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OCTOBER 23, 2006 9:29 AM

Saturday's discussion at NEST was really a blowout. Feelings are mixed as to the coherence and effectiveness of the actual panel. Although, a few really interesting points of criticism about public art projects were made, and some thoughts about importing and exporting ideas were discussed in the context of G-Rad.

For those of you who were there, we at POWWOW invite your thoughts and comments. For those of you absent, just a few more things to share: pitfalls of collaboration=messiness, pitfalls of group work=exclusiveness, towns vs. clubs, print exchanges and the international community>sense of place, public art as colonialism, and how to work collaboratively outside the comfort zone, re: ethnicity, gender, ideology, etc.
We at POWWOW were thinking the whole time about Miwon Kwon's One Place After Another, and it was brought up towards the end by Paul, and the Nest desk copy was produced by Anthony.

After the panel, we all lingered outside and continued the conversation in really interesting threads, heading the imperative to mix it up, break outside of your own group, cross-breed, etc.
We have lots to learn from each other.

mixed feelings is right.

george | October 23, 2006 12:22 PM

not a good sign when everyone seems to be looking in a different direction. and someone looks like they've got a headache.

imoak | October 23, 2006 12:54 PM

imoak: They're mostly all looking in the same direction, but I know what you mean--I thought the same thing when looking at the picture.

michael | October 23, 2006 1:29 PM

sorry i couldn't be there... i was workin

...anyone bring up the idea that part of a project should already be done before you form a group to do it?
not use a group to propose an idea?

ajpaschka | October 23, 2006 1:55 PM

I feel there were a few structural problems with the discussion. First, the organization of the room having people set in front and then an audience was somewhat discouraging. It would have worked better in a circle. Second, there were some issues with language used - especially defining 'collaboration' - it may have helped to begin by weeding out different types of collaboration.

Towards the end I felt that things began to pick up.

I think what Paul and Josh talked about - throwing ideas into a group and see if it 'sticks' or if anyone else in the group picks up the idea and attempts work with it for a while.

I also thought a lot about One Place After Another, I am almost done reading it for a second time.

I would like to continue the idea of import/export of cultural frameworks or styles of organization.

We here at the Center for Working Things Out are interested in what you mean by a 'blowout,' Powwow?

Benner | October 23, 2006 2:12 PM

well, center for working things out, by blowout i was referring to the potential messiness that collaboration might breed- infused with energy and applause.
i was not intending the term to be pejorative, but more provacative. after all, we were all there together- so many familiar faces and friends from all over. i was really glad for the way things went after all, even if none of us could figure out what had just happened.

i agree with some of your concerns regarding the structure, which became especially evident when, just before the discussion was about to start, nearly all of us asked each other, "what is this supposed to be about?"
maybe this relates to aj's question about when the project should be realized- before we work as a group, or as we work as a group.
i actually believe that this project was realized in the aftermath, in the background, and even perhaps now.

splinters | October 23, 2006 3:08 PM

I almost lost it laughing toward the end because there were 3 or 4 different discussions happening and everyone had confused looks on their faces. It got tense in that giggly sense.

That said, the conversations afterward were interesting and a little more illuminating.

The conversation wasn't really about art, though, was it?

jdawe | October 23, 2006 4:38 PM

i am so bummed that i completely missed these much celebrated "conversations afterward..."

i was giving "tours" of NEST.

what did i miss?

george | October 23, 2006 4:45 PM

The most obvious problems with the discussion were (in my opinion):

1: The definitions and goals for the discussion were not clearly defined. I made up most of the questions on the spot and we only had like 2 from the audience.

2: The panel was insanely homogenous. It was laughable in some senses. If I am getting this right, three of the participants have been going to the same schools for the last 6 or 7 years of their education, 5 panelists were associated with calvin and the other 2 from GVSU.

The panelists all seemed to have some interesting thoughts, but as a collection of perspectives, I don't think we saw enough diversity of experience, though there was some.

I think that Matt Poole came in and made a very good point about collaboration. Basically, collaboration is a privilege. Contrast that with the idea that adam presented about the necessity of collaboration due to a glut of individual artists (which I agree with too) and you can see why the discussion needed better framing.

I don't think it was worthless, just a bit too ambitious, perhaps?

Anthony | October 24, 2006 10:58 AM

i am in total agreement with your observations
i wonder what it would be like to try to do this panel again, with a more hetrogeneous/diverse group
as soon as we sat down, i palpably felt the trouble with our group participants
and that's why i made the comments about academia being responsible for this methodology

splinters | October 24, 2006 11:33 AM


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