Examples of GroupMeta

Maria Abramović’s performances may be a good example of meta. She involves her audiences viscerally, embracing them within something bigger.

I listened to an Open Source podcast on Star Wars: The Force Awakens in which they make the argument that Rae’s character is meta, because of the way she embodies fandom: the experience of fans awaiting this installment, eager to project themselves into the saga.

Which reminded me of The Matrix. I think that was fully realized and remains relevant! These examples are collaborative, involving quality thinking among and between many individuals, some of whom were members of the design and production team and others of whom are (probably, I suppose) fans and critics with random ideas that sparked moments of inspiration for various actual team members.

Nonetheless, I take your point that a group-level meta project with a fully realized product is a challenge. And “culture” as an example is perhaps too vague to grasp — but I don’t think that necessarily disqualifies it! The commonality among these three examples is an artistic director, someone with the vision and the means to invite, retain and constrain others’ energies in service of that vision.

I’m thinking of something more democratic and self-reflexive. A recognition that as we interact with each other we are playing out themes and patterns. If we could recognize our positions in these patterns, we could come to learn the ways in which we collectively generate crap and, through careful and transparent experimentation, identify moments when different kinds of communication yield alternative outcomes.

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