An Edgeryders Culture: how can it be expressed?

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6 weeks ago i went to Turkey to spend 3 days talking about what the Edgeryders world was, is and could be to me. It was an opportunity to reconnect with the people within the network, as well as make new friends.

Arrival by night: a poem inspired by the journey to the retreat

Our discussions on the roadtrip to the venue were wide ranging. We covered the work of Carl Jung; the alchemy of communities; theoretical physics; and the practical applications of magic in the hands of the storyteller! All normal discussions to have in a car full of Edgeryders.

These topics provided me with a context for the following days. All my discussions and conversations then became viewed through these strange lenses. After a few months in the wilderness it became clear to me how much i value and rely on the Edgeryders community.

The next steps on the Edgeryders journey seem so exciting and challenging. So much of our current journey is looking at how we live together better - with discussions happening around the OpenVillage format; developing physical spaces that we can live and work together and improve the quality of life for both ourselves, and the communities in which we live. While this inevitably involves thinking about the technological solutions, the ways we communicate internally and externally, and the future of the work/life relationship, there are other factors at play as well. As a writer and cultural manager, i’m most interested in the ways in which we express ourselves artistically in these new environments. Where is the space for artistic expression (both within our own lives and in our external relationships with the wider world) within this framework? With increase time and scope for self-actualisation and better work/life balances, where is the gap for play? And what might that look like across Edgeryders spaces and places?

I see a lot of creative and cultural practitioners in the community, working in diverse areas; for institutions and for communities; artists; writers; cultural organisers; journalists; videographers; etc. The whole spectrum of artistic and cultural practice wither exists on the site, or has passed through our community either online or at live events.

I’m frequently asking myself: “what brings us together, here” and “what can hold us together, here”.

There’s evidently something within the discussions, practices and research on this platform that attracts those working within these intersections. So how do we find ways of tapping into that creative energy and provide opportunity to people from those backgrounds to explore their practice through the Edgeryders framework?”

It’s a series of big questions. Not all which we’re close to answering yet, but there’s a good core of people for whom these questions keep coming up, and i want to try to utilise that connection and the energy that comes from it to craft something magical. Something special. Something unique, that can only come together out of the alchemy of this community.

So what does that mean on a practical level?

We are looking for interesting partners and funders who are aligned not only with Edgeryders current goals and principles, but also those whose partnership and integration may help us to grow in the directions we are most drawn to. We look to people whose interests align to help shepherd that process.

Secondly, we are undertaking a comprehensive mapping exercise to reexamine the conversations and people in Edgeryders over the years, re-ignite interests and reconnect with people whose journeys with us may have been brief, and to see if this new strand of idea fits with their current practices. This is well underway, but any input into this is welcome, to ensure that we don’t miss out on the edges of our own Edge. Fortunately we have the option of using EdgeSense and GraphRyder to help us do some of the work! Score one for the data scientists!

Thirdly, we are looking at building a research project to look into how digital arts and artists can intersect with modern communal living. Edgeryders exists so firmly within the digital sphere but as we look to create more permanent real world spaces how can these two worlds come together. What might that look like? How do we marry the world of funded digital art with the ideas of ‘outsider’ and community arts practices? This idea is still in the creative and shaping stage, so we’re looking for input from anyone who feels like this idea has particular resonance to their own practices (whether artist, or living)

Finally, we continue to think about how the Edgeryders live event formats that we have run and loved fit into this project. There seems to be an overlap where those of us with cultural backgrounds are drawn also to the event production and the live spaces.

We see that there is a need to continue to provide the chance for people already within the community together face-to-face in ways that both support and challenge. We have ambitions to see these events grow and to remain a core part of the ER development process over the next few years. Without the obvious tenpole of projects such as OpenCare, we need to find new ideas that can act as the strong attractors for the community. There are already ideas in the pipeline, but more are always needed.

Example ideas: A Making-of-community-art kind of camp

Noemi and I are both interested in collaboratively constructed events that produce real world artefacts, as well as live experiences. We’re inspired by events like poc21.cc (among others), but with an interest in how these events can be used to solve structural social problems, or to investigate community cohesion through artistic and cultural expression. Encouraging participants to attend with their own ideas or practices and to expand them into finished artifacts whilst on site. Edgeryders interests and skills at capturing the processes could help create some interesting data as well as the finished work. Meanwhile, we all get to live and work alongside each other as people. Perhaps the camp expands after the final day to become something for the wider public? Inspired by the festival ethos of places like Borderland and Burning Man.

It’s a continuation of the LOTE idea, and the OpenVillage Festival design process. But, with opportunities for growth and development of cultural practitioners through creative means.

Similarly, we are in discussions looking at the next steps for the EconSciFi group. We are exploring how this reading and discussion group grows into a live event, with iterations over the next 12 months. With these events there is another chance to reach out to new interesting groups; participants; partners; and wider audiences. More ways to bring a small slice of the Edgeryders way towards the centre.

I know there are many other ideas like this bubbling under the surface

So how can you help? We have the 3 core next steps that you can respond to

Who could be good sources of funding to help support the development of the research project, and/or the live event ideas? Who should we be talking to that may be perfect partners for delivering either of these ideas?

How could we create a self sustaining research topic that can interest and engage as many people already within the ER network as possible, whilst also providing useful outputs to help us on our journey?

What do you see as being the next step for Edgeryders events? Can you help?