Hi everyone. I think its good to admit at the outset that we are somewhat conditioned in posing and answering Q's by our initial formation. The network meant something different for me, perhaps different from Robert Filliou's definition that is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9BgOfsG7J0Q What is missing (from the video edit I made) is that Filliou saw the artist's network as part of a larger ecological system. It's post not neo-avant garde and it is a work-around for those who do NOT work in metropolis or creative class (Richard Florida) sites of prominence. Filliou said it was for exchanges of the "good-for-nothing" in all of us. That is punning on art's infamous modernist sense of autonomy. And further suggests that those whose projects works with corporations (necessary in many jurisdictions) are working (perhaps too hard) to find "a function" for art.
After 40 years of being an artist and curator I remain a non-fan of all curatorial, historiographic, patron and academic endeavours that structurally place artists in a submissive role. The network as shared in the early 1970s preceded the formalization of artists spaces that confronted/ was confronted itself by network issues. The network itself was open to abuse as an alternative or oppositional disguise for self-promotion but remains I think a very different concept than what often poses now as reforms or improvements to a re-established hierarchical and exclusionary art system. (Much to discuss our different investments and view there). The network on its better days simply ignored the existence of such a system. I remain more interested in the belonging rather than the valuation aspects of artistic cultures. Curating ("caring for" as opposed to dominant contemporary meaning of curating as "making a recommendation" i.e. by chefs, DJ's,etc. ) the network (through mutually authored projects) made sense as an "artwork;" such an artwork was a self-acknowledgement of legitimate work that artists could do in tandem with making discrete often private works. Curating as an artwork that includes curating/writing as a colonization of artistic practice is something that is popular with institutional curators and artists contracted to do such work. This practice is ultimately more about what is best for institutions and their professional employees and is not precisely the same as what artists are capable of doing with and for each other. I'll quickly add that no-one ever escapes facing the "politics of organizing" either as something to be managed or as something that can be incorporated. The shared artist/curator instinct of what appears to require attempting to do in any particular time or space definitely requires an earned praxis of representation. Thanks Roddy for this initiative. Bests, Clive