[-empyre-] about Brooke's post

Gabriela VargasCetina gabyvargasc at prodigy.net.mx
Thu May 23 08:22:36 EST 2013

Dear all,

I am enjoying this discussion very much.  What I know of Brooke's work 
is very inspiring, and it is difficult to see how the scale or her 
projects would make them manageable by a single person, so the question 
group / individual becomes very relevant.

I am an anthropologist and we have pretty much the same problems you 
have all been describing: the humanities and social sciences train 
students to work individually, and not together with other people.  
Furthermore, it is very difficult to get an anthropologist to work with 
others from mixed training, including mathematicians and artists.  I 
have been allowed by our Faculty of Anthropology to put together courses 
where students have to dance or perform their theoretical concepts, or 
design anthropologically-meaningful websites using theories derived from 
fiction, always in teams.  However, many of my colleagues (especially at 
other universities) think this is all bizarre and nonsensical, and even 
the students think that they do not develop 'useful skills' in my 
courses.  And yes, like art students, as per Ana's comment, anthropology 
students today are being told they should find ways to 'market' 
themselves to corporations, individually, and follow instructions 
instead of questioning the world.  There is the job market problem, 
though: where will graduates from anthropology find employment, other 
than at the local branches of multi-national corporations?  I don't have 
any answers, but the fact that the questions are so difficult is sad and 

Gaby Vargas-Cetina
Facultad de Ciencias Antropologicas
Universidad Autonoma de Yucatan

On 5/22/13 4:43 PM, Ana Valdés wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Brooke I loved your rethoric question:
> I teach collaboration too and just a few days ago during final
> presentations saw the power of bringing people together who do not know
> each other well -- or at all-- for a common cause or, as Paul notes, shared
> agendas. I pair groups of students to make media work for non-profit
> organizations in Westchester, a pro-bono approach with a participatory
> design bent. But I guess I am left wondering why collaboration is to this
> day is still seen as unusual or something special in art practice and art
> education and not the modus operandi? Now we are going to study
> individuality ... the methods of and reasons for working alone!!
> I agree totally with you and wonder why all artist educations
> are headed to educate artists as "entrepreneurs", as they were
> heads of an unipersonal enterprise with only them as contracted.
> I think that's the problem when you try to create the idea
> artists and writers are "professions" as doctors, podologists,
> architects, dentists or other.
> The writing educations grow as swamps, the "creative writing" is now
> an accepted part of the curriculum in many of the world's universities
> but do we have seen the growing of a talented writing group
> of people equivalent to all who are being educated as writers or
> do we see the same amount of people writing without any
> academical education?
> My point is: we are evolving from the concept the artist or the writer
> as gifted by God and part of an elite to another myth:
> the artist or writer as part of a corporation, skilling them in
> selling of their own works, marketing it and publishing it.
> I think collaboration is nearly mandatory today if you want to make
> changes and leave a trace in the world we live into.
> Ana
> -- 
> http//congresomujeresdenegromontevideo.wordpress.com 
> <http://congresomujeresdenegromontevideo.wordpress.com>
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> with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you 
> will always long to return.
> --- Leonardo da Vinci
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Gabriela Vargas-Cetina
Facultad de Ciencias Antropológicas
Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán
Carretera a Tizimín km 1
Mérida, Yucatán 97305.  México
Tel. +52 999 930 0090

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