Father And Daughter

Screenings of An Ecology of Mind

Screenings with Nora Bateson of her film An Ecology of Mind, a portrait of her father, Gregory Bateson
London, Manchester, Bradford, Bristol, Dartington, Glasgow, Edinburgh

15 – 27 February 2012

“Tell me a story” … of life, art and science, of systems and survival

 Gregory Bateson’s way of thinking – seeing the world as relationships, connections and patterns – continues to influence and provoke new thinking about human social life, about ecology, technology, art, design and health. Nora Bateson, Gregory’s youngest daughter, introduces Bateson’s ideas to new audiences in her film An Ecology of Mind, using the metaphor of a relationship between father and daughter, and footage of Bateson’s talks.

Each screening, too, hosts a discussion between Nora and a wide range of people working in depth with Gregory Bateson’s ideas: artists, architects, organisation theorists, action researchers, ecological activists, mental health practitioners, scientists, urban designers, cyberneticians.

These screenings and discussions show a way of thinking that crosses fields of knowledge and experience, one that can lead out of the ecological crisis and towards a more sound way of living.

News items could feature all or any one of the following angles: culture and science, cities and ecology, biology and communication, family health and systemic therapies, technologies and religion.

Nora Bateson is available for interview; please contact Wallace Heim, as above.

Gregory Bateson, British-American anthropologist, biologist, systems thinker (1904 – 1980),  invited people to look at a thing – an earthworm, a number sequence, a tree, a definition of addiction, anything at all – by seeing the interdependencies that connect them and the processes beneath the structures. He believed, “The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between the way nature works and the way people think.”

Tour dates:

15 & 16 Feb – Manchester

17 Feb – Glasgow

20 Feb – Bradford

21 Feb – Bristol

22 Feb – Dartington

23 & 24 Feb – Edinburgh

27 February – London

UK Press:

Interview with Nora Bateson by Rachel Freeman on The Ecologist online:


“For me, watching Nora Bateson’s film was overwhelming. Her biggest achievement is in explaining abstract concepts in a clear way. Until now, Batesons’ work has been largely inaccessible outside the academic community. With this film, this is bound to change”

Jan van Boeckel, Resurgence, Jan-Feb 2012

Gobal Press:

“The double bind that we now face is this: on the one hand, we want to preserve our natural environment; on the other, everything we do to grow our economy and preserve our standard of living disrupts the natural environment and our relationships with it. Nora, like her father, suggests that we must raise our consciousness and learn to think in new ways to escape our pathology of wrong thinking…Nora Bateson presents viewers not only with an intellectually challenging and inspiring work of art, but also with a glimpse of evanescent hope.”

Marilyn Wedge, Huffington Post, 13 October 2011

“Gregory Bateson taught us how to stop having the most fundamental old ideas: the static, separating, reductionist fictions that dis-integrate an integrated world. Nora Bateson’s beautiful portrait of her father’s key insights is a stunningly effective antidote for a new generation that now needs his wisdom more than ever.”

Amory B. Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute

An Ecology of Mind is a spell-binding, lyrical, and very important film…”

Rex Weyler – Co-Founder, Greenpeace International

Awards for the film:

  • Gold for Best Documentary, Spokane International Film Festival, 2011
  • Audience Award Winner, Best Documentary, Santa Cruz Film Festival, 2011
  • Winner, Media Ecology Association, John Culkin Award for Outstanding Praxis, 2011

Trash Hosts Outbound To Wonderland

The stars–and the moon- were in alignment last week when Cody Braudt, a BFA-1 student at Cal Art presented his play “Outbound to Wonderland” at Trailer Trash during the New Works Festival 2011.

The play focuses on the relationship between a precocious seven-year old girl and her writer father, a dreamer who fights for his daughter’s right to develop her imaginative powers.  Cody describes Lizzie as “spunky, sarcastic and ironic with a strong sense of fantasy- and sometimes a lack of focus.”

Nora King as Lizzie and Casey Jackson as her father

When a school psychologist prescribes medication to improve Lizzie’s math scores and classroom behavior,  her father recoils, worrying that medication will squelch Lizzie’s creative side.  Together, father and daughter plan an evening together under the stars in Wonderland, their imaginary world that is a tip of the  hat both to Lewis Carroll and to the real-world name of the last stop on Boston’s Blue Line.

Several of the play’s scenes are set underground,  on a subway platform and inside a subway car.  Filmed images from a speeding subway window are imaginatively projected against the Spartan’s aluminum siding, in a superb use of space, sound and light.

The inspiration for the play came more than a year ago when Cody and his dad were visiting schools in Boston. To get Cody a real-world feel of student life in the city, his father insisted that they take public transportation. Descending the subway steps, they saw the sign, “Outbound to Wonderland.”  At that moment something clicked:  they both thought it would make a great title for a play.

photo credit: Thrillho

In the end, Cody chose Cal Arts over Boston.  But the idea for the play surfaced again when he first arrived at his new school and saw Sam’s trailer parked in the lower lot.  “I thought it would be a perfect place to stage a play,” said Cody.  Later when Sam gave a talk to one of Cody’s classes, the two agreed Cody’s new work could take place at the trailer.

Two days before the first performance, the crew descended on the trailer at midnight to set up.  Then, during the tech rehearsal it rained, underscoring the challenges of outdoor performances.  The challenges of working with a small venue was another element.

“It’s a creative challenge,” Cory explained. “It’s not easy to work with the constraints on space.   But that’s what makes it stimulating.  It’s difficult to imagine the play being staged anywhere else.”

Cody (right) and his fellow technical directors for Outbound to Wonderland.

Cody practically grew up in the theatre world, acting professionally as a child at the Guthrie Theatre and other Minnesota venues. At Cal Arts he wanted to turn his hand to the technical side of productions.  “It’s a whole new world of creativity.  As a director, I want to be able to bring all these aesthetics together, to understand sound and lighting design.”

The move to Cal Arts was difficult at first, having left a tight-knit group of friends behind.  “After high school, some of them stayed in Minnesota; others moved to Chicago.  I was the only one who went all the way out to California.”

As the school year comes to an end Cody has fallen in love with Cal Arts.  “I’ve made new friends and have still been able to keep my old ones – they’ve been very supportive.”

When discussing the importance of home and community to artists – a theme central to the Trailer Trash Project – Cody says, “Home is not about a place, it’s about the people you enjoy being with, people who will support you. People who won’t stifle your imagination.”

detail from poster designed by Cody Braudt for "Outbound to Wonderland"

As the crew stuck the set late last Thursday night, Cody’s thoughts had already turned to future, considering how to expand and improve on the play, and of new productions he would soon undertake.  But he stopped long enough to discuss ways that Trailer Trash could join him on his journey,  Outbound to Wonderland.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.