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. 

Greg – Day 4 150 150 Culturistan

Greg – Day 4

Does a mask only hide us, or can it actually allow us to reveal who we truly are? This was a question that arose for me as we discussed a poem titled “Life While-You-Wait” by Wislawa Szymborska. The poem starts with: Life While-You-Wait. Performance without rehearsal. As a musician, my…

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Tara – Day 4 150 150 Culturistan

Tara – Day 4

Masks~ which masks do you wear? Are you even aware of the costumes you adorn yourself with or the roles and costumes you oppose on others to wear? What happens when we don’t play the roles correctly? When the line is drawn between manipulation and simply good strategizing blurred, when…

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Fayaz – Day 4 150 150 Culturistan

Fayaz – Day 4

It’s Sunday, Day 4 at Culturistan. The work, the thinking, continues to intensify and so we start a little later than usual. Most of us take the opportunity to catch up on sleep and tread a little more softly. Today’s sole reading is ‘Life While You Wait’ by Wislawa Szymborska.…

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Iason – Day 4 150 150 Culturistan

Iason – Day 4

12 pagan gods parachuted into the automated 20th centuryBlinking at the profusion of screens; blinking at the replacement of essence with speedFlummoxed by the banishment of relations by technological crutchesInhuman transactionality The gods noticed that the most exploitation Happened in the space where human relations had frayed the mostThere, the…

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Yasmeen – Day 4 150 150 Culturistan

Yasmeen – Day 4

Today marks Day 4 of Culturistan, and the schedule today was quite different than any other day. We started the day by reading a poem called “Life While You Wait”. The poet talks about his wish to be able to rehearse before the performance of a day but that he…

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Gelareh – Day 4 150 150 Culturistan

Gelareh – Day 4

The masks (or costumes) we choose to wear Today I wear pink as to match the blush on my cheekfrom the glare of the boy across the room Today I wear blue as to match the coldness of my fingernailsfrom the stormy skies that broke our shelters Today I wear red…

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Estephania – Day 4 150 150 Culturistan

Estephania – Day 4

The stage Today I feel safe. Sure to be walking even through the spaces that I do not know. Safe of this space, my space. However, I believe fervently that all spaces are different and that each one has a way to cross it and live it. I take this…

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Yasmeen – Day 3 150 150 Culturistan

Yasmeen – Day 3

Today marks Day 3 of the 9-day Culturistan program. Each day here feels like a month, mostly because time moves far more slowly when you’re contained in one location where we are, which is far out in the countryside. Rather than worrying about jettisoning from place to place or meeting…

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Tara – Day 3 150 150 Culturistan

Tara – Day 3

Culturistan asks its residents to linger and exchange in social spaces through readings, shared meals and environment. It pushes its residents not only to observe but also engage and reflect on the how storytelling, poetry, and other texts are situated in relationship to culture, place, race, class, and gender and…

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Greg – Day 3 150 150 Culturistan

Greg – Day 3

One of the first major shifts of thinking for me that has happened here is realizing I can have a relationship with a person but have a different relationship with their opinions. I think so much of what we feel about topics and subjects are based on our own experience…

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Fayaz – Day 3 150 150 Culturistan

Fayaz – Day 3

Our lunches and dinners are getting ever more elaborate and expansive — last night, Group A made fesenjoon, served with salad, and sides of stir-fried brussel sprouts and broccoli, and garlic-sautéed mushrooms, before finishing off with a nectarine crumble (and not a cheeseboard in sight!). Lunch today was venison, with…

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Estephania – Day 3 150 150 Culturistan

Estephania – Day 3

The strategy Today I left behind the fear and concerns of the things I didn´t want to find, because at the time I faced them, that big monster that my imagination had created, faded. Instead, it became something more human, more tangible, more kind. That kindness is surrounded by a…

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Iason – Day 3 150 150 Culturistan

Iason – Day 3

I’m not in a position to tell you how to drink your soup, said the ColombianI will eat the Marco Polo sheep, the honorary Tajik decidedI don’t want to offend the local code of hospitalityAfter all, dead is dead, and the living must take care of the living I’m triggered…

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Gelareh – Day 3 150 150 Culturistan

Gelareh – Day 3

Strategizing manipulation Inside the Grillemont castle, even on a sunny day presents itself with a coldness hard to redeem even with a hat, woolly shawl and 3 layers of clothes. We are all now used to this temperature, where at first seemed impossible to sit through. A detail where now if gone would take out the…

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Estephania – Day 2 150 150 Culturistan

Estephania – Day 2

The uncomfortable I get up thinking about how incredible the mind is and how it generates these great stories about the future particularly, about circumstances that have not happened and that we imagine how they will be. Normally my mind generates tragic scenes. Scenarios almost like in a horror movie.…

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Gelareh – Day 2 150 150 Culturistan

Gelareh – Day 2

How Honest are we with the Truth? In all my time never did I think of the differences, always believing naturally they go hand in hand as to be honest is to be truthful. Yet as our discussions took forth amongst this unique group of 9 individuals, I began to…

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Yasmeen – Day 2 150 150 Culturistan

Yasmeen – Day 2

Today we read the following articles: “No Future Without Forgiveness” by Desmond Tutu, “Fifteen Lashes” by Anwar Iqbal and “Sand and Foam” by Khalil Gibran. One question that we ruminated about today was around the idea of “personal essence” or personal touch that we brought to our work. I realized…

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Tara – Day 2 150 150 Culturistan

Tara – Day 2

How can we honor and acknowledge our own histories in relationship to other’s histories? To understand one’s self we must also understand ourselves in parallel with others, from the individual experience to the collective experience. We must expand the spectrum through which our history has been told. What would happen…

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Greg – Day 2 150 150 Culturistan

Greg – Day 2

Although it’s only our second day, I feel as if we have all known each other for a lifetime. The format of our schedule balances between our discussion groups and our own time allows us to continue aspects of the group conversation one-on-one with each other. The grounds of the…

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Fayaz – Day 2 150 150 Culturistan

Fayaz – Day 2

It’s tempting to sleep in another half hour. I’d slept at 1.00am the previous night, thinking and writing, longhand, about Day 1. But I’d committed to a morning walk during a wifi window earlier that evening, and sans connectivity now, at 7.15am, there wasn’t a way of reneging. I bargained…

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