Thanks a million for all of your contributions this week. We have covered some interesting ground. I’ve pulled out some of the key ideas and themes that have been emerging over the past couple of weeks for people to connect to and tease out further from their own perspective. You are of course welcome to pitch in with any other themes or thoughts you think are relevant!
Role of Research:
Its been great to hear about Emma and Simon’s collaborative research projects that bring together arts, technology/industry and research to experiment with new models of practice, test ideas which may potentially fail, self reflect and share new knowledge of developing collaborative practices. It offers us two different models that explicitly value the research and development process over the end product.
Interesting that Liam’s experiences of working with commercial clients and partners when research was not a key partner showed a different picture.
Olga raised some great questions around the artists’ role and remit as researcher within wider society. She identified some important challenges in how we ensure that art remain an ‘outstanding free domain’ where we can ‘reflect upon future scenarios we may fear or desire’.
How do we ‘maintain and prosper these values of autonomy-quality-experiment-freedom.’?
How do we sustain autonomy whilst simultaneously stay open for new, applied (business and corporation) models and strategies?
Olga also highlights an important point relating to identifying new ways to articulate cultural value and its impact in relation to industry and other domains outside of the realm of the arts.
A number of people have mentioned some of the challenges of collaborating with partners who have differing working practices and processes.
Simon mentions the ‘mismatch in terms of academic and industrial life (academia tending to be slower and more reflective /abstract, whereas industry tending to be quicker and more action – orientated and specific).
Liam highlights how the ‘early stage identification of an end product’ demanded by industry is at ‘odds with a more organic developmental process that form part of the core methodologies of fine art and design higher education.’
Liam also notes that current art/design graduates are ‘poorly equipped to engage with creative/tec industries that are perusing a marketable, commercially realised concept. It would be great to hear some thoughts on this.
Danny identified the differing ways that designers and subject specialists ‘see’ cultural heritage images. It would be great more about how these differences in perception and process have impacted upon emerging practices and projects?
Olga thinks the idea of ‘open and playful experimentation and research as part of the artistic practice is crucial and serves as a foundation for our society and as a tool for culture in general.
Context for Production
I was interested to hear people’s thoughts on Olga’s reflections of issues surrounding autonomy vs applied art and Johanne’s question relating to who is setting the agendas in these our increasingly collaborative landscape?
Danny highlighted the impact of his particular context ‘a large third – sector organisation with independent commissioning budgets’ in relation to the museum engagement programme he is developing.
It would be great to hear about the ways in which participants’ see their context impacting upon their practices and programmes.
Danny and Olga have mentioned a number of collaborative projects that they have commissioned and produced. It would be great to get a little more detail of the curatorial infrastructure that underpinned them. I would be very invested to hear about any other models people have used/ heard about for commissioning collaborative arts / digital industry projects
Danny mentioned that within his game/media/art projects, ‘the development and production process was often far from easy’. Could we hear a little more about this?
Dave highlighted a range of creative production contexts he has created in order to foster collaborations and develop networks between different disciplines and sectors. Collaborative discussion and talk events, output oriented intensive labs, open ended residential labs without the pressure to produce a final outcome, are all interesting models and strategies that highlight the needs of our developing collaborative landscape.
Olga highlights that Baltan’s ‘open minded strategies’ for open and creative collaborations are based on ‘trust, empathy and mutual inspiration’
A model not mentioned so far is the rise of hack events, cultural hacks where organisations are experimenting with new ways to consider their data and art hacks that often bring different communities together to co create. They often have a competitive element with ‘prizes’ for winning projects.
As well as the opportunity to develop new project ideas, a key selling point for these research and development based events is the possibility for participants to develop new practices, ideas and relationships in the process of co creation. To pick up on one of Liam’s points, it is interesting to note that in general, participants are not paid when they attend these events.
It is great to hear about our developing infrastructures (from artist led and organizational initiatives to strategic funding) that underpin and nurture our emerging co - creative, cultural communities to collaborate effectively.
Through his featured artworks, Jonas raises some critical issues around existing systems, behaviours and practices inherent within contemporary art and the commercial art market.
Dave highlighted his artist led initiatives that support the development of artistic collaborative practices, such as The Superposition, ASMbly and Digital Media Labs.
Simon explains that the Creative Exchange project is using co – design or co-creation as a means to facilitate collaborative learning between academia, creative/cultural and industry partners.
Emma mentioned that supporting sector development is central to her initiative. ‘Projects have been supported because we feel that they can provide wider learning for the arts and so sharing the learning is a key element of their deliverables.’ She also articulates her strategy for sharing the knowledge gained via the funded projects.
Johanne asks if Danny’s programme of "digital presence & work on art, media and game projects" a new and a different avenue? The evolving position of these new practices in existing arts structures is an interesting one! Where do these kinds of projects sit within the wider arts and creative digital industries?
A few thoughts on the evolving language of collaborative practices
Simon highlighted that his team is not so keen on the term ‘knowledge exchange’ to articulate the collaborative learning that is occurring in his project. How are we articulating the co learning that is happening in collaborative projects more broadly?
I’m interested in how artists are currently self-identifying. We increasingly see a range of titles beside that of ‘artist’ in the biogs of artists. At a recent talk, Dave Griffiths introduced himself as a ‘generalist’. Dave describes himself as an artist, director and inventor and mentions Liam self identifies as a creative practitioner, hacker, maker, artists or all or any of these. Danny mentions artists and digital creatives.
While artists themselves seem comfortable with using multiple titles, it does raise some interesting questions about the term 'artist', what it covers and what it doesn't and what understanding and expectations industry partners have of the role and process of the artist in collaborative art/digital industry projects?
I am also interested in how we are naming the contexts for collaborative production. 'Incubator' and 'Culture Hack' are two examples where the language and models of practice from the creative digital industries are modified and utilised in a cultural setting, reflecting evolving collaborative art/industry systems and practices.
An interesting example would be the use of the term ‘incubator’ from New INC project. I’m curious to hear thoughts about the understanding of the word ‘incubator’, an industry word relating to start ups, when it is used in a cultural context. Maybe we can hear more about that from Julia? I am also keen to discover the ways in which an ‘incubator’ differs from a ‘lab’?
I’m looking forward to our continuing discussion. ; )