Ana Valdés agora158 at gmail.com
Thu May 30 23:44:00 EST 2013

Dear Renate, when I wrote about collaboration beetween couple/parents it's
because I feel collaboration is a natural impulse in all living beings,
animals collaborate to hunt and to care about their young, you and Tim
collaborate in raising children and teaching you collaborate with young
I mean the idea of a lonely artist or writer writing/painting for
him/herself is so notorious false, nobody is able to create and produce
anything. Collaboration is in itself a skill and  non collaborative
situations are seldom productive.
The Unibomber sitting alone in a hut in the woods sending bombs was an
abherration the wild sauvage so loved by Thoreau it's only a myth or an
utopy, all the indigenous communities existed because they were efficient
working collectives, outside the community you didn't exist.

On Thu, May 30, 2013 at 10:34 AM, Renate Ferro <rtf9 at cornell.edu> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Zach, The notion of evolution or reorientation as you say from one
> workshop to the next is a process that i
> think is key to working with others.  As languages, cultures, and
> sites change we re-imagine how our exchanges may produce new energy,
> outcomes, ideas.  I am intrigued with failure though, Why does a
> certain chemistry fall flat or fizzle?
> And Ana
> <snip>Non collaboration is antinatural as neoliberalism is
> antinatural.<snip>
> I'd like to bring up the notion of site and place.In order to
> collaborate you need willing partners.  I do not live in an urban
> area, in fact we are about four and half hours by car from the nearest
> urban area. Though we are surrounded by miles of green rolling hills,
> majestic water falls, and wildlife beyond imaginable, it is difficult
> at times to find compatible partners to work with. Finding
> collaborators takes logistic planning quite frankly.  Digital networks
> here are crucial but I am not sure I am ready to say that
> collaboration is the only viable option nor am I willing to say that
> the the artist working as a diva/star is an option I'm comfortable
> with either.
> Do we not as artist or activists need to be prepared to be  skillful
> collaborators but also lone innovators?  Moving back and forth AND
> INBETWEEN depending upon the call?  I am not ready to say that
> collaboration is the only utopia or option.
> Renate
> On Wed, May 29, 2013 at 7:01 PM, Zach Blas <zachblas at gmail.com> wrote:
> > ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> > hi all--
> >
> > apologies for jumping in a bit late! thanks to tim, renate, and ana
> > for inviting me to join this month's conversation.
> >
> > while my practice has engaged collaboration in many different modes,
> > this week, i'd like to share the mask-making workshops i am currently
> > organizing and think through the idea of the workshop and collective
> > processes and decision-making.
> >
> > first off, i'll just provide some projects i've recently been a part of:
> >
> > from 2007 - 2013, i participated in queer technologies, a group i
> > started that usually operated as an anonymous collective:
> > http://www.queertechnologies.info/
> >
> > in 2010, i co-founded the durham, north carolina branch of the public
> > school, which offers a variety of courses and workshops to people in
> > the research triangle area. http://thepublicschool.org/durham
> >
> > throughout the past few years, i have also co-curated various events
> > and exhibitions, such as "speculative" at los angeles contemporary
> > exhibitions in 2011 with chris o'leary:
> > http://s-p-e-c-u-l-a-t-i-v-e.info/; "the coming disturbance" at mix 25
> > queer experimental film/video festival in new york in 2012 with micha
> > cárdenas; and "dark matter," a series of performative lectures
> > co-organized with chris o'leary and michael kontopoulos that took
> > place at machine project in los angeles in 2012.
> >
> > for the past year, i've been organizing mask-making workshops as part
> > of my "facial weaponization suite" project:
> > http://www.zachblas.info/projects/facial-weaponization-suite/ thus
> > far, i've organized workshops open to the public in los angeles,
> > montreal, and portland, oregon. i am currently gearing up for another
> > mask workhop in ricardo dominguez's lab here at ucsd this friday.
> >
> > the "facial weaponization suite" is a workshop-driven project that
> > develops forms of collective and creative protest against biometrics
> > and facial recognition through masks. as erin manning discussed
> > earlier this month, the workshops operate under a set of constraints.
> > divided into two different sessions, part 1 of the workshop involves
> > meeting together as a group discussing some pre-circulated readings
> > that specifically address global / local contexts of biometrics and
> > masks. this is pedagogical time for all of us, as we attempt to gain
> > some common ground around our knowledge and experience with
> > biometrics, masks, protest, and creative interventions. also during
> > this session, everyone's face is scanned (usually with a kinect) to
> > obtain 3d biometric facial scans of all participants, which is used to
> > produce a "collective mask."
> >
> > this 1st session continues with a discussion and tentative plans of
> > possible group actions / interventions to perform with the mask. the
> > first session of the workshop concludes when we have agreed upon an
> > action to carry out. the action we decide to perform helps us
> > collectively determine the color of the mask and its possible shape.
> >
> > after this first session, i collaborate with a 3d modeler to bring all
> > of these facial scans together in 3d modeling software. when all of
> > these facial scans are layered--but not averaged, the result is a face
> > that looks quite unhuman. it is a collective face that is not
> > detectable to facial recognition software. this 3d model of the
> > collective facial mask is then fabricated through cnc milling a mold
> > and vacuum forming with plastic.
> >
> > during the 2nd session of the workshop (usually a week later), all
> > participants re-unite, the masks are distributed, and we perform our
> > action.
> >
> > it goes without saying that each workshop i've organized has been
> > incredibly different--with various degrees of success and failure (but
> > it doesn't even make sense to evaluate the workshops with such a
> > rubric), and these workshops are continuously reoriented as i learn
> > from each one. i have many other thoughts on ideas of collective
> > transformation with the mask as well as desires for opacity / refusals
> > of political recognition & representation that i can address later.
> > but for now, i wanted to share the workshop process with everyone.
> >
> > more soon!
> > zach
> > _______________________________________________
> > empyre forum
> > empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> > http://www.subtle.net/empyre
> >
> >
> --
> Renate Ferro
> Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
> Cornell University
> Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office #420
> Ithaca, NY  14853
> Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
> URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
>       http://www.privatesecretspubliclies.net
> Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net
> Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu/
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empyre
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