[-empyre-] the changing nature of collaboration

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Sun May 5 08:17:15 EST 2013

Ana Valdes suggested about one month ago that we think about hosting a
discussion investigating the contemporary uses of collaboration in art
practice, art theory, and art activism.  -empyre last hosted such a
discussion in February, 2004.  In re-reading those posts, Tim and I
noted about how much has changed in the last ten years in new media
circles.  Realizing that many collaborative and collective teams of
artists work together on broad, institutional macro initiatives, we
thought it might be interesting to additionally consider micro
initiatives that happen on a day-to-day basis usually on a personal
scale.  Those collaborations that happen randomly or on an impromptu
basis or that are in flux.

Tim Murray and I have been collaborating for many years but it is
within the last decade that I have been comfortable in not only
acknowledging but also in embracing our collaborative work space in
curating and writing.  It was at that time I shifted my production to
new media practices and he founded The Rose Goldsen Archive of New
Media Art.  We have shared goals theoretically and conceptually but we
both attain those goals very differently.  We each have our expertise,
his in theory and mine in production, but in our shared spaces of life
and work involving politics, writing and curating we have both been
able to disrupt and even invade to a degree each others zones. That
disruption requires not only confidence in ones own expertise but also
a degree of generosity in giving something up of oneself.

Ricardo Dominguez visited us a Cornell just last week.  His artist
talk recounted his own collaborative ventures throughout his life.
Describing a shared set of goals as a horizontal access, each of his
collaborators was a point on that horizontal line.  Within a given
time each member of that collaborative team produced something that
helped to accomplish those goals and that production was directly
related to that person's expertise. According to Dominguez his
collaborations evolved from a set of like-minded friends living within
the same city. Rafael Lozano-Hemmer also spoke at Cornell in 2011,
where he his role in collaborative encounters very differently.  As a
conceptual conductor, he orchestrates the movements of each member of
a collaborative team towards a final goal. Both are well regarded in
new media circles but both achieve their collaborative missions very

Our hope this month is that comments of our invited discussants spark
our subscribers to post about their own evolving collaborations.  We
realize there are divergent models of collaboration that many digital
new media artists and theorists incorporate.  We are hoping to archive
as many of these as possible and to also note the ebb and flow of the
changing nature of those relationships as they are affected by both
the networked space of new and social media and that of the real time
spaces of participatory culture and activism.

I am really looking forward to this month's discussions.



Renate Ferro
Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office #420
Ithaca, NY  14853
Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net

Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space

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