Residents' Daily Notes

Culturistan is a process-oriented program. During its 10 days, our residents share their thoughts every day and in any format they wish. 

Tara – Check-out 150 150 Culturistan

Tara – Check-out

Power verses force. What do you have the power to do? Are there areas where you don’t need to force but rather you can go with the flow? We need in this world a place where you can experiment, risk and ask questions. As a freelance dance artist, I have…

read more
Fayaz – Check-out 150 150 Culturistan

Fayaz – Check-out

It’s the last day of the residency. The previous night, each of us had, in our own ways, reached out and made gestures, verbal and physical, to continue to restore harmony. And we accepted the gestures, understood them for what they were, and reciprocated. We were creating space for kindness,…

read more
Greg – Check-out 150 150 Culturistan

Greg – Check-out

When presented with a thought or idea that challenges or even changes what we hold to be true, no matter how well we listen, if it doesn’t affect what we say or what we do, what does it matter? Ultimately you have to own what you say, not what you…

read more
Yasmeen – Check-out 150 150 Culturistan

Yasmeen – Check-out

I missed check out, as I had to leave the day before to catch my flight back to San Francisco, but our WhatsApp group chat is still going strong, and I’m excited to see how our paths will cross – either intentionally, or by accident and what we can come…

read more
Gelareh – Check-out 150 150 Culturistan

Gelareh – Check-out

Checking out… I am the fisherman of a storyThat has no tourist and no fish I walk away today with much. The word gratitude has been redefined for me, leaving me a sense of worth and value. That human value, that at times can be lost amongst the noise of…

read more
Estephania – Check-out 150 150 Culturistan

Estephania – Check-out

New roads I arrived without any expectation of what I would find in these 10 days. I learned so much from myself and I made the most amazing inside journey. I met incredible people and I feel that we have established a connection of absolute love and mutual acceptance of…

read more
Tara – Day 9 150 150 Culturistan

Tara – Day 9

Our last night at Culturistan~ I am left with a feeling of melancholy for a variety of reasons. We discussed ways in which this 10-day residency worked, ways it didn’t work, suggestions for improvement and development for the next class of Culturistanis to come for Class II. A range of…

read more
Fayaz – Day 9 150 150 Culturistan

Fayaz – Day 9

Things broke down today. Having led residentials and pilgrimages in the past, I had expected it. But half-way through, not on the penultimate day. Hitting the wall was almost inevitable — here we were, nine of us, miraculously carving out 10 days sandwiched between dizzying travel and professional and personal…

read more
Yasmeen – Day 9 150 150 Culturistan

Yasmeen – Day 9

On day 9 of Culturistan, we started off the day attempting to dive into the readings but took a left turn because some of the group felt that the readings and the discussions didn’t incorporate the larger narrative of culture and were generally narrow categorically, so we instead decided to…

read more
Estephania – Day 9 150 150 Culturistan

Estephania – Day 9

The ability to communicate Photo by Iason Athanasiadis We share the same reality but different truths. As a fundamental part of the growth of this house, it is necessary to share a dialogue that is nurtured through hearing and speaking. Each one shares his truth through these two instruments and…

read more
Gelareh – Day 9 150 150 Culturistan

Gelareh – Day 9

An Ode to Foundarion This morning feels different. It seems harder to go for a run, an energy pulls me back to our castle. As our time comes to a close, this sense of concern rises, of not spending enough time examining our miraculous castle. I’m reminded of that early…

read more
Greg – Day 9 150 150 Culturistan

Greg – Day 9

Our last full day here at Culturistan. We began our discussion, as usual, with a poem. Today it was “If” by Rudyard Kipling. As with the Khalil Gibran poem earlier in the week, the discussion quickly concerned itself with authorship and contemporary meaning of empire and patriarchy rather than discussing…

read more
Estephania – Day 8 150 150 Culturistan

Estephania – Day 8

Experiencing I am grateful that the guests I have chosen make me feel confident. I can tell they will take care of the space, and everything inside it, as much as they can. We have modified some organization of the objects, we have closed some windows and opened others, we…

read more
Yasmeen – Day 8 150 150 Culturistan

Yasmeen – Day 8

Today we read a number of articles about the replication, imitation, or creation of art including “Growing Blind” by Rilke, where Ahmad prompted the group to ask how we show up in spaces. We also spoke about how art reproduction may or may not ruin the way we experience spaces.…

read more
Iason – Day 8 150 150 Culturistan

Iason – Day 8

Masterpieces of Mediocrity What happens when everyone transmits, leaving nobody to receive?Impossible to attain that elusive zone of substance, in between ta’arof and bullshit How did we go from a debate over authenticity To a culture clash over technology? From setting straight mis-summariesTo sucking up debate’s oxygen With talk of…

read more
Tara – Day 8 150 150 Culturistan

Tara – Day 8

Art is knowledge. If this is true, then the absence of this knowledge is something which is done poorly, something that does not have art. Today we discussed readings surrounding the use of artificial intelligence in art making, regardless of whether works of art emulate authenticity or originality is not…

read more
Fayaz – Day 8 150 150 Culturistan

Fayaz – Day 8

The readings today continue to exercise us. For or against, it’s difficult to find common ground for all but the first one, ‘Growing Blind’ by Rainer Maria Rilke. We note the discrepancy between title and text. In the text itself, references to being blind are oblique. The unique skill of…

read more
Gelareh – Day 8 150 150 Culturistan

Gelareh – Day 8

Losing language There is much talk on AI, and it’s influence on the arts, specifically to music and paintings. A great focus seems to be inaccuracy and deleting mistakes, to perfect sound and shades of color. But wasn’t the beauty of paintings the people behind its mistakes and the beauty…

read more
Greg – Day 8 150 150 Culturistan

Greg – Day 8

Is authenticity an inherent human quality? Does any other thing in nature concern itself with being authentic? The concept of authenticity then seems to be solely a human intellectual concept of more concern today because we now have to quantify who we are and what we do in relation to…

read more
Yasmeen – Day 7 150 150 Culturistan

Yasmeen – Day 7

Today we read the article “Can Machines Create Art”. What do we mean when we say something is art? What do we mean when we say something is creative? There is a truth to giving something time to reveal itself. Today, we reflected on these questions and the differences between…

read more