Archive for March, 2015

Week-12 of Delicacies: max 5 articles that i found interesting and worth re-reading. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!

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The Sweeper - Marc Chagall

The Sweeper – Marc Chagall

I am deeply emotionally touched by the beauty of Dries Van Noten’s “Inspirations” exposition at the Fashion House in Antwerp and Marc Chagall’s Retrospective in Brussels.

They brought me back in contact with a part of myself that I had neglected since my Leading-by-Being days in 2007-2009, the quest for purpose that lead to the start of this blog in April 2009 titled “Singing my own song”.

First, the fantastic Dries Van Noten expo in Antwerp. Not a retrospective: Dries is too young for that (he is about my age :-). But an amazing overview of his work since the Antwerp Six till today.

The whole expo breathes passion and perfection.

Rebel Entry Dries van noten

From the Rebel entry, to the unique vitrines per collection, the well documented sources of inspiration, the pancartes with beautiful texts that read like poetry, the perfection of the clothes themselves, the tissues, the lightning, the contextual artwork, the cohesion of the collections.

Vitrine 1 Dries Van Noten

Here is the text of the pancarte introducing the collection inspired by The Flemish Masters:

“Framed faces and portrait necklines. Majestic understatement. A whisper of paganism underpinned by noble restraint. Opulent textures: silk velvets, silk jacquards, duchesse satins combined with leather embellishments for a modern twist. Jewel colored embroideries and encrustations translated from Jan Van Eyck’s rich palette. A sinuous and covered silhouette, at once languid and austere. The whole and its parts.”

Some more visual impressions:

Hand and Skulls Dries Van NotenNurejev Dries Van Noten

It made me look into the work of Dries Van Noten. And I found this amazing video of what I call his “Chandelier Show” for his Spring/Summer collection 2005:

I found that the shows are produced by Etienne Russo from Villa Eugenie (yes that is the name of the production company)

To capture the spirit of the times, and to enshrine it within an exceptional house and with the singularity of its team. It is also a concern for exigency and for an insatiable perfection, and a fully comprehensive pragmatism oriented towards the imaginary. No element is left to chance, because the smallest of details is not fortuitous, because the random is impossible and the unforeseen a challenge, each event becomes an exceptional moment.”

Walking out of the Antwerp Fashion House, I felt deeply touched and moved by so much beauty. Next-door was an Art-Book Store. I hang out there for an hour, dreaming away in wonderfully produced books about architecture, artists and craftsmen.

On my way back home, Klara (the Flemish Classic Music radio station) played Bach vocals. I felt the softness of my heart and the perfection of the moment at 120km/hour in the privacy and comfort of the car.


A couple of days later, I went to the Marc Chagall retrospective in Brussels. I was early, and the museum was not crowded yet. I took the audio guide and started the tour.

2 faces Marc Chagal

The first painting was a small self-portrait from 1921. The guide whispered that it were in fact two faces: the masculine and the feminine, the Yin and the Yang. I was touched by the synchronicity: why was this the first painting in my search for artistic identity?


Second painting. Adam and Eve 1921. I preferred the Dutch title “De Verleiding”, or “The Seduction”. Don’t ask me why 😉

Two big impact expos in a couple of days. It left me dazed and confused. Yes, I could do a quote from Led Zep here, but it seems I already did that in an earlier post.

I shared my confusion with some friends over a couple of calls.

One good friend introduced me to the concept of “Liminal state”, the being in-between two states. Adolescence is such a liminal state.

“Liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning “a threshold”[1]) is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete. During a ritual’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold”[citation needed] between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which the ritual establishes.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liminality

I am exploding of creativity.

I have more than 60 posts in the queue. Paintings. Music compositions and soundscapes. Video trailers. Transmedia productions. Poems. Fairytales. Night stories for children. Book illustrations. It’s all sitting idle here on my hard disk and my sketchbook.

What if I’d give more space and attention to that piece of my real me? What if I’d give exclusivity space to this? Not a side activity but get it into my core? I feel an obligation to also give that part of myself as a gift. Maybe it is THE gift. Maybe this is what I was meant to be.

Bringing “events” to a level of artistic performance. Where to set the bar? Well, Dries Van Noten’s capacity to make me dazed and confused is an interesting bar to set for my own work.

What if the result of my work leads my audience in a state of enchantment, reflection, silence, a first step towards a possibly passage as well.

The bar is to put a spell on you.

To sweep and get us back to purity. To melt in symbiosis and deliver each other to the other side of the passage. That is the movement.


Own artwork “The Movement”, Petervan 2015, Soft Pastel on green paper, A2 format

My friend told me: “A passage. A rite. You get through the other side or you stay in it and acclimatize. Passagework is deeply energetic. Make sure you surround yourself with energetic help and support. Like yoga, Reiki, or other energy work.”

It brings me all back to my Leading by Being days: a transition, a passage, a rite not finished. A connection with the deep self not fully completed.

Now, I feel I am so close to passing the rite. Dries Van Noten and Chagall have unfrozen me. So much clarity now in intention, ambition and purity to jump into the warm pool of real contact, uncertainty and vulnerability.

Oh Lord, please deliver me into the other side.

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As many of you know, my “night-job” is Corporate Rebels United, a movement to unite Corporate Rebels worldwide to ensure that true change happens virally from deep within the fabric of our organisations.

Every month we celebrate a Corporate Rebel who went the extra-mile: in helping our movement, in completing a hack, in pulling together a value practice, or doing something really awesome in the organisation they work for. “Rebel of the Month” is recognition for a Corporate Rebel exposing the sort of behaviours we would like to encourage in our movement.

Our “Rebel of the Month” for March 2015 is Steve Chapman from Esher, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Steve Chapman - March 2015 (Hi res colour)

Steve is fascinated by human beings, how they interact, fall out, make up, change and create stuff together. Before becoming an independent consultant, writer and coach he spent 20 years in the corporate world, his last role being Director of Leadership and Organisation Development for a large global blue chip. It was during this time that he became intrigued by the difference between what is supposed to happen in organisations versus what actually happens. He started to notice how many of the unquestioned corporate traditions (such as strategy, structure, change management, governance, meetings etc.) actually constrained the very things that organisations need to survive and thrive in the future – imagination, creativity, spontaneity and innovation. He decided to dedicate his work to making sense of all of this and thereby transformed his corporate career into creative adventure.

can scorpions smoke 2

Steve’s book Can Scorpions Smoke? Creative Adventures in the Corporate World (Amazon Associates Link) invites those who work in these things we call organisations to pause, look around and become more curious as to what extent day to day habits, norms, behaviours and beliefs stifle our own creativity and that of others. At its heart it encourages experimentation and playfulness in the belly of corporate life and offers a number of personal and organisational practices that gently dampen the psychological and social fear that keeps everything rather stuck, dull and grey.

Six Creative Practices at the heart of “Can Scorpions Smoke?”

  • Mad, bad and wrong: Letting go of our need to be perpetually seen as sane, good and right.
  • Say “yes” (to the mess): Letting go of saying “no” to novelty and brave new experiences.
  • Be obvious/be altered: Letting go of a need to be perceived as clever, original and impervious to the influence of others.
  • Fail Happy: Letting go of our need to perpetually succeed and our habit of avoiding the unknown through fear of messing up.
  • Embody it: Challenging the dictatorship of the logical brain and building a deeper trust with our physical and emotional instincts.
  • Make others look good: Championing and nurturing the creative spirit of others.

Chapman himself endeavours to practice what he preaches and continually tries to push the boundaries of his work through experimentation on the boundaries his own comfort zone. To this end he has run masked corporate innovation workshops, delivered off the wall, highly participative keynote speeches (one dressed as a pirate for example), taken his coaching clients on spontaneous ‘inexpert’ tour guide experiences and he launched his book by going busking on the banks of the Thames.

His current research interest is “The Failure Project” which aims to deconstruct the concept of failure through studying the rich experience of screwing up in excruciating slow-motion!

Steve is Chief Adventurer at Can Scorpions Smoke Change a Creativity Ltd. He has worked with a wide range of organisations and individuals helping them through times of change by nurturing their imaginative, creative and spontaneous talents. He is a regular speaker on change, creativity and innovation and is visiting faculty at Ashridge Business School and the Metanoia Institute. He is the author of “Can Scorpions Smoke? Creative Adventures in the Corporate World” – an acclaimed book on personal and organisational creativity. He is a blogger, a runner, an improviser and Daddy to Maya, aged 8, who is his Chief of Imagination and illustrator of the book.

Steve is based in Esher, Surrey, UK

Please join us in congratulating Steve for being our March 2015 Rebel of the Month

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Week-11 of Delicacies: This was a very rich week of great content. Extra hard to stay within the limit of max 5 articles that i found interesting and worth re-reading. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!


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With some delay, here is week-10 of Delicacies: a self-curated weekly list of max 5 articles that i found interesting and worth re-reading. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!

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Week-9 of Delicacies: a self-curated weekly list of max 5 articles that i found interesting and worth re-reading. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!


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Week-8 of Delicacies: a self-curated weekly list of max 5 articles that i found interesting and worth re-reading. Minimalism in curation. Enjoy!


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