The Artistic Critic: How to Create Collaborative Relationships among Three or More People

In your time zone: [Thursday, June 2, 2022 1PM EST]

ZOOM video conference: Launch Meeting - Zoom

Watch two children playing. Often the more dominant child is the one providing the social persona while the other is the onlooker admiring and reinforcing that persona. It is a version of Hegel’s master/slave relationship, with the master dependent on the slave to produce feedback acceptable to the persona, while the slave is prevented from doing spectacular things and must live vicariously through the achievements of the master. Both master and slave conspire to maintain this arrangement. They see third parties as threats.

As we experiment with peer to peer initiatives, in a complex, networked society, we continue to struggle to move beyond the master/slave trap. Fullness of feedback is not possible with two people caught in this trap and they can become destructive of our best effort. In this workshop style Cafe, we will learn how to identify this trap and gather the necessery skills so that we can re-direct our attention towards healthier communications that will free up our best efforts.

In the first hour of the workshop, we will bridge the gap between theory and practice with the pioneering work of Charles S. Peirce. By adhering to the procedure of Peirce’s alternative logic of relationships, we can let go of trauma and embrace the potentials of a post-tragic world of alternative communications and attunements. In the second part of the workshop, we will apply our learnings by giving feedback upon a poem by Marco Morelli.

Reading / Watching / Listening

Required reading. Chapter 6 Principles of Phenomenology which can be downloaded here:

  • The most recent version of the piece by Marco can be accessed here.

Seed Questions

  • And when creative collaborations at your best… that’s like what? And what happens before, during, and after creative collaborations?
  • And have you ever been caught up in a Drama Triangle? How is this experience different from a creative collaboration?

Context, Backstory, and Related topics

In All About Eve, a film about theater people, there are many drama triangles. This play within a movie is famous for it’s glamorous style and queer characters. In this scene, there is the begining of a triangle forming. Can you notice the subtle non-verbal communiques between the performers?

Arthur Young, a student of Peirce, riffs upon threes and fours in Geometry of Meaning.


Unable to get a copy of text…


1 Like

[Philosophical Writings of Peirce by Charles S. Peirce, Justus Buchler (ed.) ( (1).pdf] If you go to the link you can download the book which contains the essay which is chapter 6. I can’t send the book as it is too big. I hope that helps…


Thank You John it Worked…

1 Like

Thanks for the write-up and the invitation, @johnnydavis54. I have posted a link to the latest version of my piece above, and I suspect there may be a 4th iteration before the workshop, or I may decide to share something else.

I also wonder if @hfester might like to join us for this—or any other writers, poets, artists, or musicians out there…


Thanks for your enthusism, Marco. We only need three persons to do the workshop properly with myslef as facilitator. If more people show up I would have to change the format so I prefer that we not try to recruit anyone for this, yet. If we do the required reading and have a good workshop experience I will be glad to offer another workshop in the future for those who want to go to another level. Small is beautiful.


OK, good to know! And good reminder, thanks. I am looking forward to it.


I have a link below, Marco, to a training trance where I channel my altered state version of Peirce. I riff on my rehearsal and hope my presentation compliments your poem. I like the piece you shared ,as it came out of the conversation that I/we/you have already had, and is sort of familiar to us. But feel free to bring to the Cafe whatever feels good to you. Taking my cue from a previous suggestion you made, I pose a few questions and offer a trance induction. How can we learn to dream with Peirce? And why would anyone want to?

Two nights ago, I had a wyrd dream with a fierce young man. After I gave an intuitive, highly improvized performance before an interested audience this young man declared," Your intention is unclear and you aren’t properly motivated. Others liked your performance, but I don’t. You are unfit for the role." Stung by this wasp-like criticism, the next day, I did lots of homework.

Then, last night, in a dream, I heard a voice ask me, And what does the Body of Language realize? I saw many amazing images. Baffled, I wrote it all down, went back to sleep and today in a waking state, I offer a tentative answer to that impossible dream.

Towards a Re-embodied Poetics: Modeling the Ecstatic Performer.

C.S.P believed we can enter 4D space and beyond through the imagination. We will explore this further in the workshop. I want us to take these logical ideas into a coherent we space. Can this happen?

Qualia. Feelings. Internal. Inside. Implicit. Affective. Dreamer. Possibility. Subjective. Mind

The Other. Devil’s advocate. Factual. Realist. Actual.Explicit. Outside. Objective. Matter.

Mediator and moderator of Firstness and Secondness. The Internet. Immanent Transcendence. Evolution.

Peirce was a master of the diagram where he tried to capture thought in motion. This one of his doodles…

Here are photos of Charles…the first photo looks like the man I saw in my dream who scolded me. I was surprised that such a young man could convey such imposing authority.

Here he is in his maturity.

In an effort to create conditions for a transition to a multidimensional humanity, I share a twenty minute audio I made to compliment these musings upon Peirce’s cognitive style. I invite you to look at photos of him above as you contemplate with me his contribution to our experience in our own complex world in a melt down. I perform in this audio experiment an excerpt from a lecture he delievered at Harvard in 1898. That was a long time ago, wasn’t it? Let’s find a stochastic resonance!

In that lecture he invites his audience to use their imaginal capacities in order to model alternative realities. This was before the internet, computers, and the shock of the Civil War was still a living memory active in his timespace. This audio experiment is an attempt to re-enter his world through his words, photos, and doodles and re-learn what he learned for our time. Please relax. With eyes closed, in a comfortable place. In this audio exprience we will explore Deep Trance Identification with the Mind-Style of C.S.P. Your feedback is welcome.

Here is the link to the audio.


Hi John, thank you. I am going to set aside some time before Thursday to take in the materials you’ve shared. However, the audio file you tried to post doesn’t seem to be accessible but goes to a “temporary error (404)” page on Google. If it is a large file, would you be able to upload it here and I’ll post it?

Like some swamp thing rearing up its gruesome head, there is now a 5th iteration of the poem you reference above, “Impossible Biological Objects (after Michael Levin),” which is gradually tightening up, or finding its most energy-efficient form of self-arrangement (or de-rangement, as befits the subject matter… taking Rimbaud’s approach to the senses perhaps too literally), and which now also begins with a direct quote from the Café that inspired it.

It is quite possible that the poem will slightly re-arrange itself again and stabilize with its 6th iteration—one for each great mass extinction, I am thinking. Below is the current state of a work in progress, which I also believe we could productively read through the varied vantages of firstness, secondness, and thirdness ála Peirce.

I also suspect that your “deep trance” audio experiment is somehow entangled with “the body of language” I share below, where I attempt to document, in poor man’s mode, a performance which one might also consider a “temporary error.”


Please note that I uploaded the file to Cloud and try to post it but the link doesn’t seem to work. Yes it does seem to be entangled.

1 Like

Opened to a Day Dreaming Streaming from Marco…
Thank U for Transmitting Your Multi-Dimensional Being :wave: :wave: :wave:

1 Like

OK, I found it and spliced it into your post.


Thanks John for the “Aural” Experience-Experiment !

A Liminal -Imaginal Threshold was Invited & Received!
Your Voice Felt Relaxed & Tender in Guiding toward a Openness
& a Movement into the Unfamiliar of the Familiar!

A Box of Darknes


Temporal errors are necessery for creating expections, violation, surprise if you do so with intention. Daniel Stern , a great child psychologist, demonstrates forms of vitality in early communications between mother and child. We continue to work through the vital body starting with mother/child/father and then when we grow up these capacities evolve into performer/audience relationships. Sharing tempo-ryhthms are central for coherent relational circuits.

T.S. Eliot’s rough draft for his famous fourth quartet is worth studying. He starts simple.

       Winter scene. May.

      Lyric. air earth water end ℘℘
      daemonic fire. The Inferno
      They vanish, the individuals, and
      our feeling for them sinks into the
      flame which refines. They emerge
      in another pattern ℘ recreated℘
      redeemed, having their meaning to-
      gether not apart, in a union
      which is of beams from the central fire. 

A rough sketch that turned into one of the great poems of the last century. We need a frame before we can break frame, reframe, deframe. These are some notes to myself as fledgling critic . I start to re-think the world that is being swallowed up by the non-tactile laptop/smart phone. How can we do a close reading when we are split up constantly into clashing fashions, wth no proprotion kept?

I wonder if it helps to feel your performance through different tempos? I watched it twice and it seems loud and fast with no attention given to consonants and too much vibrato, Could you do slow and soft? Totally still? Eyes looking though the screen into the eyes of a child or an animall? And allow yourself one gesture only. And make it connote.

Tensions, forces, and excitements rise and fall. We need space between, and dying away. I feel there is a gap between your text and your voice. Too much urgency. Can you have your eyes open while you contact the inner pulse? Where is the speaker of the poem? Who is he addressing? But if we had an attuned relational circuit with skilled critic-artists in a vibrant network I suspect we could be awakened in new ways. You can’t fail with an experiment. This is the worst medium to deliiver this meta-message but I wish to set up some expectations for a potential that may happen at the Cafe.

The critic’s job is to find the invisible third. I highly recommend Daniel Stern’s Forms of Vitality. He’s very good ciritic as well as a fabulous therapist/phenomenologist.


With regrets I will not be attending tomorrow the Cafe’…
Will be checking the recording. Have a Experiential Dance


1 Like

Sorry to hear you cannot make it Mike.

John, I have been taking a back seat for this one, based on your request for a triad. Unaware if @achronon or others plan on attending. I am able to attend and attune if a triad needs a more visible third tomorrow.


I can let this one go, Doug. I think I will take a backseat for awhile. I hope others might have an alternative. I’ll tune in. Good luck.

1 Like

From wrong to wrong the exasperated spirit
Proceeds, unless restored by that refining fire
Where you must move in measure, like a dancer.

The sixth iteration/extinction of my poem is here:

…though there may be another sub-iteration or two before tomorrow.

It is interesting to observe how Eliot’s poem developed from the word-sketches into the shaded elegance of his mature work. What I have been endeavoring, similarly, is to sculpt an inner fire through resonant fragments of language that carry a depth-charge, conspiring with critique, to conjure a music of complex though elusive cognitions. I appreciate the notes and pointers on performance; it is not an easy nor comfortable thing for me to work on, as raw energy is always threatening to overwhelm the words, which must contain and focus intense feeling sometimes. I recognize I do need more practice remaining grounded and centered, staying in relationship with an audience (like mother and child perhaps?), while transmitting whatever energies are carrying through conductive language.

Although it was at first just an experiment, almost a throwaway, I have grown kind fond of my poem and suspect it’s probably one of the weirder poems recently written. We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Its sounds like we may need to try something a little different with our format. I have an idea, but will need to share it a little later.

@johnnydavis54, I sat with and listened to your audio a couple times and I think it had a positive effect on my creative process, and may help with performance too. At least, I could feel more freedom of movement in my inner space this morning, which I felt was connected to Peirce’s guided visualization/thought-experiment that you shared, with accompanying attunements.

1 Like

Won’t be able to attend; have other commitments.


I hope you find the right tempo for your format. I won’t be particapting tomorrow as I have decided to join a group of young men who want to teach me how to climb a tree. I met them today in the park and they taught me how to find the right tree.,with a nice slope, and it is not as easy as it looks. This is an interesting modeling project for me and will give me a renewed relationship to the trees around me which I dearly love. I had hoped that collaborative human relationships among three or more could happen…I find that I no longer feel that is necessery. Good luck, gang, and may the force be with you.