[-empyre-] humor, play, and collaborating via technological networks

Renate Ferro rtf9 at cornell.edu
Fri May 17 12:47:30 EST 2013

Hi Paul, Cecelia, Erin, and to all of our -empyre subscribers,
I have been traveling this past week and am just getting caught up on
your posts.  Thanks to Ana for nurturing the list this week.

Paul your posts made me think about your collaborative PED piece

In your summation of your experiences with collaboration I am struck
by the fact that at the heart of many collaborative successes is
playfulness and humor.  I thought about the PED piece because though
there was certainly activist intent humor, playfulness, irony seemed
to seep throughout the entire project.  I guess I am picking on PED
because it is one of my favorites but I'm wondering if you could take
a few minutes and talk more about the playful gestures that resonate
in your activist projects?

I am really interested n the gestures of play and fun even in the
midst of pretty serious subject matter.
I am asking Paul this but hope all of you will chime in. At Cornell
about five years ago I founded a lab called "The Tinker Factory."
Riffing off the word tinker to experiment, mess around, with things
that sometimes you have no preplanned path of action for, tinkering
with materials or technology or the stuff of creative production.  And
the word Factory, I borrowed inspiration from Andy Warhol's
performance, collaborative playground in New York City in the early
1960's.  It was a space that nurtured creative practice and
experimentation as well as conceptual ideas.

The Tinker Factory for my students and me has been a space where we
can bring in guests and share work, ideas in both a collaborative
workshop production space and a creative mentoring space.  We have
brought Kevin Hamilton, Maurice Benayoun, Andrew Galloway, and Mari
Velonaki among others. These guests not only provided an opportunity
to share their expertise but also gave us license to think about
broader issues involving critical digital technology in a relaxed
atmosphere.  In the middle of Upstate NY we are centrally isolated and
sometimes it is difficult to network.  The Tinker Factory brings
together faculty, students, and sometimes even community members who
come together even if it is for a brief period of time.  What have
resulted are connections among artist's, engineers, and others that
ordinarily would never have an occasion to happen.

So to all of you what do you think about location?  Just a few weeks
ago I heard Ricardo Dominguez talk about his early collaborations with
his Tallahassee buddies.  They lived and worked together in the same
geographic location.  Is it possible or how is it possible to network
using social media, or email, or Skype to enable collaborative
practice and thinking.  Anyone out there have some good examples of
this that has worked successfully?

Happy Friday to all of you and for others Happy End of the Semester!

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