Almost exactly a year ago, we organized the second International LABO for Expressive Arts therapists, coaches, and facilitators in Antwerp, Belgium. It followed our first international LABO that took place in Potsdam, Germany. Together with a group of colleagues from Geneva in Switzerland, we gathered on the 2nd November 2019 to experiment with the concept of the ancient Greek Theatre. What we experienced is hard to explain in words. Still, we will try to give you a glimpse into our profound exploration titled “Masking and unmasking. Who is on stage?”.
We started the day with pretty chaotic music experiments and trusted that they will develop into a performance. This was a challenge for all of us. It took us quite a lot of time to sink into the process and create despite the doubts we shared.
Then, to our great surprise, we liked one of the recorded music pieces so much that we used it as a background for the process of mask-making. We painted our masks with silent excitement, curious about what will happen next.
Later on, we used our masks to move around and see how they could change our perception. Finally, we recorded a couple of videos that documented our abstract performances using elements of Greek Theatre like, for instance, the presence of the narrator and the choir or singing. This experience was so deep and extraordinary! We all felt some kind of ancient energy that was present in the shared space. It could be described as sacred, tribal, ancient, connecting us to our ancestors, and very powerful. We felt this strong energy in our bodies and it was present in all our movements. We all had experienced something very unique and profound: the togetherness of shaping a sacred space for expression.
After a break, we went out to project the documentation of our experience on the streets of Antwerp. We walked through the city with two portable projectors to share the impressions from our explorations with the larger community. It was both magical and touching to see our visual works and words in public space. We wrapped up the day with a delicious dinner and went to sleep with a feeling of fulfillment and joy. We saw a great value in the idea of sharing deep Expressive Arts experiences in the international community of professionals from our field.
Following this fantastic experience, we would like to offer you again the opportunity to experiment with the Expressive Arts process. Our next 3rd LABO will take place on December 5th, 2020. Due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, we will this time in a virtual space. Please save the date! More details will come soon.