Minutes 15 November 07

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DATE & TIME6-9pm Thursday 15th November LOCATION The Red Room, Chelsea College of Art and Design

Chair: Neil

Minute Taker: Cinzia

Apologies: Mary Anne, Trevor, Ian, Corrado, Manuela, Neal White.

Present: Neil, Cinzia, Michaela, Marcia, Isobel, Robin

Minutes of Last Meeting: Minutes 12th September

Item 1: Self Reflection

To discuss: Planning the next Self Organision Workshop ...

It was quicly decided that we should have a workshop, but also a discussion.
We talked about the Open Organisations' guidelines - i.e. they help to say 'no'.
Robin: We do not have 'system of exclusion', we work on rough consensus.

What does 'open' mean?
Neil : perhaps self-organisation is a better term than 'open'
Discussion about how we work well as working groups on projects, but not on the Budget, the Archive and 'Working on Chelsea'. Maybe theses are seen as 'not as interesting'.
Suggestions: We could have an 'inter-working Group' (but that's what general meetings are) or fund the less gratifying functions.

We are always uncomfortable about managing the budget, but power structures are quite transparent and we do have a level of trust. We have £3000 rollover from last year and as yet unconfirmed (but Neil is fairly sure) we have £7000 for this year budget.
The budget remains a hot issue, as it is fundamental to CP 'philosophical' functioning. We need to link our ideas with managing the budget. For the sake of transparency, Neil reminds us that he is holding € 420 for CP.

We decide we will have a workshop with 3 main components:
1. How we function in relation to the budget
2. How we relate to OO guidelines
3. Philosophical issues like CP as name and the key terms we refere to (Collaboration, Critical, Practice, etc)

ACTION1: Marcia will contact Ian and discuss if he wants/can lead the workshop and suggest some dates.

ACTION2: Marcia will lead a session about the budget within the workshop. It was also suggested to summarise the various positions/opinions about the budget, but we did not decide who would do it.

ACTION3: Isobel will organise a self-reflective session (session 3) within the workshop, possibly with Manuela.

Item 1a: APG Open Archive update

Feedback from Neal or Neil as to where we are with this project

Neal not present, so Neil summarises latest events:
Afer a big presentation to Tate in the summer, this is how the project looks:
It's in 2 phases -
1. Neal will be the artist 'placed' at the Tate to get the APG archive going with Barbara Steveni 'narrating it'
2. Tate will take over the AHRC bid, including Neil as link to CP/Chelsea as 'partner'.
We trust Neil not to abuse his position and involve other members of CP as appropriate. Both Neal and Neil feel uncomfortable about the way this project has progressed. Robin comments that big institutions cannot handle open groups and always push to define a company or an individual who takes responsability and represents the collective.

Item 2; Chelsea Ressearch Exchange

To discuss: CP's contribution to the Research Exchange. There is a new format Research Exchanges that we could address.

The format of the Chelsea Research Exchanges has changed. They will now be converstions/discussions. For the first one, Neil was supposed to be in conversation with Dave Beech, but this will not happen because 'a room could not be found' (general outrage).
CP was supposed to contribute at some point in the future.
It is quickly decided that we would like to be in conversation with another ICFAR research cluster. Feminism and Subjectivity is suggested.

ACTION: Isobel to contact Tim O'Reilly with the suggestion.

Item 2a; Budget Management

To discuss: How to manage our budget, better.

We have discussed this under ITEM 1

Item 3; After SLG Between

To discuss: David Palazon's request for £150 for documenting the Between - £150 for four DV tapes To decide upon, offer and commission a fee to CP member to transfer the tapes, edit a 12-15 minute document of the Between and upload on to archive.org.

Although not everybody agrees, rough consensus is 'applied' and it is decided that we should say yes to David Plazon. It s also suggested that the tapes will be edited for a proposed fee of £400. Cinzia volunteers, with Robin's help for uploading the resulting 12-15 minutes clip to archive.org.

ACTION: someone (?) to contact David for invoice.
ACTION: Cinzia to edit a Between documentation by the end of January for the agreed fee of £400.

Item 4: BTFM funding request

To discuss: Mary Anne and Trevor requests extra £142.23 + £19.80
Spring requests an extra £178.45

We agree to the requests, with a note about trying to budget all expenses in initial proposals when money is requested.

ACTION: Cinzia will e-mail Mary Anne, Trevor ans Spring to let them know.

Item 5: CP / Commitment

To discuss: What does it mean to get involved in CP? We need to discuss whether or not we need guidelines for volunteers and we need to talk about the spread of work between paid CP staff and un-paid staff. We need to talk about the 'labour' bit of 'collaboration'...

We discussed the difference between 'belonging' to CP and 'doing work' as different levels of involvement. According to the Open Organisations' guideline, the more one contributes, the more responsability one is given. We discussed commitment in relation to confidence (i.e. to represent CP properly, to give a 'quality' contribution) and in relation to the capacity to act on verbal commitment. We discussed the productive nature of conflict, different interpretations of 'collaboration'; we recount the Atelier Trans-Pal project of November 2006
We share Mary Anne's frustration about feeling responsible for a project and, as coordinator/initiator/front person, having more commitment that CPers who offered to collaborate.

We talked about this in relation to OO guidelines: members who don't object, assent. This gives responsability and freedom to act to those 'present'. Worries in relation to CP 'image' are legitimate because of our non-conventional working practices. But when we show up for an event we represent a process, not a bundle of knowledge. This should give us confidence even if only a few people work on a project in the end. We talked about 'owning' a project, discomfort between paid members and volunteers (we feel uncomfortable about this term, but it is actually used in OO guidelines) and the 'spreading' of work. CP can't afford to pay eveybody. By default (through past practice), those who request funding, tend to get paid. All requests have been genuine. We should talk more openly about these dynamics. The 'power structures' in CP are quite transparent. Although we all feel uncomfortable about requesting money, there are guidelines about writing a proposal and discussing it in a meeting. If we do this, we might feel less uncomfortable. We could do this if we take on administrative tasks, for example.
Most anomalies come from reticence to ask.

We return to the topic of sharing tasks: fluctuating commitment is a problem, particularly for 'time-sensitive' tasks. If someone messes up, they shouldn't be trusted again. On the other hand, nobody works well under threat, and CP seems to function well in a crisis.
Open Congress is mentioned as an example. In a crisis, we seem to function on collective responsability.
Robin points out that this happens when we see that a project might fail and that we could achieve better quality. We discuss where these criteria of quality come from and if this applies to CP. We conclude that we should re-consider CP's glossary (a legacy from Open Congress) and re-work it.
Also that the confidence in the way we operate could be shared better (some of us feel it more than others). Robin concluded by saying that when he questions on what bases we work, he always refers back to the Open Source philosophy: anybody can always drop in and drop out at any level! This brings great risks, but also very fertile moments!

Item 5: Any Other Business AOB 1

To discuss: Gasswork and Open Congress 2.0

Anna Colin at Gasworks is coordinating a second Open Congress inspired event for spring 2008 and asked Neil if CP would like to be involved. They have already started a wiki with some of the same names linked to the original Open Congress here http://adjust-mari.wikispaces.com/. They seem very excited about it and so are we!

here is the initial contact from Anna

ACTION 1: Neil will contact Anna Colin for dates to have a meeting.

ACTION 2: Robin offers to coordinate the Open Congress 2.0 working group. He will start a page on the CP wiki. Add yourself if you want to be part of the working group.

Item 6: Any Other Business AOB 2

To discuss: the Casco project has changed name and is developing

The Casco project is now called Art: Technologies and Knowledge or AT&K. Neil is now the group coordinator. The ATK November07 minutes give an idea of how the project is moving. In the CP room at Chelsea there is an evolving archive of material related to project.

Item 7: Any Other Business AOB 3

To discuss: Creative Commons Christmas at Michaela's

To help Cinzia with her ongoing attempts at balancing out needs and ethics, some CPers have proposed an informal meeting/discussion about the Creative Commons and Open Source frameworks. Michaela has invited us to her newly refurbished flat for drinks and fruitful exchanges for 3rd December from 7.30 pm (see Michaela's e-mail for the address)

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