Exercise nr. 23
April 2021

Öskjuhlíð Park, Reykjavík, Iceland.

Participants: 8
A guided tour through Öskjuhlíð park. Several exercises were explored throughout the trip: singing, voicing, exploring, listening and looking closer - a combination of elements based on earlier exercises. All participants finished a plant personality test before joining and at the start where dressed in a vest relating to their inner plant category. As a token of their achievement each participant was awarded a medallion that marks the start of their plant becoming journey.

Before joining the trip participants were asked to finish a plant personality test. Once all of the participants arrived they reflected on their plant personality result within the group and where then given a vest to represent one of the four plant categories. Putting on the vest also prompts a shared feeling of awkwardness (we’re all stepping out of our comfort zone together). Each vest also had a magnifying glass. The facilitators gave some insight into each category before starting the trip. Then gradually the group moved into the adjacent forest. The trip consisted of several exercises:

  1. Walking and looking: in the first part of the journey, participants where simply asked to walk into the forest and recognise the plants in their surroundings - especially plants within their own plant category - Just saying: Hi, I see you.
  2. Voicing and singing: then as the group had accumulated to their surroundings a spot was found that afforded both standing and sitting. Then a voicing and singing session started Ex. 8.
  3. Touching, collecting and looking closer: the next step was then a further exploration of the environment, participants were asked to look closer (using their magnifying glasses) and activate their senses; smelling, touching, tasting, listening and moving in space (vestibular sense). They were also asked to collect material from the forrest if the feeling arose and place it in their plant vest. The group was also asked to move communally through the forest - acknowledging a group component without leadership or hierarchy.
  4. Eating: as the group had explored and gradually stopped at one place - the group was offered vegetable soup, bread, water and coffee. The eating offered a bonding moment where participants could eat, drink and socialise. Everything was served in ceramics that had been made before the trip and was linked to the idea of  deepening a moment. The soup could have been served in a paper cup but the ceramic is nicer and more appreciated, intended to show that the facilitators care and are willing to take the extra steps, based on elements in Ex. 19.
  5. Seeding: then once participants had their fill they were given seeds already collected from the forest. Then as a final step of the trip they were asked to plant the seed alongside an idea. This originates in Ex. 6  where a link was made between planting seeds and ideas - where the mind is the soil bed of our inner ecology and ideas grow within that soil bed. So linking ideas to an actual seed might help us bring it to fruition.
  6. Ceremony: the last step was a recognition of the journey. Each participant was given a medallion that marked the start of their plant becoming. They were also asked to pose for a plant portrait based on elements of Ex. 13 (portraits seen at top︎︎︎). 

Props and costumes
As part of this experiment several props and costumes where developed:
  1. Vest: intended to signal a plant category and mark a transition into the trip. Getting people a little of balance, stepping out of the comfort zone in preparation for further plant explorations as well as building group dynamics. It also had a practical function holding a magnifying glass and material collected in the forest by each participant. 
  2. Medallion: a token of participation, marking the start of a journey. Also presented as a relational object - helping participants to regain a plant connection once they entered their own lifes.
  3. Cups: a ceramic cup representing all of the plant categories. Intended to deepen the eating moment within the trip. Made from earth-clay and glazed with coper and transparant glaze. Erlier exploration in Ex. 19.