The Next Phase of The Flow Factory

After Vincent Dessberg asked me several times about talking about the vision that he had for 2035 Cornell Street, we finally sat down in December 2012 and I asked him about his mission, his vision, his values, and his goals and objectives so that we could formulate a reasonable action plan. As the first step on the action plan was to clean up the shop, the resulting document simmered for awhile. I was living in Bradenton at the time, but when the time came to vacate for new guests, I asked Vincent about staying on the property so that I could more readily address the action plan.

As with most visions, there was a vast expanse between what Vincent saw as his end result and what we were given to work with. Originally, or at least at the time of our initial meeting when Vincent’s interest was most piqued by the idea, the goal was to create a raw food café, drawing from the food grown on the rooftop vertical gardens, and building climbing walls inside and out. In order to build climbing walls, we needed space, and since the building was chock full of remnants from previous ideas that had piqued Vincent’s interest, we were going to have to do some creative repurposing.

rooftop_farmI’ve told Vincent before that I think he is a man ahead of his time. I have watched his endeavors unfold since we met several years go, with varying degrees of success, and I’ve seen his frustration grow as he struggles to engage people with his attempts at serial entrepreneurism. However, as with all of the failures I’ve manifested in my attempt to do new things, I can only hope that he has become wiser for the wear.

Nevertheless, the majority of Vincent’s initial attempts culminated in an industrial light warehouse, where I volunteered for the task of transitioning the space from a collection of shattered dreams to “a support structure for healthy living, community development, and creative expression, and as a catalyst for a more fruitful economy.” Although his experiments had not yet reached any level of economic fulfillment, I saw in all of them the possibility for a thriving business. My idea was to build on the resources that we had at our disposal, and start weaving them together, sort of seeing each project as a seed and the space as a garden, carefully cultivating each crop so that it would bear the most fruit. Since I, myself, am also transitioning into a life of using money again, this also gave me the opportunity to give more consideration to the streams of finance that could develop from these various projects.

Even before my yearlong boycott of Federal Reserve Notes, I had been working on a theory of economic distribution that could be written up as an algorithmic code in order to allow for instantaneous financial distribution that would revolutionize the crowd sourcing phenomenon. And while I have not yet figured out how to develop the application, I feel that the true gift of what I am trying to offer is not the technological widget that will diminish participation in life to the click of a button, but the opportunity for actual participation in our own economic development by building avenues away from our dependence upon faulty systems based on debt, greed, and slavery and toward a more interdependent, community-based existence so that we may free ourselves of the unnecessary suffering that we inflict upon one another merely for the sake of a game with unrealistic expectations and largely unsatisfying results. I think that, while my WeBMaP idea of automatically distributing funds from transactions to fuel artistry, business, citizenry, and charity is really nifty, I don’t believe that we need a technological program to save us, be it a bank, a corporation, a government, a religion, or a computer application. What we need is to realize our freedom by realizing our unity.


The opportunity that I have been given through my participation in this space allows me to experiment with my model on a practical level, where I can have measurable results, but more importantly, where I can actually taste the fruits of the changes I cultivate. It has been eight months since I moved into the space and started my process of organization and redesign. 

IMG_1766The Flow Factory currently operates out of 2035 Cornell Street, but the model can be replicated anywhere. Plus, with a flexible, multi-currency payment structure, including the Common Wealth Time Bank, and the fiduciary channeling system of ABC2 Economics, it offers the opportunity to help invigorate the economy while helping people do what they love to do: eat, play, make art, build stuff, develop relationships, teach crafts, and learn new things. And through that process, we can help people find new ways to develop greater enjoyment in life, stronger ties to the community, better health, and more sustainable practices to allow for a more graceful future.The time has been filled with a variety of experiments, varying degrees of success, and a few pinches of failure thrown in for flavor. However, I feel that we are now at a place where we are more prepared to fully open the doors to The Flow Factory so that we can develop a model of using open space as a conduit for multiple community and entrepreneurial ventures utilizing full free market economics that can be replicated and refined according to a community’s needs and assets.



Earthdance – Telling a New Story

This is the end of an 8 part series…

Photo by Arielle Original Art

Photo by Arielle Original Art

All in all, the festival was a great experience. The highest points came from avenues I never expected as I let go of attachment to outcome and merely opened up to what life had to offer. At festival, you never know what life is gonna offer up. The Labyrinth didn’t get quite as much attention as I would have liked it to, but it brought smiles to many, tears to some, and has offered me a new direction in which to venture.

I have managed to become quite adept at releasing my need for particulars, but opening up to what the universe has to offer in its own gentle timing. When I do that, I realize that life provides in many bountiful ways, and I wonder, during those times that I am holding on to attachment, when I am following old patterns that no longer truly serve me, but are merely stories that that I tell about myself, I wonder how many new stories I miss by not being my Self. I think that I would like to tell a new story.

Earthdance – Finding Our Flow

This is part 7 of an 8 part series…

LAbyrinthGratifly3On a late afternoon excursion, Misha and I happened upon a vendor near the main stage who made her own clothes and performed as a dancer throughout the festival. When she stated that she was running on very little sleep and had to dance again later in the evening, I invited her for coffee at The Labyrinth if she needed a pep-me-up. She was the only person in the festival that I invited for coffee, and I was truly glad when she showed up.

We talked a bit about her art and she started talking to us about this phenomenon called “flow.” Freddie informed her of the name of our camp, and I followed up with a description of the community flex space also known as The Flow Factory. Wouldn’t you know it, she just happens to have owned the since 2008 and is currently just redirecting it to another blog site.
I was sure to get her contact information before she left. It’s good to be in the flow.

Earthdance – The Journey Toward a Better Festival is The Journey Toward a Better World

This is part 6 of an 8 part series…

We had two people show up for out 3:00 playshop on “How to Dismantle Monsanto,” which was two more than any of our other playshops. As we sat around discussing the move beyond the commodity world view of which Monsanto is merely the most blatant proponent, the biggest of the dragon’s many heads, we were joined by two others, and I was able to inform the first two attendees about ConnectPolk and all of the incredible things they are doing to help create the world we deserve. I didn’t have anyone come to the “Getting Back to Eden” playshop, but that particular playshop is currently a solitary one and I enjoyed the time to write the world.

Saturday morning, I went to a 10:30 workshop on human evolution and how we can be participants in it. I was glad to be able to offer some insights into my own journey of seeking value beyond the commodity mentality. Throughout this festival, there has been much discussion on seeking for a better way of living than the reliance on a system that continues to fall short in providing for the needs of humanity. After my experience with Gratifly, I felt as if the festival circuit was a natural path toward reaching the future of our civilization and engaging them in their ability to co-create their lives, through their connection with nature, their connection with God, and their connection with one another. I still hold out hope for the possibility, however this particular festival seemed to be a bit too preoccupied with the hedonism which often accompanies the release of unqualified restraints and the search for a new way of seeing things. Of course, I realize that my own hedonism may have played a factor, yet I feel that it is also the structure of the festival and how involvement is initiated.

labyrinthgratifly4One of the things that makes me question the sincerity of the intention of the festival, regarding the prayer for peace, is that for the second year in a row, they hastily organized it at the last minute and started the telecast international prayer for peace late. It’s a beautiful prayer, and I’m glad to have it printed on my back, but it would have been nice to have all said it together. But the ceremony continued with a circular parade of a few dozen fire spinners and fire breathers before engulfing a star shaped effigy in flames. It was an impressive array, but I wish there was more care given to the supposed reason we were gathered.

Like Misha, I have been doing a lot of watching and taking mental notes as I look forward to the development of the Yule Awaken festival and the opportunities it offers to create a festival more reminiscent of the real world we imagine, encouraging a more open system of engagement and interdependence. I’m interested to find out what it’s actually going to look like.

One of the exciting things about doing this Labyrinth installation is that I never know exactly how it’s going to turn out until I’m finished with it. I have these pallets delivered, work with what I’m given to create whatever art I can, and then wonder at how it all comes together. That’s really the experience of anything I put my creative energies toward so I imagine this festival will be no different. It just depends on the other energies that come to take part in the art.

Earthdance – Tripping Into Laughter

This is part 5 of a 9 part series…

The Labyrinth looked amazing at night, even before the LSD took hold. We brought five canned lights and used the four that worked. The result was this glowing box of color that attracted explorers, inviting them to take the journey inward.

labyrinthgratifly8Perhaps I’ve never had a high enough dosage, but psychedelics have never taken me to other realms as I hear many people describe. It does, however, make me feel very good about being in this one. In the handful of times that I have experimented with psychedelics, I have never experienced hallucinations… as far as I know. I mean, after all, aren’t all of the boundaries we place on our experience of reality merely hallucinations anyway? Some people have told me that some people have nothing to learn from the trip, so perhaps I’m just already seeing through my third eye just fine. Yet even though the trip may have no place to take me, it’s still a pleasure to go along for the ride.

IMG_2697As it was, the pinnacle of this ascent to nowhere was a laughter therapy session at The Flow Factory. As Misha attempted to describe what he had discovered as the secret ingredient to finding the answer to life, the universe, and everything through his evening of perspective shifting to Freddie, who had not consumed any notorious substances yet who was dressed in a metallic sheened costume complete with cape and fool’s crown, Freddie’s complete mystification was completely riotous to me. And with Raagi there to egg us on into emotional release, what started as innocent giggling turned into uproarious laughing fits that had my face covered in tears and my body feeling completely exercised as I rolled on the ground in hysterics. Yes, LSD is very silly, but then so is this magnificent life I’ve managed to stumble upon, so I have no complaints about my experiment in attempting to shift my consciousness to something a little more reasonable.

Earthdance – Freddie Goes MAD

This is part 4 of an 8 part series…

Freddie had a bit of an adventure today and rose to the occasion of being a hero for the people and making a difference. At last year’s Earthdance, in the middle of the festival was a faucet with showers, where people could refill their jugs from the well and hydrate themselves as necessary. This year, someone had circumvented the water source to run it through a filter and sell it to festival goers… interpretation – you don’t pay, you don’t drink.

IMG_2695Freddie, who had spent the last of his monthly budget to get to the festival to install his hexi-yurt, was outraged that someone would even conceive of claiming a natural resource as their own and charge others for drinking it. “I’m trying to build a new world here!” he shouted repeatedly. “This isn’t right! This isn’t the new world!”

After voicing his indignation to the woman at the well and giving her an ass-wiped dollar bill for which to stuff up her own aqua-rustling rectum, he further retaliated by removing all of his clothes until significant attention was brought to the manner and rectified. Although Freddie has been recently hired as a nude male model, and probably welcomed the chance to work out his final jitters, festival organizers, as liberal as they may seem, were not too keen on having his jumblies out and about like that, and managed to acquire a splitter so that free water was available for all with the option of paying more for that which was filtered. After putting his clothes back on, Freddie also went back to apologize and make peace with all he had offended and got a gallon of free filtered water out of the deal. I was very proud of him.

Earthdance – Looking Around the Corner

This is part 3 of an 8 part series…

We finished building the Labyrinth shortly after 6pm. Our new neighbor Mannie was incredibly helpful, and it was a joy to experience that kind of community. Van and Darcy added the final signage of welcomes, directions, and warnings, and The Labyrinth of the Unbroken Path was born again.

hmf2013 labyrinth19We had to take a longer break than we wanted after constructing the first twenty pieces, but after the battery for the screw gun I have been borrowing from my dad for the last several months (which, ironically, he bought so that he would have an extra battery), we got back to work on the assemblage. We’ve already had a few sojourners who have had really affirmative responses. We even had someone paint on it before we’d had it fully assembled.

Though no one really showed up for the playshops at the designated time, as I said, the entire weekend is one long playshop. I get to sit under my tent for the next day or so, handing out paint, writing, and watching a new world emerge around me. Watching Earthdance for the second time from a totally new perspective, while comparing it also to Gratifly, is giving me a lot of ideas on how to structure the Yule Awaken festival by creating a mobile model of The Flow Factory and a working model of ABC2 Economics.