Improvisation And/As Ecological Practice (Schmidt)

This is a brief and personal statement on the interconnectivity of improvisation and ecological understanding.

To my view, ecological knowledge stands for understanding the context of where you live, how you live, with whom you live.
It means understanding interconnectedness and interdependence.
It means being familiar with basic principles and patterns that sustain life on Earth, and more specifically, how this looks in the region where you live.
It entails knowledge about the food you need, the water you drink, the air you breathe, as much as about the community of organisms, that live around, on and within you.
It also means understanding cooperation, exchange and dynamic balance.
The knowledge of ecology and the bioregion you inhabit, gives practical and factual insight in how to live in community with plants and animals, land and waters.

This knowledge, paired with the intuitive, spontaneous understanding that may be acquired through the practice of improvisation in an artistic context, consequently may serve as guide and orientation.
They will inform and lay out a quite clear mode of operation and way of relating.

I think we are at a threshold.
We, as a species, cannot afford any more practice or research of any kind, that is not intended to serve the entire ecological community.

Improvisation and Nature, or The Nature of Improvisation

To be able to improvise I would describe as the ability to respond to a proposition in a way that is non-judgemental and serving a spontaneously emerging sense of unforeseeable and unconventional order.
You allow movement, sound, painting to happen.

It is not about expressing your own emotional life or intellectual disposition, or about acting out and releasing pent up energy.
It is about serving the moment as an expression of a coherent totality, and about giving up the ego in favor of the whole. Mind and body act as one.

It is this experience and ability, this knowledge of an empty, spontaneous mind, that engenders a sensation of being in awe and appreciative of the very process that is unfolding.

In fact, it becomes obvious that this is the same process that makes a seed sprout and then turn into a flower – and a seed again.
Here we touch upon the fundamentals of how life unfolds, of how ecosystems develop and interact: it all emerges out of the moment.

With that realization comes a sense of compassion, a subtle and yet mighty sensation of appreciation and wonder for all of existence. For all flowers and songs and dances. All different. All the same.

Consequently, an organic way of relating and responding to who- and whatever becomes possible.

This is why I believe that the experience and ability to improvise is fundamental for a society intending to live in a harmonious relationship with its surroundings.
It provides a guideline for a respectful way of relating and interacting, it is a tool in times of uncertainty or regeneration, as much as for spiritual insight.

Improvisation is the language of the wild. Mountains and rivers speak it. Birds and insects speak it.
It is uncivilized and ever fresh. It is wonder-full.