Frost at Midnight

March 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

The inmates of my cottage, all at rest,
Have left me to that solitude, which suits
Abstruser musings: save that at my side
My cradled infant slumbers peacefully.
‘Tis calm indeed!

Some Thoughts on What Collaboration Is and Is Not.

“If to try is to succeed.”
To try is not to succeed. There’s nothing wrong with failure! No learning without it! That’s how process advances, or changes, or gets more interesting… I’d go so far as to say that success actually requires failure.

“…a central collective starting point but an individual response; the collaboration lies in the motivation and the interactions that result from sharing progress and the modifications to our practice that come from a group response.”
This is really important and very true.

“…to consider how we might respond to the act of photographing and the fact of the photograph and trump the conventions of production and presentation is, I believe, a valid way of processing.”
This requires a lot of thought. Tradition only advances through being poked. The alternative is stasis, or repetition. As the poet (and liar!) Ruth Padel said: tradition is a journey. We need these discussions in order to find new routes. In doing so, we are not all going to agree. The world keeps turning.

“To M I would say that collaboration is implicit within the way in which the group operates but that the term ‘collaboration’ has different measures of one’s engagement with it.”
Absolutely. Though I don’t think that Michael is in any way suggesting that collaboration is invalid or of no use, rather that he is critiquing its best use. Is the (selective) sharing of archives the approach that we want to take with this show? How do we determine who ‘we’ is and what ‘we’ thinks about that? Are we saying that this show is concerned with the appropriation and re-imagining of the archive? With the Death of the Author? If so, I suggest a swift recap of Barthes’ famous (and short!) essay on that subject, since it is nothing if not relevant to this discussion. The death of the author is the birth of the active reader – careful what you wish for.

From this, an interesting (and obvious) question arises: to what extent can one apply one’s own aesthetic to the work of another and have that work still remain that of the other? At what point do one’s creative choices and reworkings take possession of that which was the others? Is that a problem for anyone?

Ars longa. Let’s consider this all carefully.

P.S. Coleridge, by the way…

Nick Scammell


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You are currently reading Frost at Midnight at NOVEMBER 2013.


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