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Desert Transformation Lab

Błędowska Desert, Poland

2024

What can we sow in the desert of modernity?

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Welcome to the Desert Transformation Lab

Desert Transformation Lab is a wondering school that holds space for the evolution of human potential. It offers 2 month educational journey—a wild faculty of transformation—where we imagine beyond the boundaries of our anthropocentric minds, and create a space for the emergence of a new ecological paradigm. A deschool in which we learn from each other and by listening with the land, where through practicing ancestral remembrance, art, and playful transition design we embody what it means to be a human at the end of times. 

Have you heard a story about a man-made desert in the south of Poland? A place of wonder, where nymphs frolic at night and Biała Przemsza River crosses through the forest in between the sands.

In this Desert, named Błędowska, we will gather in June and July to create a laboratory for imagination, integration of the heart and the mind, interbeing with the land, and merging of different innovation strands. 

1 - 28 June 2024 chanegmakers x educators r&d programme 

Desert Transformation Lab will open its experimental research & development programme 1st of June 2024 by welcoming an international group of 30 artists, educators, scientists, and activists into a month-long residency in the dunes of Błędowska. They will embark on a 4 week journey towards interdisciplinary synergy, cross-pollinating art forms, and scientific discoveries, to collect answers and question marks to modern crises in the temporary oasis.

The programme will unravel in five Laboratories, dedicated to different areas of life.

Future Food Lab

An inquiry into ways of sharing and growing food in scarce environments and in times of conflict.

Planetary Movements Lab

What if our bodies could talk, what kind of care would they ask us to provide? A somatic activation of the muscle and bone memories of interbeing and compassion.

Resonance Lab

Deep listening to the ecologies of sound–exploring sound’s healing potential, frequencies, and wavelengths, pursuing acoustic experiments under the night sky and inside a geodesic studio of the desert. 

Sandcraft Lab

A material research into the earth strata, poetics of sand, organic matter, semiotics, crafts, and land art. 

Coexistence Lab

A linguistic sandbox for stretching and queering our perceptions of nature's identity, a quest for meaning-making in the desert of modernity.

Objectives: 

Research, capacity building, development of skills, toolsets, and maps for the facilitation of the public educational programme, including the creation of a participatory model of local and nomadic community engagement 

Audience: 

Transdisciplinary changemakers—artists, storytellers, scientists, entrepreneurs, local inhabitants, local administration and businesses, mentoring guests.  

Partners: 

Cultural producers, activists, collectives, institutions, local economy, environmental public and private sectors, grassroots initiatives, intentional communities, sustainable organisations, and businesses.

29 June - 28 July public educational programme DTS 

The resident agents become the main hosts and facilitators of the thematic labs that form the curriculum of the public educational programme. 

In the spirit of biomimicry and paying homage to one of the most precious inhabitants of these lands, the skeleton of the programme reflects the life cycle of a butterfly. 

Each stage will aim to guide our intergenerational students through transformative experiences, eye-opening encounters, and fulfilling life lessons and challenge them to question their modern lifestyle in the spirit of joyful inquiry. 

Week 1 / EGG / CHILD / SEED

The birth of the program will give space to youthful spirits and our inner children, exploring uncharted and spontaneous territories of wonder, intuitive creativity and world-making not disturbed by societal conditioning, rather embracing curiosity, collaboration, and authentic expression.

Week 2 / LARVAE / TEEN / SEEDLING

The second chapter is a quest for identity, authenticity, and belonging through trial and error, lessons learned and experiments reaching out of what we are told to do by our involuntarily immature culture. Deep inquiry into life as a mystery to be discovered, dark ecology and intoxicating wildness, the meaning of initiation. 

Week 3 / COCOON / ADULT / TREE

The adulthood of our program will ground and embody Laboratories findings into visionary action inspired by place-based knowledge, indigenous wisdom, and response-ability to seek opportunity in the current crises. This chapter will question our inability to give up comfort and invite us to start fixing what is broken using our awareness, elders guidance, and spaceholding for our younger teachers. 

Week 4 / BUTTERFLY / ELDER / ROOTS

In the finale of this year's Laboratory, we would like to give homage to the elders, caretakers, and carriers of wisdom and grace in our communities, lineages, and ancestry. 

Completion of the cycle will allow us to embrace the fragile beauty of our finiteness by addressing grief as a crucial component of our presence in the world. 

To end in a high note the faculty will pollinate change by empowering agency, harvesting the findings and slowly taking flight toward new opportunities, contexts, and landscapes.

Objectives 

  • Public and inclusive Interactive educational programme conceived of four week-long seminars, holding space for unlearning, sensing, playing, transformation, grief, re-enchantment, and emergence of new ways of belonging with each other and the land. 

  • Future Generations Forum -  an experimental community gathering infrastructure that invites its guests to voice perspectives of next generations of humans and other species through performative acts. It does so in order to foster larger-than-life agency, imaginative storytelling, playful education and cultural catharsis.

  • Multilingual Young Changemakers Program empowering young changemakers from diverse backgrounds and regions, including Ukraine and Palestine, to amplify their voices and enact positive change in their communities. It's crucial that we extend our support and social responsibility to regions that demand our increased attention.

Audience: 

Transgenerational audience —kids, young adults, families, elders, local inhabitants, European-wide visitors, policy-makers, educators, artists, cultural producers and activists. 

Partners: 

Local and international cultural institutions, environmental public and private departments, academia, artistic and intentional communities, cultural producers, policy-makers, local and Eirope-wide technology and innovation start-ups, local gastronomy, and transport.

Participating Artists / Educators / Researchers 

Future Food Lab 

gal sherizly, Chris Paxton, Leo Baumgaertner, Nat Skoczylas, Pola Sutryk 

Coexistence Lab

Ola Knychalska, Weronika Zalewska, Hannah Whitlow, Josh Plough

Planetary Movements Lab

Alicja Czyczel, Filip Kijowski, Paulinka Woźniczka, Eryk Pawłowski, Xtina Ariaz

Sandcraft Lab

Aquiles Jarrin, Caroline Gieszner, Victora Björk, Julita Goździk, Beatrice Zerbato, Inès Panizzi

Resonance Lab

Ground Tactics, Uo Raym, Zosia Hołubowska, John Broback, Ernest Borowski

Special Agents

Katharina Louise Meyer, River Matzke, Marie Luise Fritzsche, Planeta Kuz

Artistic Direction

Jo Vávra, Ignacy Hryniewicz

Creative Production 

Karol Kotarski

Team Support

Kasia Mielniczek, Xtina Ariaz, Hannah Whitlow

Partners

Funders

©LIOS Labs 2024