Video and transcript from Ai Voung and Samuel Dias Fernandez’s talk at Control the Room 2022
Control the Room 2022 was an absolute success! We hosted our annual facilitator summit alongside our partner MURAL. Our wonderful connection between the live event and the virtual world, hosted by Mark Tippin, Director of Strategic Next Practices, Mark facilitated “Mind Shift” sessions, where he guided our attendees through a dialog about how everyone was impacted by the talks. He engaged both in-person and virtual attendees through our various activities in our conference mural. It was inspiring to have so many people joining in different ways and everyone getting the chance to communicate.
We also partnered with SAFE this year to support and honor a lost colleague, Jenni Robertson. The dedication of this summit comes after losing a coworker, mother, and friend to family violence and Voltage Control has pledged to work with SAFE to stop family violence for everyone. We wanted to take a moment and look back on all of the moments of insight, knowledge, and growth we all took part in over the course of the summit.
This year’s summit theme was SHIFTS, and as we move into 2022 we have seen shifts in the way we work, the way we connect, and the way we honor one another.
This year we hosted 18 facilitators in a hybrid space. We were live in-person, on Zoom, and even created our own Control the Room VR space, and we must say the event, even with a few technical issues, turned out to be a hub of idea sharing and growing with each other.
Each speaker delivered a 20-minute lightning session, and each session was filled with a sense of community, play, and story-telling.
Metamorphosis: Slow Media and Shifting Systems
As filmmakers and as facilitators, we suggest that we return to our bodies, our devices. We dial in our settings, we check in with our bodies and we reset. We re-attune to our bodies, not just once, not just at the beginning of day in morning mindfulness or yoga, not just maybe at 1:16 PM, but we return to our bodies again and again.Ai Voung
The filmmakers asked us to dive into metamorphosis. With limited, or distorted information we begin to make things up, so we return to our bodies. If we practice a slow meditation and allow for shifting systems we begin to see the world in a new way. Pulling out our phones and recording our partners for one minute, trying to capture something about them was exciting, and a little nerve-racking. After a short meditation and then looking at our partner, we were asked to do the same thing, but with intention. A beautiful transformation of the way we looked at each other occurred, and we were reminded that slowing our breathing, and being present changes our perspective on the world.
Watch Ai Voung and Samuel Dias Fernandez speak on Metamorphosis: Slow Media and Shifting Systems :
…our capacity to take in information, to take in data is limited or distorted. And when our information is limited or distorted, we are at risk of creating with limited or distorted information. We then can make up stories. We’re at risk of making up stories with bits and fragments of information that we have, as opposed to trying for the most complete picture and image that we can.Ai Voung
Thank you. Hi, before I start, let’s all go ahead and just take a collective breath together. So inhale, ah, exhale. I needed that, I don’t know about you. Well, hi, I’m Ai, this is Samuel. We are filmmakers and facilitators. So you may be wondering what these two fields have to do with each other.
So in filmmaking for us, it’s the process of getting individuals together to execute a vision, i.e. creating a film through a process of pre-production, production and post-production. Usually I’m on that side of the camera, and I’m really glad I’m not today.
In facilitation, as you all know, it’s the process of creating conditions to enable shifts, whether it’s helping people with their different perspectives and biases and lenses, to be more creative, to be more confident, maybe to heal or get a new idea, so that in our individual shifts, we, as a collective can sense into something new, together.
When filmmaking, our primary device is the camera. So before I set up my camera, I have already done my pre-production and I have my storyboard, my script, my shot list. And I’ve done all of this preparation before I actually set up the camera, which for production day, for most of you because I see so many cameras in the room, is today. And I set up my camera and I put what is in frame, but before I hit record, I check my settings.
I’m checking my settings and I’m making sure that whoever’s in front of the frame, what location it is, what light it is, that I’ve optimize my settings to take in as close to a perfect image and sound as possible. And then if I want to zoom in, the light has changed, or simply if I’m turning the camera from this side of the room to that side of the room, I return to my settings. And I’m returning to my settings again and again, because when conditions change, I need to change my setting so that each time I’m capturing the closest to a perfect image and sound as possible.
When facilitation, our primary device is that of our bodies. Our bodies are constantly taking in information from everything that we hear, we taste, we smell, we feel, we touch, we sense, to what’s on the mural board, to everything that everyone has said today. And with all of this information, our bodies are processing, are editing, are reorganizing and remembering all of that. And let me tell you, that can be exhausting. With all of this information it’s easy for our bodies to become overwhelmed and overheated because we’re always processing.
Have you ever had a moment in which maybe you have felt so tired that you felt like your capacity to listen to another person is compromised? And I’m seeing some heads shake because you know what that feeling is like. Or maybe you’re really stressed, or maybe you have fear of the 18 minute speech that you’re about to give. Or maybe you’re worried about what’s happening in the room next to you. Or you’re maybe trying to look at all of the Zoom chats, but also capturing what the person is talking about, and it’s just too much.
And when that happens, our capacity to take in information, to take in data is limited or distorted. And when our information is limited or distorted, we are at risk of creating with limited or distorted information. We then can make up stories. We’re at risk of making up stories with bits and fragments of information that we have, as opposed to trying for the most complete picture and image that we can.
So what can we do? As filmmakers and as facilitators, we suggest that we return to our bodies, our devices. We dial in our settings, we check in with our bodies and we reset. We re-attune to our bodies, not just once, not just at the beginning of day in morning mindfulness or yoga, not just maybe at 1:16 PM, but we return to our bodies again and again.
So far we have been engaging the cognitive side, the head, the rational part that’s taking in all that data. So let’s go ahead and bring it into the realm of the somatic, the body. Especially as a Latino, I love the body. We love to dance. This is my device, my primary apparatus. So let’s go ahead and bring it into that space.
So to do that, we’re going to go ahead and do an activity in two parts. Let’s call them take one and take two, to use our cinematic language, okay? So this is going to happen in partners. So go ahead and stand up. Go ahead and feel that body. In order to do this, you will need your smartphone and you’ll need a partner. So go ahead and choose the person closest to you. Hopefully somebody you don’t know that well just yet, and do that quietly until I give more instructions.
So this morning, or this afternoon, you will be filming your partner for one minute each. We’ll do one minute and then you’ll switch and the other person will film you. But easy peasy, right? The next part is even easier. Your prompt is you’re going to capture that person’s essence in one minute. Capture that person’s essence, super, super easy.
Now the way to do it is you will have to do it with at least 10 different types of shots, different perspectives. So you’ll have a minute to go close up, medium shot, low angle, high angle. Go for it. Because capturing somebody’s essence is easy, right? So, you ready? Do you know what you’re doing? So when I say action, one partner film the other. When we get to the one minute mark, you’ll hear ding and you’ll switch. Got it? All right. Action. Go ahead. Partner number one, go ahead and film.
Make sure you’re recording. Make sure you’re cutting. New perspectives, different perspectives. The energy to the dynamism. So many filmmakers, so many perspectives. You’ve got 20 seconds. That essence is going to be captured in one minute. Essence in a bottle. All right. Cut. Cut. Cut. Cut.
All right. And switch, switch the other partner. The other partner. The other partner. If I see you standing I assume you’ve already filmed everything there is to film. Keep filming, keep rolling.
So many possibilities. So many options.
You have 10 seconds.
I don’t want.
And cut. End scene. And that’s a wrap. That’s a wrap for that scene. Give yourself a round of applause. I want to give you a minute to talk with your partner, to debrief and show the images that you took and to share about what you noticed. What was that experience like? What did you feel in your body? So we’re going to go ahead and give you a minute to debrief, starting now.
So that was take one. But in filmmaking we always do a take two and a take three. So, take two is going to be a little bit different and we’re going to really take to task this whole idea that preparing the body is the number one thing we can do. This slowing down that will make a difference before we ever press record, before we ever enter into the room. So to do that, back to you.
I invite you all to stand up on your feet, put your smartphones down or your camera devices down, and plant your feet firmly into the ground, all four corners of your feet touching the ground. Relax your knees a little bit to give yourself some give. And if you’re comfortable, if you feel safe, go ahead and close your eyes. We’re just going to take some collective inhales together.
So inhale, bring your arms up all the way above your head, reaching to the sky, rolling your shoulders away from your ears, and exhale, bring your arms down. Inhale, bring your arms up to the sky. Arms reaching out even longer than before, and exhale, your arms to the ground.
Last time together, inhale your arms up this time, reaching as long and as far to the sky as you can, and exhale, bring your arms down. Go ahead and roll your shoulders three times in one direction, and three times in the other direction, remembering your inhales and your exhales.
And I want to invite you to bring your awareness to your feet. Go ahead and imagine the place where your feet are coming into contact with the floor. Wiggling your toes and feeling a sense of groundedness. Shifting your awareness up towards your ankles and feeling your weight on top of your body. Moving up to your shins, and up to your knees. Breathing easy and effortlessly.
Shifting your awareness up through your thighs and your hamstrings. Scanning your body, noticing what’s coming up without judgment, just observing it. Up through your pelvic area, to the belly, noticing the rise and fall of your breath. Continuing to move up to your chest, to your heart. Relaxing the shoulders, relaxing your biceps and your triceps, your elbows, your forearms. Wiggling your fingers and giving them permission to just be at ease.
Moving on up to your throat and your chin. Relaxing your lips and the corners of your lips. Relaxing the area around your nose and your eyes and the corners of your eyes. Finally, up towards your eyebrows and your forehead. Slowly move up to the crown of your head.
And before we go to film in the next take, take two, I want to invite you to remember, to recall the image of the person you just filmed and notice what comes up, what details. Maybe what emotions you might have attached to this person. What preconceptions or judgments may be packed in there and go ahead and release them, just let them flow. And now set an intention for how you want to remember them. Without judgment and with curiosity.
So as we move into take two, the instructions are going to be the same, but a little bit different. You’re each going to take that minute, but instead of moving around, you’re going to choose one position, and you’re going to press record and hold that position for one minute. One minute. One minute. And in that minute, I want you to see what comes up and what you notice.
So when I say action, in silence, filmmaker number one, choose your position, press record, film for a minute, and switch. Got it? Action.
So go ahead and thank the other person. And we’re going to give you a minute. Go ahead and take a minute to share with the other person, what you noticed was different. Hands up. Hands up. We want give you a minute to talk to the other person, to notice what was different between take one and take two. What did you notice that was different in your body and in your emotions. So go ahead and share. Go ahead and debrief.
Thank you everyone for participating in that activity. And I just want to remind us that our goal as facilitators is to enable shifts. So our role as facilitators is to help sustain a person’s ability to pay attention, to be aware, and to remember well. To do that, we suggest and encourage that we always return to our devices, return to our bodies, again and again and again. Thank you.