Creative Soup Kitchens

Creative Soup Kitchens    May-June, 2012
Wellington, New Zealand

In the Creative Soup Kitchens (CSK) project, Actionaut gave instructions developed through transpersonal psychological theory to a group of homeless people at soup kitchens in Wellington over the course of a month. The instructions were designed to trigger transpersonal themes and activate creative collective potential, and the project culminated in an art auction where over 50 pieces of art (created by Wellington’s vulnerably housed members of society) were auctioned off and over $1500 raised to benefit directly the vulnerable artists. The event engaged hundreds in the community and generated journalistic coverage in newspapers and on New Zealand national radio as a long-form audio documentary that reached an estimated 192,000 people.

I sought to design and run a cultural software patch on the industrial ontological machine – a patch (metaphorically speaking) that sought solutions to societal problems, brought people together and activated them to question how our socio-political structures approach these problems and approach these metanarratives.    

This social practice art project involved the following overall activities:

1.Engage community by reaching out to vulnerable citizens on the streets of Wellington (talk to people)

2.Devise creative brief based on my understanding of common needs, and based on transpersonal psychology 

3.Attract participants including key volunteers, organizations, collaborators, and vulnerable artists 

4.Motivate vulnerable artists to engage in this project and produce artworks following the transpersonal creative brief 

5.Organize people including volunteers, collaborators, organizations, key stakeholders, and vulnerable artists 

6.Organize event including finding sponsorship, a space, volunteers, materials, scheduling, etc. 

7.Facilitate the event including paying out of pocket expenses, organizing volunteers, coordination, etc.

8.Perform at the event by speaking to journalists, acting as MC for the auction, socializing, etc.

9.Document the event by taking photographs and video

10.Write about the event by reflecting on key lessons, outcomes and following up with vulnerable artists and audience members who purchased art as well as volunteers and collaborators 

11. Follow up with vulnerable artists by givng them their earnings from the silent auction

wellingtonian article

If the Radio New Zealand widget at the top of the page does not load you can play it here as well. 

The Creative Brief:  I asked vulnerable artists to produce 7 works of art, 1 each addressing the following key themes:

1.What do you want?


3.What do you hate?

4.Your past

5.Your present

6.Your future


© Actionaut 2016