course covering : how to physically / energetically create a sanctuary space, how to identify what trauma reactions can look like {eg. specifically focusing on lesser known social reactions to trauma such as fawning, tend and befriend, and dorsal vagal responses such as tonic immobility}, how to care for someone in an acute trauma reaction, ethical guidelines about spaceholding {eg. how to dismantle potentially problematic power dynamics}, how to hold someone through a space of challenge or transformation, specific techniques to communicate to the nervous system that all is well in case of extreme situations, etc. }}

Roadmap to get there :

Throughout : documenting my learning, creation, and curiosity process around systems philosophy – sharing what I discover throughout the 4 months bi-weekly in writing, photography, film, artmaking, via social media. Going through my photography / videography archives, creating art & memes regarding systems philosophy {with a specific eye seeking backgrounds for Planetary Play Prompts card deck}.

Month 1 : finalizing outlines for the course{s}, beginning writing course{s}, research into what types of embodiment/activities promote feelings of interconnection/oneness for planetary play prompts, organizing the research and writing I have already done on the topics to be covered in the course{s}, {research into what creates a sense of safety and trust in a space / with a spaceholder}.

Month 2 : Complete writing ‘SomaSenZ’ course, {complete writing ‘Spaceholding Skillbuilding’ course}, have a list of the most promising ‘planetary play prompts’ backed by research, {research into what characteristics of spaces / systems / behavior promote collaboration / flow / sense of oneness }.

Month 3 : Finalized written ‘Soma-tech’ planetary play prompts shared with potential collaborations {at least 31 prompts, but up to 365 for the first round, with booster packs to come in the future}, reaching out to collaborate with other artists in making the ‘deck’ beautiful or beginning the hand lettering / background art of each prompt myself. Filming ‘SomaSenZ’ course, {filming ‘Spaceholding Skillbuilding’ course}.

Month 4 : editing ‘SomaSenZ’ course and creating finished product, {editing ‘Spaceholding Skillbuilding’ course and creating finished product}, creating website / online shopping cart system to fulfill orders for the deck and course{s}, {potential for additional ‘products’ to be developed, such as a poster of all the prompts, {if 365 prompts completed, creating an app that shows one each day}}. Publicity / partnerships / organic marketing / social media sharing toolkit / social media challenges developed for promotion!

Rough Draft Prompts

Rough Research