Exploring Artist and Non-Artist Collaborations

I found this catalogue of the exhibition ‘We were trying to make sense…’ at 1 Shanthiroad in Bangalore, India. The exhibition curated by Magda Fabianczyk and coordinated by Sophie Hoyle, provided an opportunity to discuss the texts in relation to collaborative works with non-artsts in an Indian context.

(Notes from the text)


-Non-artists participation in art institutions after post war 20th century (formalist criticism)

-Fluxus group(1960s)’s work provided a heightened experience of everyday, in which the viewers were formally fused with the space-time of performance and thereby lost identity as ‘audience’

Contemporary concerns:

-Both ‘audience participation’ and new technologies has tended towards hyperbole…they share certain vocabularies of connecting people, sharing knowledge,  and somehow bringing light to the world.

-Ideas of ‘interactivity’ and ‘connectivity’ with the live-feed and net art indicate and immediacy and liveness of connection

Work by Magda Fabianczyk

-Walking Press was developed on the Grey Leopold Estate, east London over two years, building cross-generateional and cross-cultural relationships with neighbouring families. She explores the limits of collaboration , what happens then the professional becomes personal and attachments form, and when the artist subsequently leaves the estate.

Work by Erica Scourti

-Reality Life(2009) is a video work nude through recruiting teenage girls in  the UK to read a script written by the artist, comprised form unscripted reality TV shows and documentaries. Between them they narrate the TV portrayal of girls’ issues and everyday life through the language of TV.

Participant: Petra Bryant

-She saw the message online, didn’t know what to expect during the process, but trusted the artist (Petra looked up artist’s name online)

-“It wasn’t ‘work’ as such, it was a bit of fun, I had no expectation because I didn’t know what the outcome would be, I just said few sentences, creating an art work wasn’t important to me

-She doesn’t feel like being collaborated, as artist edited the video.

-Communication through email, but interviews made her feel more involved

‘We Were Trying to Make Sense’ BY Sophie Hoyle

-Many of the difficulties of collaborative artworks are essentially the difficulties of interpersonal communication and relationality.

-Some people viewing practices catering for a general audience makes them less legitimate or less credible works

-Involving non-artist take more time in discussion and consultation, thus less efficient.

-A lot of the interesting and meaningful work in art takes place in asking questions rather than teacher a given body of knowledge.

-Collaboration: open-ended nature, fluid process, may not be a measurable outcome

-Artist engagement may not take direct impact but may start a chain of knock-on effects.

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