An Impromptu for the New European Bauhaus at Epicenter of Re(ge)naissance Movement
Rising into the Sun, the New Man is Here Now. A Circular Path, From the Past to the Future.
One year ago, in November 2019, after visiting the exhibition 100 Years of Bauhaus in Weimar, I had a profoundly inspiring conversation with Joerg Geier, sustainable innovation consultant, advisor and member of the Club of Rome. Joerg visited me in my remote refuge in the Alps, far away from then noise of the city, surrounded by silence and immersed in nature, we co-imagined what I come to call the rebirth of the New Man and the resurgence of the New Bauhaus. When I recently read a press release of our President von der Leyen for the launch of the New European Bauhaus I was struck how she was speaking about so many of the core messages — as I would see it — that I included in the Impromptu I wrote in May. I am amazed to see how our self-aware living system is weaving so beautifully together threads of ideas, spreading seeds and allowing individual paths to intersect and purposefully manifest a common vision of positive future, designed and created to serve the greater good of humanity and the Earth.
We are an evolving living organism. An unfolding reality. A work in progress. An ex tempore improvisation.
“There is another world, but it is inside this one” noted the poet Paul Éluard. We are standing on the spot where this new world reveals itself, asking ourselves one question “Why did we hesitate to recognize this?”
Once the stone has been thrown. The button has been pushed, there will be no turning back. Nothing will ever be the same again. The New Man is alive. We are going down the slide. Dissembling this matrix. We are all balancing together on this imaginary rope in this hyperconnected world, with one foot in the present and the other foot in the future. Rising into the sun, the New Man is here now. A circular path, from the past to the future, from the future to the past. All that remains is this moment. Anni Albers is whispering in our ear “A longing for excitement can be satisfied without external means within oneself: For creating is the most intense excitement one can come to know.” The Homo Symbolicus. Deconstructing the past, we emerge from the future.
We are staring at each other, gazing at the mesmerizing beauty of this super-organism, the Earth, observed from space, felt from within. Meta, macro, and micro examination of intertwining networks. The Indra’s Net. Heart-stirring. Aesthetic arrest instead of imminent collapse. We cannot continue with business as usual, you say. We all agree. We need more wonder, we believe. It is time to reset and rewire. For the grand reset, the time is now. The cuckoo clocks make tick tack. Do you hear it? Time does not pass, it moves in a circle.
We are removing carefully the dust from the face of the New Man, the man as envisioned by Walter Gropius and the new art school known as the Staatliches Bauhaus back in 1919. The New Man who arose in an age of rising extremism, mass polarization, and fear. The New Man, expelled, forgotten and buried with his ambitious dreams and his real utopia is reborn and is alive today, filled with a force of regenerative renewal. The transformation occurs from the inside out.
Tackling our complex systemics challenges and rebirthing our life -supporting living systems require us to collaborate, co-create and co-imagine together new ways of thinking, living, and thriving. We return to the playground. We are fostering this great transformation, from having to being, from degenerating to regenerating, from many to one, from disconnected to united. A civilization’s metamorphosis following nature’s principles. Graceful, compassionate, intuitive. A shift that relies greatly on our co-operation, collective action and boundless imagination. A dynamic reconnecting process in which all the whole is more than its parts. The holographic universe. We are seeing a world that is positive in its essence. A reflection of our deepest collective hopes — though rooted in wisdom and insights, not in illusion. As we grow up, our understanding of this wholeness is spinning a web from one tree to another. Dissolving boundaries. Destroying separating walls. Blending and blurring the reality edges. The world that we have got accustomed to has been a dream, unrooted, shallow, built on unsustainable pillars. A castle of paper cards: consumption, output, waste, endless growth, linearity, separation of the different elements. Life is all about impermanence, motion, gravity, circularity, rebirth, entropy, organic processes, interconnectivity, interbeingness, oneness, wholeness. By acting contrary to the cycle of life, by resisting the ever-revolving nature of our environment, we have created a thirsty and insatiable machine which requires a never-ending supply of resources, diametrically opposed to nature’s flow. It is time to reinvent. Reconstruct, rethink, reassemble, rebuild, recreate, rehabilitate, remake, remodel, renovate, repair, reproduce, restore, rework, reframe, recondition, reconstitute, reform, remold, reorient, replace, reshuffle. It is time for a capital collective R. The ‘R’, above all, symbolizes regeneration and rebirth. It also suggests resilience, restoration, revitalization, and renewal. Thus, we strive to act as a regenerative evolution engine. An infinite fractal-like structure.
We need to allow our systems to reach a new state of equilibrium, taking a new story at heart and rewriting the script for the future to come. This story needs to be rooted in a symbiosis between all sentient beings of Planet Earth: naturalness and humanness at its core, life’s assumptions based on cooperation rather than competition. COVID-19 taught us that great things can be achieved if seemingly different parts of the system interact, cooperate and are taken seriously as valuable contributors to a collective effort behind a common goal: wellbeing for all. This needs to be our guiding metaphor: the wellbeing of all parts, not a mechanical construct, a machine without purpose, but an ever self-perpetuating, self-organizing, and self-aware system that does not limit itself as a result of top-down or misled hierarchical thinking. Our planetary health. Our planetary flourishing.
We believe that we can only succeed with a collective of like-minded creators crossing their disciplinary borders and geospatial limitations. We bring together a new breed of creators, makers, scientists, and thinkers from many disciplines, working together across disciplinary boundaries, and sharing a vision for a positive, regenerative, and just future. We are the cosmic glue that binds us into a radical wholeness. The New European Bauhaus is the virtual and real-life playground giving a voice to and serving regenerative pioneers and creators dedicated to whole systems change. We challenge the systems we live in, thus letting a new reality emerge spontaneously and effortless. At the confluence of environmental, scientific, social, and cultural practices, we propel innovation forward and inspire action to restore planetary health, strengthen communities, and design a resilient, equitable and more beautiful world for all. The New European Bauhaus hereby acts like a symphony, written to be played by many, a group of performers united by a common purpose. Our collective purpose is to explore the interconnectedness of all living things and re-establish a healthy balance between humans, nature, and business. Our knowledge repository is fluid. For this reason, the New European Bauhaus operates as decentralized, network-based platform, a network of networks. We are agents provocateurs that release the creative genius required to respond to the rising demand for solutions, stories and inventions giving us hope for the future of our planet. Thriving beyond survival. Developing scenarios, foreseeing, exploring, and imagining alternative and preferred futures. Investigating and analyzing radically disruptive new value creation models, and initiating experiments, integrally operating under nature’s regenerative principles.
The most disruptive innovations focus on fulfilling people’s needs while regenerating our natural support systems at the same time. Experimentation and play are the core of our work. We see the New European Bauhaus as an experiment by itself. Our framework is a cacophony of voices. It permeates the space, enveloping and penetrating multiple approaches, techniques, knowledge and experience, wisdom, and insight, observation and contemplation. With our anticipatory and visionary eyes, fine antennae, pattern recognition, and super-connector abilities, we have an unparalleled ability to identify what will come next and collect those seeds ready to sprout. We are master of contamination, cross- pollinating different disciplines, abilities, types of thinking. We combine practical, analytical, logical, imaginative, and creative thinking in a dynamic, immersive, and experiential process. A constellation of stars in which each single genius mind radiates his or her unique greatness while contributing towards a collective synergetic structure. We focus on pure action. We are visionary yet pragmatic. We are the most exciting climbing wall for all the pioneers out there. We turn conventional thinking on working, producing, consuming, and living upside down. We cooperate as a collective in which each member is personally accountable in a culture of integrity, trust, presence, authenticity, openness, and respect. We challenge and question limited perspectives and limiting belief system to unleash the full continuum of creation. We generate a wide range of responses, ranging from extreme fascination to provocation. We need the most holistic and integrative view possible of humanity. A new harmony and symbiosis between man, science, art, nature and technology.
In the new aesthetic of the New European Bauhaus form follows both function and Nature, it is inspired by Nature and operates incorporating Nature’s regenerative principles in its full mesmerizing beauty.
It brings forth the vision of the world of tomorrow as the more human, greener, beautiful world our heart knows is possible. The separation between mind and matter is one of the most underestimated root-causes of degeneration that ends in the decomposition of the whole into pieces. Indeed, a much-needed shift is required for human civilization to thrive in harmony with and inspired by Nature’s principles. And, if we agree that lasting changes start in transforming the way we think (worldviews, paradigms, mental models, and mindsets), breakthroughs could happen if we move from linear to circular thinking, embracing integration, aggregation, harmonization of complementary forces instead of pushing isolation, separation, division, compartmentalisation forward. Nature’s solutions are always simple, effortless and beautiful. Nature leaps over seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Everything is interrelated. Both creation and destruction, arising and passing away, are part of a whole continuous flow of changing relations, a circle without beginning and without an end “if this exists, that exists; if this ceases to exist, that also ceases to exist”. So, creation and destruction, generation and degeneration, positive and negative are interconnected and exist as interdependent forces of the same whole. Like the sunny and shadow side of the mountain. Now, the nonjudgemental mind is nonattached and selfless, thereby the experience of the selfless mind is happening and unfolding to it in its emptiness that is fullness, beyond planes or dimensions. The third Chinese patriarch of zen Seng T’san wrote: “To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.”
Cross-collaboration, co-creation, experimentation are high leverage points to raise collective awareness, activate local communities, and provoke beneficial cascading effects to induce a large change in system behavior. We need the poets, the artists, the storytellers, the post-modern troubadours. We need a new story. We need a new dream. We need the co-creators to co-design the dream for everyone and implemented the vision to serve 100% of life.
As Gropius stated, “Our guiding principle was that design is neither an intellectual nor a material affair, but simply an integral part of the stuff of life, necessary for everyone in a civilized society.”
Our emergent concept for the New European Bauhaus is built around the core principles of the old Bauhaus: the New Man, Form follows function, Smart use of Resources, Less is more, Simplicity and Effectiveness, One Studio of Multiple Voices. We believe in the power of impact-driven solutions, effortless action, ephemeralization, circular, and regenerative innovation to solve large-scale environmental, socio-economical, and political issues. We envision an open, collaborative, and co-creative ecosystem, operating at the intersection of art, science, technology, and ecology. The New European Bauhaus is the epicenter of the Re(ge)naissance movement, an interdisciplinary innovation & educational center researching, defining, ideating, and testing breakthrough ideas to stop catastrophic climate change and co-develop innovative regenerative solutions.
2020 has been a year for a tragic balance sheet in the entire world. The EU and other great powers such as the United States and the United Kingdom are progressively losing its ‘raison d’etre’. Things are going to get worse, our supporting living systems are degenerating and degrading, political-economical systems are on the verge of collapse. The current ecological crisis combined with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reveals all the leakage points of our linear and compartmentalized global structure. Long term consequences will impact dramatically the possibility to reach the SDG‘s goals. From the ashes something good and beautiful could emerge, we have to use this moment to analyze and tackle the root cause of our problems and face the planetary challenges with a new creative and cooperative spirit that focuses on planetary health instead of individual wealth. The planet is on a path that could lead to the degradation of more than 90% of all the Earth’s soils by 2050 according to the FAO. If whole systems transformation occurs as part of direct transmission, direct knowledge and self-realization, what is our role beyond intellectual speculation, new models, and new theories to bring about changes in the real world of real people? Because we need to change soon or we are going to die soon as a species. Our human civilization will be destroyed if we do not take fast all the necessary measures and unleash our full creative potential. This is not a doom-and-gloom future scenario, this is a reminder for all of us, the change catatysts, we need to jointly overcome this crisis and initiate a new Era.
Rising into the sun, the New Man is free.
Written by Ilaria Forte —#WEARENATURE @Anatomyofnow Radical Innovator, Humanist, and Scientist for a Life-Affirming World.
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