“One day, the caterpillar stops eating, hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself a silky cocoon or molts into a shiny chrysalis. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly or moth. … What happens inside a chrysalis or cocoon?” (1)

a metaphor?

“First, the caterpillar digests itself, releasing enzymes to dissolve all of its tissues. If you were to cut open a cocoon or chrysalis at just the right time, caterpillar soup would ooze out. But the contents of the pupa are not entirely an amorphous mess. Certain highly organised groups of cells known as imaginal discs survive the digestive process. Before hatching, when a caterpillar is still developing inside its egg, it grows an imaginal disc for each of the adult body parts it will need as a mature butterfly or moth—discs for its eyes, for its wings, its legs and so on. In some species, these imaginal discs remain dormant throughout the caterpillar’s life; in other species, the discs begin to take the shape of adult body parts even before the caterpillar forms a chrysalis or cocoon. Some caterpillars walk around with tiny rudimentary wings tucked inside their bodies, though you would never know it by looking at them. Once a caterpillar has disintegrated all of its tissues except for the imaginal discs, those discs use the protein-rich soup all around them to fuel the rapid cell division required to form the wings, antennae, legs, eyes, genitals and all the other features of an adult butterfly or moth.”

I am feeling like I am in the liquid digested phase…. maybe the group is a cocoon that digests us as individual egos and identities. we are liquefied and will form into another being entirely if all goes well in our cocoon. Was the five days in the Huish school residential a kind of cocoon attempt? Is the whole project an attempt to “come together”, be collective, support one another, form a metaphorical cocoon?. We don’t know how to and it feels unnatural people have said. Like internet or blind dating. Has our atomised society made it harder to come together? Is it easier in cities? rurally the geography conspires to make us all hermits.  My attempt to not be a leader in a pragmatic way is a kind of disaster for myself and the group, I feel, but how about if this un-leading (unheimlich-ly, out of comfort zone) enables individuals involved to step up and take responsibility? This project is not a new course designed by a course leader. It is an experiment at an alternative form of art school, geographically fractured, scattered, mobile and opportunistic.

 

 

 

(1) www.scientificamerican.com/article/caterpillar-butterfly-metamorphosis-explainer/

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