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Brett Cook: Collaborative Artist

Identity of Interbeing: Recognizing Difference and Seeing Ourselves A Social Collaboration by Brett Cook, Spring 2006

The Identity of Interbeing Project was a group exercise of looking deeply that culminated in a large public work and gallery exhibition at the Packer Collegiate Academy in Brooklyn, New York .A series of contemplative exercises with almost 1000 students, faculty, administrators, caregivers, parents, and residents of the community made up this social collaboration that included a variety of reflective artworks now permanently displayed in the school. Social collaboration is an interactive, multidisciplinary experience in the practice of peace that highlights interbeing. Through participatory models of creation, the making of music, dance, words, and visual art become vehicles of expression where the self and other can disappear. A collective bond is experienced when collaborators recognize what they make, in object and action, is bigger than any individual. The point of the work is the process, and the process is the point of the work. By creating the spaces for participants to express their individual selves in an inclusive way, there is the manifestation of interbeing—recognition of difference in us that at the same time shows our interconnectedness.

The school gallery space where they are sitting was transformed overnight. The walls, covered in red paper, were home to large scale drawings of participants coloring outside, documentation of the entire project, a video made by students and both written and audio reflections.


Brett Cook, Bodhisattva Aspiration of the Heart, is a creative person who crafts objects, experiences, and feelings that defy classification in any singular discipline, to relieve suffering in the world.

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