A while ago I wrote on my blog about collaborating with Monica Oppen. People seemed very interested in the whole question of collaboration and keen to discuss the idea further here on BAO. I’ve just published a new post on my blog looking at collaboration, particularly in relation to the book arts.
I thought I’d hop over here to stir up the topic in this forum i.e. the BAO blog space, which is a place where collaboration is already happening. However, judging by people’s comments to my original post it seems like there is interest in developing this aspect of BAO.
As a little catalyst, I thought I’d start a list of ways collaboration could work for us, but of course this is purely a conversation starter and I know that you will all have some fabulous ideas of your own.
For any readers who aren’t part of the group, I thought I’d begin by highlighting the collaborative aspects of the group, so far.
- When its time to choose our source material, every member is encouraged to make suggestions.
- The group selects the text/s to be used as inspiration by voting.
- We make our books or objects individually, blogging about the process at our own “comfort level”. The blog is “maintained” (ie posts are published) as a collaborative effort.
- Finally, the works come together as a group when they are exhibited, and so the final impression on the viewer is a cumulative group impact. Members are also free to publicise, exhibit or sell their own works apart from the group of course.
So when you write it all down like that, it looks quite an impressive, collaborative effort. But the potential is greater…if we choose! Or, if some of us choose – it isn’t necessary for everybody to start madly collaborating just because some would like it.
The obvious area where collaboration may (from time to time) be increased is in the actual making of the works. Here are a few ways this could happen:
1. Some form of “round robin”.
Group members contribute to the same physical book/s. It could just be one book that is passed around for each artist to add their bit, or we could each start one, do our bit and then pass it on to the next person in a pre-determined order.
2. Individuals pair (or trio?) up to create a single book.
There are so many ways this could be decided – members could invite another group member (who you choose would be based on whatever basis inspires you. It might be the person’s aesthetic, skills, “online personality”, common interest, star sign! whatever); names could be randomly paired; perhaps you have an idea for a book but can’t manage a certain aspect yourself – you could invite someone else in the group who you know has those skills. There are so many ways to work this.
With this way, I was thinking that a group member might want to learn specific skills which they know another group member has. It may be something practical or it may be more about working with someone to learn from their “process” and approach.
I’m aware we have a range of experienced and less experienced artists in the group. Some people have a way to approach their work which is well-established and seems fail-safe for them, and I think BAO is a terrific forum with the potential to “capture” some of this artistic wisdom. We can all fall into the creative doldrums, and a lot of artists cycle in and out regularly. Its an occupational hazard, and I for one am keen to learn ways around the problem.
Anyway, those are my thoughts on the subject. I hope you’ll all chip in with your thoughts in the comments, remembering that nobody will be forced to collaborate!!! (it’s just as if we were at war – the choice is yours!)