SALT believes in the importance of the free availability, transfer and exchange of knowledge. With existing institutions of knowledge-sharing under threat, with such government moves as the increase of university tuition fees and the closing of libraries, we believe the role of the amateur and the power created by sharing is becoming more and more pertinent.
As such, SALT is currently collecting and conducting interviews with people who both inspire and interest us, to explore our own position as an alternative platform that is able to facilitate knowledge-sharing. Our ultimate goal is to produce a publication that we hope will encompass a variety of interviews, interests and ideas.
We subsequently send this to you to invite you to contribute; be it with complete interviews, transcripts, notes or even just suggestions of whom to interview and what to ask?
Who you may interview is up to you; it might be someone you admire, are curious to find out more about, question or challenge, or it can be as simple as just wanting to share your own thoughts with others through the vehicle of an interview. The interview itself can be of any length and as formal or as casual as you like.
SALT is a place for experimentation, we urge any contribution!
On a practical note, if you only have the interview as a sound file and don’t have time to transcribe it, you can send us the sound file and we will do the rest; sending you the transcript to check over before it goes to print.
For further information or to submit; email firstname.lastname@example.org, see our blog at or our new Facebook page
Submission deadline is 5th May 2012.
We look forward to hearing from you, SALT
The response to the call was an interview, between Marsha and Critical Practice unfolding over twenty-four hours. (Friday 12:00 - Saturday 12:00) It will explore five questions/responses in approximately 1000 words. The interview will be accompanied by a short set of notes about its production, which will take place on the Critical Practice wiki. Members of the cluster will be invited to amend the questions and contribute responses, and a screen grab of the wiki’s edit list will accompany the interview in its publication.
This interview aims to explore the following:
- Who or what inspires Critical Practice? How does Critical Practice inspire?
- Critical Practice’s approach to ‘being in public,’ especially in terms of its open source resource development, management and dissemination.
- The challenges and possibilities of interviewing a collaborative group as a single entity.
- Ways of accommodating different perspectives—contradictions, even—in the same response.
Marsha Bradfield: Could you start by introducing Critical Practice?
Critical Practice: We're a cluster of artists, researchers, academics and others, affiliated with Chelsea College of Art & Design, London. We support critical practice within art, the field of culture and organization. And we take our self-organization as a legitimate subject of enquiry. We're striving to be an 'open' organization, and to make all decisions, processes and production, accessible and transparent. We post all agendas, minutes, budget and decision-making processes online for public scrutiny. We also aim to critically engage with issues that we feel have urgent social significance. So for instance, our current research builds on our previous long-term project that explored 'being in public,' in an attempt to understand what this means in the face of rampant privatization. We've recently turned our attention to 'value,' how it is that 'value'--or values--are produced, performed and perpetuated. What, for instance, is the value of contemporary art practice in general and Critical Practice in particular?
MB: Well what is the value of Critical Practice?
CP: Value for its members or for those in our network? For Chelsea? Boiling the value of CP down to a sound bite would efface all the values—in the plural—that we negotiate through our collaborative ways of working. The cluster has established itself as a community of practice with a deep commitment to evolving contemporary art in ways that acknowledge that it's embedded within a complex context of overlapping interests--social, political, cultural and others. There is immense value to be gained through collaboration and learning from and with each other and outside collaborators.
MB: So what inspires Critical Practice and what does it inspire?
CP: To begin with, the members inspire each other. We feed off one another's concerns, interests, energy, care and support. This is CP's seventh year of sustained activity. Every once and a while we discuss dispersing and then on cue, we're reengaged--in the throes of a new project. So it's a very resilient cluster, but flexible and resourceful too. Membership is fluid; not all CP members are 'active' at any one time. And when new members join they bring fresh enthusiasm and the dynamics shift, which is exciting. CP emerged from an interest in open source software, and we've adopted 'open sourcing' as a research practice. For sure, CP would like to inspire a DIY ethic based on openness and reciprocity. We also think our commitment to developing platforms that support different kinds of engagement is pretty inspiring. For example, we're currently planning a series of walking tours to explore the spatialization of value in London. Anyone can join and we hope to attract a diverse constituency.
MB: You've touched on some of the cluster's strengths. What about its weaknesses?
CP: Well this is difficult to discuss, owing to them being so situated and specific. Two obvious issues are time and access.
Collaborators tend to collaborate, which means that many of us are involved in multiple projects in CP and beyond. Most of this work is unpaid and so there is also the pragmatic consideration of how to make a living through other means. Another issue we face in CP is access. Not all our members live in London and many of us work internationally, so getting everyone together can be a challenge. But meeting online, either via our wiki or through skype and email helps to some extent. Another weakness in CP relates to self-promotion. Most of our energy goes into working with each other and our network but we could be more outwardly facing. We published our research on ‘being in public’ in a booked titled PARADE, after the name of one of our projects. The publication is available online and we aim to distribute it more widely as a resource for others interested in ‘being in public’ and working in or through networked production.
MB: If Critical Practice had one piece of advice for an emerging collaboration, cooperation, collective or another networked practice, what would it be?
CP: Figure out ways of resolving conflict because it will happen. But it's not just conflict—its negotiating differences more generally. We use open organizational guidelines for our self-governance. They're good for things like decision-making because they spell out how decisions are made and how accountability works. But CP is always in process, it’s an ongoing process and it's useful to keep this in mind
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