It's Just Art, Baby emerged from a desire to motivate personal reflection through inspirational talks, play and entertainment while taking as its' point of departure life's ultimate concerns: Death, freedom, isolation and man's search for meaning.
This may sound intimidating!
The thought of personal death fills us with terror, acceptance of our ultimate freedom and personal responsibility places the full burden of life on our shoulder, no matter how close we come to one another there will always be a final, unbridgeable gap, and - in the end - we can point to no verifiable, higher authority that can instill our existence any special of profound meaning.
Why on earth focus on that !?
From the existential tradition's point of view because these questions and themes ARE actually part of human existence and because the denial of them does not make them any less real or urgent. Rather, the investigation of these deeply personal and important questions will allow us to see our existence and wishes for life in new light.
Yet, these are also themes that must be approached with delicacy and finesse since they produce so much terror in our minds that we (consciously and/or subconsciously) quickly dismiss them. The challenge for both 'reader' and 'writer', therefore, is not so much 'deep' analyses but simply maintaining our attention and sincere interest in the themes.
Through my experiences as Skeletonman I have learned that Skeletonman is particularly well suited to this task. In fact, Skeletonman has proven so popular addressing life's big questions that I am convinced there is more to it than just a colorfull suit. My best guess is that Skeletonman is greeted across all ages, cultures and ethnicities, on the one hand, because skeletons appeal to a basic instinct in us and, on the other hand, because a dancing and playfull skeleton contradicts death and make it less frightening to consider.
And when Skeletonman is combined with lights, finger attached lasers and music it is difficult not to give in..
Existentialism and SkeletonMan in an organizational setting
In addition to offering a new perspective on our individuality the existential tradition also offers many poignant observations from a collective point of view. For instance:
- How does the denial of death play out in an organizational setting?
- How does our terror of personal freedom affect our actions and possibilities to break bad habits?
- How does a rigid and strict formalization of authority relations affect our ability to be creative, productive and open for change?
- How can we promote 'active listening' in our organization, a sense of shared meaning and collaboration across professions, geography and personal motives?
These are big questions and 'Organizational Existentialism' does not pretend to offer any clear-cut answers. Rather, organizational existentialism seeks to enhance and sharpen our perspective by questioning the very foundation of our inquiries. Life may not offer final and ultimate answers but it may hold ultimate questions that can only be answered and dealt with by each individual.
It's Just Art, Baby is our contribution to identify some of those questions
and stimulate new debate about our approach towards individual and collective
By reaching beyond declarations of intent and taking as starting point the most fundamental themes that regulate our existence we enable a new perspective on organisations that better capture the (complex) reality of good intentions, bad excuses and everyday uncertainty that shapes both the individual and the collective.Such investigation of the journey from wish and choice to decision and action offers no simple answers or 'perfect formulas'. Rather, the journey offers a 'look behind the curtain' of the basic conditions of existence, including, the investigator's own responsibility and will to change. In the end, such insight is always decisive in whether or not man is able to create an agreeable, shared meaning and actually touch and move people. See the blog to follow my journey on this quest.
At the same time, a journey into the existential realm will demonstrate that rationality will only take us so far.
We can easily reach the highest intellectual grounds and, yet, act completely opposite. In fact, sometimes it might feel more right to say one thing and do the other. At least, then we demonstrate that we are very well aware of what the right thing to do is.
It's Just Art, Baby, therefore, seeks to incorporate an artistic approach to its' activities and includes professional actors, yoga instructors and visual artists in its presentations and workshops that physically and practically can challenge our common assumptions and dare us to tread new ground.
In the words of Danish philosopher Soren Kirkegaard: To dare is to lose your footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose yourself entirely.
We hope you are up for loosing your foothold momentarily with us.
Michael graduated as Master of Law from the University of Copenhagen in 2006 after finishing his thesis "The Penal Law in Existential Perspective". He has worked in the private sector for 10 years and 6 years in the public administration where he is currently employeed as legal consultant and employee representative. Through his positions he has gained a hands-on understanding of many of the everyday obstacles facing large organisations seen from an employee perspective.
To a large degree, organizations rely on rationalism, formalised structures of power and the normal order of the day. This worked well in the industrial age but is increasingly challenged by employers and employees that demand new models that honour flexibility and adaptability - while remaining competitive and attractive. Existential considerations may hold the key to unlock these ambitions and set a new, collaborative path for todays organizations.
Still, the existential school of thought, let alone, Organizational Existentialism is not easy to sum up. In the words of Thierry C. Pauchant organizational existentialism feels more like a wet bar of soap; it slips out of your hands everytime you grab it but is very real in terms of the foam it leaves in your hands.
But because of this plasticity, Organizational Existentialism offers a far more thorough, honest, and worthwhile analysis that may actually enable genuine organizational reflection and change, meaningfull relations and the creation of promising, shared meanings.
Indeed, it is altogether easier to dismiss our existential conditions and focus on illusions of control. Existence, however, is fragile, everything is temporal and at the end death awaits all living. These are hard realities to contemplate - and they affect what we do. Of course. But just as much a driver of stagnation, they can be a dynamo for true change. And whatever you do, if you don't confront them, they will confront you.
Michael has penned articles on the justice system and several compendia on philosophy, sociology and history of law. He is currently working as a legal consultant and employee representative with the Municipality of Copenhagen where he has worked on the municipality's implementation of the "Agenda of Trust." Alongside these professions he has developed the Skeletonman concept you can read about in the Portfolio menu.
Christian Gade Bjerrum
Christian is 33 years old and has a diverse background. He is a professional actor from the Royal Academy and a certified Bikram Yoga teacher. In May 2016 Christian completes his two year long Council Guide Training (CGT) - a personal management based education building on Mayan indian wisdom.
As actor Christian often works with autobiographical documentary and audience involving performances. These performances includes the awarded monologue "DAD" that centers on cancer, relationships, and personal responsibility (and the avoidance of it). His latest work is the ambitious performance project "A Saviour is Present".
As an actor Christian has worked with Lars von Trier and Ole Christian Madsen. Chrsitian is currently employeed with Theater Momentum in Odense, Denmark.
As social entrepreneur and in connection with COP15 in Copenhagen, Christian founded the conceptual environmental movement Mr. Green that continued its activities with projects in Nigeria, Russie, Mexico and New York.
Christian also teaches in the cross-field between physical interaction, branding, personal development and drama. These teaching have taken place on folk and art high schools on Iceland, at an international CICLO-event in Denmark, at the New Scientist Festival in Copenhagen and other places.