Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sculpture as a metaphor for Collaboration & Partnership

Last year while teaching about Baroque music, I discovered through a YouTube video the Baroque sculpture of David of David and Goliath fame by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1623). The idea of sculpting life became a metaphor for lots of things that matter to me. Sculpting my day. Sculpting or designing how partnership could look to me--what would fulfill me. Seeing it, like Michelangelo saw David in the stone of marble before he began to sculpt it, seeing what I what and taking the actions to have that vision fulfilled.

We are not so great about that when it comes to relationships. Not simply our romantic visions of relationships or our practical experiences with any relationship. Our relationship with our parent of the opposite sex. With the boss of the opposite sex. With our children of the opposite sex. I am very interested in the gender dynamics we have envisioned for ourselves in the opposite sex scenario. Why do we make it so hard--like a stone that cannot be altered?

I see myself resisting a parternship around leading and facilitating powerful relationships between men and women particularly in dating, romance and marriage. Alex, my best friend from grad school's husband, has been doing similar work with gender relations in Philly and he and I have been talking here and there about collaborating and I notice that my vision of our collaboration is laden with stereotypes about working or partnering with men in business.

I notice I don't know how to dance in conversation with him. I am always thinking he's dominating the conversation. So what do I do? Dominate back. Don't say all that there is to say. I start acting like the subordinate woman and then the call takes forever because I am mostly not doing the things I know to do or say. Trying to be nice. (stinky!! yuck!!)

But how great it is to see the situation as that block of stone to carve and create in instead of off the bat deciding this is not going to work. What if being in relationship, in communication, with the opposite sex is like getting a chunk of stone to work with, to create from, and you can create ANYTHING? No, not like fixing and changing the other person like there an object to be molded or altered. I mean really partnering in conversation--collaborating around what we say, could say and have never said in the moment. What would that be like for you?

For me I think it's like the magnetic sculpture below. I found it in another YouTube video. Can you tell I am a YouTube geek? Out of creating events for Success with the Opposite Sex: Get Related not Dated (TM), I have discovered the power of using other kinds of tactile arts and our senses to get at things we don't always talk about in gender relations. Oh, and I'll tell you more about what Alex and I will be working on together as it we sculpt. Alex is a poet and a motivational speaker and his website is

Magnetic Sculpture by Sachiko Kodama and Minkako Takeno: "Protrude + Flow"

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