Hegel criticized "picture thinking" (vorstellung) as opposed to conceptual thinking, for some good reasons, but learning finds a good foothold in the creation, description, and analysis of pictures. I think this is because we find in drawings elements produced unconsciously, accidentally. And the drawings we create become objects in common -- something we can look at and to which we can refer in our conversation.

This simple activity can be the opening of a long investigation.

The Joker places a large sheet of paper on the table or wall or floor, with participants around it so all can easily reach it and draw on a common sheet.

Joker asks participants to draw what they know about the chosen theme, urging them to use images wherever possible and avoid words (but, feel free - where a word comes up, joker can ask player to draw that word).

When done, joker asks participants what they see. This process of description goes on, with participants asking each other questions and the joker helping to question everything, so that no detail goes unrecognized. "Why" is your best friend here.

Continue the process of description and verification until the elements have all been articulated and understood.

Next steps could be:

  • index card brainstorm of questions (turn everything we see into a source of questions -- "the 1% are few, but they look big in the minds of the 99%" -- is that true? How do we know? How do the 99% see themselves? Does it differ depending on where you are in the 99%? etc.)
  • freewrite on the image
  • image rendering, take one image and make it the center of a new drawing in which you add more details...

(Alternative: cut up a big sheet of paper like a simple puzzle, with interlocking pieces. Distribute the pieces randomly and ask people to draw on their piece. Later, ask people to assemble the pieces and see the larger image they form.)