Transformation through Documentation?


A new show from Intersection for the Arts asks, what is transformation?

Whoever came up with the below answer was speaking to my heart:

Believe it or not, we’ve actually talked about moving beyond documentation here at Groupaya.

What we like to discuss is Leaving Trails to catalyze collaboration and support emergence in groups. We know that’s how ants support emergent, collective intelligence: through leaving pheromone trails that individually may seem stupid, but collectively emerge to intelligence.

When you dig in to what Leaving Trails means for us humans, it can sound an awful lot like documentation. And in some respects, there are similarities. But documentation connotes images of bureaucracy, red-tape, and a sense that the document is the end state. A key difference between Leaving Trails and Documentation (in my opinion) is that Leaving a Trail of your work comes with an intent to activate others, an invitation to participate, and the structure to support what could emerge as a consequence.

Successfully Leaving a Trail moves beyond documentation to actually activate a community, supporting collective learning and intelligence. And I agree with the anonymous art poster above: that kind of documentation could be transformative.