Public performance of watching: discussion

Hi Rule Group,

I hope you had are having good summers. Mine too busy. No watching sad face.

I was approached by Amanda Herman who runs Live Art Magazine, a live art-based variety show that has an emphasis on work that is created for the show and isn’t documented other than by artists’ sketches, to have the Watching Club participate in this year’s show on Oct 21. This year’s theme is “listening,” and Amanda thought that The Watching Club had an interesting resonance with the theme.

The website is here: http://www.liveartmagazine.org/

It’s held at the Academy of Music, an old theater (think opera-house eque if you don’t know it) music venue run by the City of Northampton.

One of my professors (J… V…) recommended us. I typed up a few proposals (including a bunch that didn’t involve The Watching Club), and the Watching Club is the one that Amanda is interested in.

I told her I would approach the Rule Group to see if we can do it – and if we think it fits within the scope of what The Watching Club should do.

Below was the draft proposal, in the format she requested (part 2 is a list of tech requirements):

1.       The Watching Club. Members of the Watching Club who are able to attend (I have to round up our small club, which I probably can do) would sit in an opera box (or somewhere more subtle perhaps) and watch the audience for the entire duration of the show, according to the rules of The Watching Club (www.thewatchingclub.org). At some point and for 4 minutes (or less), we would have the rules of the watching club scroll on a large screen, without audio commentary. Listed in the program would be a brief description of the club. (What I like about this option: it feels a little creepy and subversive – at the same time it performs as a kind of conceptual art – and it taps into the “listening” concept by bringing this to a few different levels.)

 2.       Tech: I’d need a projector capable of playing a video file, and I’d need some chairs set up in an opera box, and I’d want to distribute flyers or some other information about The Watching Club.

Thoughts?


Thoughts:  OH, MAN!  This is great!! …

The watching Club MUST participate if it can. Watching those watching is the ultimate learning experience for us, no?
The West Coast rules committee gives a thumbs up to the idea.
—–
YES! I am so excited to read these emails. I vote yes. I can’t wait to participate. I agree with Maureen. … Should we watch before this event as well?
K
Public performance of watching: discussion

Scheduling After A Cancellation: practice view

YAY!
On Mar 28, 2016, at 5:15 PM, Kelly Carroll wrote:

I’m in I’m in!! Sorry I’ve been quiet. I see Chris in the halls often (my excuse for slacking on the email) I would like to watch this Sunday! I can ride a bus for three hours, right??

On Monday, March 28, 2016, Maureen MacLeod  wrote:

Is kelly out? Do you ever see her in the halls?  I don’t think it’s cheating but i bet she won’t do it w/o you.

We Can do convenience store following.

 

 
On Mar 28, 2016, at 4:27 PM, Christopher Janke  wrote:

I am hoping to update tonight.

 

Before I do, I want to propose a watch on a mode of mass transit for next Sunday. Is it cheating that I want to do this because I’ll be on a plane from LA? I promise to watch, although I won’t bring my own chair.

 

If it IS cheating, then I’ll have to postpone my participation till the following Sunday… in which case, I think I’ll propose the Convenince store and then to be followed by watching on a bus…

 

Thoughts?

 

Christopher Janke
www.christopherjanke.com

Scheduling After A Cancellation: practice view

Logistics Late March 2016

On Mar 17, 2016, at 8:33 PM, Christopher Janke  wrote:

Also, what do you two think about rescheduling the convenience store?

And the bus?

 

Sundays are usually good for me, but with spring break and other various etceteras.

 

Easter isn’t good, but the following Sunday should be ok. That work?

That’s fine. (MM)
 

And I know I need to update the rules. I’ll compile the notes from the discussions since the last update, and I’ll work on a draft to circulate.

And that,s fine. (MM)
 

Logistics Late March 2016

Watching and Creepiness and Surveillance

On Mar 17, 2016, at 8:16 PM, Christopher Janke wrote:

More questions for the rule group:

-Is the term “watching” creepy? Surveillance-esque? Is watching creepy? Is that ok?

 

My take CJ is: yeah, kinda creepy given the current surveillance state, but that resonance doesn’t (yet) bother me. Maybe we are surveilling the world already, and the government’s surveillance of us is both understandable and undesired or maybe something else… again, I turn to quantum physics as a kind of creepy parallel “spooky action at a distance” – maybe it’s spooky and not creepy? Maybe it’s both and unavoidable.

 

Watching is synonymous with the term “surveillance” if it is covert, hence, creepy, spooky, sneaky even deceitful. . If you are boasting about watching then you are, as are we, “studying”, and proud of it! What can be more honorable then studying! (MM)
 

Watching and Creepiness and Surveillance

Watch Cancelled

Got it.

If KC wants to watch i will watch.

MM
On Mar 12, 2016, at 6:50 AM, Christopher Janke > wrote:

Yes. I’m unable to commit so we must postpone. Unless there are two other watchers.

From: MM
Sent: ‎3/‎12/‎2016 5:14 AM
To: CJ
Cc:  KC

Subject: Re: Rule Group

Just to clarify: Sunday’s watch is cancelled and will be rescheduled?

 

Watch Cancelled

Rules Discussion March 8-11 2016

 
On Mar 11, 2016, at 2:34 PM, Christopher Janke wrote:

Christopher Janke
www.christopherjanke.com

From: MM
Sent: Friday, March 11, 2016 3:36 PM
To: CJ
Cc: KC
Subject: Re: Rule Group

 

 
On Mar 11, 2016, at 7:34 AM, Christopher Janke  wrote:

Some other issues that came up regarding Watching.

 

  1. Would we allow ourselves to watch a performance? Or would that kind of watching be somehow against the ethos of the group?

No, to performance.  It seems that watching something scripted is a different animal. I like the self discipline aspect. (MM)

  1. If The Rule Group and the Watchers are ever made up of different people, does that negate the claim or aim towards democracy? Could the Rule Group, if made up by a different set of people than the watchers, just lord it over the watching group?

Yes. I think if you are a rule-maker-non-watcher you are hoping to join the debate!  You do not get the debate privilege without the cold or boring part of trying to pay attention! Watching is not for pussies! Without watching one could possibly become a self-involved, bossy lord. (MM)
<So: In order to join the rule group, you must be part of the watching club. Do you have to do all the watches? How many watches before you get to join the rule group? How many skipped watches before you get kicked off the rule group? CJ>

Sounds like potential members don’t want to do the hard part? No one ever likes to wash the brushes!  I think watching as a member of the Watching Club is vital. Ideally, You have to watch at least twice to sit back and pontificate about it. However, if membership is contingent on being able to skip sessions whenever they are too hard…i will concede. I just know people will watch once and call it good ..but maybe that’s the nature of the beast and should be assimillated. (MM)

  1. I’ve just realized that I may not be able to participate on the 13th. I have a practicum that I’m doing and I don’t have full control over my hours, and I may have been booked to assist with the practicum during the same hours. I’m totally fine with others watching without me; I’m also up for rescheduling or for allowing it to be skipped and come back to it.

No skipping allowed. Reschedule or come back to it. (MM)

<So: Only I am not allowed to skip? Or are others also not allowed to skip? CJ>

I think i should have stated better. I meant to say that if you have to skip  we all should skip the session. It should be rescheduled for the sake of synchronicity. I don’t want others to watch without you– specifically me. (MM)

  1. Any other ideas for things we want to watch? Should we widen the scope? Narrow it? Blade of grass? Activity on a planet?

I listed some ideas at the bottom of the Mach 6 email. Did you miss it? I Love the blade of grass idea but i also suggested a mode of public transportation: escalator, elevator, bus station, busy bus stop…. (MM)

<Oh yes, I’d forgotten. Hmmm. How about ON a bus?> (CJ)

that would be good. Should there be a duration requirement? Like you have to go to north hampton and back? #43 sigh (MM)

  1. The looking/seeing/watching issue was again discussed. I said that I thought of seeing as more passive than watching, but others (especially visual artists) disagreed. They talk about “seeing” as core to the process of painting and representation and consider “seeing” as MORE active than watching.

It’s absolutely not more active. This is apples and oranges.  Used in different recipes.  I can see where a painter thinks “the art of seeing” (rolling my eyes) is the end all be all but that is then and this is now. The Watching Club is watching. (See below) Watching and seeing are equally active depending on the activity. Watching/seeing/looking  is being too casually thrown at us… We are watching people and are aware of the differences. (MM)

<hmm CJ>

 

 

I’d love to hear what you all think on these important matters!

 

Christopher Janke
www.christopherjanke.com

 

From: CJ
Sent: Wednesday, March 9, 2016 8:59 AM
To: MM
Cc: KC
Subject: RE: Rule Group

More questions for the rule group.

 

  1. Looking versus watching versus seeing. Shona MacDonald, in reviewing the project for my midterm review, asked if we were watching or looking because in a way you could say we are “looking” for an aesthetic experience, or at least that is one of the possible, explicit reasons given for the exercise. I said maybe we are watching and trying to allow for an aesthetic experience, but to be honest when I’m watching, I am trying to create within myself a guided openness that allows me to find/ see/ look for/ watch beauty within the scene… Thoughts?

This sounds like a reviewing visual artist trying to relate. Ms. Mac Donald (who was my BEST Bud for 5 months and who I miss terribly) is delving into our watching concept with a gross generalization.  The Professor must try, in 15 minutes, to engage with the student. If Shona, however, were to become a member of a talking group she would be invaluable as I always found her comments right on the money.  Personally, I  subscribe to Clive Bell’s “Aesthetic Hypothesis” which, for me has been proven on a number of occasions. I have deliberately, for example, seen VG’s Starry Night twice and there was at least one onlooker each time sobbing: “…and I don’t even like Art!” So,for me , it’s now a scientifically proven theory. Something with significant form (obviously subjective) must evoke, from within, a unique and peculiar feeling. Those forms or objects that provoke that emotion are referred to as works of Art.  It is the ONLY time that peculiar feeling churns. That’s an aesthetic experience and it is the only way to evaluate what qualifies as art. One does not look for it. (MM)

 

Watching is the least passive action. I joined the Watching Club to “carefully observe”, “notice” and “inspect” not to “view”, “perceive”, “imagine”, “be conscious of” and not to visually “search”, “learn” or “understand” the subject. I watch therefore I patiently take notice in order to further develop and to hone in on the process of paying attention. Paying  attention, i have decided, is no instinct. It has to be practiced and studied  in the hopes that the acquiring of skill will lead to more predictable moments of aesthetic response!  (MM)

<I don’t really feel like I have a strong opinion on this. Just that “watching” seems right – neither passive nor pre-determined… CJ>

 

  1. Jacin, one of my fellow first-year grad students, said that the fact that we are bi-coastal and doing it synchronously activates all the space in between the watches. I like that idea. We have electrified the continental US for a few hours at a time.

I truly like this idea! I believe that synchronicity is the most integral  part of being a non, non-member of the Watching Club. It is, for me, the prime motivation for commitment.  Without synchronicity, there is no incentive; no raison d’être! Where’s the feeling of membership, i ask? When i watch “with” you i feel electrified…a sense of belonging which surely stimulates even the lowliest psychopath.

Say “hi” to Jacin i have fond memories of him and love his work. (MM)

 

<I will tell him you say HI. So maybe this answers the question about when a watch gets rescheduled: There have to be at least two watchers, or the watch is cancelled/rescheduled…. Does that make sense as a rule?> (CJ)

Yes.
 

  1. I keep hearing that some others might join us, but I haven’t gotten e-mails about it yet. Rachel Steinberg, the curator of the NYPOP show and Shona both seemed interested…

People who won’t watch are three-hour-pussies! (MM)

 

  1. The question also came up about what we would do if, while watching, we saw a crime or some other emergency. I said that the rule group hasn’t stated a position but that I would interrupt the watching to help. The watching is not somehow sacred; perhaps it can help us create or recognize the sacred that is already present, but if the watch gets interrupted and if that somehow invalidated the watch such that it couldn’t be added to the list, that’s no big deal. If someone needs help, I will help them.

Now, this is what I call silly. It goes without saying…without listing…without ruling…without positioning. The Watching Club consists of a sub-set of the Humanity Club.  We are inherently willing to be interrupted to aid victims. It does not have to be listed unless it can succinctly be incorporated into the previously ruled “ten words” OR unless help is needed coincidentally, simultaneously during both  watches.  Then it MUST be listed. (MM)

<HA. I like that. CJ>

 

But this then raised the issue of watching the world. It could be argued that at any given time, someone needs help, and that when watching we are setting aside the needs of others for our own aesthetic pleasure. I have thoughts about this, but I must go to class now, and I’m interested in hearing what others say…

I am not of the mind that watching is for my aesthetic pleasure. This experiment does not have a specified goal of pleasure. As i stated above, under both 1 and 4, i am thinking about this as a scientific procedure heading to a specific result. Watching is to”listening” as “seeing is to “hearing.” The latter is accidental, if you will. (MM)

<There are those who would argue that of course it is for a kind of pleasure, ultimately, or you would not do it. It may not be a simple pleasure, but it is a pursuit that is for the self and so… well… I guess it’s a question of utility. Should we use our privilege, even if it’s just the minor privilege of 2 hours every few weeks, to watch and not to help those in need? CJ>

 

Helping others, an aging parent, a bloody victim, a colicky baby is not at all pleasurable but i would do it gladly.  I’m not equating pleasure and privilege.   There are many other reasons to do something that are selfish yet unpleasant.

 

My head hurts with all this today;-)    (MM)

Rules Discussion March 8-11 2016

Rule Discussion After Watch 2 Continued

So,

After the last watch, here are what I know of as new issues for the rule group:

  1. Can watching group members watch under other parameters without the expectation of that watch being added to the list?

My take (CJ): Of course! It should be one of the best by-products of watching that watching happens more often, that is more keen attention gets paid all the time… and as far as “reporting” goes, I think it’s fine to use each other as people to talk to about the watching. I intend for my mid-semester review to introduce the watching group to professors and to ask them to engage in a abbreviated watch that will not be added to the list, that is, I intend to do this unless the rule group deems this inappropriate.

Agree
 

  1. Photos taken of the watchers or of what the watchers are watching but not by the watchers. Does this count as documentation?

My take (CJ): I think that it would be unproductive to prohibit non-members from taking pictures of what is going on. I did mention to one non-member who wanted to take a picture of what I was watching that documentation is officially not allowed by the group, and he didn’t take the picture. He did take a picture of me, as did one other person. I have no interest in trying to police non-members (or members), so I think that simply expecting members to mention the prohibition against documentation to interested parties who are trying to take pictures should suffice. What non-members do with that information is up to them and not of a concern for the group, that is until such point that non-member documentation threatens to inhibit watching, such as if the non-member involvement becomes planned in advance or if the non-member activity or documentation is too distracting or if the documentation starts to have any, even slight, significant relationship to the core activities.

Totally agree.  I can’t think of any reason for non-members to take pictures except for the purpose of documenting members activities for the non-member’s personal use? What non members do with the information will, naturally, concern me and will interrupt my watch. Paying attention will be directed away from the “subject” for a period of time and that troubles me. That misdirection of attention, though, could be interesting. Why is paying attention to one subject alone so hard? —a thought i have been ruminating over. In any case, stating that we prohibit documentation is sufficient and then we TRY to let it go. No policing.

 

  1. Becoming part of what is being watched; changing the scene by being in it.

My take (CJ): This is a significant issue because in certain situations, there is no way for watchers to be neutral. At some points, I was forced to concede that I was watching myself in certain ways, because of the social dynamic in the space or near the space or because of the way that watching changed the space.

Agree
I think this is a necessary part of watching. Watching alters what is watched, according to quantum mechanics. There are theories of consciousness that take quantum entanglement as evidence of consciousness’ core place in the motions of sub-atomic particles.

Like if  “a tree falls ….”?  I don’t think i can speak to quantum entanglement as evidence of consciousness or in sub -atomic particles.  This experiment has reawakened, in me, philosophical ideas: Stoicism and Metaphysics, in particular.  I am definitely not thinking about the science of consciousness.  Artistically or aesthetically speaking, i can see that my body is part of the “picture” and that is curious because, technically, i should be outside of the subject. I have previously pictured myself as part of an audience like in a theater but that breaks down as soon as someone observes me for a time. But i don’t see myself as capable of analyzing that further. If I start thinking about my consciousness i will immediately have to worry about the non-members’ picture-taking consciousness.   “If a tree falls in the forest” …..i don’t care, i guess.
I’m not saying these theories are correct. But I do think that pretending that watching doesn’t change is silly,

?? When/how did “silly” come into this?
particularly if we do so in conspicuous places. I wouldn’t want to ONLY watch in ways where my watching seemed to be a major disruption, but this is a real dynamic that I think we should acknowledge and incorporate into our “practice,” if merely by being conscious of how to set up our chair or of how items on the “to be watched” list might place us differently in relation to what is being watched and therefore place us more to the forefront or background of the “subject.”

Agree.  I have been thinking about putting an open sketch book and a pencil in my lap because plein air people tend, in general, to be respected and left alone. I do not intend to sketch, however.
 

  1. Is watching the same as “living in gratitude”? (I was asked this at the NYPOP opening)

My take (CJ): we don’t need any kind of official position, of course, but I see the rule group documentation as a place also for the consideration of such issues. I think that gratitude implies a secondary layer of processing, of positioning oneself in relation to what is being watched. Watching is key; appreciation is important but secondary; being grateful is yet another distance from the watching and appreciation that incorporates self-consciousness, not merely consciousness, if that makes sense. I’m curious to hear what others think.

Agree. I think you put it wisely and with sensitivity and I appreciate you for doing so. I feel much more strident because I hated the book and most self-help books. If someone had asked me if I was “living in gratitude” i would have said ” fuck no! I don’t need to PRACTICE feeling gratitude!  I don’t need a month-to-month workbook for feeling gratitude and you asking me that makes me feel totally ungrateful about  the state of the human condition! Are you voting for Trump!”  As a bookseller for 35 years, it is MHO that self-help books are written to and exploit the pocketbooks of people who are in the depths of some kind of anxiety.  I can barely entertain the idea that gratitude is something i have to process in relation to watching a mini mart. I am watching solely in order to become more knowledgeable about the process of paying attention.
 

 

And the list will be updated to say:

(SHOULD WE ADD A NEW ONE?)

I like the idea of watching some mode of public transportation: an escalator, an elevator, a bus station– even a busy bus stop. However, i am open to anything.
 

 

Rule Discussion After Watch 2 Continued

Rule Discussion After Second Watch

So,

After the last watch, here are what I know of as new issues for the rule group:

  1. Can watching group members watch under other parameters without the expectation of that watch being added to the list?

My take (CJ): Of course! It should be one of the best by-products of watching that watching happens more often, that is more keen attention gets paid all the time… and as far as “reporting” goes, I think it’s fine to use each other as people to talk to about the watching. I intend for my mid-semester review to introduce the watching group to professors and to ask them to engage in a abbreviated watch that will not be added to the list, that is, I intend to do this unless the rule group deems this inappropriate.

 

  1. Photos taken of the watchers or of what the watchers are watching but not by the watchers. Does this count as documentation?

My take (CJ): I think that it would be unproductive to prohibit non-members from taking pictures of what is going on. I did mention to one non-member who wanted to take a picture of what I was watching that documentation is officially not allowed by the group, and he didn’t take the picture. He did take a picture of me, as did one other person. I have no interest in trying to police non-members (or members), so I think that simply expecting members to mention the prohibition against documentation to interested parties who are trying to take pictures should suffice. What non-members do with that information is up to them and not of a concern for the group, that is until such point that non-member documentation threatens to inhibit watching, such as if the non-member involvement becomes planned in advance or if the non-member activity or documentation is too distracting or if the documentation starts to have any, even slight, significant relationship to the core activities.

 

  1. Becoming part of what is being watched; changing the scene by being in it.

My take (CJ): This is a significant issue because in certain situations, there is no way for watchers to be neutral. At some points, I was forced to concede that I was watching myself in certain ways, because of the social dynamic in the space or near the space or because of the way that watching changed the space. I think this is a necessary part of watching. Watching alters what is watched, according to quantum mechanics. There are theories of consciousness that take quantum entanglement as evidence of consciousness’ core place in the motions of sub-atomic particles. I’m not saying these theories are correct. But I do think that pretending that watching doesn’t change is silly, particularly if we do so in conspicuous places. I wouldn’t want to ONLY watch in ways where my watching seemed to be a major disruption, but this is a real dynamic that I think we should acknowledge and incorporate into our “practice,” if merely by being conscious of how to set up our chair or of how items on the “to be watched” list might place us differently in relation to what is being watched and therefore place us more to the forefront or background of the “subject.”

 

  1. Is watching the same as “living in gratitude”? (I was asked this at the NYPOP opening)

My take (CJ): we don’t need any kind of official position, of course, but I see the rule group documentation as a place also for the consideration of such issues. I think that gratitude implies a secondary layer of processing, of positioning oneself in relation to what is being watched. Watching is key; appreciation is important but secondary; being grateful is yet another distance from the watching and appreciation that incorporates self-consciousness, not merely consciousness, if that makes sense. I’m curious to hear what others think.

 

 

And the list will be updated to say:

(SHOULD WE ADD A NEW ONE?)

 

 

 

The List

Watched:

  1. a. In and around West Cemetery, Amherst, MA 2/21/16 from approximately 3:10pm until about 4:20pm. b. Anderson and Our Savior Lutheran Cemeteries from road between them 2/21/2016 from 12 noon to 3 pm pst in Stanwood, WA.
  1. The door at the Guilded Gallery, which houses a guild i hope to join, on Thursday 3/3/2016 from 1 pm to 2:45 pm PST, in Stanwood, WA b. The hallway west of the NYPOP gallery, south of the freight elevators, 526 W. 26th St, Suite 314, NYC. 3/3/16 from 4:50-6:40pm EST.

 

Scheduled (to participate please refer to the rules):

  1. A Convenience Store 11a-2p Eastern Time. 3/13/16.

Christopher Janke

http://www.christopherjanke.com

Rule Discussion After Second Watch

Rule Discussion Post Set 2

MM:

I don’t care about this.  In my past life, i recollect that weed enhanced one’s ability to notice details. However, although legal in the state of Washington, i do abstain. Under the influence of it I get massively pissed off😤 at even the blade of grass! I can’t stand how stupid everyone is compared to me. Also, as i recall, under the influence of marijuana ( how is Juana, BTW, Kelly) time passes VERY slowly.  A shot of tequila, though, hmmm…..

I think as far the rules are concerned it can be left unsaid and thus interpreted at will.

 
On Feb 29, 2016, at 9:40 AM, Christopher Janke wrote:

Yes! I should have remembered the sobriety question! Sorry.

At this point, my interpretation of the rules is that it’s not prohibited, so it’s allowed. There are all kinds of details that aren’t specified, so I understand if you both interpret the lack of a mention as an implicit prohibition, as if anything that inhibits sobriety also inhibits the kind of attention we are seeking to explore… hmm dunno…

Christopher Janke
www.christopherjanke.com

 

From: KC
Sent: Monday, February 29, 2016 11:11 AM
To: CJ, MM
Subject: Re: Rule Group

I can always pick up your sass, Maureen. It makes me smile!!! And I appreciate Chris calling you a wiseass. That made me LOL. You guys are the best!

My last email went to Maureen’s old email for some reason. Here it is again so you don’t miss out!

I am sorry I have been absent from this conversation!! I went away this weekend and I couldn’t keep up via cell phone. I did not see any rules listed above that I would edit. I agree to all! I have one to add, kind of joking but kind of serious- I mentioned this to Chris prior to our first watch. Can watchers watch under the influence? Would the watching experience be heightened or dampened?

Sitting in a grassy field makes me want a joint… What can I say…

But I will surely refrain if the rules say so 😉

 

On Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 11:05 AM, KC wrote:

I am sorry I have been absent from this conversation!! I went away this weekend and I couldn’t keep up via cell phone. I did not see any rules listed above that I would edit. I agree to all! I have one to add, kind of joking but kind of serious- I mentioned this to Chris prior to our first watch. Can watchers watch under the influence? Would the watching experience be heightened or dampened?

Sitting in a grassy field makes me want a joint… What can I say…

But I will surely refrain if the rules say so 😉

Kelly

Rule Discussion Post Set 2

More Rule Discussion Prior to Rule Set 2

Yes, well, I’ve caught on that you’re a wiseass.

Smile.

 

I hope to set up an e-mail list for people to sign up soon, but haven’t yet. Below is the club, the rules, and the list.

 

Let me know what I’ve missed!

CJ

 

 

 

 

Proposal for updated rules:

 

The Club

 

The Watching Club is an experimental democratic group that aims, for now, to pay attention to attention, to what focused consciousness does of and to itself, and through practice to make beauty with observation.

Perfect.
Membership to the club is currently open. Members gain access to the list of watches and the parameters and are asked, if participating, to abide by the rules and to provide a 10-word (or fewer) description of what was watched using the watching club rules.  There are no other requirements for membership. All who receive the e-mail about upcoming watches are considered members. Members are not required to participate in every watch, although they are expected to watch according to the rules occasionally.

Send an e-mail to thewatchingclub {at} yhoo {dOt} to join.

This needs to say “yahoo”, yes? And {dOt} com?

 

The rule group determines the rules for the club. The current rules are listed below, and the blog portion of this site serves to document the discussion around rule changes and as a repository of previous sets of rules. Membership to the rule group is also currently open.

Agree.
 

The Rules

(always subject to revision according to the rules group)

Agree
 

Bring your own chair. Seated is the prescribed position for watching; a chair may be moved at maximum of once an hour.

Agree
 

The minimum watch time is 2 hours; there is no maximum. Moving from the chair is allowed once an hour for 5 minutes. Plan accordingly.

Agree
 

A watch is synchronized in time and in subject but not necessarily in location. (In other words, if a watch of a convenience store is scheduled for noon-3pm Eastern Standard Time, participants on the West Coast would be able to participate from 9am-noon by watching a convenience store. Watchers are expected to vary slightly in interpretations of the subject as described by the rule group; watchers are expected to use “common sense” discretion and not to use the interpretation as an opportunity for wild divergent thinking.)

LOL. ( suggest deleting the word “standard” to accommodate daylight savings)
 

The list will be added to after watchers have submitted their 10-word descriptions to the rule group following the watch.

Suggest “updated” instead of “added to”— seems awkward.

 

No cellphones, even for checking the time.

NICE!

 

The selection of what to watch is done by the rule group, and the rule group documents its decision-making process how it seems fit, currently by posting the e-mail discussion to the blog.

Agree

A group of watchers may choose to split into two groups during the watch: talkers and no-talkers.

If they don’t choose to split, are they no-talkers by default?
 

A group of watchers may choose to split into two groups after a watch, to process, if necessary: talkers and no-talkers.

Agree
 

SMS messages, limited to written characters, may be considered “talking” and not documentation (which is not allowed), provided these texts are deleted within 3 hours.

Agree, altho, i don’t see the need. Sorry, SMS? Is that texting?
 

Our membership is open.

Already said up top.
The rule group determines what gets watched next. The watchers watch.

Also a repeat.
 

The two groups may be comprised of the same people, but they are different groups.

Agree.  Add “talkers and no-talkers” to be more clear?

 

 

Currently, all rules are open for discussion, and the rule group determines of and by itself how rules are revised.

 

There is to be no documentation of the watching, EXCEPT the following three types:

 

  1. a list of what was watched, where the list items are fewer than 10 words per location, and
  2. whatever documentation becomes part of the rules, provided the rules discussion does not subvert the prohibition against documentation of the watch, and

Love this part. I consider the essence of the experiment!

  1. documentation of the rules group, its considerations, methods, and reasons for acting.

 

 

The List:

 

Watched:

  1. In and around West Cemetery, Amherst, MA 2/21/16 from approximately 3:10pm until about 4:20pm. b. Anderson and Our Savior Lutheran Cemeteries from road between them 2/2/2016 from 12 noon to 3 pm pst in Stanwood, WA.

 

Scheduled:

  1. An Art Gallery 4p-7p Eastern Time. 3/3/16.
  2. A Convenience Store 11a-2p Eastern Time. 3/13/16.

 

 

 

 

 

Christopher Janke
www.christopherjanke.com

 

From: MM
Sent: Saturday, February 27, 2016 3:01 PM
To: CJ
Cc: KC
Subject: Re: Rule Group

 

We don’t know each other too well so I wonder if you know that most of my responses are tongue in cheek. I bet Kelly knows it. I did feel distracted missing the two of you during the watch, though.
On Feb 26, 2016, at 6:42 PM, Christopher Janke <christopherjanke@yahoo.com> wrote:

Typing on my phone so…

I was thinking that it was my role (as website maintainer) to synthesize and propose a set of updated rules for the rule group’s consideration. I do hold the opinion that our rules should be updated whenever we have new issues or approaches that the current rules don’t address, and I also hold the opinion that a concise set of rules is the best way to communicate the rules, especially to new members.

So I was not thinking so much of my role as editor but as consolidator of a new formulation for our joint consideration…

<B16D5AB1DA884D0DA340F3DC872693BA.png>

From: MM
Sent: ‎2/‎26/‎2016 7:39 PM
To: CJ
Cc: KC
Subject: Re: Rule Group

You’re going to edit me ?? !
On Feb 26, 2016, at 3:17 PM, Christopher Janke <christopherjanke@yahoo.com> wrote:

I’m going to try to consolidate this advice into a new set of rules over the weekend.

 

Kelly, you’re quite mum. Feel free to chime in!

 

Christopher Janke
www.christopherjanke.com

 

From: CJ
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2016 12:48 PM
To: MM, KC
Subject: RE: Rule Group

 

I just quickly looked at your version 2 and  I think there are only a few changes. What if you just added them in reply here with any additional thoughts you have regarding my replies?

 

Christopher Janke
www.christopherjanke.com

 

From: MM
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2016 12:34 PM
To: CJ
Subject: Re: Rule Group

 

Uh, oh! Our emails crossed and we are now, unfortunately, out of sync. How do we fix it?

More Rule Discussion Prior to Rule Set 2

More Rule Discussion

Uh, oh! Our emails crossed and we are now, unfortunately, out of sync. How do we fix it?
On Feb 26, 2016, at 8:58 AM, Christopher Janke  wrote:

AWESOME! I love this so much. I’m in blue below.

CJ

 

I am intending to continue to strip names out of this correspondence but to continue posting to the rules discussion blog.

 

https://thewatchingclub.org/2016/

 

 

Christopher Janke
www.christopherjanke.com

 

From: MM
Sent: Thursday, February 25, 2016 10:59 PM
To: CJ
Cc: KC
Subject: Re: Rule Group

 

My responses are in italics below and are to be considered part of a rules discussion not necessarily solutions to issues of concern and some responses are, in fact, new concerns.
On Feb 25, 2016, at 5:18 PM, Christopher Janke wrote:

Ok – HI  Rule Group.

 

Thanks for your service to The Watching Club.

 

I’m suggesting some methods for solving our potential problems below. I’m eager to hear any solutions you have, especially if the one’s I’ve suggested don’t seem right to you…

 

I’m going to type in CAPS below with suggestions to the current issues.

 

pLEASE DO let me know your thoughts on these hot issues…

 

 

 

 

 

Christopher Janke
www.christopherjanke.com

 

From: CJ
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 11:22 PM
To: MM, KC
Subject: Rule Group

 

 

I now call to order a de-facto meeting of the rule group that serves to guide the activities of The Watching Club.

 

We now have a website…

 

And we have other people interested in joining.

 

This e-mail will serve, for now, as a discussion for the Rules Group. If you no longer wish to be part of the Rules Group, please let me know.

 

If you want to remain a part, I’d love to know your thoughts on the following issues needing resolution:

 

-Cellphone policy. I SAY NO CELLPHONES.

Agree

 

-Moving one’s chair. CHAIR MUST REMAIN IN PLACE FOR AT LEAST 45 MINUTES.

Disagree. moving one’s chair works against the goal of developing a new way of paying attention. Members of  The Watching Club should be intensely disciplined and committed to “watching” with the intention, say, of knowing every inch of a setting and understanding its common interaction with humans. Members should be interested in joining The Watching Club BECAUSE, as I did, of their desire to immerse themselves in the concept of watching so as to develop a sense of observation that results in a superior way of paying attention. 

Ok. I have a few thoughts here. First, I don’t think we should at all require a specific motivation for being a part of the group. I think we can set parameters for behavior, but should stay away from rules regarding thought or motivation, right?

That being said, I DO think we get to determine behavior for watching as part of the watching club.

And I accept that there are parameters.

My experience this last week surprised me. I watched intensely for about an hour and got too cold to concentrate at that point, and I moved around, moved the chair, and never could settle back in. During the hour, though, I had more than one intense moving experience, was brought to tears. And after the hour I was surprised that I was feeling a little overwhelmed. There was possibly just too much to see and watch, so the fact that we’d set aside only an hour and a half (and then didn’t even do all of it), was a relief – not because I didn’t want to watch but because I felt like the watching had already been somewhat transformative and that more time didn’t feel like it would necessarily produce more “result.”

I watched over a large area, and there was no way for me to know “every inch.” There were too many inches, feet, acres, people, clouds, etc. (I’m tempted to do an “inadvertent” documentation here by talking about some of the things that were beautiful but I’m resisting.)  Again, this is perhaps a commentary on motivation – or perhaps also on intended outcome. I don’t feel the need to “understand.” Indeed, I think that I understand “understanding,” it’s either incomplete, and in a way made more incomplete the more one is paying attention, or “understanding” is in the service of something and is maybe not understanding or understanding as dictated by a specific perspective. So, I guess in a similar vein to my comment above, I think that watchers need not have an aim of “understanding.” Shouldn’t each watcher watch for their own reason? I mean, we might suggest, as I guess the initial rules did/do, that there is a purpose but perhaps it should be vague or changing or perhaps the purpose should be removed. Right now the rules say “The Watching Club is an experimental democratic group that aims, for now, to make beauty through observation only.

I should have debated this definition democratically. I think motivation is, in some way, part of this. Perhaps not as you describe the need to understand the watch and its results but certainly as a reason to participate in the concept of watching. The first time it was presented there was a clear statement about improving the art of paying attention.
 

I should say too that regarding the last watch, I recognize too that if I’d been required to do 2 or 3 or 5 hours, who knows what other discoveries I would have made, especially if not cold, especially if I didn’t have to pee.

Members should make a conscious decision to pee before watching, as one would do before a road trip to, say NYPOP.
 

 

-Moving while watching; does it count? NO SIGNIFICANT BODILY MOVMENT; NO WALKING. TO WATCH FOR THE WATCHING CLUB, YOU MAY NOT WALK. SITTING IS THE PREFERRED POSITION FOR THE WATCHING CLUB.

Strongly agree.

 

-Abbreviated periods of watching (less than 3 hours). Is there a minimum amount of time? ONE HOUR IS THE MINIMUM.

Disagree. It should be a minimum of at least 2 with no maximum ( see explanation under “moving one’s chair”)

 

-Multi-locational watching. MULTI-LOCATIONAL WATCHING IS ACCEPTIBLE, BUT IT MUST BE SYNCRONIZED IN TIME.

Agree. But would add synchronized with subject.

YES, OF COURSE. Yes!

 

-Invitations to be part of the watching group; can anyone join? How do they join? Do they have to watch with another member or not? If not, do they simply send an item to be added to the list? Does the watching have to be roughly synchronous? How many watchers need to be watching at one time for it to count? WATCHING MUST BE COORDINATED BY THE RULE GROUP, SCHEDULED AHEAD OF TIME AND WITH PRESCRIBED RULES.

TO JOIN, PEOPLE JUST NEED TO SAY THEY WANT TO JOIN AND THEN THEY GET AN E-MAIL ANNOUNCING THE NEXT WATCH WHEN IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED BY THE RULE GROUP. IT’S BASICALLY A ONE-WAY COMMUNICATION. THE RULE GROUP ANNOUNCES THE NEXT WATCH AND THE RULES FOR THAT WATCH. POTENTIAL WATCHERS RECEIVE IT AND WATCH. THEY THEN REPORT BACK A SHORT LINE-ITEM OF WHAT WAS WATCHED, PROVIDED IT FITS WITHIN THE PARAMETERS .

Agree. Watchers must be members.

But to be “members,” they just basically need to sign up for the e-mail that announces the next watch, yes?

Agree.
 

LIKEWISE, TO JOIN THE RULE GROUP, PEOPLE JUST HAVE TO SAY THEY WANT TO JOIN THE RULE GROUP AND THEN THEY BECOME PART OF THIS E-MAIL DISCUSSION WITH FULL PARTICIPATION. FOR NOW, ALL E-MAIL SENT TO THE RULE GROUP FOR DISCUSSION ALSO BECOMES PART OF THE RULE GROUP BLOG.

To join the rule group the sayer must participate for a TBD term.

OOO. Terms! What should the term of a rule group member be? How long are you committed? What happens when someone quits without serving their whole term? Do their contributions to the rules remain or would the rule changes that occurred during their tenure be voided?

How is “full participation” determined, then? I suggest a lifelong term to be interrupted only by serious illness or the termination of the club for lack of membership. No voiding during tenure otherwise there would  be no motivation to fully participate.
 

-Website: thewatchingclub.org Suggestions? I’m managing it right now. Is that ok? Who should manage it? Also: thewatchingclub@yahoo.com I CAN CONTINUE MANAGING THIS. Agree.

 

-Possible inclusion of The Watching Club in a show in NY. I’d like to post the rules and to schedule a watch that people could pick up information about I’M GOING TO MAKE SOME KIND OF SOMETHING FOR PEOPLE TO PICK UP.

Ok

 

 

ALSO, can we schedule a watch IN the NYPOP space or near it? Too obnoxious? I’d like to schedule a few watches for the next few weeks.

 

WATCHES I WANT TO SCHEDULE:

3/3 (THURSDAY) SYNCRONIZED TO   OR 3/4 (FRIDAY) SYNCRONIZED TO 11A-2P – IN/NEAR AN ART GALLERY (NYPOP SPACE IN NY IS WHERE I WILL BE AND WHERE THE WATCHING GROUP RULES WILL BE DISPLAYED…)

 

3/13 (SUNDAY) SYNCRONIZED TO 11A-2P EST : A 7/11 OR EQUIVALENT

I would participate so, not too obnoxious.  It occurs to me that we are, currently, a three generational club at the moment.

 

 

<<The above is also posted at: https://thewatchingclub.org/2016/02/24/the-watching-club-rules/ >>

 

 

The Lists.

Watched:

  1. In and around West Cemetery, Amherst MA. 2/21/16 from approximately 3:10pm until about 4:20pm.
  2. Watched Anderson and Our Savior Lutheran Cemeteries from road between them 2/21/2016 from 12 noon to 3 pm pst in Stanwood, WA.

 

 

I’VE CHANGED THE LIST STYLE TO HAVE A SINGLE LINE ITEM TO REPRESENT THAT THESE TWO CEMETARIES WERE WATCHED REALLY AS PART OF A SINGLE WATCH. Agree but would  like to proofread the line item before publication.

 

New agenda for this de-facto rule group meeting:

   I think often about defining or, actually, re-defining certain words as they apply to The Watching Club.  I am concerned, for example, with the words club and group which, as of now don’t apply.  The word “group” is defined in most dictionaries as a “collection” or “assemblage” of persons with the same interest; often you will see the word “together” in the definition. The concept, of course, is that the Watching Club would be together watching at the same time in the same place.  While watching last week, I felt alone, left out, and spent too much time wondering what other members were seeing, feeling and even wearing! The definition that DOES fit us for “club” is: “a heavy stick thicker at one end than the other”….West Coast being the “other”. I have no solution except to add  worn-out adjectives like “spiritual” or “virtual”…meh.  I wish there could be some reference in the rules of the fact  that it is an interstate club and that a founding member of importance watches during Pacific Time.  Is that a concern that demeans the goals of the Club? Is it selfish? 

MAM

Washington State

Hmm. The rule group meets via e-mail so far. We’ve never really met in person, so I feel comfortable calling it a group, but I’m game for other words. I do like the simplicity. I don’t think

Fwiw, our watching last week was done silently, and I don’t know if you and Kelly corresponded afterwards, but we had talked (I suppose as an ad-hoc rules decision on the fly) about the possibility of allowing texting and talking about the watch but not e-mailing, to keep with the spirit of the non-documentation but to allow for the idea of talking when in-person talking isn’t possible.

I really like that we’ve been able to keep the club going despite the physical distance, and I think that our precedent for multiple locations is exciting for the possibility of adding members.

I don’t like that you feel alone or left out. I feel fine with some kind of communication before the watching, perhaps a phone call, to start the watch synchronously? Or even skype? Or gchat? (What happens if there are four locations?)

As for the pacific time, it’s in THE LIST, which is, in a way, the most important and only real documentation of each watch. I guess you don’t feel like that’s enough, but I think of it as quite significant. I like that you included it.

And I think we ARE a club, not just one for beating things with, except, perhaps, in my case and my over-verbose and somewhat perverse love of the adjudication of our rules, beating herein the dead horses known as rules and the rules that make the rules & c.

I actually like the cudgel definition of club if only it didn’t imply weapon ….. I love being the handle of it.
 

 

 

Christopher Janke
www.christopherjanke.com

 

 

 

More Rule Discussion

Rules Discussion Continued

Ok – HI  Rule Group.

Thanks for your service to The Watching Club.

I’m suggesting some methods for solving our potential problems below. I’m eager to hear any solutions you have, especially if the one’s I’ve suggested don’t seem right to you…

I’m going to type in CAPS below with suggestions to the current issues.

pLEASE DO let me know your thoughts on these hot issues…

 

Christopher Janke
http://www.christopherjanke.com

 

From: Christopher Janke
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2016 11:22 PM
To: MM, KC
Subject: Rule Group

I now call to order a de-facto meeting of the rule group that serves to guide the activities of The Watching Club.

We now have a website…

And we have other people interested in joining.

This e-mail will serve, for now, as a discussion for the Rules Group. If you no longer wish to be part of the Rules Group, please let me know.

If you want to remain a part, I’d love to know your thoughts on the following issues needing resolution:

-Cellphone policy. I SAY NO CELLPHONES.

-Moving one’s chair. CHAIR MUST REMAIN IN PLACE FOR AT LEAST 45 MINUTES

-Moving while watching; does it count? NO SIGNIFICANT BODILY MOVMENT; NO WALKING. TO WATCH FOR THE WATCHING CLUB, YOU MAY NOT WALK. SITTING IS THE PREFERRED POSITION FOR THE WATCHING CLUB.

-Abbreviated periods of watching (less than 3 hours). Is there a minimum amount of time? ONE HOUR IS THE MINIMUM.

-Multi-locational watching. MULTI-LOCATIONAL WATCHING IS ACCEPTIBLE, BUT IT MUST BE SYNCRONIZED IN TIME.

-Invitations to be part of the watching group; can anyone join? How do they join? Do they have to watch with another member or not? If not, do they simply send an item to be added to the list? Does the watching have to be roughly synchronous? How many watchers need to be watching at one time for it to count? WATCHING MUST BE COORDINATED BY THE RULE GROUP, SCHEDULED AHEAD OF TIME AND WITH PRESCRIBED RULES.

TO JOIN, PEOPLE JUST NEED TO SAY THEY WANT TO JOIN AND THEN THEY GET AN E-MAIL ANNOUNCING THE NEXT WATCH WHEN IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED BY THE RULE GROUP. IT’S BASICALLY A ONE-WAY COMMUNICATION. THE RULE GROUP ANNOUNCES THE NEXT WATCH AND THE RULES FOR THAT WATCH. POTENTIAL WATCHERS RECEIVE IT AND WATCH. THEY THEN REPORT BACK A SHORT LINE-ITEM OF WHAT WAS WATCHED, PROVIDED IT FITS WITHIN THE PARAMETERS

LIKEWISE, TO JOIN THE RULE GROUP, PEOPLE JUST HAVE TO SAY THEY WANT TO JOIN THE RULE GROUP AND THEN THEY BECOME PART OF THIS E-MAIL DISCUSSION WITH FULL PARTICIPATION. FOR NOW, ALL E-MAIL SENT TO THE RULE GROUP FOR DISCUSSION ALSO BECOMES PART OF THE RULE GROUP BLOG.

-Website: thewatchingclub.org Suggestions? I’m managing it right now. Is that ok? Who should manage it? Also: thewatchingclub [At} yhoo I CAN CONTINUE MANAGING THIS

-Possible inclusion of The Watching Club in a show in NY. I’d like to post the rules and to schedule a watch that people could pick up information about I’M GOING TO MAKE SOME KIND OF SOMETHING FOR PEOPLE TO PICK UP

ALSO, can we schedule a watch IN the NYPOP space or near it? Too obnoxious? I’d like to schedule a few watches for the next few weeks.

WATCHES I WANT TO SCHEDULE:

3/3 (THURSDAY) SYNCRONIZED TO   OR 3/4 (FRIDAY) SYNCRONIZED TO 11A-2P – IN/NEAR AN ART GALLERY (NYPOP SPACE IN NY IS WHERE I WILL BE AND WHERE THE WATCHING GROUP RULES WILL BE DISPLAYED…)

3/13 (SUNDAY) SYNCRONIZED TO 11A-2P EST : A 7/11 OR EQUIVALENT

<<The above is also posted at: https://thewatchingclub.org/2016/02/24/the-watching-club-rules/ >>

 

The Lists.

Watched:

  1. In and around West Cemetery, Amherst MA. 2/21/16 from approximately 3:10pm until about 4:20pm.
  2. Watched Anderson and Our Savior Lutheran Cemeteries from road between them 2/21/2016 from 12 noon to 3 pm pst in Stanwood, WA.

 

I’VE CHANGED THE LIST STYLE TO HAVE A SINGLE LINE ITEM TO REPRESENT THAT THESE TWO CEMETARIES WERE WATCHED REALLY AS PART OF A SINGLE WATCH

 

Christopher Janke
http://www.christopherjanke.com

 

Rules Discussion Continued

The Original Rules

The Rules:

(always subject to revision according to the process dictated by the rules group)

Bring your own chair.

We watch for 3 hours with (hopefully) no breaks.

We come up with something to watch somehow and try not to fight about it as we pick.

We document the method we used to pick.

We split into two groups to watch, if necessary: talkers and no-talkers.

We split into two groups after watching, to process, if necessary: talkers and no-talkers.

(Some watchers might want to watch in silence and then talk about it afterwards; some watchers might want to talk during but not after; some might want to talk both times, some not at all.)

We have open membership.

The rule group determines what gets watched next. The watching group watches.

The two groups can be comprised of the same people, but they are different groups.

At the outset, we have a rule group to determine the rules, and all rules are open for discussion, and there are no additional guidelines for how to revise the rules.

There is to be no documentation of the watching, either done before during or after the watching, EXCEPT the following three things:

A. a list of what was watched, where the list items are under 10 words, and

B. whatever documentation becomes part of the rules/guidelines, where we understand the rules and guidelines as that which is necessary to run the group and while this not need be a minimalist document, it also should not pretend to serve as rules and actually serve as a preservation or documentation of what was watched, and

C. documentation of the rules group, including what method was used to pick what was watched for each watching occasion, as well as documentation of the rules as they change, and, I hope, documentation of how and why they changed.

The Original Rules

Rules Group Documentation to Add

How we determined what to watch: we took Kelly’s suggestion (cemetery) as modified by Chris (near a good amount of human activity).

We made some rapid (executive?) decisions:

-Maureen determined that the three hours was not required of Kelly.

-Kelly and Chris determined that no cell phones should be used.

-Kelly and Chris watched for about 1 hour before getting cold and giving themselves permission to walk around.

-Kelly and Chris gave themselves permission to stop watching after about 1:15, although they had agreed (under Maureen’s executive decision regarding shortening the watching time) to watch for 1:30.

-It wasn’t clear whether these changes should be regarded as temporary or permanent.

Rules Group Documentation to Add

Rules Group Current Issues

I now call to order a de-facto meeting of the rule group that serves to guide the activities of The Watching Club.

We now have a website…

And we have other people interested in joining.

This e-mail will serve, for now, as a discussion for the Rules Group. If you no longer wish to be part of the Rules Group, please let me know.

If you want to remain a part, I’d love to know your thoughts on the following issues needing resolution:

-Cellphone policy.

-Moving one’s chair.

-Moving while watching; does it count?

-Abbreviated periods of watching (less than 3 hours). Is there a minimum amount of time?

-Multi-locational watching.

-Invitations to be part of the watching group; can anyone join? How do they join? Do they have to watch with another member or not? If not, do they simply send an item to be added to the list? Does the watching have to be roughly synchronous? How many watchers need to be watching at one time for it to count?

-Website: thewatchingclub.org Suggestions? I’m managing it right now. Is that ok? Who should manage it? Also: thewatchingclub@yahoo.com

-Possible inclusion of The Watching Club in a show in NY. I’d like to post the rules and to schedule a watch that people could pick up information about

ALSO, can we schedule a watch IN the NYPOP space or near it? Too obnoxious? I’d like to schedule a few watches for the next few weeks.

Rules Group Current Issues