MY THOUGHTS ON COLLABORATION: It generally appears that the formation of artistic collaborations comes about through the juxtaposition of contrasting or complementary craftsmanship, resulting in a hybridization of ideas, techniques and outcomes. This is fantastic for moving contemporary practice forward and encouraging a lateral way of thinking through making, while also complementing the current multidisciplinary system of education in the arts.
Collaboration though, seldom gives the impression that it joins two existing practices that are comparable. This surely is mocking the origins of any craft practice when specialized techniques, historically, were learnt through the passing on of knowledge, community and indeed, apprenticeships. Today, we have become more isolated in our studios, more narcissistic and less sharing in our ideas and technical prowess, possibly as a result of living in a virtual/technological age where you can learn anything online and specialization is less recognized purely because people think they can do something, just from seeing. The reality of actually or physically being able to do anything creatively in the 21st century has become unrealistic. The appreciation of time, knowledge and experience seems to surpass most people. We are living in a world that expects instant results and gratification and with this, is slowly becoming more and more homogenized.
THE WAY FORWARD: In this early stage of my Objectspace collaboration with Helen Britton, there are more questions than answers:
Q1] Re-alliterating my thoughts [above] on the combining of two practices that are more similar than contrasting [mine and Helen’s], where does this take us? Likewise, as Hilde De decker pointed out with the Handshake Masterclass, ‘how can we collaborate in a shifting world without losing ourselves’? Where do we draw the line or, maybe we don’t need too. Maybe, letting go of concerns of making a signature work in an attempt to move forward and really embrace the collaboration is key. This could be consequential to my thoughts around homogenization and popular culture by taking it on instead of going up against it.
Q2] A collaboration is a sharing of ideas and techniques (whether similar or not), but what happens when one artist is significantly more experienced than the other – what can the other have to offer or share?
Q3] What is the best way forward in realizing a collaboration that is to be crafted in opposite corners of the world? How do we keep the lines of communication open when we can only see what the other is doing through online imagery? How will this impact on simple artistic fundamentals e.g. line, colour, scale and presentation of what we create individually?
ADDRESSING THE QUESTIONS: While in Munich for Schmuck Week I will be spending 2 days with Helen in her studio and out collecting materials together. We will also compile some guidelines/boundaries/restrictions as we deem fit. While in the studio we intend spending time experimenting and discussing our options, this will facilitate a stronger grounding for the forthcoming work when working separately. Before travelling to Munich I will be collecting materials, component images and constructing mechanisms to take with me that may inform and contribute what we do while we have our time together.
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