Table of Contents
A LAST MEETING
"Last": coming after all others in time or order, final; most recent in time, latest.
"Meeting": an event in which a group of people come together, either by chance or by arrangement, to discuss things or take decisions.
In a society where computerized decision-making and communication render human meetings obsolete, we wish to provide a script to facilitate future re-enactments of such meetings.
But we are not nostalgic!
"A Last Meeting" is a protocol for organising meetings.
The protocol is a way to systematize a certain set of human interactions and dynamics.
It is an open script for active and engaged exchange.
The protocol of "A Last Meeting" is based on The Last Meeting, a 10-day worksession that took place at the Verbeke Foundation in July 2019.
- a place to meet
- a period of shared time of varied duration
- a reason to meet
- a set of resources (e.g. participants, visitors, texts, films, locations...)
- a range of tools
Roles can shuffle during the session or meeting by default or by active redistribution.
Not all the roles need to be distributed.
Not all the partipants need a role.
Participants can have multiple roles simultaneously.
* the guide
a person (or more) already familiar with the geographical context or other infrastructure from previous visits or experience; who shows others around places of interest as well as basic amenities and resource storage; who knows about the site's his/herstories, supplies and/or allowed space uses.
* the documenter
a person (or more) who records actions and ideas in written, oral, audiovisual, photographic, or other form(s), over a short or long period; who aims at recording an event, setting or process; who keeps a record in a format that can be shared with others.
* the moderator
a person (or more) who mediates; who tries to help other people come to an understanding; who makes certain that a formal discussion happens respectfully and follows the predetermined rules; who makes certain that other people use ageed-upon concepts and standards.
* the organizer
a person (or more) who arranges the meeting or a session by collectivizing effort; who proposes a particular arrangement or order; who coordinates and gathers resources (participants, guests, materials) and formalizes schedules; who ensures easy and quick communications.
* the initiator
a person (or more) who causes or facilitates the beginning of the meeting or a session; who sets things going and starts a process; who identifies a possible theme or action and who shares it with another person (or more) to discuss and act on the way things take place.
* the cook
a person (or more) who manages and prepares food and drinks for others; who ensures that everyone is sustained during the meeting; who takes different diets and food intolerances into consideration while planning the menu.
* the opportunist
a person (or more) who takes personal advantage of opportunities as and when they arise, regardless of planning or principle; who is future-oriented and calculating; who offsets the system of value-production shared by the group.
* the guest
a person (or more), well-known or not, who is invited to participate or perform in the meeting's program; who becpmes (temporarily) a special attraction; who introduces new references, frameworks and methods to the group and therefore provides an opportunity to test previously discussed ideas within a different context.
* The Protocol
A sequence of actions to meet, form, share and evaluate.
0. Select & distribute resources
The initiator selects resources to share during the worksession.
1. Arrive, settle, introduce
Participants arrive, settle and introduce themselves.
Roles are discussed and distributed.
2. Look around
Participants explore the environment and meeting context.
The guide shows participants around and shares the practicalitities of the location's infrastructure and the special features of its broader context.
3. Set up a common ground
Create a "personalized" meeting-infrastructure.
Open the conversation on the initiators' proposed subjects and general purpose of the meeting.
Identify the terminology and concepts in relation to the subject of the meeting.
4. Travel together, expand the geographical context
Go to a nearby location to resettle the meeting conditions.
5. Introduce a new and external feature
Activate the conversation by introducing a new resource, game or exercise that ties back to the subject.
It could be a guest speaker, a suggested resource of a participant or a suggested tool.
6. Analyse: narrow the scope
(Re-)confirm the purpose of the meeting and formulate modes of production.
7. Mind your body and space
Maintenance of living conditions and common spaces.
Care for the body and mind (and the polis).
Be attentive to others' physical and emotional well-being; if necessary, reach out and offer help/support.
Combine parts or elements to create a material or abstract form.
9. Stop & share
Capture the current state of process and make it public.
Evaluate the meeting and the created form/outcome.
Share visions for the future.
Discuss and adapt the format, the rules of action, the roles.
A list of optional external features that can be used during the meeting to get to know each other, expand the field of research, vary modes of discussion.
a. two images:
choose two images that speak to and of you, and upload them to a shared location;
when all images are compiled, launch a random slideshow of the images;
as your image shows up, detail how it speaks of your work, ideas, interests, and so on;
limit the time of each description according to the number of participants.
The discussion is held only by asking questions
Each participant can ask as many questions as wanted and there is no predetermined order of speakers
Each question needs to relate to the question(s) preceding it
Each question has to be directed to all participants and not to a specific person
Each participant can repeat a question that was asked earlier in the discussion
Each participant can ask for 30 seconds of silence at any moment during the discussion
The first question will set an initial frame for the discourse, and can be adjusted to be relevant to the current presentation
"Questions" was initiated by Corinne Skaff, Jassem Hindi, Sarah Beth Percival, Sirah Foighel Brutmann and Eitan Efrat.
c. 1-2-4-all / from singular to common:
every participant works individually on summarizing ideas, concepts, definitions for a limited amount of time;
participants form groups of two, then share and compare ideas, concepts, definitions towards a consensus or not, for a limited amount of time;
groups of two are paired in groups of four, then share and compare ideas, concepts, definitions, towards a consensus or not, for a limited amount of time;
and so on, depending on the numbers of participants, until the big group assembles to share and compare singular and common findings.
d. youtube chain:
one person choses a meeting-related clip to stream from youtube or other video platforms, such as vimeo, dailymotion;
other participants react to the clip's content by choosing a second (loosely or closely) related clip to follow up;
at any point in the clip's stream are participants free to change clips or pause it to share an observation, or to ask for a break;
the game ends when all participants are tired of watching videos, with a possibility of a following conversation on featured contents.
e. periods of relevant recreation:
collective watch list of long or short films which (loosely or closely) address the meeting's theme or explorations;
collective listening of long or short podcasts or radio pieces which (loosely or closely) address the meeting's theme or explorations;
visits of sites - rooms, cities, forests, public spaces, buildings, fields, seaside, factories, etc. - which (loosely or closely) address the meeting's theme or explorations.
every participant tries to define the same word, with a focus on often-used, general terms (such as "democracy," "intimacy," "habits," "rights," "automation" and so on);
after five minutes, they hold a common discussion in which they share similarities and dissimilarities between their respective definitions;
the aim of the exercise is to come up with a collective, agreed-upon definition which constitutes the reference for future uses of the words.
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