UC Show One - March 22, 2009

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See the call/invitation to this event here

Waterside Project Space: 4:00-7:15

We bought eight bottles of wine in anticipation of at least fifteen prospective collaborators joining us for a critique of UC’s recent work. Two people turned up. This was disappointing given we advertised the event on various information hubs including Critical Network, ArtsJobs, Facebook and Jotta. But the limited turn out was also somewhat understandable given the magnificent weather. We sat on chairs in a circle and Pierre kicked things off with an introduction to the project. He identified four aspects: 1. That there are many kinds of collaboration, including the commercial type where everyone has a job title. There are also preset schemes, such as walks, where someone initiates and others follow—though often the artist initiator attempts to claim there is “no audience” and that everyone is a collaborator.

If the pairs/trio of UC offered alternative collaborative configurations, common to all was an attempt to bring various expressions of contributor presence inside a frame—be it a literal frame (as in the case of Ben and Tanya’s images) or a figural frame, as exemplified by Phil’s and Douglas’s effort. Ben joked about the frame being a stage where each collaborator could “do his or her moves,” a nice image if you know Ben and Tanya, both of whom are very physical in their work. Ben thought nothing, for example, of running around the cavernous space of Waterside during the critique to warm himself up.

  1. That a little structure goes a long way. Our self-organized body seems to respond to short-term deadlines and the guideline “have as few rules as possible and don’t break them.”
    Pierre mentioned the combination of “the carrot” and “the stick” as a motivational combo extraordinaire but also one that’s oh so problematic. I’m still trying to determine how he’s using either of these agencies—how he’s leveraging these aspects—but there remains insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions, however tentative.
  2. I thought Pierre had hung up his lab coat. No luck. He again talked about UC as a kind of experiment he’d organized…Jane teased him about perhaps trading one white coat for another—this one with longer sleeves. He seems intent of maintaining some kind of critical distance from the project but less interested in critically examining his own presence and how it affects the dynamics.
  3. We seemed to talk a lot about the dynamics of our collaboration—much more so than the artwork itself (though it could be argued I’m making a false distinction between process and product). When asked, our prospective collaborators said they felt this “back story” was interesting…This got me thinking: How might an historical narrative/narratives be presented in some form other than text? Ben felt that sitting around in a circle and talking about our experience was a nice way to share. Surely there are other forms of dissemination?
  4. Pierre expressed a particular interest in the decision-making process characterizing each project. Ben talked about the “adjustments” he and Tanya had to make when working together; Phil spoke a little about the give-and-take of his relationship with Douglas; I think I tried to underscore “consultation” as an important part of my working with Pierre and Josh - that is, we consulted one another about our respective works. (see below for more detail).

Comments on projects presented a UC Show One - March 22, 2009
"Suspicious Minds" karaoke installation
Comments on "Suspicious Minds"


Return to UC Meeting, March 8, 2009
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