Stephanie Elyse Sherman

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L’Esprit de Corps

exploring the spirit of the group // Headlands Center for the Arts // residency curator // april 2007 // http://spiritofthegroup.tumblr.com

L’Esprit de Corps invited four San Francisco collectives to send a member to convene in the former army barracks of the Headlands residency complex in Marin, CA for a one-week residency exploring collective practice.

The week-long experiment with Aaron Gash (Center for Tactical Magic), Christian Nagler (Non-Site Collective), Ian Paul, and Sam White (Open Restaurant) explored collective tactics including dinners, magic, activism, performance, and writing. During the course of the residency, the group became fascinated with the removal of the bees from the large center barrack buildings--long infested since the seminal 1972 Mark Thompson performance The Keeping of Bees is like the Directing of Sunlight. The group’s explorations culminated in a dinner party called Swarmth, where participants co-performed a ritualistic meal with dinner participants in six movements, enacting the spirit of the hive and group alike.

Of particular inspiration to the group was Rudolf Steiner's NIne Lectures on Keeping of the Bees, and the french folk idiom "l'esprit de l'escalier" (where the realization of what should have been said is reached at the bottom of the staircase).