[-empyre-] about Brooke's post

simon swht at clear.net.nz
Sun May 26 16:57:38 EST 2013


disturbing, I agree with Ana, but not surprising. I also find lamentable 
the attempted institutional capture of start-up culture, which is 
decreasingly creative and collaborative as a result. Hypervolatility of 
markets seems to promise high IT investors - from both the corpocratic 
and academic classes and the State - the potential for Gold Rush gain. 
But the answer has been to Taylorise, incubate, hotbed, corral and 
normalise, to manage, in short, innovation and collaboration.

Pitching has become theatre, the competitive edge taken off it in 
rituals undergone with nothing more at stake than the spectacle, the 
slideshow, the cant, than the assertion, recognition and reinforcement 
of cultural belonging. Collaborative teams are vetted at open auditions, 
where even the conveners of these spectacular rites concede that they 
are doing little more than flattering their own egos - the new patrons 
of high IT - with their involvement, arbitration, with the thought that 
their input makes the slightest difference which black swan start-up 
wins against the outrageous odds and succeeds - in accumulating, no, not 
money, and not cultural capital, but social capital: in gaining users 

I've found more open exchange - equal and free - amongst the 
entrepreneurs who engage in this culture and those others whose 
engagement with start-up culture is disinterested - to the extent that 
they mentor and invest without expectation of reward (which is nothing 
less than patronage) - than within the worlds of art and theatre. This 
has partly to do with being in New Zealand, part of a small town 
syndrome. But it interests me, the complicity of artists with coteries 
and a politics of ressentiment.

Perhaps creation will go where it has to. I suspect I am also pointing 
to a frontier, where it has not yet been captured: the wild west of IT. 
I am thinking of the limits introjected by the artists and theatre 
practitioners I know, limits ideological, limits economic, limits 
colonial, and those as consequence that come to serve to mitigate, 
tranq, anaesthetise and capture the wild, the impossible overreaching - 
and its violence - I consider as essential to truly creative collaboration.

Simon Taylor


On 26/05/13 04:39, Timothy Conway Murray wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Dear Brooke and Gaby,
> Thanks ever so much for raising the issue of collaboration and corporatization.  Many of you might have come across the widespread publicity disseminated by Cornell University, where Renate and I teach, regarding the new Tech Campus it is building on Roosevelt Island in New York City, in partnership with the City and Technion University of Israel.  A large emphasis of this publicity is a new collaborative model of Master's education in Technology (primarily in Information Science and Engineering).  The collaboration in this case is between big tech industry and graduate students eager to glean profits from their training in higher education.  This model of higher education/corporate collaboration is well know to all of us (its precedent was collaboration between higher education and the defense industry) and is being promoted by the governor of New York State (who just authorized the free use of university buildings for tech start-up companies -- at a time when the arts and h
>   umanities have no funds for basic teaching needs).
> So I'm so grateful to you, Ricardo, Gaby, and others who are emphasizing the empowerment brought by collaboration on not-for-profit models of artistic practice and social engagement.  We all know that this is an uphill battle.  For the moderators of -empyre-, the articulation of these issues, even in the relative quiet of the natural glories of May, situates new media praxis on a different plane that found in so many of our cultures and universities as they face massive cutbacks in the arts and cultural sector at the very time when we need alternative models of social collaboration the most.
> Renate and I are now off to celebrate the university graduation of our son who with his classmates in Art at Cornell have been engaging in various levels of just such artistic collaborational practice.  We strongly believe that alternative voices and practices do alter the grain of the hegemonic voice of our corporate driven global culture.
> Best,
> Tim
> Tim
> Best,
> Tim
> Director, Society for the Humanities
> Curator, Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
> Professor of Comparative Literature and English
> A. D. White House
> Cornell University
> Ithaca, New York. 14853
> ________________________________________
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of Brooke Singer [brooke at bsing.net]
> Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:08 AM
> To: soft_skinned_space
> Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Brooke's post
> Hi Gaby,
> Thanks for bringing up scale. This is one of the reasons that brought me to
> collaborate in the first place and I think one of the most powerful forces
> that bring people to work together. You can do more than you can alone. You
> can do things that you can't do otherwise. The social aspect, it's more fun
> to work with others than by yourself, was compelling for me as well. That
> fun should not be overlooked (as Renate is bringing up in another
> thread...); it has to do both with our social being-ness but also powerful
> ways of learning. In my past collaborations, primarily preemptive media, we
> worked side-by-side a lot of the time, learning from each other and
> learning through doing. We had our own specializations but over the years
> those lines blurred a lot. Division of labor, or factory style, helps to
> speed things up and cannot be dismissed altogether but I tell my students
> to not rely on that method solely because you will miss out. Collaborating
> is skill sharing. There is also the important role of the one not "in the
> know" who will most likely question assumptions and automatic ways of
> working that happen when have done something over and over again for a long
> time.
> Also something that I came to realize after starting to collaborate was how
> important group work is as incubator for socially engaged or issue based
> projects. The work originates from conversation, debate, struggles, mutual
> aid -- not from a single perspective.
> The corporatization of which you speak is pervasive. (I see it starkly in
> the language of grant writing these days.) The corporate world is very
> hierarchical and antithetical to what I describe above, but then so is
> academia. I try to counter it in my courses by replicating what I have
> found to be successful in my own work: bringing together disparate groups
> of people with differing skill sets (that is the leveler) but a common
> desire. In the specific class I mentioned before the common desire is to
> further the mission of the non-profits with which we work (hand picked by
> me). Most of the semester is reading, discussion, brainstorming, testing...
> the final production of the work is only the last couple of weeks. By
> emphasizing or making space for everything but the finished project I keep
> everyone in the space of experimenting and learning longer. There is time
> to learn each other's languages, work different angles, learn through
> doing, prototype, beta test, fail (...or not just make a company website
> for the organization who does not know how to build one!). It was
> interesting for me to see in the 3 groups that I worked with this term that
> only one resorted to a clear hierarchy where a student stepped into the
> role of the director. It's will of course be really interesting to see over
> the next decade how collaboration pro/regresses in cultural production and
> what it means to students who are digital natives, immersed 24/7 in social
> media and grow up with the mass marketed concept of sharing.
> Brooke
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
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