Mixtum is a creative tool for randomly selecting a trio of symbols to help access concepts. There are a potential of 32,768 different trios that can be chanced upon.
Mixtum began as a laboratory tool for preschool children to create new futures through synthesizing disconnected ideas and objects. A central idea of futures oriented education is to help people create their own alternatives to the dominant view of the future. This process requires creativity, inventive questioning, and considering diverse possibilities. Mixtum prompts players to exercise these skills, which are applicable not only for preschool children but to students and practitioners of art, writing, movement, music and anyone else interested in the fringes of human imagination.
Mixtum is intended to emphasize and strengthen our ability for flexible synthesis. With a spin of the wheel a player is given two or three random (or unconnected) symbols/objects/ideas that have to find a way to come together into one new thing, verbally or visually. For example, if one was given the two symbols house and nose, they could synthesize it into a “home for a booger” or “a nose that blows out windows” or a “house in the shape of a nose.” What are the benefits to these somewhat silly phrases or surrealist thinking practices? We like to consider it as a platform for serious new kinds of questions: “What would a house look like that was shaped like a nose?” “What is an ho-nose-me?” “Is a home a filter of dirt, too?” By using the process of Mixtum, we refresh the abundance and possibility present in our everyday experience of ideas and objects.
Along with an eye toward the future, Mixtum is a tool for engaging players with deep archetypal imagery and innate symbols. Creating a means by which the language of symbolism, and the importance of myth creation and literacy, can be discussed without becoming too rooted in intellectual logic, or new-age intuition alone (though both are encouraged in the Mixtum process). Starting with personal connotations, players are led on their own journeys towards the universal aspects of our symbolic histories. For a great reference tool to accompany Mixtum, we suggest, The Book Of Symbols: Reflections On Archetypal Images (The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism). It gives brief information on many of the symbols found on the Mixtum board, along with many more one finds in their dreams, and synchronistic moments.
Mixtum is comprised of three concentric rings of symbols. Each ring is numbered according to size; the smallest ring is number one, middle ring is two and the large ring is three. The dots on the spinners correspond with the ring numbers. Stack the three spinners and spin them together. When they have stopped spinning, follow each one to the symbol it is pointing to in the corresponding ring. These are the three symbols you will play with. If a spinner lands on a line, move the spinner clockwise.
Using your own interpretation, combine all three symbols into one new idea in the form of a drawing. If you prefer, drawing can be substituted with speaking, writing, movement, music.