WALKIN’ WITH WORDXWORD AT THE MOUNT

I’m excited to be participating in this upcoming WordXWord event at The Mount with a short performance piece that responds to a sculpture called Institutional Tan. The photo of the work posted online immediately made me think of invisibility, mass incarceration, border patrol and caged children. I’m not yet sure what I will perform, but I sense it will be a powerful and cathartic experience ~ at least for me…

More thoughts, background, and reservation info below.

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WALKIN’ WITH WORDXWORD AT THE MOUNT
26 AUGUST – SUNDAY  (TOURS: 3:00PM + 3:30PM)
LENOX, MA, USA
Short performance work incorporating/responding to sculpture in exhibition (2-5 minutes)

Responding to the work, Institutional Tan by James Meyer, an installation consisting of three prison cells located in the woodsy section of Edith Wharton’s country estate in Lenox Massachusetts, multimedia artist, Gabrielle Senza will present a short performance work that brings into focus issues of freedom, trust, betrayal, and regrets.

Walkin’ with WordXWord Tours start from the Stables at 3:00 and 3:30.
Sunday, 26 August 2018. Tours are free, but reservations are encouraged

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 3.23.42 PM

Although I chose this work to respond to based on the image posted online as part of the Open Call, upon researching the artist, his history, and the idea behind the work, my interest in working with this piece grew stronger since it turns out, it was made by the artist who worked as Jasper Johns’s studio assistant for 27 years and secretly sold several million dollars worth of Johns’s unfinished works.

In 2014 James Meyer was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing 22 works by Jasper Johns. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Meyer sold 22 works for a total of roughly $6.5 million, and personally earned nearly $4 million”. He is now free and has returned to living with his family in rural Connecticut.

James Meyer wrote in his essay for the piece: “Institutional tan 3 therapy cells that are functioning and the viewer can use them – these cells were made for inmates that are in solitary confinement for life-they have no regular human interaction and their psychiatrists thought they would benefit form group therapy, these cages were made for them to have group therapy.”

My favorite segment in an article on Jasper Johns published in the Financial Times is Johns’s response to the inquiry about the betrayal by his longtime assistant as the basis for his body of works in the Regrets series

He is cagey about the new artworks’ connection to Meyer: “For me [the meaning] is within the picture. The word is in the picture. I think you’ll have to interpret that for yourself. It’s certainly in the painting, but so is the rest of the painting in the painting, and the image that’s in the ­painting. It’s not meant to be a sign of something not in the painting. Regrets belong to everybody, don’t they?”

I haven’t yet decided what type of performance art piece I will create for this event… but it’s likely to include some kind of spoken word / participatory installation elements… We’ll see…

Walkin’ with WordXWord Tours start from the Stables at 3:00 and 3:30.

Sunday, 26 August 2018. Tours are free, but reservations are encouraged

The SculptureNow exhibition will be at The Mount through Oct 31.

More on WordXWord here.

Upcoming Projects…

In an effort to summarize (and organize) the events I have coming up, I’m posting (and updating) my notes on each project here on my blog. This should make it easy for me to update and locate the details as they develop…

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ZK/U MONDAY DINNER PRESENTATION
13 AUGUST 2018,  MONDAY
BERLIN, GERMANY
Short overview of my recent work/current projects

A/V projection in Residents’ Kitchen

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 11.53.10 AM

Last year was my first year at ZK/U. I came for one month but ended up staying for 3 months. I found myself able to engage with my art practice in really productive and inspiring ways here in Berlin, so when the possibility to stay longer presented itself, I decided to take it. By staying on at ZK/U, I had the opportunity to make some wonderful connections with residents and other art workers in the city, as well as to participate in a couple of Open Haus events here at ZK/U, including one that occurred during Berlin Art Week – which is when I officially launched the Invisibility Lab.

Here are pictures from the Invisibility Lab Launch during Berlin Art Week 2017

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 11.53.15 PM.pngThe Invisibility Lab is an international
creative research initiative launched in Berlin
in 2017. It functions as a mobile studio, stage,
gallery and research laboratory to investigate
cross-cultural similarities and differences
related to the phenomenon of invisibility.
Focused primarily on stories of feeling – or
wishing to be – invisible, the Invisibility Lab
conducts experimental interventions and
participatory public events independently,
online, and in partnership with organizations
around the world.

I also created a performance lecture that I presented at a conference in Lisbon last year, called 1,000 Invisible Things. It was an audio piece I recorded here at ZK/U based on the collection of 1,000 Invisible Things I’ve developed over the past couple of years. Here’s a short excerpt from the 20 minute piece.

You can find more information about these experiments and projects on the Invisibility Lab website

My main website – for a little background on the visual and performing arts aspects of my practice that started in the mid-eighties – Gabrielle Senza website

My more socially-engaged art practice started around 2001 and there are some images and descriptions here – Red Collaborative website

Currently focusing on developing one of these initiatives, Walk Unafraid into a mission-based business with a business partner in the US – and potentially representatives in other countries.

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ZK/U AUGUST OPEN HOUSE
23 AUGUST 2018 – THURSDAY 7-10PM
BERLIN, GERMANY
Participatory installation of Invisibility Lab Archive project on the Landing

Invisibility Lab forms, pens, instructions & receptacle for completed forms on work table + 3 chairs on ZK/U Landing.

For the Open Haus, I’ll have a smaller, simpler installation than what is shown here.

2018 ZKU BERLIN GÜTERMARKT - CREDIT G SENZA_IMG_8844

Recent Invisibility Lab public installation at the ZK/U Gütermarkt #32, Berlin 5 August 2018.
Open Haus visitors are invited to share their experiences by filling out an Invisibility Lab Worksheet and to add something to the Archive of Invisible Things.

All data is collected anonymously and is intended to be woven into creative visual and performing works that aim to make visible the unseen aspects of life and the experiences we share.

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WALKIN’ WITH WORDXWORD AT THE MOUNT
26 AUGUST – SUNDAY  (TOURS: 3:00PM + 3:30PM)
LENOX, MA, USA
Short performance work incorporating/responding to sculpture in exhibition (2-5 minutes)

Responding to the work, Institutional Tan by James Meyer, an installation consisting of three prison cells located in the woodsy section of Edith Wharton’s country estate in Lenox Massachusetts, multimedia artist, Gabrielle Senza will present a short performance work that brings into focus issues of freedom, trust, and betrayal.

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 3.23.42 PM

Although I chose this work to respond to based on the image posted online as part of the Open Call, upon researching the artist, his history, and the idea behind the work, my interest in working with this piece grew stronger since it turns out, it was made by the artist who worked as Jasper Johns’s studio assistant for 27 years and secretly sold several million dollars worth of Johns’s unfinished works.

In 2014 James Meyer was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing 22 works by Jasper Johns. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Meyer sold 22 works for a total of roughly $6.5 million, and personally earned nearly $4 million”. He is now free and has returned to living with his family in rural Connecticut.

James Meyer wrote in his essay for the piece: “Institutional tan 3 therapy cells that are functioning and the viewer can use them – these cells were made for inmates that are in solitary confinement for life-they have no regular human interaction and their psychiatrists thought they would benefit form group therapy, these cages were made for them to have group therapy.”

My favorite segment in an article on Jasper Johns published in the Financial Times is Johns’s response to the inquiry about the betrayal by his longtime assistant as the basis for his body of works in the Regrets series

He is cagey about the new artworks’ connection to Meyer: “For me [the meaning] is within the picture. The word is in the picture. I think you’ll have to interpret that for yourself. It’s certainly in the painting, but so is the rest of the painting in the painting, and the image that’s in the ­painting. It’s not meant to be a sign of something not in the painting. Regrets belong to everybody, don’t they?”

I haven’t yet decided what type of performance art piece I will create for this event… but it’s likely to include some kind of spoken word / participatory installation elements… We’ll see…

Walkin’ with WordXWord Tours start from the Stables at 3:00 and 3:30.

Sunday, 26 August 2018. Tours are free, but reservations are encouraged

The SculptureNow exhibition will be at The Mount through Oct 31.

More on WordXWord here.

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FOR FREEDOMS ~ 50 STATES INITIATIVE / WALK UNAFRAID COLLABORATION
1 OCTOBER –  15 NOVEMBER 2018
FUEL COFFEE SHOP, GREAT BARRINGTON, MA
Art Exhibition + Community Civic Action

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 12.06.40 PM

Walk Unafraid at Fuel Bistro Great Barrington
presents
IMMIGRANT MADE: ART + ACTION

Date of Activation / Opening Reception:
Monday (Indigenous People’s Day) 8 October, 4-7pm

Location: Fuel Bistro Great Barrington
293 Main Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230

Exhibition Dates: 1 October – 15 November, 2018

WALK UNAFRAID will present IMMIGRANT MADE: ART + ACTION, a public art exhibition featuring artwork by Guatemalan-born artist, Clemente Sajquiy alongside an installation of immigrant-made lawn signs that address questions of freedom, trust, community and social justice.

As part of the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative (the largest art collaboration in US history) Walk Unafraid’s IMMIGRANT MADE: ART + ACTION exhibition aims to amplify the voices of immigrants and people of color in the Berkshires, to acknowledge and commit to changing the systems of oppression and marginalization that continue to exist both socially and politically today, and to celebrate the many ways they contribute to enriching our communities.

We chose a non-art-centric public gathering space where everyone is welcome, so that all people can view the art exhibition and the community-made For Freedoms Yard Signs. Fuel Bistro in Great Barrington, MA serves as a vibrant social hub for patrons of all nationalities, genders, abilities, and identities.

Walk Unafraid is a mission-based artist-run initiative committed to empowering individuals and communities to create social change through shared stories, active listening, and peaceful action.

IMMIGRANT MADE: ART + ACTION is free and open to the public from October 1 through November 15, 2018.

 

KEY TOPICS & THEMES: freedom, trust, immigration, community

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES: @WeWalkUnafraid, #WeWalkUnafraid

WEBSITE: WalkUnafraid.org

CONTACT: Gabrielle Senza
hello@walkunafraid.org
413.717.0031

 

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FUNDING ARTS PANEL ~ LACKAWANNA ARTS COUNCIL
15 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY
SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA
Panelist on Funding for Artists

I’ll be one of three panelists to discuss arts funding. I will discuss a few of the alternative methods I’ve used to support my art practice over my thirty year career as an artist, including one of the most rewarding ones I’m currently using, which is developing relationships with art patrons who support my overall art practice rather than simply purchasing or commissioning artwork.

This image is here mainly so that I have a graphic place holder for this event, but also to show another artist’s breakdown of income from multiple sources.

GwennSeemelArtPieChart

Gwenn Seemel’s Income Pie Chart

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SCRANTON FRINGE FESTIVAL / WALK UNAFRAID FOR FREEDOMS INSTALLATION
22 – 30 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY
SCRANTON, PENNSYLVANIA
Walk Unafraid participatory installation in downtown storefront

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 12.44.44 PMwalk unafraid tape horizontal

 

Walk Unafraid at Scranton Fringe Festival
presents
WALK UNAFRAID FOR FREEDOMS

Date of Activation / Opening Reception:
??

Location: ??

Exhibition Dates: ??

WALK UNAFRAID will present WALK UNAFRAID FOR FREEDOMS, a public art exhibition featuring an installation of Walk Unafraid barricade tape by artists Gabrielle Senza and Tonyehn Verkitus that incorporates empowering statements on equality, identity, inclusion, and freedom contributed by members of the community and Fringe Festival visitors.

As part of the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative (the largest art collaboration in US history) WALK UNAFRAID FOR FREEDOMS exhibition aims to amplify the voices of [immigrants and people of color in Lackawanna County], to acknowledge and commit to changing the systems of oppression and marginalization that continue to exist both socially and politically today, and to celebrate the many ways they contribute to enriching our communities.

Walk Unafraid is a mission-based artist-run initiative committed to empowering individuals and communities to create social change through shared stories, active listening, and peaceful action.

WALK UNAFRAID FOR FREEDOMS is free and open to the public from ?? to ??, 2018.

 

KEY TOPICS & THEMES: freedom, trust, identity, empowerment, community

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES: @WeWalkUnafraid, #WeWalkUnafraid

WEBSITE: WalkUnafraid.org

CONTACT: Gabrielle Senza
hello@walkunafraid.org
413.717.0031

 

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FOR FREEDOMS ~ 50 STATES INITIATIVE / MANOS UNIDAS COLLABORATION
22 SEPTEMBER – SATURDAY – 12-9 PM
THE COMMONS PARK, PITTSFIELD, MA
Participatory Invisibility Lab events including a Walk Unafraid Town Hall Speak Out, Yard Sign-Making event, and Archive of Invisibility Lab project

Victory Picture

Elated advocates for the Great Barrington Trust Policy after it was successfully adopted at the Town Hall Meeting in 2017.

 

Harvest of Hope/Cosecha de Esperanza Multi Cultural Family Festival:

Collectivizing a Shared Community Story of Hope by Utilizing Creativity and Connection to Catalyze a Diverse Ecosystem of Community

INVISIBILITY LAB at Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival
presents FOR FREEDOMS TOWN HALL: SOCIAL [in]VISIBILITY

Date & Time of Activation:
Saturday, 22 September 2018
3-5pm (to be confirmed)

Location: Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival
The Common, 1st Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201

The international creative research initiative known as the Invisibility Lab, will host SOCIAL [in]VISIBILITY: An Open Mic Town Hall Experiment at the Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival in Pittsfield, Massachusetts on Saturday, September 22, from 3-5pm.

Led by artist Gabrielle Senza, festival attendees are invited to gather together in a social setting to share their stories of social and political invisibility through spoken word and collaborative poetry. Starting with the phrase “I feel invisible when…” or “I wish I could be invisible when…” each participant will describe how the experience has impacted their personal sense of self and/or influenced their ability to enjoy freedom in the US today. Using a Round Robin open mic format, we will build a collaborative poem that makes visible the invisible, generates empathy for others, and fosters a sense of unity within the community.

The Invisibility Lab’s SOCIAL [in]VISIBILITY: An Open Mic Town Hall Experiment is part of the For Freedoms 50 State Initiative (the largest single art collaboration in US history) and is intended to spur civic engagement as we witness the undoings of human rights and social justice.

The Harvest of Hope Festival is a multifaceted, multicultural event that exhibits in its very process bridge-building across differences, diversities and commonalities. This is accomplished through an array of creative outpourings: visual, movement, theater arts, spoken and musical performance, and workshops.

The Invisibility Lab is an international creative research initiative launched in Berlin by transdisciplinary artist, Gabrielle Senza, in 2017. It functions as a mobile studio, stage, gallery and research laboratory to investigate cross-cultural similarities and differences related to the phenomenon of invisibility. Focused primarily on stories of feeling – or wishing to be – invisible, the Invisibility Lab conducts experimental interventions and participatory public events independently, online, and in partnership with organizations around the world.

KEY TOPICS & THEMES: visibility, invisibility, freedom, trust, immigration, community, women’s rights, social justice

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES: @InvisibilityLab #InvisibilityLab

WEBSITE: InvisibilityLab.com

CONTACT: Gabrielle Senza
hello@invisibilitylab.com
413.717.0031

. . . . . .

Walk Unafraid at Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival
presents FOR FREEDOMS LAWN SIGN ACTION

Date & Time of Activation:
Saturday, 22 September 2018
1-5pm

Location: Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival
The Common, 1st Street, Pittsfield, MA 01201

Walk Unafraid will host a For Freedoms Lawn Sign Action at the multicultural Manos Unidas Harvest of Hope Festival in Pittsfield Massachusetts on Saturday, September 22nd from 1-5pm.

Lead by artists Gabrielle Senza and Clemente Sajquiy, people of all ages are invited to participate in creating their own vision of freedom by filling in signs that say
• Freedom Of ____
• Freedom From _____
• Freedom For ______
• Freedom To______

These signs will be displayed at the festival (and later included in the IMMIGRANT MADE: ART & ACTION exhibition at Fuel Bistro Great Barrington October 1 – November 15 ~ as described in a separate listing).

The Harvest of Hope Festival is a multifaceted, multicultural event that exhibits in its very process bridge-building across differences, diversities and commonalities. This is accomplished through an array of creative outpourings: visual, movement, theater arts, spoken and musical performance, and workshops.

Walk Unafraid is a mission-based artist-run initiative committed to empowering individuals and communities to create social change through shared stories, active listening, and peaceful action.

KEY TOPICS & THEMES: freedom, trust, immigration, community

SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLES: @WeWalkUnafraid, #WeWalkUnafraid

WEBSITE: WalkUnafraid.org

CONTACT: Gabrielle Senza
hello@walkunafraid.org
413.717.0031

 

We may also include the following in one of these events:

Sin Paredes Video Installation

Sin Paredes: Storia #1

Sin Paredes is a collaborative project created with the aim to give voice to the people who culturally and economically enrich our communities through their hard work, community engagement, and cultural contributions, yet who are not free to enjoy the same liberties as others because of their nationality, immigration status, gender, class, sexual orientation, or even just the color of their skin.

Recognizing our shared humanity in the stories told in this series inspires us to take action towards building a better, more inclusive community where everyone is valued for their diverse perspectives and cultural contributions.

 

 

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FEVERISH WORLD SYMPOSIUM
20-22 OCTOBER 2018 – SATURDAY – SUNDAY
BURLINGTON, VERMONT, USA
Walk Unafraid Participatory Audio Installation

NAVIGATING & REROUTING MOCKUP

NAVIGATING AND REROUTING – OPEN CALL FOR AUDIO SUBMISSIONS

Using the history of the participatory ‘Walk Unafraid’ platform, and the artists’
combined experience in social movements and art, artists Gabrielle Senza and jen
berger come together to create an embodied experience of what prevents us from, and
pushes us towards walking unafraid . This installation is an immersive experience
within an 8’x8’x8’ tent. An audio recording, exploring relevant questions* will play on a
loop. Additionally, the tent will be constructed of a combination of barricade tape (see
attachments) and canvas that is primed and will provide a surface for participants to
answer some of these same questions in real time.

As socially engaged artists, part of our role is to create platforms for participation and
change; whereas politicians and policy makers rely on statistics to create change. Artists
use real life stories for meaningful impact. In an era where media is as much a part of
our days as eating and breathing, using an intimate platform, such as audio and
handwritten texts, can give participants an opportunity to contemplate some questions
that are on our minds.

Location depending, the audio will play from an mp3 audio player, and use a generator
or electricity that is run from the building near the tent. The audio will be amplified and
immersive. The audio will be collected by soliciting submissions from people responding
to the inherent questions* of this installation.

Thinking about how we continue to move forward to create social change,
we invite you to share your thoughts to the following questions
:

1. What roles should artists, activists, academicians, NGOs, corporations and
governments play at this critical moment to lessen the divides that fracture our
world today?

2. What does it take to ‘show up’ and be unafraid?

*after reading this excerpt from an interview with Naomi Klein
(https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=612162874)

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INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS ART FESTIVAL – NYC
18 NOVEMBER 2018 – SUNDAY 1PM
NEW YORK, NY, USA
Multidisciplinary visual theater performance on invisibility with Karen Cellini

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-12 at 1.18.47 PM.png

Photo credit: Gabrielle Senza

QUILL HOUSE – an immersive sonic visual theater performance that explores invisible truths, the unseen realms of experience, and the founding of self in a world fraught with injustice.

QUILL HOUSE is an immersive sonic visual theater experience that explores invisible truths, the unseen realms of experience, and the founding of self. Through movement, sound, and ethereal elements, multidisciplinary artists Karen Cellini and Gabrielle Senza present a layered collage of visual and sonic experiences that delve into the subconscious realities and conscious fictions of the psycho-emotional realms of existence in a world fraught with injustice.

Co-written and produced by Karen Cellini and Gabrielle Senza.

Bios:

Karen Cellini is a live performance collage artist experimenting with text, sound, and media in the vibrational, psychological and emotional landscape through singing, writing, music, and activism. Her play, The Good Mother: making the invisible, visible was written with an incarcerated heroin addict giving voice to victims of violence and addiction. She starred in Dynasty and later co-produced Doctor Zhivago on Broadway, the iconic Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, among other plays and film projects. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence and was Writing for Performance Candidate mentored by Carl Hancock Rux at CalArts.

 
Gabrielle Senza exhibits, lectures, and performs internationally. Her socially engaged art initiatives, including Walk Unafraid, Seeing Red, and The Collaborative Scroll have toured through cities in the US and Europe and earned her awards from Transart Institute for Creative Research, the Puffin Foundation, Assets for Artists, and MASS MoCA among others. Gabrielle is a returning Fellow at ZK/U Berlin – The Center for Art & Urbanistics where she first launched Invisibility Lab in 2017, a participatory multi-cultural creative research project that investigates the phenomenon of invisibility and aspects of the unseen.

 

Screen Shot 2018-08-08 at 5.59.06 PM

View of Wild Project theater space, New York.

 

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FUTURE PLANS FOR BERLIN

There are several projects I’d like to work on at ZK/U in the future. Next year I’d like to offer a series of writing workshops for migrants in Berlin, that offer an opportunity to go more deeply into sharing their stories of feeling and/or wishing to be invisible in a safe, supportive environment where participants can feel both seen and heard. In addition, I have two video/performance projects that I’d like to work on: one that involves the arched cellar space, the other focuses on the silent ballet of Behala at night.

Read, Reflect, Experiment

Experiment: The third and final bucket is rapid experimentation. Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison became leading inventors and thinkers because of their experiments. We have Gmail because Google allowed employees to experiment with new ideas.

The reason experiments are so useful is because you have facts, not assumptions. Experiments show you what’s working. You can learn from your mistakes and obtain feedback from others. Best of all, experimentation isn’t that time-consuming. Most of the time, you’re testing through the same activities you’d perform without testing.

 

The 5-Hour Rule Used by Bill Gates, Jack Ma and Elon Musk

The most successful people on the planet are also the people likeliest to devote an hour a day to reading and learning.

You just walked in the door from an exhausting day at work. You’re hungry and spent, just wanting to catch your breath for a minute. You grab something to eat and then veg out in front of the TV. Next thing you know, you’ve just binge-watched five episodes of “Jessica Jones.”

While that’s OK occasionally — we all need ways to decompress and shut down — this isn’t a healthy habit. That’s why the most successful people in the world spend their free time learning.

It’s not exactly breaking news. During his five-year study of more than 200 self-made millionaires, Thomas Corley found that they don’t watch TV. Instead, an impressive 86 percent claimed they read — but not just for fun. What’s more, 63 percent indicated they listened to audiobooks during their morning commute.

Productivity expert Choncé Maddox writes, “It’s no secret that successful people read. The average millionaire is said to read two or more books per month.” As such, she suggests everyone “read blogs, news sites, fiction and non-fiction during downtime so you can soak in more knowledge.” If you’re frequently on the go, listen to audiobooks or podcasts.

Maybe you’re thinking: Who has the time to sit down and actually read? Between work and family, it’s almost impossible to find free time. As an entrepreneur and a father, I can relate — but only to an extent. After all, if Barack Obama could fit in time to read while in the White House, what excuse do you have? He even credits books to surviving his presidency.

President Obama is far from the only leader to credit his success to reading. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk, Mark Cuban and Jack Ma are all voracious readers. As Gates told The New York Times, reading “is one of the chief ways that I learn, and has been since I was a kid.”

So how do they find the time to read daily? They adhere to the five-hour rule.

Related: How to Make a 5-Hour Workday Work for You

Breaking down the five-hour rule.

The five-hour rule was coined by Michael Simmons, founder of Empact. The concept is wonderfully simple: No matter how busy successful people are, they always “set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) over their entire career for activities that can be classified as deliberate practice or learning.”

Simmons traces this phenomenon back to Ben Franklin. “Throughout Ben Franklin’s adult life, he consistently invested roughly an hour a day in deliberate learning. I call this Franklin’s five-hour rule: one hour a day on every weekday,” Simmons wrote.

 

For Franklin, his learning time consisted of waking up early to read and write. He established personal goals and tracked his results. In the spirit of today’s book clubs, he created a club for “like-minded aspiring artisans and tradesmen who hoped to improve themselves while they improved their community.” He also experimented with his new information and asked reflective questions every morning and evening.

 

The three buckets of the five-hour rule.

Today’s successful leaders have embraced Franklin’s five-hour rule by breaking the rule into three buckets.

Read: Self-made millionaires including Mark Cuban and Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, read between one and three hours daily. Elon Musk learned how to build rockets, which lead to SpaceX, by reading. Besides expanding your knowledge, Jack Ma, co-founder of Alibaba, says that “reading can give you a good head start; this is often what your peers cannot obtain. Compared to others, readers are more likely to know other industries’ strategies and tactics.”

Even if you can’t commit to an hour or more of reading every day, start with 20 to 30 minutes. I always have a book with me so when I’m waiting for a meeting to start or in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, I can read instead of waste time on my smartphone. You could also try audiobooks during your daily commute or when exercising.

Related: How Do Your Reading Habits Compare to Elon Musk’s, Mark Zuckberg’s and Warren Buffett’s?

Reflect: Other times, the five-hour rule includes reflecting and thinking. This could be just staring at the wall or jotting down your thoughts. Jack Dorsey and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner are well-known thinkers, while entrepreneur Sara Blakely is a longtime journaler.

Focusing on the past gives you a chance to learn from mistakes you’ve made, as well as assess what you did correctly. As a result, you’ll be better suited to achieve your goals and improve your life. The University of Texas also found that mental rest and reflection improves learning.

Need help getting started? Schedule reflection time in your planner. I’ve found blocking out 15 to 20 minutes after lunch is ideal because I’m coming out of that post-lunch slump. But start small: Allocate five or 10 minutes per day, and then work your way up so you’re not overwhelmed.

Know the questions you want to ask. Stick with just two or three questions focused on that specific day. For example, if you attended a conference, ask, “What were the key takeaways?” and “How can I apply this to my business?”

Experiment: The third and final bucket is rapid experimentation. Ben Franklin and Thomas Edison became leading inventors and thinkers because of their experiments. We have Gmail because Google allowed employees to experiment with new ideas.

The reason experiments are so useful is because you have facts, not assumptions. Experiments show you what’s working. You can learn from your mistakes and obtain feedback from others. Best of all, experimentation isn’t that time-consuming. Most of the time, you’re testing through the same activities you’d perform without testing.

Jack Ma even recommends applying the knowledge you’ve learned to a real-life scenario. For example, after reading a book about collaboration and teamwork, you could take on new volunteer work to put that knowledge to use.

When you make learning a habit, you’ll be more successful and productive in life. By investing in a reading habit, you can ensure you’re growing yourself — and your company — every day.