After everyone went home from WILD_ _NESS/WEIRD_NESS, Rod and I spent a good amount of time discussing how we might encapsulate the exploration of wildness, wilderness, and weirdness that happened at the Inquiry, in a serious work of our collaboration. The concluding project: dedicate ourselves to witnessing and noticing the weird for one year.
This was August 2016. Before the US election. Before Rod’s dad got really sick. Before DesignInquiry’s big shift. Before Rod got his shop, or I knew about the residency in Arnhem. Before we even had the wood stove.
Observing something as a practice is a personal project. No visible outcomes. No deliverables. No audience except us. The shift, though, was transformative. To see the weird at every opportunity is to discover hidden bandwidth at unexpected moments. Weirdness expands things from horrible to the humorous, from banal to twisted and sometimes even beautiful. To be a witness to weirdness adds richness and depth and non-knowing. Weirdness welcomes the unfamiliar, and accepts it as a gift. It can knock you on your side, but the moments of subtle weirdness, so frequent, omnipresent really, these were the standouts. To notice the weird at first was like a coping mechanism, as the upheaval in our society seemed to overtake every news source, meanwhile driving in-person discussions as far from those subjects as possible. And then a moment of fascinating horror, of strangeness, of disruption occurs, and I can look at Rod across the room, and we share a moment of silent shock and wonder that the universe can be so complex, so concurrent, so staunchly devoted to being so many things at once.
The year of noticing the weird uncovered the unimaginable power in the commitment to see things in a different way. It reinforced the expansiveness of continuous practice, and the everydayness of the strange. It threw a light on awareness and the potential of using perspective to find new pathways.