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Re: <nettime> RE : Re: The Messy, Dirty, Silly Interplay of Art and Act
Danny Butt on Fri, 16 Nov 2007 07:05:41 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> RE : Re: The Messy, Dirty, Silly Interplay of Art and Activis Artivistic 2007

Sophie, many thanks for this very illuminating story, one which  
highlights a number of issues which have resonated in my own  
collaborations recently. (and thanks to lotu5 for opening the  
opportunity with a provocative critique - remind me not to invite you  
to any event I'm organising as I doubt I could muster as sanguine a  
response as Sophie) (just kidding, I am already a fan of the blog :) ).

Our experiences of these organisational tensions are too-infrequently  
shared, and yet they help me understand better the relationship  
between local conflicts and broader, more abstract (?) issues. In  
particular, the limitations of the text-internet environment for  
developing a platform for collaboration (different than sustaining  
it) are borne out from my experience. Perhaps one of the things  
indigenous methodologies have taught me (hardest, at times) is the  
power of kanohi ki te kanohi, or the face to face....

The "why?" question of collaboration is from my pov as unreachable  
and compelling as any romance. We know when it's working, we know  
when we feel the desire to collaborate, but do we ever really know on  
what terms it will work, or what might be the starting point?  
Sometimes, the successful collaborations I've been involved with have  
sort of emerged out of interactions that occur obliquely to the  
"formal matters at hand". And sometimes, the collaborations you want  
happen when you let them come to you, under the guise of things you  
didn't even know you want.

The text that I have returned to a lot over the last couple of years  
on this dynamic is Lisa Wolford's interview with Guillermo G?mez-Pe?a  
in "Navigating the Minefields of Utopia", and your text brought to  
mind this paragraph on orientations toward collaboration, a caution  
which is worth taking to heart.

GGP: "I remember one of the main ongoing discussions in BAW/TAF [the  
Border Arts Workshop/El Taller de Arte Fronterico] was between  
[Chicano visual artist] David Avalos and I. At the time, David was  
very much a Chicano nationalist and I was a post?Mexican  
antinationalist in the process of Chicanoization. We were willing to  
sit at the same table, but we had very different opinions about  
cultural dialogue as well as about artistic collaboration. David  
comes from an activist political background, and I come mainly from  
an arts and literary background, encountering activism later. David  
believed that collaboration ought to be an unemotional strategy. He  
believed that it was better to collaborate with people who were good  
tacticians regardless of whether he liked them or not. For him,  
collaboration was first and foremost a political strategy, and this  
came out of his experience as a member of the committee on Chicano  
civil rights. I believe, on the contrary, that you first have to get  
along with your collaborators. Only then can you engage in any real  
collaborative process. This led to endless discussions about who  
should be a member of BAW/TAF, because the choice of membership for  
David was purely strategic ?who could benefit the Workshop for  
whatever reason ?and for me it was more sentimental. Who do you want  
to work with? One of the great lessons I brought away from the BAW/ 
TAF years was that I decided I only wanted to work with people I got  
along with and respected, and for whom I felt true affection. For me,  
that was a clear decision in my life, never again to collaborate with  
people for whom I don't feel affection, compassion, and respect, just  
because we believe we are on the same side of an issue."




On 16/11/2007, at 12:05 PM, Sophie Le-Phat Ho wrote:

>Sorry for posting this a bit late... this is, for better or worse,  *NOT* part
>of the "indigenous debate".

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