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Week 47: Urban Tactics / Atelier Autogéré d'Architecture

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Doina Petrescu and Constantin Petcou, initiators of the Paris-based network Atelier Autogéré d’Architecture (AAA), a collectively-run, self-managed architecture studio which, for reasons we will no doubt want to discuss, translates into English as Urban Tactics.

http://www.urbantactics.org/
http://www.urbantactics.org/documents/AAAposter.pdf

AAA is a collective platform which conducts explorations, actions and research concerning urban mutations and cultural, social and political emerging practices in the contemporary city — with branches and projects in Belfast, Berlin, Dakar, Sheffield and elsewhere. AAA acts through ‘urban tactics’, encouraging inhabitants to take part in the self-management of disused urban spaces, bypassing contradictions and stereotypes by proposing nomad and reversible projects, initiating interstitial practices which explore the potential of contemporary city (in terms of population, mobility, temporality).
It is at the level of the micro-political that they seek “to make the city more ecological and more democratic, to make the space of proximity less dependent on top-down processes and more accessible to its users.” They have initiated and participate in the collective management of a number of ongoing neighborhood projects, involving collective gardens, food distribution, and film screenings.

So-called “self-managed architecture” is an architecture of relationships, processes and agencies of persons, desires, skills and know-hows. Such an architecture does not correspond to a liberal practice but asks for new forms of association and collaboration, based on exchange and reciprocity and involving all those interested (individuals, organisations, institutions), on whatever scale. As they put it, their architecture “is at the same time political and poetic as it aims above all to ‘create relationships between worlds’.” More plausible ones perhaps…

At any rate, those objectives and vocabulary are obviously right up Plausible Artworlds’ alley, as it were. It seems that in the practice of AAA, architecture becomes an overarching metaphor for rethinking, repurposing, reskilling relationships and forms of engagement amongst city dwellers as much as for producing (re)built environments.

 

Transcription

Week 47: Urban Tactics / Atelier Autogéré d'Architecture

Scott: Hello everyone.

Stephen: Hey Scott.

Scott: Hey there. I think we're still waiting for a few people but they might have stepped away from their computer or can't pick up so we'll just go ahead and let it ring. I guess welcome guys. It's great having you here this week. Welcome to yet another week in this year of Tuesday night events focusing on different examples of what we're calling Plausible Artworlds. I sort of feel obligated to say that at the beginning. Does everyone have good audio? Can you guys hear us there in Paris?

Female: We can hear you well.

Scott: Fantastic.

Stephen: We can hear you well here in Buenos Aires perfect.

Doina: Yes in Paris too.

Scott: Great. Does anyone hear a ringing in the background or are we ready to go ahead and get kind of…

Doina: Yes.

Scott: Okay great. I'll go ahead and stop that other ringing. So fantastic it's great to have you guys here. I'm hesitant to even try to pronounce the rest of your title. Urban Tactics is as far as I get. And yeah I can go ahead and paste. There we go. I don't know Stephen if you'd like to introduce Urban Tactics Constantin and, is it Doina?

Doina: Doina.

Stephen: Doina and Constantin. Hi Doina and Constantin.

Constantin: Constantin please it's not Constantin.

Stephen: Okay. We won't get into – Constantin and Doina are actually Romanian, I think I'm not making a mistake about that, based in Paris and have been working as and are architects actually have architectural studio in the 18th Aranamous so are very decidedly working class part of the city. And have over the past, I don't know, 15 or so years have developed basically a non construction focused architecture studio which they call the Studio for Self-Managed Architecture. Originally in a squatted building formally occupied by the French National Railways. I found a very interesting project called Echo Box in which they involved people in the community in all sorts of activities but primarily in sort of re-dynamiting the green space and the urban space of that neighborhood through Echo Boxes. In other words, building garden spaces on pallets and on skids in a very large space.

That project was very dynamic and is extremely well known, probably the project for which they're best known. And then it had to transform because they left that space and they went into a second space a public forum a public school that left that space. Now they have a new space basically in the same neighborhood. But what they've done and I think what they're going to tell us about is have really diversified and really have expanded out into a kind of a network of similar minded urban tacticians across Europe and beyond. And so [phone ringing]…

Scott: Sorry everyone I thought my bell was meant to be called if not I just turn off. If you want to be added to the chat list let me know.

Stephen: Oh sorry. Okay thank you. Okay so I'll just leave it at that. Thank you for staying up so late and maybe if you could give like a quick half hour, if you can call half an hour quick. Sort of an overview of what you do and why you do it, when you started, why you started, and what you hope to do in the future and then we'll sort of all jump in and ask questions about all that sort of stuff. Constantin.

Constantin: Yes [inaudible 05:24] of course, how do you say? We started building in 2001 maybe one of the, there are many reasons of course, but one is to leaving this area in the [inaudible 05:35] to –

Doina: Can you hear?

Constantin: Can you hear?

Scott: Yes. We'll be adding people to the conference periodically and if they don't pick up for a little while I'll go ahead and stop it. Please continue.

Constantin: So they are many reasons. One it was to act like residents so it was something like local activities probably reason. And another one was to act like occupants in the place where you live because the architect today it's more and more connection with the power and it's dependent on the power and it's subordinate. And of course this kind of production of space for us it was problematic. And we tried in this way by combining our position like a professional, like an occupant when at the same time like original to start a collective process of production of space by bottom up process.

And so it does a very long process it does very typical in the beginning because, specifically in the French culture scene is really unusual. In this moment in 2001 in Paris and because he came to France the only comparison with our practice and our project it was squat movement and it was an interesting movement but went into a very specific population. Young people [inaudible 07:20] something like that and not to be so close. And our project it was mirage oriented to the people with families with background from north of the center Africa or other parts of the world.

Doina: Well but also I would say to whoever, to the ordinary habitant because we didn't choose a specific set of users off of this project and call organizer. We just opened the spaces and let them accessible to whoever wanted to join in. And I think that this is maybe the most radical part of it because to kind of be faced with all this diversity and contingency of the, let's ordinary user, is so what is the most challenging. And it was difficult somehow to keep it long term as we have tried and to face all the conflicts that arose.

But so what we wanted is to forgive the possibility to these people they have chosen to go to have a lot of kind of user specific but also little by little to become more politically aware about what's going on in the city. So when we had the first space it was an amazing space. And Stephen might remember it was quite a unique in Paris setting maybe that the last big wine house that was still empty in Paris three [inaudible 09:44] mentors in which lots of subcommittees starting with garden but then cultural, the political debates was taking place. But when the moment came to leave a certain intervention we had to negotiate and this was a very important moment because lots of the people using this space had never had any, let's say exposure to politics or to everyday life, only politics and they were so much quite effect keeping this project going on. They were prepared to go and fight for it. And for us this was a very important moment to kind of politicize this users that were not chosen, were not political beforehand and they were politicized in the [inaudible 10:58 child talking].

Constantin: I'm not sure if it's clear. Hello.

Scott: Yes you're coming through clear.

Stephen: It's definitely clear I'm trying to kind of give a running commentary of the selling points it was very clear. Hopefully things continue about maybe giving more specific examples too about what the…

Constantin: Yeah. What concrete example, by example because the area was a very poor and prime area so in 2001, '02 and '03 when we started the project there was any [inaudible 11:46] project and all this 30,000 people who live in this entire area they don't have any cinema, any bookshops, any museum, nothing and they were completely related between the railway lanes. And so it was like Iceland and our idea it was to obtain and to use as an empty space because there was a lot of empty space or industrial empty space on the railway without use spaces. Yeah it does do in a temporary way this phase and in a mobile tactic too, because all the empty space there was available for a short year short precise period something between two or four years.

The idea it was to develop a project in an existing priority of our ability of the space but with the capacity to move the project or the device developed to have it on was mobile. The project when this capacity to be no [inaudible 13:15]. So this mobility took priority finally was a very important key to keeping the project ton this reversible suppression.

Doina: It was somehow our main tactic because we were prepared to move and to occupy a lot of space all over the devices that we have conceived starting with…

Constantin: I believe in the garden.

Doina: …the garden made out of pallets. Then we had this series of mobile modules that were adding activities to the garden like we had the kitchen, we had a library, we had a media lab, all this were mobile in fact it were easy to push into another location and they became our war machines and weapons because of this condition, mobility condition and we didn't have any placed on the garden again or the location and now it has been moved for the second time and reinstall again with the same principles yes. So it was a way of resisting and instead of disappearing when the space was closed we multiplied all of the places.

Constantin: Yeah.

Doina: Because he's had the first big space he negotiated three small spaces that would make the same surface so to say. And so now there are several projects in the area that are collected to…

Constantin: The same approach.

Doina: Yeah.

Constantin: In fact what to call the automatic approach or automatic project in the sense to be able to top sell and step-by-step and a long time our involvement and our acknowledge of how to run a project like this to other people. So there are some of them to come just for garden and also to pass to be interesting to cook together or to practice different debate and smaller the [inaudible 15:44] of recycling or something like that. And step-by-step we have a lot of some of them and not a lot of them was able to run many actions, and finally a small group they were able to run all of the dimension of the project, and what to call the assessment manager of the project.

So the project is managed by us in the beginning in the first stage and that's what is culminated by us and the users. And we start doing the project because I [inaudible 16:19] space are these people who know different aspects of the project they are able to run them by this. It's like a leaf who is able to construct all the plant because the leaf has information and other part of the plant they don't have, but the leaf has information about the other plant and is able to put the leaf in the water. So these key people who were involved in many options they are often around the project so they're around the project and some of them they develop new projects. This is what you call a resonated project and automatic [inaudible 17:06]. It's important because for us it's a freedom to knew that project. And so one it was freedom to be [inaudible 17:19 child speaking] to build tunnels and to have the project however they want.

Doina: There is maybe a kind of important aspect to it which is exactly what we call a [inaudible 17:39] process because people would come in the first moment with very limited expectations like coming there for gardening. But because of the whole dynamic, the complex dynamic that was little-by-little infused in the project they started to do other things and they completely changed their attitude. They became more proactive and they started giving them that there were very interesting flea markets run by [inaudible 18:24] forms of artility where economy which were completely their idea, their initiative their adding's to the project. Some of them had stopped to ask a question about the status of the empty spaces and the issues on politics of everyday life and some of them because they became aware were able to continue the project further and to take over the management.

Constantin: Why didn't he ask you to sell an experiment?

Female: Because they didn't actually say cover the rental place but they said ground was on the ground.

Stephen: Maybe you want to actually ask that question kind of like unpack it a little bit. Could you do that?

Greg: Hi sorry. No I was just, this is Greg, I was just curious if you and encountered challenges along the way or things that didn't work quite as well negative as a result to determine what struggles you came up against and how you sort of dealt with that. When I enter urban tactics I think of tactical art of the week. And so you have to be creative in the way you implement them but that doesn't mean that they always work. So I was just curious about the challenges.

Doina: Yeah. Well I think one of the challenge was to come, let's say together at a kind of level of a shared project, because most of the people that came onto the project didn't have any experience of quality practice but they all came with references of, let's say, allotments or facts in guidance in which you are just hitting a plot and you manage it as you watch. And there were lots of conflicts of say individual desires and we have to accommodate so this was one of the challenges. And we tried to put together a mechanism in place to do this like regular meetings in which we discuss all the interested items browsing. But where there was a huge issue around the present of children with items in the garden that not everybody agreed on this because they felt responsible for children that were these African children that were hanging around.

And I think culturally they won't ever come with their parents that were also working during the day. So they came with their older sister that were the ones that sort of would take care of them. And so this is what we recognize also, we recognize the responsibility of their older sister and brothers and we took them seriously. We also kind of asked the children themselves to act as citizens to take responsibilities and in this way I respected them and it was fine. I mean even if they were not condone this type of discipline in children that we are used to. They were completely wild but these brought something important to the project which was a quite challenging energy.

Constantin: I mean this the message is really important to the project [inaudible 23:04] of this account of the people in Whelan because usually it tends to challenge that movement but particularly the people there they have this same values and they have the same reference to in [inaudible 23:20] project. But in other ones after other ones in certain of a tried to up on the project to people who've got really different backgrounds and you imagine there [inaudible 23:38] because our search don't even know from the beginning what kind of rules to, what kind of user guide of the space left to be in shape and left to be proponent. The idea tends to start with the project to [inaudible 24:02] and to discover step-by-step together with other people involved step-by-step to discover the rules in a minimum way so to have a minimum necessary route. And plus trying to discover the best way in our crazy task to establish rules like in homes, like in family so they want us to keep this place clean like in the same stage like he comes to this place so he must close the gate and when he leaves this place because it doesn't mean the gate on the entrance of parents and this space and things like that. So people with different backgrounds and they were able to resume together the space with a minimum conflicts. And this opportunity is not a typical situation but a consumer one.

Doina: Well another of the country where city hall that was a conflict we managed right after we went because we were able at the end to get other spaces that we never at least by this local government the super bowl of the 80s we could would have never managed to get our practice recognized and so as valid as interesting for them. And yeah so we are still somehow in conflict with them and we have an unresolved relationship. But we managed to get them recognized in other places and to provide a favor much more constructive relationship so no other local governments even the second project plays this around this much with some blaze. We had a much better relation with [inaudible 26:44].

Constantin: Yeah but before that maybe it's important to remember there was a sea of conflict some critical moments and when the [inaudible 26:59] because of space because the owner because a railroad company and he doesn't find the advise as building for a big Persian project. And there was a little [inaudible 27:15] of these people who was the key of this space when they buy around the space with 80 other families from the area. So 80 families I made 300 people because they are a big family in this area, maybe more I think. And so they had the key and they don't want to leave this space and so they tried to I evict us by saying yes it's a [inaudible 27:50] project is temporary and you force it to be very strong and to explain a lot of things on a temporary basis.

And some people from some very normal because I review it as very nice thing by literally saying "Yes but I don't want to return home every evening to watch TV." I hear you're able to decide together by also who to invite to what kind of [child speaking] or screening of one they say yeah this program saved my life because of what they mentioned was very important. It was this big space a lot of people they are so ready to find this objectivity. To find connective way and different position, social position to build a gardener, the [inaudible 28:54] it's a matter of decide to [inaudible 28:57]. Usually there was who should honor the position by this society so when we tell them they are unemployed or retiring before the middle age are very long time students because they may not have jobs who made of and this [inaudible 29:18] was able to find a subjectivity. And this is too very important and they start to fight with us in order to keep the project and save the project by this relocation. And this is a real quality for the mention of the project.

Doina: We're just looking at this Web site and the charter position of architecture. And I think we are definitely well for such charter then maybe there is a difference. Because I think we had an experience we kind of – we happen to reconnect charter as an [inaudible 30:15]. But we were fashioned in the experimenting with what arise in order to understand better the process. And at the end we haven't a written a charter and we regret a little bit because it would have been a way of not leaving jus the project and kind of the knowledge that has been internalized but also leaving a trace that can become a record for other generations of the project so.

Constantin: Yeah that could be done with them.

Doina: Hello.

Constantin: You are sleeping.

Scott: Yes. No, no definitely here and listening often writing. Often we'll pause or mute our audio so that if I'm typing it won't overtake the conversation or if someone's typing.

Doina: A couple of instructions I'm just a little…

Constantin: Yeah we can do that. So I tried to show some image and I was better to understand you but what you speak just [inaudible 31:39].

Scott: And just to clarify I think I mentioned or asked some of those questions in succession because I think once Greg had asked about the resistance or pushback that you received I was wondering if specifically one of your goals was to challenge an existing order with your experiments in adult environment. Not too assume that there is a right way to do it or anything like this or where even if that was one of your goals, but I was just curious if it was because in looking over your Web site it seems like on one hand there does seem to be a desire to post challenges they're not necessarily in such a direct outright challenge where that's sort of worn on your sleeve. But at the same time I just want to describe it because I'd like if we can talk about that side of this. And I sent the link to the Camp for Oppositional Architecture and Charter because I was curious sort of where you got stuck on some of those questions.

I mean A for example comes right out and say that they believe in outright dismantle of capitalism or at least fighting against the powers that be through their work as architects. And I was curious if those were some of your goals or if you see what I mean if you had specific goals that you were putting forth.

Doina: Yeah.

Scott: So I guess my question was – well I don't know if that helped to clarify why I was asking that but I guess I can just contextualize it just a little bit in that I think you know through talking with Stephen that we've been talking here for quite awhile about different kinds of artworlds and we're looking at that and we're interested in that, even if they're not self-identified as artworlds. We were really interested in the places where we're afraid of practice getting nurtured and happen and the kinds of structures that people build to create different kinds of procedures for creative life. And our thinking is that artworlds are the place where this happens that allows different kinds of work in the world to happen and it allows different kinds of work she understood as work on some level generally speaking or whatever.

And it seems like we've looked at different, when I say different trends we've looked at artworlds that are built on ideas of open source culture, you know artworlds that are sort of formed around alternative economies artworlds that seek to transform existing institutions where the other hand one seek to succeed entirely [child talking] are so directly oppositional that they can't really integrate with existing systems. And one of the things that we've looked at, I'm only mentioning this is because one of the other existing kinds of artworlds we've been looking at worth talking about are ones that rethink, re-imagine or experiment with the built environment. Maybe even the natural environment too. And you guys definitely do that both of those things. And so I guess I was curious about if you proposed an ultimate goal, not to sort of render you guys black and white or anything like this but if part of your goal of this is that what you help them build, both built and natural, can sustain the kinds of practices, it sounds like you're saying they can. And I guess I just wanted to bring those questions to floor.

Doina: Well I think there is already a quite throw take in habiting existing spaces rather than bending spaces and then transforming them to innovation but also recycle the additions and occupying them in residency the way living them as they were after awhile. So this is a very strong think I would say in terms of occupant towards a big space. But what is not visible and we've managed now to open a window and show some energy is that the social architecture of this project is very important and somehow this is structure to the kind of occupation that we are making as architects. Because behind the – well we propose architectural projects that are processes but that also social processes and a way of representing our project, for example, is through drawing and showing this social network that were formed that were stages within the process that are I think the social structure and the social production of this phase is as important or is even more important than the [inaudible 38:13] production.

So I think this is the particular very important I mentioned of a follower position another [inaudible 38:33] a kind of more than [inaudible 38:37] to contradiction of for the users. Because what happens is what we have done is that we have endorsed some that have matched as the user of the project at the conception and the construction of the project. So it was not asked during the project but to the use of the project the project has changed, has evolved and it still evolves.

Constantin: Someone can help me to explain how to open share a window to show some image.

Scott: Hold on a second.

Constantin: It don't want me to…

Stephen: There's two ways Constantin. One is you can actually a link to where the image is if it's on the internet already or secondly if it's a low resolution file you can simply send it to the people on the chat. You go to in that case you go to Window File Transfers and you transfer the file.

Constantin: Yeah. So it's not say the next part on…

Stephen: You have to grab it. You have to do a screen saver of it and then send it to us.

Constantin: Okay.

Stephen: Constantin if you use grab or if you use a screen save it will be a very low resolution file so it would be not a problem to do that.

Constantin: Yeah.

Doina: Maybe a link we can give – we have the Web site.

Stephen: Yeah a link is good. Ben had a question.

Constantin: I will find the solution and have…

Stephen: Okay.

Constantin: Another way of doing link but just wait you can [inaudible 41:06].

Doina: Yeah I'm trying to read a little bit some of the questions that have arrived.

Stephen: Maybe Ben could actually ask his question because I see that it's a little bit intricate, I think it's quite clear. But Ben are you free to ask that question?

Ben: Yes. Hi there everybody. Yeah I was interested in the references to kind of the use of terminology from Qatari and based on that I was just interested on how you want to talk about the relationship between Quatari concepts and the practices that you're involved in, which sounds really fantastic of course.

But it does seem to me that there is a history of dissent and circulation of these central ideas which is much, much longer than the terminology that you're using. And so really one question is how do you feel that, for example the [inaudible 42:13] enable you to practice in kind of a new way or whether you think you find the terminology useful to describe the practices that you are involved in?

Doina: Well I think that we are using much more Qatari and it's not only by living it but by let's say having contact, direct contact, with the people that practiced it, with people that are not bored. Once the members is getting influence or collaboration or close collaborate and so…

Constantin: I think that's looks good.

Doina: Yea so we are kind of in direct contact with the memory of practice. But I think, and because it's also there are many forums to mean these people to this class and all staff and we situated ourselves quite cautiously in this lineage. So we have tried cautiously to experiment with a transversal for community to create new forms of [inaudible 44:00] in solution because we would love [inaudible 44:04] institution but we try to form, well let's say an alternative where form for validation that has a rule in the background that are managing rather than they are informed. And I think that the rise is – we haven't won bigly with it as a direct cause of it. I think that we use it more as a metaphor or as an autonomy that I think that there are – well constants that were operational in one case and it was like at the end we understood that we had done what [inaudible 45:07]. We experimented with some of these.

Constantin: Yeah. You don't try to apply concept of [inaudible 45:22] from the little ones from the other ones. E tried to create bridge and formation within the experiment of practice architectural, not just architectural but social and cultural. And so you try in time to understand better what you do and in a way you try to develop identity period and don't develop into this practice. I mean it don't try to ply to from solutions in everyday because nobody don't want to follow us in this way. But we try to really leave and thirst them into new life situation together with other people. We try to open new ways to leave in everyday life.

And later when you have time and try to understand better of course you try to give support, to find support from other positions that are within the [inaudible 46:30] and then so other ones. And it's important for us but it's just a way to try to culminate it with other people who view the same references or to create connection by ideas and wage concept back, how to say, it's the other part of our practice is not the more important one. It's important for each one to do and the people and the real time and space and life and the presentation, the communication and the knowledge come later. And then you discover over time in my opinion it would discover later to be Qatari or Thailand or English but it's not labor it's not a brand it's just that there's some coincidences and they're not completely. And I believe it would be rude to be doing that. And we discover the importance of the [inaudible 47:33] scale and the [inaudible 47:34] scale that you discover because you have a practice of or you discover the importance of desire like the support of collective project but the work they come a lot of time later. But it's important.

Ben: Okay thanks a lot for the answer.

Constantin: Okay.

Stephen: Hey Constantin where are those pictures?

Constantin: I sent [inaudible 48:12].

Stephen: You know we're like conafiles here.

Constantin: Yeah. By example what is important for me really for what is real and it's to discover the importance of desire and how you say the [inaudible 48:46] it's something very important as far as [inaudible 48:53] to say the power of the capitalist is to be able to prolong desires to people. What kind of desires, desires to even [inaudible 49:06] desire to have a new iPhone and a desire to have a new car, a trip. There are things right now to say a lot of other [inaudible 49:18] that are important and they're not able to provide desires but I didn't say that. And a need to be important with our practice to be able to prolong desire to ordinary people to run the plan of space to run the plan of fraud.

By inapplicable there are much more, how to say, unemployed people and people who need really some occasion to be find the [inaudible 49:55] but in other programs they're more and more ordinary people, people with jobs, people with family, people who thought to be interesting to find this kind or other desire. And to develop together with them other everyday life practice. So they start to come in the beginning for, I don't know, for a half hour by week and step-by-step they come from two hour by week for everyday with other people. So they changing step-by-step they wait until everyday life which is real important. And it's really self-organizing process nobody don't know who's them and they discover their desires their dimension of this.

Ben: Yeah what you say there reminds me of blocks consideration after the II World War why Marxism has failed to appeal to a wider population and why actually national socialism. And he talked about the warm currents and the cold currents of Marxism, which to me sounds a little bit like what you're saying about desire and the ability of certain ideologies to generate widespread desire or not.

Constantin: And I don't understand your remark yeah. Ben I don't understand your remark. Hello Ben.

Ben: I was saying that your comments on desire and how certain ideologies are able to generate desire sounds a lot like discussions on Marxism in the 1970s and a kind of attempt to move away from what was described as the cold stream of Marxism and to try to reaffirm something more like the warm current and find that elsewhere than simply in economic theory.

Doina: Yeah we kind of had a discussion on the degree about these because we were arguing about what cross gender active which that left us only conduct to revolution or to revolution as a bark but to a kind of more slow and embedded in everyday life confirmation of subjectivity. That might be even more substantial inside.

[Child speaking]

Constantin: So Stephen you don't have questions no. Hello Stephen.

Stephen: Yes yeah. No I do have tons of questions. I have a question actually regarding the variable scales of your practice. I'm still kind of really appreciating what you said about the difference between deductive theory and inductive practice. I think that's a really excellent point and it's something that actually hasn't been pointed out in about 45 weeks of discussion over Plausible Artworlds so I'm really glad that that point has been made.

My question is not about that at all actually it's about the double level in which you intervene. It's on the level of it's always extremely neighborhood based and you've emphasized that that you don't choose the people in your neighborhood it's sort of deal. And that they use and misuse and redefine what it means to use urban space. But at the same time you've decided to do that not only in a neighborhood but kind of in a global neighborhood because if we look on your Web site we see there's a sort of a map of the network of Urban Tactics and we see that you are, I mean you have a project, not you perhaps but people working in kinship in Belfast in Bucharest and around Europe and in Africa in Dakar.

Isn't that kind of doing the splits? Isn't that like the gauntly car between a very local neighborhood no matter how estrogenic or however it is and on a scale of [inaudible child speaking] much beyond. I'm kind of interested to see how and why that's important for you to do that.

Doina: Well I think it's normal to be isolated in your neighborhood and the neighborhood scale is clearly a limitation because it's like a family you are very much depending on the fools in the neighborhood. So from one point of view, and I think that while some projects were doing terrific it's the project thousand it's go beyond the local scale it's in danger to close itself and even to minimize itself by being local. So for us the next one for keeping our practice connected to a letter of similar practice or trans practices was vital and was I would say also a political tactic because in this way we empowered our own practice and we formed it better. I think the network or such type of network it's clearly a way of acting maybe not globally we call this Tran local network, a translocal acting, which is an alternative to globalization I think.

Constantin: And then alternatives to the attention constantly became global and not – it's a scale where you keep the anchoring where the local realities that there are other angles or more [inaudible 57:51] what do you say? What other concernment and this bigger…

Stephen: Issues.

Constantin: …issues. Because you are involved in this very lot of project in their everyday life projects. So it would certainly be the everyday and its rant with kids going Paris and sometimes for something else. So you discover to be practical in a way of which we [inaudible 58:23] to the good work. I think we're limited by the project, by the big dimension of the project. And step-by-step you try to hope to be able to open new direction of our project to act in other case, in other space because there are other concerns, other issues political ones and social ones, important ones too and other case. So in order to be able to act this order case we must create mentors or risings. This is a little for right after this very local experiences which try to move the other little ones that include [inaudible 59:17] people and…

Doina: Also there's a problem in power because all other people we are collaborating with are also conducting local and small projects and they are all about kind of urban action urban resistance. And in this way we neutralize the problems and the findings and also we, yeah it's a little consolidating when we kind of follow each other and we get our practice oh so stronger and better recognize because of this organization.

[Man/child speaking]

Stephen: Scott you had a question there. I don't know whether you want me to ask it for you or are you're probably in a position to ask it now.

Scott: Hey guys I think I can ask. If it starts to get tough then maybe you can take over for me. My main question or the last question I was asking before the scale question came up, or maybe not necessarily before maybe simultaneous, was – oh dear I'm trying to find it just so I can reference but I guess, well I guess the main – I know it's on my mind is that like what do you guys, in all the things that you're talking about that are different approaches to what some people call creative life or approaching the world in different ways, you're not insisting that they do so in a certain way or as artists or as architects or anything like that. But yet when you talk about collective projects, different kinds of collective projects, I think you speak more generally about that. You talk about how, what is it, self-organization through different activities in the everyday can help to build collective desire. I know you guys just, Ben just asked you more about that and you talked a bit about that. But what I guess I'm most curious about is what you feel – you identify yourselves as architects on some – well you are literally licensed architects right.

Doina: Yeah.

Scott: And I'm curious about what you feel your competencies as architects, or as Stephen likes to say incompetencies sometimes, can bring to the equation?

Doina: I understand the question.

Scott: Okay.

Doina: I would translate it a little bit in a different way. So what is this specificity let's say of our contribution to the project as architects yes? Would you agree with this?

Scott: Yes.

Doina: Yeah because I think we have some skills and which I think was quite effective for such a project. One was the knowledge of all the kind of knowledge infrastructure to place things for some publicity and then the knowledge of occupying it in a way that allowed at the same time quite a lot of freedom to others to conform the space but also we brought a framework which made the project more sustainable and the whole idea of mobility and the kind of necessity to also the use of pallets that were in fact quite minimum amount that didn't cost anything, but at the same time it kind of produced a lot yet it produced a garden of lots extensile organization that we made by rearranging the pile of pallet that was always there so that the space was in a continual constellation publication.

So I think this was one of the skills that we brought the project. I think it was also an organization skill that as architects we have which is as I say because we are very kin in making roles so far which are not always special we were careful about the social structure in the project and we were also able to visualize it and we need to discuss all this with us. We used also a lot of visual literacy to guidance us at another violation to the project. And other projects became even more complex in terms of the let's say the big aspects of the project that we have done in the physics in the [inaudible 1:05:52] which is called Passage 66 involved some building while many were building were still building that I think would as occupants we were able to give design and to design again in a way that allows transformation, allowed dismantling and…

Constantin: And this is a very important because I translate in way this catching in another way what architecture is and an architect way. In the beginning of our practice a lot of people they ask us but you have a real practice like architect and our answer is yeah this is our practice like architects. And we explain why our practice is architecture and some people agree are on the socialist like [inaudible 1:07:11] or other ones are a conscious of our practice to be more architecture comparing with the normal way to do business. And one of the things is building another and the ordinary people where are they or are they are already in another project and step-by-step they exchange our image about what architecture is and about what the secret is what urban space is.

And I believe it's very important in the beginning you are less considered like architect by the professional one if you are in France and you are the more supported by artistic cultural institutions so we got a lot to learn. And after step-by-step there's a lot of I don't know political decisioner or the young architect early time they are more and more interested in what you do and they try to open new field. So in a way you develop what you call institutional practice in the professional world of architect. And you tried to return to a renew the production of space to political. Architecture is not just a jumbo of architects it's a big architecture is not look at [inaudible 1:08:45]. And in the normal tradition culture of the production of space it was a business of everybody and the political business of business of everybody. So it's a problem of [inaudible 1:09:00]. So you try to open the process, the architectural through other people who they're able to produce space all their life.

So it's not normal to cook for yourself, it's normal to choose and to render your moves, it's normal to produce your space not just a consumed space. So this equilibrium between production and consumption of space it's very important too. And he include dimension of democracy constructed together in quality way. He include dimension of subjectivity as the space of equal they are able to find subjectivities and [inaudible 1:09:40]. So it's more architectural in a way our space.

Doina: Yeah I see also questions from Steve asking what some of the users brought to the project is. And I think they brought content. And we took the use very seriously, in fact the content of our architectural projects in the sense that we have built as the project was used so that a number for moderns appeared in the midway to the project where new users were necessary, where people wanted to have a kitchen and we built a kitchen. A lot of the kids wanted to have a really rain waterfall in the shape of a flower and we helped him to build it.

So I would say we have taken people's desires seriously and associated them to the conception of the space that they were already using. Yeah is there anything else that we have…?

Stephen: I think Scott asked a question which I also would like to kind of elaborate on because I think it kind of links to this idea that users brought content. When people – I think it was an excellent point too – the people would say to you well so what do you actually do as architect because it's not serious? You're talking about architecture but where is your skyscraper? Where is the opera house that you've built?

Constantin: They're in the Dubai.

Stephen: Yeah exactly. Where is your in Abu Dubai? And you're saying like we're talking about people being in control of their living space and it's like we don't own a Five Star restaurant all we're saying is that people should cook their own dinner. But are you saying in that sense that when people exchange ideas in a kind of a meaningful way that what they're engaged in is something like architecture? Is this like a discursive form of architecture talking about the space in which you live in order to transform in a performative way? Is that what you mean by expanded architecture?

Doina: Well I think this too but not only. I think that we went beyond just talking about…

Stephen: No, no I don't mean that. But let's say the minimum thing because of course you went beyond I mean much beyond…

Doina: But the others too they were really involved in doing. I think this was very, very important but they were keeping making things, if it was only enough to move these pallets and to rearrange them in different way in order to get the space for their party or for fear that they were very motivated to have. We had also dormitories that were made out of a time were books were coming and…

Constantin: I want to answer with the kitchen. In this kind of space, in the space where this limited we found that a lot of amazing uses. They cooked together, the organized themselves flea market and organized themselves also to recycling and for a DJ session, etc, a lot of things impossible to be developed in further architectural space. And you know from [inaudible 1:14:28] how to settle his [inaudible 1:14:31] space and his space is produced by the fuses. And in our space when people that are able to produce a lot of [inaudible 1:14:39] so to produce spaces impossible to develop and in others public or private space. So it's not architecture.

Doina: There is another question here about, which is a quite concrete question from our queue, if we have been commissioned to work is this okay or are we initiated it ourselves without an organization? The Echo Books project was self-initiated but we negotiated a temporary use. So we had a kind of free lease for two years from the [inaudible 1:15:34] company. And this was very important because it was not a swatch without authorization and the fact that it was not like this that it was a kind of real application allowed people that were quite skeptical about being part of illegal projects to part of the project.

So we had even people without papers that found secure in our project, people that didn't have absolutely any political training that they were very, very ordinary people that would fear any exposure. Little by little they got interested and started to understand the joy, I would say, of being together and learning together, thinking together and they claimed together with us again on other spaces. But they were other projects in which we have been invited. I won't say commissioned because in fact we're not paid much. We were invited to define projects to mediate between existing initiatives and spaces to open up spaces.

This was the case in the 23rd of this month again with some [inaudible 1:17:22]. And somehow it continues with other in new [inaudible 1:17:29] and we are living off in this year again in the 20th of this month where we kind of generated a much more faster relation with the local government. Well not with everybody but with even the five persons in the local government that kind of understood the interest of such projects.

Constantin: Sorry with the other number I tried to connect you to and to show some image. Do you see the text about [inaudible 1:18:10]?

Stephen: Where's that Constantin sorry?

Constantin: With [inaudible 1:18:18].

Stephen: Okay hang on.

Constantin: Basekamp team analyst I tried to call.

Stephen: Okay. We have to wait for Scott to come back because we don't have access to that one. So he'll get that and he'll see I guess.

Constantin: So it's some future one so with the other one I tried to hold onto the clever of the cloud.

Stephen: Okay got you.

Doina: Clever.

Constantin: Clever Island to show some image.

Stephen: Okay. Maybe you could say something about what you're looking to do now? What's the kind of future for – because I guess one of the critiques that would be, I mean since I know you I wouldn't make this critique but I guess if I didn't know you, you could say one of the critiques of this kind of initiative is that however well meaning it can be easily kind of absorbed by an overarching recapitalization of urban space. Artists have often been manipulated and architects too in rejuvenating public space for investment purposes. And we've seen that happen in Paris and it's kind of an ongoing problem I guess in every space. So how do you answer that? How do you avoid that kind of a problem? I know Greg was asking earlier about the kinds of challenges you've faced but there's a real challenge obviously one in which you have an answer to.

Doina: How do we contribute to [inaudible 1:20:23]?

Stephen: No not how you contribute, how do you avoid contributing to it?

Doina: Yeah, yeah.

Stephen: How do you stand outside of it? How do you respond in an interesting way to that challenge?

Doina: Yeah because I think that the programs the type of activities that we are generating are, and the type of let's say users that are attracting by these activities there are those that are resisting the [inaudible 1:21:00]. And they identify themselves with this talented spaces which are not in our pool necessarily and they are also exposed to political debates that are critical and that are clearly questioning the situations. So it's not that they're not spaces for leisure and just for having fun but they're spaces of knowledge and political production. And I would compare it with - Echo Books for example we were very cautious of instead of, let's say we negotiated to leave a big space which it was clearly it was impossible to stay there, and we negotiated instead three other spaces. And now the new negotiation there are other spaces that were also claimed.

So instead of having one space there are now seven spaces in the area. And I think it was a multiplication rather than a multiplication of occupations of spaces that are kept even if only for awhile out of the real estate market, out of the beautification. And so yeah I think that from this point of view it's like a strategic, we have transformed tactics into strategies strategic occupation of space for other types of companies that are resisting [inaudible 1:23:22].

Constantin: In another way what you try to do, but I completely agree with your observation I believe to be a very useful one. It is a danger to be recreated to be [inaudible 1:23:37] and of constant to general danger with a lot of things. And in our case you try to be very careful in a very naïve way. In a more strategical tactical way you try to infiltrate the system. And in a Quatarian way what you try to do too is you try to provoke business oblige the people that keep it in the system they are broken by their everyday lifestyle. They don't have time, they don't have desire, they have a full agenda, they have things to be done, they have problems, they have kids, etc.

So in the very first moment you try to create condition to create an opportunity for them to be free to what you call it these are some blogs to escape from this system step-by-step and to be a reassemble together with others one in the new ways. So of course it's a risk to be manipulated or to be…

Doina: Appropriated.

Constantin: …appropriated, but if you create what I would call a [inaudible 1:25:11] illusion then I mean all the people there they know what they want to do. And the risk is smaller. So it's like I don't know it's a topical way but it's what you try to do after you try to obtain other spaces and by collaborating with some [inaudible 1:25:37] but they often might want. And with a lot of habitant we tried to develop a [inaudible 1:25:45] but this kind of space in order to be able to leave to have dealings and competitive ones to have economical activities and to leave with outside from the system. So we tried to develop more alternative way to leave I don't know.

Doina: Yeah I will put it in another way and trying to answer also your question about what are the plans now? How we get a lot bit further. And the plans are to go ahead with this idea of a strategy, with this idea of a networking phases rather than us having individual spaces that are managing according to availability of land. But to kind of think about complimentary roles that this spaces can have and to polarize also existing initiatives, not only to generate initiatives from the space out that the space that we are creating out, but to polarize existing organization that have interesting initiatives around the network.

And we want to as Constantin said, to not only, because especially negotiated now there are spaces in which people are coming during sleep time, when they are working and living in the system, let's put it like this, and they are just coming to be buried themselves in their free time with these activities of gardening or screening or chatting. And we were thinking but what about going harder and leaving in a different way, proposing activities in which people can work, leave, and create in a different way, which means that maybe we have to think at dwellings or maybe we have to think at working spaces that can be integrated in a strategy.

And so we are working towards this and also we try to think about this networks more ecologically and try to create locally close they're different cycles between the networks the relations with which bases are not realized by exchanges. Yeah they're not only spaces that are in connection with each other in ideological connection that materialized by circulations of matter, of people, of energy, of jobs, of information. This is why we call [inaudible 1:29:51] which means at the same time were bound a way of retrofitting recycling the re-band but also a kind of connection or a recognition of the urban with the [inaudible 1:30:08].

Constantin: Did you receive the image?

Scott: Yes I was just receiving them before now and I'm about to upload those three.

Constantin: Yeah they are mopping controversy of each page and a localize person. What is important Stephen to, and I try to complete what she's saying, which is this capacity to provoke political raptions after we leave some projects the people they are run and then send the space is on the project but they are able to reclaim right and spaces. And this is very important it's like the right to the city, it's a right to organize the city to decide in the local and a political way what exactly the city could be. We decided together by habitant. And so it's a risk to be manipulated or appropriate this lesson this way. But you have a lot of patience we don't know we are not sure.

Scott: Yeah.

Doina: Yeah maybe we take more questions if they are anymore.

Stephen: Could you describe just really quickly some of the projects which are happening outside of Paris, like I don't know the Belfast Project and the Berlin Project, the Dakar Project, the Bucharest. Not in detail with Paris but just to give us an idea of if how we might collaborate with you if we don't live in Paris and what we might suggest or what you're interested in developing.

Doina: The project in Romania I will start with this one because this one is the first one. In fact it was even before the Echo Box was based in a town in the mountain, which was a town that was really facing the past communist economical and political transformation. And it was a small town of 7000 co-habitants that had just had one factory that was closing. And they were really concerned with the economy; at least we thought that they were concerned. We a good contact there which was a friend of us that had initiated a single [inaudible 1:33:44] what was called the Foundation for Local [inaudible 1:33:47]. And she wanted to have a kind of information unique where people can find out about what jobs are available in this. It's a town that has still a quite strong growing economy and there are kind of seasonal temporary jobs available the whole year, but they are not – people are not informed about what is available.

So this was one and the other was sort of a big awful one just to showcase the different skills that exist in the city and even a different community was also strong gypsy community living on the outskirts of the town. And we imagined this information unit in which all the parts of the unit were representing some knowledge and existing skills present in the city. And there were also products on selling and there were again products that were local products or products that people would make in a little kind of domestic formula that are goat cheese, jams, or stuff like this, which we guided into – it was really to carry after the tourists so acting that they would become aware of what's going on in the city and also that they would contribute a little bit to the economy.

And everything went okay until a moment when we realized that the city called and said it was supposed to be a partner was starting to subtract the product on the [inaudible 1:36:16]. And this was because there was some interest on the site that it was in fact offered in the beginning by the people itself. But within the city there were conflicting interest that were hidden and we were not aware. So at the moment the product was almost finished almost been offered with again a stove made by [inaudible 1:36:59] older the wood work made by people who were unemployed that they were working the factory that got closed. It was also a green wall showing the different local plants of the area.

So all this was the knowledge after we left and we knew that it's not enough to kind of create agency that will generate the energy of spending but what is important is exactly what we both knew exactly what we feel electable just to have this long period in our mutual learning and explanation of what are the benefits of such a project and the kind of thing sharing the [inaudible 1:37:57] and the project with all those inborn indicating, including the city bowl and probably the right word using the city bowl. So this was a big lesson.

In the Dakar this was a project that I have been more involved in confronting because I often was like student Sheffield that worked for a whole year on this project of [inaudible 1:38:33] that women of the organization in the Dakar region were, let's say the growth, were crafted in an international organization called resolve the [inaudible 1:39:01] secret stuff where [inaudible 1:39:06] was a leader. [Inaudible 1:39:13] is a quite fond of [inaudible 1:39:16] she was a spoken professional for the [inaudible 1:39:21]. So she returned to synagogue and what she had done is to kind of revise the women movement and wasn't maybe movement it was too much it was a woman of an organization. But I tend to spend everyday life.

So while it was the project and it initially was to build 300 houses for women that are the kind of holder of that household for different reasons who are either the report or that particular woman, which is quite unusual and much in country yeah. So it was political from the very beginning and also being organized in order to obtain a mortgage from a social back and then with this money to have access to land. And what we have done is they didn't have money to build and we discussed with them we decided that they should go and tend bending and they should learn techniques of bending. So what we have done with a student when I went into that car was to organize a workshop, a [inaudible 1:41:13] workshop in which we have experimented with different buildings which mean that they weren't interested in because we had done a catalog that they had considered online. And they have children which technically they wanted to learn. And well besides this the students had started the different proposals for [inaudible 1:41:37] farm for the whole year and some of them have passed their Masters with this project. So this was Drakar.

Constantin: But maybe too long. What is important all this area project it was to have different kind of experiences and different political economical context.

Week 46: Ontological Walkscapes

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week, with any luck, we’ll be talking with Karen Andreassian, an ambulant artist based in Yerevan, Armenia, and initiator of a number of collective undertakings in and about the post-Soviet landscape, including Voghchaberd and Ontological Walkscapes, which will be included in the “Blind Dates Project”, opening later this week in New York City.

http://voghchaberd.am/
http://www.ontologicalwalkscapes.format.am

http://blinddatesproject.org/

As its name suggests, “Blind Dates” is more or a matchmaking than curated project, pairing up artists and non-artists from “what remains” of the peoples, places and cultures that once constituted the diverse geography of the Ottoman Empire (1299-1922). Andreassian’s own contribution is a fragment of his ongoing Ontological Walkscapes project — an invisible but undeniable form of dissent-by-walking against the current regime and its oligarchs.

Inspired by the “factography” practices of the Russian avant-garde (LEF 1923) Andreassian examines two apparently unrelated phenomena in contemporary Armenia: the slow disappearance of 1970s Soviet-Armenian architecture and the shrinkage of public spaces due to the construction boom during the last decade; and the peaceful protests which led to the forceful dispersion of the demonstrators during the last post-presidential election at Azatutyoun [Freedom] Square. With both, the artist takes on the role of a “walker” through whom personal stories of ordinary citizens create a map of places (social space) that are neglected, forgotten, or have disappeared.

Ontological Walkscapes is itself an extension of Andreassian’s also ongoing Voghchaberd project, in which he does literally nothing but accompany a small village near Yerevan as its inhabitants — historically escapees of the 1916 Genocide — cope with the slow but irrevocable collapse of their geological landscape, following an earthquake in 1995, which mirrors the parallel collapse of their geopolitical landscape with the demise of the Soviet Union. Andreassian is the focusing device for a project of which the village inhabitants are the self-organized coauthors.

 

Transcription

Week 46: Ontological Walkscapes

Scott: So Kathy just picked up an email and this is our first time trying it. It's like as soon as you turn on a mic it polarizes everything you say. So yeah, hey Stephen so you want to hear what Karen ultimately said? And we'll just sort of start this off informally because we have three people on the line and everybody hear me already.

Stephen: Scott I think you're going to have to move closer to the mic.

Scott: Oh yeah.

Male: I can't hear anything.

Scott: Hello.

Stephen: Yeah.

Scott: How about this is this better?

Stephen: That's good.

Male: Yeah that's better.

Scott: All right. I'll figure it out I haven't figured out how to use this yet. But yeah anyway.

Stephen: So you were saying something about what you found out from Karen.

Scott: Yeah so basically Karen finally showed up in New York about eight hours late and the two curators there they were like yeah we don't know what's going on but part of his stick is that he does these sorts of disappearing acts. So I guess they were sort of wondering if well by stick I meant he takes these walks right and he can sort of take a variable amount of time taking them I guess. And so they had no idea what was happening. So basically he showed up and so we were able to talk to him and he said well he didn't really want to do Skype from there he didn’t' really feel equipped to do it even though Quinton offered to go up and help facilitate it and everything but felt that Stephen could adequately describe his work.

So anyway can you guys still hear me okay?

Stephen: Yeah

Scott: Awesome.

Male: I can hear.

Scott: Okay. So yeah that's the way we left it. And somehow it sounded by at least filtered through the two curators there that this was sort of part of what he wanted to do. He agreed that it would be a good idea to have you sort of stand in for him Stephen.

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: Interesting. And also we have Sam coming at a little after 7:00 now around 7:15 it sounds like so we'll do a double feature I guess. So anyway I pasted in this description earlier and Greg and Matthew saw that. I could start to read this out if that would be helpful. What do you think? Hey Stephen would you prefer to sort of talk about these projects a little bit or would it be better for me to introduce by reading this out loud?

Stephen: What I wrote you mean o?

Scott: Yeah I mean it's a little bit of an unusual way to start for us but I think its part of what happens when…

Stephen: Yeah.

Scott: I don't know I thought a full moon but I'm not sure what happens.

Stephen: Yeah okay. So if I understand correctly he's not coming is that right?

Scott: That is correct.

Stephen: Okay. So there's no chance that he's going to show up? No.

Scott: Not before we're finished. Actually there is a chance that he'll show up before we're finished but there's no good chance because they didn't show up in New York until like 4:30 and they were supposed to get there in the morning.

Stephen: Okay. How is that possible?

Scott: I actually don't know.

Stephen: Okay. Well I'm a little taken aback by this I must say, but maybe I could say a few things because I have collaborated with Karen on the two projects which she was supposed to talk about. And I have written about those so maybe I am kind of in a position to have some thoughts on them. I mean obviously it's not the same thing as talking to him because I collaborate with him whereas he initiated those projects.

Scott: Right exactly. And I mean he will actually be here. Oddly they'll both arrive probably after we're done…

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: …just because they're staying here. So I think that's…

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: So I think that's the deal. I mean we also will be talking with Sam so at any point we can move on to talking about Red 76 as well. But it still seemed interesting enough. I mean this was written up and it seems like a very interesting project so it'll be awesome to talk about a little bit if you feel up for it.

Stephen: Oh for sure. Let me talk about it in this order then. First let me talk about the conditions under which I first met Karen and then I've co-authored two books with Karen. The first one is called "Remaining Time" and the second one is called "Ontological Watch Groups". Actually that title was actually my title originally which we developed together. I'll describe that a little bit how that worked. In 2005 I was invited to be part of a conference in the Ukraine and I gave a talk about what I call Competing Ontological Landscapes, in other words when fictional landscapes are superimposed on physical geographical landscapes, and about the kind of ontological chauvinism that takes place when different predatory ontology's come into contact with other ones.

If doing art criticism and talking about art in a kind of a different way. What's interesting is that immediately after I gave my talk this guy I'd never heard of before was asked to talk. And we all discovered at that moment, he'd been asked by an art journalist, Spanish art journalist which he'd been collaborating to give a talk and what we discovered at that moment was that he didn't speak English at all. In fact he had been communicating with the art journal through his translator which is his wife which he's with in the United States. And in fact he speaks Russian and Armenian but he speaks them with a very severe stutter. And when he's speaking these very sudden cracks emerge in his discourse. The way people stutter and there's that kind of a gap that emptiness between sentences.

And it's very interesting that that's the case because what he was talking about was a very particular dual political situation in the former Soviet Union. So you have to remember that Karen was born and grew up in the Soviet Union and was in his late 40s when the Soviet Union collapsed politically. In the early 1990s the very day that the Soviet Union collapsed this just as a political project there was a terrible earthquake in the southern part of the Union in Armenian near Yerevan and they're the capital. And this town that was about 15 kilometers outside of the capital which was highly appreciated by the members of the Nomenkaltura at the time where they built their datches because that had good hair and good water and so on. The terrible earthquake hit that town and it literally collapsed asunder. All the datches collapsed. The entire town sort of collapsed. There were huge fishers emerged in the roads absolute devastation. And what's interesting is that it happened the very day that the Soviet Union collapsed politically. So you had almost a geological representation of the geopolitical collapse of well I guess the largest country in the world at that time.

And what happened was the big wigs like the Soviet big wigs they cut their losses. They just left their datches in ruins and moved on to the new neoliberal system that replaced communism and went onto sort of privatize all the datches plus the naturalized businesses. The people who lived in the town, I mean the farmers and the peasants, were told by the experts that in fact they had to evacuate the village because things were never going to get better. Now what the earthquake had done was it destroyed the bedrock of that mountainside and it was really just nothing but dirt now and it was inevitably going to collapse more and more, and they couldn't live there anymore. The government offered them a reconvinced of I think about $200 or $250 dollars to go and live someplace else. Now the interesting thing about those people is that they had not been living in that village, their families hadn't been there for hundreds of generation right, they'd actually moved there within living memory because they were refugees from what is called Westerner Media, which is the eastern part of what's now Turkey refugee of the Genocide of 1915, 1916. I mean to escape that they're ancestors had and they moved to this village and became farmers.

So these people were in no way inclined to like move out and move on. So they hung in there and they held their ground literally, they held their ground even as that ground continued to collapse beneath them. And every morning when they wake up they go outside and they see a new fisher has sort of cut the roadway in half, it's really quite an amazing thing and that hear that sound of the collapse. But there's a kind of an upside to it, if I could call it an upside, it is that what happened is the soil itself has been transformed and pushed upwards and it's become an incredibly fertile area for organic farming production, which of course is increasingly on demand in Armenian as everywhere else. And so these people, despite the fact that they're homes are being like permanently wrecked even as they rebuild them, are actually doing fairly well in terms of their vegetables and fruit production. It's a very, very interesting case of what's happening in the post Soviet landscape, which is precisely what is of interest Karen Andreasyan and which was of interest to me as well because I was talking about these ontological landscapes and I mean I wasn't talking about physical landscapes I was really talking about what happens when fiction comes into contact with reality.

And so we went to collaborate on that. And what Karen does as an artist is really nothing whatsoever. Actually I remember in a previous talk here I described what he does at sweet fuckle.

Scott: I remember that. So Stephen but he does do – I'll pull that link up actually and send that to everybody, but I mean he does do something right.

Stephen: He does.

Scott: Right.

Stephen: What he does is he accompanies that village in its collapse and he accompanies the people who live there in their journey accompanying that collapse. He doesn't actually intervene, he doesn't actually build roads or he doesn't do paintings of collapse, or occasionally he does document what's going on and he takes photographs and he's done some video, but those are really just sort of bi-products of an observation or accompanying process. What it is, is that he doesn't say that it's his artwork he just simply says we can look at this incredible metaphoric potential through what these people are doing and my naming it as an artist as a kind of an artistic not as an artwork. But as sort of the art critical lens which we've developed over the history of art we are looking at this it's kind of the essence.

Scott: Yeah hey Stephen I think we had a little lag for a second.

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: And we're back.

Stephen: Yeah. So I don't know exactly where I got cutoff but it's basically his presence as an artist, his role, is just being there and accompanying those people or accompanying that village in its collapse and accompanying those people in their incredible kind of trajectory. And that project was an object of a book which we did together called "Remaining Time" in reference to the [inaudible 16:17]. It entirely just sort of collapses because of the erosion of the underground river beds led to a very different project when it came into collision with an unexpected turn of political events.

[Inaudible audio breaking up]

Stephen: Anyone else.

Scott: Yeah we're here. I don't know if you saw that but the last few sentences, actually the audio interested sounded like you were stuttering. And at first I wasn't sure if you just really were and then it started fragmenting out to the point where we were pretty sure that it wasn't that and then you got cutoff.

Stephen: Okay. No I'm not given to [inaudible breaking up]. In public space, public expression it's just a way of life as people's life has become much more difficult since the end of the Soviet Union. I mean the Soviet Union was obviously a disastrous political culture but it provided a certain potential for, I don't know, development in life that has literally disappeared with neoliberal capitalism. And it's palpable each time I return every year and a half or so to our meeting to see the general decline, the general rising in frustration and general depression.

Two and a half years ago there was a presidential election the election was totally rigged and the man who was proclaimed President at the end of it obviously had engaged in massive electoral fraud and was not, well of course we know these sorts of things is not specific to places like Armenia it happens in very large and old republics all over the place, but it led to very large demonstrations and those demonstrations went on and on and on until the government ordered that they be stopped or that the army to fire live bullets on the demonstrators which they did; they killed at least 10 people. Demonstrations were banned and this is where the project that Karen will be presenting a fragment of in New York began, is that they wanted at once to stop the demonstrations but maintain a return to normalcy. And so they couldn't simply say that people were not allowed to walk in the streets they just were not allowed to demonstrate in the streets.

And so what developed was I think one of the most original and yet invisible forms of political dissent which has emerged over the last little while is that in one of the central parts of Yerevan people just began to walk. In other words, they would meet every night at about 7:00 and they would just walk around and around and around this circle in the park. They wouldn't have banners, it wasn't a demonstration it was simply walking, but it was walking political because the regimen knew fully well what these people were doing but it couldn't exactly demonstrate or prove that that's what they were doing because it didn't look like they were doing anything except walking because they weren't doing anything except walking. But they were walking with a political intent. And I think what struck Karen about that and it's certainly what struck me about it is that that's very close resemble, this kind of invisibility but undeniability is very similar to something which happened to art in the course of Modernity is that things could actually become, while remaining what they are could become propositions of what they are.

And so it was in this way that the ontological walkscape that Karen is so interested in actually began. It's a form of, not I think of political walking, but of walking political. And it's ontological in the sense that it's both a walk and a proposition of a walk. It's both a walkscape, so just plain it is what it is as minimal artists used to say, and at the same time it has a double ontological status it's also with this political dimension. Yeah that's right they're ontological is that they're both a thing and also a proposal about walking right and a proposal about a different way to do politics. So there's a lot to say about that but that's kind of the basics. But this is also linked to an ongoing research project which Karen has been carrying collectively first of all with these students and then with a lot of other people about walking as a way of perceiving and reading and understanding the transformation of the post Soviet landscape understanding it as a walkscape.

There's been like the new regimen which has come to power, which is basically a bunch of oligarchs who are sort of selling off cheap mining rights and just about everything there is in Armenia to foreign companies there is a particular hatred towards anything that looks remotely like modernist Soviet architecture, and particularly a hatred of anything that looks like the 1970s Soviet architecture. And of course this is something which we've noticed across Europe as well, I'm talking about in capitalist here, is there's a particular hatred with the 1970s. Also in the United States when Nicholas Sarkozy became President of France he declared war on May 1968. He said that his presidency would put that legacy to rest once and for all. So that hatred of 1970s of collectivism, that hatred of protest, of rethinking the machines of desire which we are is the sort of thing we should [inaudible breaking up].

Scott: Oh no you're starting to break up again just now.

Stephen: Sorry.

Scott: You just started breaking up right now.

Stephen: Okay I'll continue.

Scott: Just now, just at the beginning of that sentence.

Stephen: Okay. Well what I was saying is…

Scott: Better now yeah.

Stephen: …1970s particularly palpable in a place like Armenia. And not only [inaudible 25:41] because Karen actually lacks these sort of very angular concrete [inaudible 25:48] it's the truth of the development of that country. I mean no matter what you think of the Soviet experience it was almost a century long experience in Armenia and it's eraser is surely not a way of moving forward but really a way of just repressing something which will return in form. So he's engaged these practices of walking political, not only as a form of at once invisible but undeniable political dissent but also a way of receiving sort of the devastation of the post Soviet landscape across the country. And I think that's what he will be presenting in New York, although I don't exactly know because I haven't spoken to him about what he's showing in New York. But I believe that it's a project around the proposed destruction of a valadrone, in other words of a bicycle track, in downtown Yerevan. It was built in the late 1960s a very beautiful example of this modernist Soviet concrete based architecture. And of course which will be replaced either by luxury housing for the lucky few or even more probably by a orthodox church built of course with traditional stone material and made to look it had been there forever. This sort of example of an invented tradition, which in fact is just a post modern imposition of a kit style design to ensure greater writer logical control.

So he's not so much interested in documenting that kind of idea the rise of ideological control through collusion between the orthodox church and the oligarchs in political power in cahoots of course with trans national capital, but more interested in looking at, focusing on this post Soviet landscape and the remaining examples of that Soviet architectural style. And that's also an image which I find particularly interesting and particularly interesting to explore it, not so much through the use of video or photography but through the use of walking. And he links this to - and this is I'll just end my little presentation here maybe we can have a discussion now my monologue's been going on long enough – links it to a very, very interesting movement in the 1920 Soviet [inaudible 28:45] which is called Factography.

Factography was kind of a derivative of the entire constructivist movement in the '20s in the Soviet Union and it's a sort of predecessor but an extremely incisive predecessor to what would become the documentary practices that emerged in the 1970s and '80s in which they actually become dominant components of the artworld today. And it's a kind of a focus on facts but facts not of something which were given but facts are something which are produced. And his particular take on factography is that facts can be also produced through walking, and that's something in which I think he's developed quite a lot. It's interesting that he's doing this and it's not, let me just say, it's not political neutral or even artistically neutral within the context of the former Soviet Republics. The imminent art critic and historian from Russia Boris Royce has this very strange tendency to somehow equate Soviet experience with the Stalin experience. See Stalin not so much as the destruction of the Soviet Union but of its essence incarnate. And Karen Andreasyan and may other people have, or at least many of his friends, have a very different take on the Soviet experience which they found in the 1920s. They had factography constructiveness was found to be a very powerful and progressive political experience and one with which they were and also groups like [inaudible 30:32] at the summit in New York to renew with that incredible [inaudible 30:41 audio broke up].

Scott: We heard you at incredible.

Stephen: Sorry.

Scott: You stopped at incredible. It went incredible [static sound]. That might have sounded like real static. Hey Stephen I'm actually here trying to…

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: …give a sense of how it sounded at first. But it probably sounded like real static to you in return.

Stephen: Yeah a little bit. Anyways that's obviously what I wanted to say. I just wanted to say that [inaudible 31:44 breaking up] to the stance Mudley sort of expressive art production that's going on in Armenia today because he's taking a very clear. I mean he's not even what might be loosely called as sort of post conceptual artist. It's really a kind of, I mean you could call him post conceptual except that it's not sure, at least in his opinion there wasn't a kind of conceptual art previously.

So the question remains then can you be post conceptual without their having been conceptualism. And which is why I think he is much more inclined to lay claim to that factographic experience which he reinvigorates through walking political what he calls his ontological walkscapes. So anyway that's kind of my take on his practice which is inherently conceptual obviously which is inherently collectiveness and his inherently yet invisibly political.

Scott: Yeah it's always an interesting question about. I mean if you don't mind me saying this it's always an interesting question. When people want to talk about art within these kinds of, well separating it into isms you know, or kind of era based ideas of art, because there definitely is there a zeitgeist at different points and there are also people working in similar enough ways to be able to classify it. But at the same time it's not always happening in all regions. And so when someone's working regionally it's funny to talk about modernism in a nation that has never been modernized. It's a…

Stephen: Well [inaudible 34:01]. There was a Soviet modern [breaking up]. Armenia had embraced modernity. I mean with strong tradition a desire to rationalize the public space. Of course the political system per say had never slowly involved the modernity it was repressive political system. Modernity in terms of arts and modernity in terms of social morass and so on was definitely a part of Armenian experience. It is now in post modernity is equated with Soviet totalitarianism for obvious ideological reasons and this sort of post modern neo limber mindset has decided, and that's the reason it's decided to drive out every last remananet and trace of Soviet modernity and form particularly the architecture that I was talking about.

Scott: Yeah Stephen just to clarify, I mean I definitely wasn't saying that that applied to that region but if you know what I mean. It was just to give some sort of sense, maybe a more direct sense, because conceptualism isn't really easy to say "Well have conceptualism happened to a region." Whereas it's a lot easier to say that modernity had happened to a region. And I find it interesting sometimes when let's say certain countries in Africa when people are making post modern work there's that similar kind of disjoint, if you know what I mean. I think that's the only reason I brought that up.

Stephen: Oh okay.

Scott: Sorry the static was actually so bad during the second half of what you said I couldn't tell if you actually did get it or not. Cool. Yeah today's a really weird day for a lot of people.

Male: Is here there?

Scott: Oh yeah I think so he's writing now I can tell he's writing.

Stephen: I'm here I just didn't want to monopolize the amount of the speech. I mean if someone else has stuff to add or to say on something else. I think Sam is going to show up at some point.

Scott: Yeah Sam should be here really soon. So you know I posted that link to ontological landscapes on the Basekamp Web site.

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: I don't know if you saw that but here's the short URL or ontological walkscapes.

Stephen: Okay great.

Scott: I was using the other text for the landscapes. But yeah but I didn't post the information about Sam or about Red 76 because we hadn't really cleaned it up yet.

Stephen: Right.

Scott: But I think we can bring up his, when I say his Web site, the Web site of the main project that same has representing Red 76 is part of.

Stephen: Yep.

Scott: And I don't want to move onto it too quickly but yeah you're right he should be here pretty soon just for people who want to get started. But yeah like definitely it would be great to talk with Karen and we'll be talking with him when he comes here tonight.

Stephen: No but he's a fascinating character. There's lots of things about his work that I didn't mention. One key aspect of it is, in fact Karen doesn't - what I mean is he does lots of things. He's a very industrious energetic hardworking person on the one hand. What he doesn't do is create things. I mean if you like – factography it's about producing facts but it's not about creativity. And I think that Karen stands about the sort of creative economy that has urban, I mean among other things, within our [inaudible 39:06]. It definitely feels that art has no track with that kind of – essentially art has never had has anything with exclusivity or creativity.

I know that seems like kind of a hard line position and it's one that I like to raise in those exact terms but it's interesting to hear how he, he doesn't talk in genatotic terms, negotiates that way of being a practicing artist without creating things rather by accompanying processes, walks, and other geological collapses.

Scott: Yeah but you know Stephen it would definitely be – I'd like to know more about that coincidental geological collapse. I mean I had heard that sort of but I'd really heard it described the way you described it. The very next day you were saying after the collapse of the '78 Union. I mean it's just…

Stephen: Yeah literally.

Scott: Yeah.

Stephen: Literally Gorbachev was trapped in his datches Putin took control in Moscow just the Soviet Union was disintegrating as a political project, not as a political project, as a geo political giant it was collapsing asunder. And that same day the Village of Folk Everage collapsed and the terrible earthquake all across the southern caucus and the City of folk Everage collapsed n the theologically nearing the geopolitical collapse completely collapsed upon itself and all the datches all just turned into rubble in seconds. There is a Web site that you can Karen has a Web site it's…

Scott: Vocal Bard or the ontological walkscapes or blind dates.

Stephen: No voch everette.

Scott: Voch everette okay. Vochbird now I know. Yeah I thought it was.

Stephen: Vochbird exactly.

Scott: I think each image oh interesting.

Male: What's interesting?

Scott: Just because it wasn't really clear but the navigation on this Web site was.

Stephen: Well that's the thing that Karen has to explain to you. It's based on a relatively complexed algorithm and all those numbers reflect the time [inaudible 42:39] between the two clicks. There's kind of like a fisher between those numbers. If you go to this page here then you see a rather obscure arrangement of document and clicking on any of those documents will leave you to…

Scott: Oh right.

Stephen: …different places. So for example, you see there's a little book there which is this one, well there's a number of books right but here – well anyway I'll let you kind of discover that [inaudible 43:23] give a reason to idea many particular way. But all across those images there are different links to click on which leads you into – I mean Miriam's whole idea of a kind of an ontological scape or image scape of some kind. You think you're looking at one image but in fact what you're looking at when you look at an image is all sorts of crevices that leave you, or all sorts of I guess what Elizabeth Gatari would call Lines of Flight, which could leave you in all sorts of different directions. Each book is a line of flight or potentially a different landscape.

Scott: Definitely. I think something's broken in Chrome but we get most of it.

Stephen: Sorry about that.

Scott: Perfect. That's great yeah. It is well done I was just inperceptive. I do saw it as an image at first.

Stephen: Yeah. Well it is an image. I mean that's like everything else. And obviously [inaudible breaking up]. And the interesting thing about vochaverte is that it's not an artist controlled profit because it's a village so the only people who have control over the destiny of that book is, but I think it's a geological destiny that no one has control over, is that people control and become of it are the people who live there not the artists. So this is an art project which the artist does not have control.

Nato: Stephen.

Stephen: Yeah.

Nato: It's Nato. How do you describe this as being different than say a kind of ethnography?

Stephen: Well I guess I wouldn't want to necessarily say that it was. I guess it is a kind of ethnography except there's a very major difference. Ethnography is a discipline it's a discipline which has [inaudible.

Scott: I think we lost him.

Stephen: Can you hear me?

Scott: It's getting better yes but now you're not there.

Stephen: You're not hearing me. The signal is becoming really low here.

Scott: We can hear you now.

Stephen: Okay. I'll try and speak slowly so that [inaudible].

[child speaking]

Stephen: Are you guys…

Scott: Yeah we're here.

Stephen: …receiving my voice.

Scott: Now we are. It's just going up and down a bit.

Stephen: I can't hear you.

Scott: Oh what about now can you hear me now okay?

Stephen: I'm not hearing you.

Scott: Really? How about now?

Greg: Stephen can you hear me? Stephen. Nothing. Hey Basekamp.

Scott: Hey Greg.

Greg: Hey Parker.

Nato: Was that Greg?

Scott: Yes it is.

Greg: Yep.

[child speaking]

Greg: Hi kiddo. It seems we lost Stephen. All right I'm going to go back on mute.

Scott: The question exploded. Hey we also got your written text too which…

Stephen: You guys there.

Scott: Yeah we're here Stephen. We got your written reply though which I don' know if you wanted to augment that at all, basically that art is extra disciplinary, transdisciplinary, whereas ethnography is within a specific discipline. Well geez you know what, I think we're not going to be able to continue this.

Hey Stephen.

Stephen: Hey. So I'm kind of hopeful this is going to work better because I want to answer Nato's question which I thought was a good one. Am I audible now?

Scott: You are it sounds great.

Stephen: Okay. So listen, yeah, I mean on the one hand of course it is ethnography I mean it's obviously a dimension of that, but the difference is that I think ethnography is discipline. I mean it's an academic discipline with its community of researcher with a cannon of – it's a constituted body of knowledge with a cannon of references. You can contest and in fact you're expected to contest if you're a researcher, but at the same time you have to acknowledge or else you're taken to be a crank. And art certainly is carrying an drasian practice it is not a discipline in that sense it's not disciplined in the same way although it has a definite rigor which is why I stressed the fact that it is – I mean there's a definite methodology. Methodology in the most general sense because method means meto odos, odos being road and meta being of the road. So it's a shifting methodology but it's walking itself very closely linked to methodology.

But what it is it's an extra disciplinary practice. In other words it cannot be disciplined in the same way, it's an inherently – it doesn't have that constraint of having to respond a cannon of constituted objections. And I think that that is not just wordplay it makes art of this kind essentially different from the practice of the social sciences or any kind of science actually. And it also makes it interesting for artist like Karen to collaborate with scientific or ethnographic methodologies. But it does oblige him to engage in extra disciplinary collaboration, inter or trans or both.

I don't think there's such a thing as an art discipline, not in ethnography. I think that art is rigorous, art has a history but art has rested itself free, has met itself from everything with its own history and it's not in the way that sciences do have to contend with that motion of discipline. Of course there's many ongoing attempts on the heart of the [inaudible 55:20] and museums to discipline. Disciplining arts is a major component of the main stream art world today in my opinion. And it's one with its someone like Grassient is very concerned. I'm mostly hearing Parker I think I don't know whether you guys are hearing me.

Scott: We're totally here. I'm not muting the audio to keep the exchange going.

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: Yeah your audio is really great now Stephen. It was just so broken up before…

Stephen: Yeah.

Scott: But it's plain so because sometimes it would go really strong and then we'd try to tell you when it got tragic.

Stephen: Yeah.

Scott: So just to go on your note about, and I don't want it to be so meta about disciplines, but I keep thinking about the geographic practice in particular as a kind of discipline that's become somewhat extra discipline in the sense that a lot of post modern geographies out of Lavefe has begun to take on everything and to really resist its own history. So I'm wondering if there's other disciplines that you think have moved into kind of an extra disciplinary status.

Stephen;You know what as far as I know nobody has. I think what happens is that when you get people like geographers like Trevor Pegland for example, as an artist and that's what makes Trevor so incredibly interesting to me is that he's using the incredible knowledge that the geographical discipline has produced over the course of its history. But he's framing it in that extra disciplinary frame of art. Because let's say when he collaborates with someone or with a collective what makes that collaboration interesting, what makes it necessary, what makes it fruitful is an initial diversity. Because in fact if we always want to collaborate with people that we have a lot in common with, because then we don't have to be sniping at each other all the time. But in fact similarity doesn't bring much in terms of collaboration.

What is interesting is whether that initial diversity. But when that diversity – so it's interesting to think well what is different than art and what specific competencies and incompetencies does art have? Well one thing that it doesn't have is a lot of knowledge. I mean the art is extremely impoverished in terms of knowledge but it's extremely rich if you like in terms of this freedom or this open ended methodology which is in some ways intrinsic to art in a kind of an essential way. I mean a lot of art is not like that for sure but in a kind of essential way it is like that. And what you find in disciplines, academic disciplines and others is that you find almost the reverse. You find it's a kind of closed and locked down type of knowledge direction but there is a great deal of knowledge there. And I think that's what makes some people work with someone like Trevor Pegland so interesting is that he's actually been able to access what's best both about an academic discipline and an extra disciplinary practice of art.

And I wouldn't say that this is model that Karen Andreasyan is using because he tends to not work with academics. He infiltrated the art department at the Yerevan University only to resign in protest because of the capitulation of the university in general towards illegitimately elected government of the country.

Scott: When you say he infiltrated does it mean he got hired but he didn't really like it.

Stephen: No that he pretended that he was doing something that he wasn't doing basically. In fact well he's written about this himself, and in fact I think it's on the Web site at the ontological walkscapes Web site where he talks about the meaning of that infiltration. I don't know that particular episode but I believe that what he did was that he got himself into the art department, not under false pretenses because he's too well known of an artist to do that, but with a different type of outlook. And he said he was going to do something that he in fact had no intention of doing. And he used that time, that public time that he had with the students to carry out the ontological walkscapes project.

And that was kind of the point whether than working with academics and people from the academic disciplines Andreaysan tends to work with, if you like, ordinary people. He tends to work with peasants, he tends to work in this case the students, but he works with students on the basis of kind of information and backgrounds which they had coming from different walkscapes, different walks of life, different landscapes from around the country of Armenia. And the types of testimony which they can bring to that factography practice.

Scott: Yeah I'm so holding myself back from bringing up the question of whether arts a field because I just got a text message from Sam saying just got back, network is down, I'll phone in a minute. But just with this caveat that we might get cutoff any moment because – then again by the time he shows up we'll probably be done with our chat but we'll see. Well anyway okay how about this? During the summit that you organized Andrea Frasier kind of made a slightly small back peddle in her earlier argument in order to accommodate the idea of multiple artworlds yet wouldn't really acknowledge that there were multiple ones because that would be a pretty hard argument for her to continue to position herself against. And I think I sensed a little bit of bitterness between the two of you Stephen, you and Andrea.

But basically she did recognize that there were multiple, oh what is it subfields, of the field of art. And I think this is the first time – you didn't really like the idea of subfield Stephen which I agree that there's a sort – they're multiple meanings of that and one is a little bit condescending but I think you also seemed to take issue with the idea that art is even a single field. And so I guess I wanted to bring this up as that, okay I know we're making this glossary, we're all going to be contributing to this glossary. You were talking about disciplines and so often a discipline is referred to as a field, let's say the discipline of art is often referred to as a field of practice and study or certain disciplines are referred to as a field. And I'm wondering about the relative value of that term. And also whether even seeing art as a single field is appropriate or a battle worth fighting.

Nato: Yeah just to kind of build on that too because I'm just thinking about – you know Andreas facing calls from Bordeaux in some ways and I think it's really productive to use Bordeaux when prioritizing this kind of conception of art in this way of staying art does this or art does that. Because of course art is so context specific at times it's capable of doing things at other times it's capable of doing totally boring things. And it seems Stephen when you talk about art capacity to be extra disciplinary I think well maybe in some instances yes in other instances absolutely not. But you kind of speak of it in a very kind of totalizing way that isn't broken apart in a different fields or related to the kind of context of the social infrastructures that produce that idea of art regionally as well as structurally. So how do we work through all that?

Stephen: Wow that's a huge question. In fact I guess it's a bunch of questions. First of all when Bordeaux and Frasier used the notion of field they don't use it in a sense of discipline. I mean it's true that we say "Well in the field of art or in the field of anthropology", but that's not the way we [inaudible 1:05:17] using the right term. They're using it in a sociological sense but the field is that place in which all the actors with which we have to negotiate to obtain our purposes are present in which we sense and feel and measure, incorrectly or correctly, their power and we have to negotiate a path through that field taking account of their presence there as well. That's very different I mean in a way it's similar it's fundamentally different from a way an academic discipline is concentrated.

I find even the very notion of discipline its problematic work. I mean the idea of disciplining practices, porportments, speech, disciplining to me and I think it sounds a little bit like cleaving its sounds a little bit like formatting, it sounds like making distinctions between what is socially obligatory or socially forbidden. And that's why Nato that I kind of go a little bit over the deep end sometimes maybe in saying well art is using that kind of collective magnetic formatting. I know full well that 99.9% of art it does nothing of the sorts and it jumps immediately right into bed with the first prop on the feet when it comes to allowing itself to [inaudible 1:07:05] but art is essentially can mean anything.

To me it's not [inaudible 1:07:16] it means not doing just any old thing anything goes, but it means finding an essence outside that kind of discipline. Even though it's worth in other ways that kind of discipline it doesn't need to be proven but disciplines can produce an incredible kind of talent. It just that it seems to me that art can be able to do anything it shouldn't and I found a great prescription enormous shouldn't see you know opening in that direction. So I agree and I don't agree. I didn't agree with Frasier I think about these notions of field because I really just I feel, literally I think that yeah each [child speaking] really our responsibility to try and break with that notion just one point back there in which is [inaudible 1:08:23] I feel that I need to say no that there's no reason why you couldn't set to deploy your competency and your incompetencies in a different field right. And sure most people in that field are not recognizing the way you use art, okay, but that's not even the case.

Scott: Yeah I actually do have a thought but Chris had a quick question let me switch over to her.

Chris: It's just I was thinking about it. Can you hear me?

Stephen: Yeah, yeah I hear.

Chris: It's just making something I was something I was thinking about rock music. And it's like it seems like everybody was thinking oh wow rock and roll music but it seems like that had sort of also gone into different genres no longer what it was originally like the same thing with art.

Stephen: I think I understand what you mean. I mean it's just that what I don't like about this, let me look at it this way, disciplines and the police is that they tend to say what is music and what is noise? They tend to say what is discourse and what is nearly gibberish? And when rock music first emerged it's true that people didn't say "I don't like that kind of music." They said "That's not music", they said "That's just noise." And it required the kind of resistance to break with that disciplining ear which have a great deal of societal sort of wherewithal behind it to get to the point now where rock music is, particularly more than the mainstream, it's kind of what defines what's noise and what's music only. I'm not sure that's the answer to your question but that would be one way of seeing how that normativity between what is in terms of the discipline what is acceptable and what's not mandatory and what is taboo.

Scott: Yeah but it is an interesting quandary when you say that we got to throw out 99.9% of art doesn't count and we're going to only…

Stephen: I think…

Scott: No, no, but I think the percentage maybe accurate and then I think but that is a kind of interesting circumstance right where you're discounting them also a high percentage of what calls itself art. And the reason I say that is because at some point you think why do we hold onto this term right because it almost like…

Stephen: Totally.

Scott: It almost becomes a default term for lack of a better one or something because certainly there's so many other what would you call them people that have gone extra disciplinary in different fields rock and roll or dance or poetry or farming or just on religious in some way.

Stephen: Yep.

Scott: In some ways it becomes something that their discipline didn't want them to be. Does this make sense?

Stephen: Yeah. No I think that's the most fundamental. I think that may even be the most fundamental question which we have to address. And I guess one of the questions we want to address in 2011 because as you probably Plausible Artworld is going to transform to some extent into of low words. And the first word that we have to attend to is the art itself because as you just said we're giving that word such an incredible semantic burden we have overburdened it to such an extent that it's almost like the landscape that Karen Andreasyan was looking at it's going to collapse and thunder. You can't shed that much meaning on one three letter one syllable word because the way you and I probably use the word art and the way most other people use it are so at odds with one another that we're making that three letter word stretch from miles and miles.

And I don't know for how long that could be done and what's going to happen when that collapse at first? Well my answer is why do I trickle into the word art, why don't I just grow up and say extra disciplinary practices or find something maybe a little cooler than that but something on those lines? Well one is that I'm kind of low to leave the monopoly of the definition of the word art to those people whose usage of it I find so particularly uncongenial. So maybe I'm waiting for them to give up the word or maybe I just think that if I use the word in my way and you use it in your way and they use it in their way we'll see in some point what will happen. After all meanings of words change over time. But I entirely agree with you that, and I think it's a wonderful question, whether it really make sense if we just don't sound like zealots at a certain point clinging on these words I've described, which actually have more or less shaken themselves free of the yoke. So art exerts their historical condition of plausible is to do to the fact that art does have a history and every art practice towards certain aesthetic and position making have to kind of reference back to that history.

Nato: But certainly Scott brought up a good point when he talked about, I mean it all sounds sort of crass but why not just be simple about it, to talk about he mentioned Africa but let's just talk about the kind of colonialist position of art as a framework right. And that there are of course art extra disciplinary culture phenomena in resistance to power that aren't coming out of that lineage whatsoever certainly, that in fact had to produce. I'm sure there's been versions of ontological walkscapes in colonialist positions because those were the necessary forms in order to resist the dominant positions put upon people that didn't come out of like an art lineage. Does that make sense?

Scott: Like Ghandi for example.

Nato: Like Ghandi, Ghandi's a genie because…

Stephen: You're right. No, no I think Ghandi is a great example. I think the great example Karen Andreasyan has mentioned that many times. It's true who can rival, I mean what performance artist can ever rival Andy's watch across lineage.

Scott: Hey Stephen I hate to interrupt you. Now we have 10 more minutes left almost exactly.

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: And Sam was able to get online either through his phone or some other way and he's trying to call so.

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: Can we just bookmark this and we can have a super short sharp chat with Sam about Red 76 for a few minutes.

Stephen: Great. Yes that's great but I would like to continue at some point that discussion with Nato because it's something that really – I'm improvising Andy again I'm really interested in learning the…

Scott: Okay let me just talk to him for a second and then emerge our calls. Hey Sam can you hear us?

Sam: Hi.

Scott: Hello. Can you hear us okay? Let's try this hey Sam.

Sam: Hello.

Scott: Hey, hey, hey.

Sam: Can you hear me?

Scott: Yes. That is an awesome picture. So hey I'm going to add you to this other audio chat that's already going on. There's just a few people on the call. Does it sound good?

Sam: Yeah I'm going to cut out again, hopefully not.

Scott: Okay. Well we'll give it a shot.

Sam: Okay.

Scott: And call you back in a just a sec, call you back right now.

Sam: Okay.

Scott: Hey Sam.

Sam: Hello.

Scott: So now we're aligned with, well on Skype anyway with Matthew Flatt, Greg Slanton also from Basekamp, Stephen Wright and us there's a number of people in the room right now, including Parker who you can hear. How's it going? We've got about 10 minutes. Okay we lost Sam again we're going to try him one more time. We're going to give this a shot because today is a little strange but.

Sam: Hello again.

Scott: Hey again. So we'll give it one more shot. If the connection is still really terrible we can just try it again another time or we can talk for a few. Can you hear me or is it just like – oh it is really bad.

Sam: Let's try but the audio is pretty bad.

Scott: You know what we'd love to talk to you dude and I think we should probably do it on another time and make sure that all connections are totally solid so that we don't have a frustrating time. In fact I lost you. Everybody else on the line just hand tight for a second, because that took five minutes and if we do that again then we're over so. Okay you know what we might as well continue on with our talk guys for the next five minutes or so because no use lamenting over bad networks.

Stephen: Mine is pretty good. There's a lot of interference on yours that's for sure. Now it's clear.

Scott: Yeah that was just Parker. Oh the interference before was it [inaudible 1:21:42]?

Stephen: No it's electronic interference.

Scott: Oh I think it was because there was dual calls going on.

Stephen: Okay. Well Nato maybe you want to go back to your question you were just in the midst of asking because maybe you had an answer as well.

Nato: I don't have an answer but I do understand the problems a little bit in so much as I keep trying to think about how to not completely – I mean the word art has such baggage too as much as neutral and it is western and it is part of a kind of condition, so it's like I'm always – and even just thinking about in the United States just thinking about how the arts are very racialized and how it breaks down in terms of class and race in the United States. And so my allegiance to the term is very fraught I suspect. Sometimes I'm like it's really good because it's a very broad umbrella to bring a lot of people together, other times I think it's such a limited kind of space that it actually produces more problems than solutions. So this is just to say that I'm very torn about its usage often. Sometimes I find it productive and sometimes I find it reductive. So I'm not saying anything. But I do think those problems need to inform the way we think about what these kinds of ontological practices can be. Because of course there are certainly like when Discerto wrote about people walking in the city in a sense it was kind of like a minute version of an ontological walkspace right.

Stephen: Yeah definitely. Yeah.

Nato: And that was not coming out of the lineage of art that was just coming out of the lineage of people resisting the powers that be in their everyday life. So I guess it's like trying to come up with a language for that would be really productive.

Stephen: For sure. I think it's a really – it's more than a fair question it's really kind of a crucial one given what's happened to art in the last little while. Even if you take a kind of relatively, I mean interesting but relatively mainstream art proposition, like you take Martha Rossler's Library that Efflux first of all setup in the lower east  [inaudible 1:24:32] traveled around. At first I thought well that's, and I still do, that it was a really cool project because it raises a whole bunch of issues. It is the first school library of an artist, it's a very good library, it's a lot of rare books in there that you don't always have access to, and you do a free photocopy machine. It had a real significant use study; no doubt about that.

And I was thinking well it has a kind of a double value because not only does it have use value as a library but it's also a proposition of a library. You're always in your mind having this idea that its self-understanding is its art. So it's kind of twice as good as just the ordinary real thing. But someone said to me "Well no in fact it's kind of useless as a library because it's always in the back of your mind that this is Martha Rossler's Library. And so you can't actually use it properly because you're constantly like looking around to see what's art among people when you know there's nothing arty about the thing.

So I think what you're saying is when something has, when it comes out of as you call the lineage of art or has self-understanding of art is it enriched back or is it just sort of weird. I mean is it weirding us out or is it actually doubling our perception or our perceptive intentional. And I think that's a really [inaudible 1:26:07] of one example of Martha Rossler's Library but I think all of these projects that have doubled ontological status because they come from the lineage of art it all raise that question. And honestly I don't know what the answer to it is. I know it's an answer maybe there's answer in different, maybe sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But I know that people like our friend Demetrius Selinsky from [inaudible 1:26:31] that's one of the key arguments that he makes for not supporting that kind of art of double ontological study. He likes art that is fore grounded as art and that's the reason why he thinks it can have powerful political potential.

Now that's not my option in art at all. It isn't something that I, but I completely hear that argument and I think that when you talk about art that's been like so significantly racial life and in that way over determined and classified until one does have to wonder if when you find out it's art it's kind of off putting and confusing. I don't know.

Scott: Oh you know what guess what time it is.

Stephen: I know it's after 2:00.

Scott: It's two after yeah. So you know…

Stephen: It's two after 2:00 I mean for me.

Scott: For you. Well it's three after 8:00 now. So I would really like sometime soon to clarify, actually we have to clarify what do we mean by propositional? I mean in the sense that okay it's proposing something but if one of the most common parts, or the sort of components of this double ontological status that art has is that it's also some kind of a proposition, I often describe it as that it's injected with meaning or some kind of symbolic value. But I think you're describing something very perspective. You know often when something is a proposition it's meant to be well what does it actually proposing that a thing could be redone again or is it proposing it to us for consideration?

And I just think we might want to clarify that because depending if we're talking about it's a proposal for our consideration then we're talking about the contemplative value again which is definitely there. But if we're talking about a proposal for this could be something, meaning like it could be done again, it could be expanded or it could be, then we're talking about the kind of definition of plausibility that we often get asked. Like well do you mean that it's reproducible, do you mean that it's expandable, things like that. I think we might want to try to tease that out sometime soon.

Stephen: Yeah. I don't know if we can tease it out but we can certainly play around with it for sure.

Nato: Let's have some playtime with it.

Scott: Yeah.

Stephen: Hey listen, great talking to you guys. It kind of turned out better than I was thinking when I heard that Karen sort of left us between a rock and a hard place.

Scott: Yeah I opened up with a very drastic kind of news but.

Stephen: Yeah. Okay well anyway say hi to him when he does finally see fit to show up.

Scott: I think we'll never get to meet Karen actually.

Stephen: Is that true?

Scott: Yeah I think so unless he feels like meeting me for lunch tomorrow or something because you know.

Stephen: Okay. Well so I'm checking out because I got to get up early tomorrow morning because that's what I'm supposed to be doing here. Good talking to you Nato thanks for your questions.

Nato: Okay. It's good to hear your voice.

Scott: Until next time.

Stephen: Yeah well I think next week we're going to – I think let's confirm with Urban Tactic rather than risking a bit of confusion like this week. Does that make more sense?

Scott: Okay it's a deal.

Stephen: Okay talk to you soon. Bye.

Scott: Okay. Bye.

Stephen: Goodnight.

Scott: Goodnight.

Week 44: Spontaneous Vegetation

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with urban forager, seed archivist and inner-city homesteader Nance Klehm, founder of a project called Spontaneous Vegetation.

http://spontaneousvegetation.net/
http://salvationjane.net/

Nance engages in what — in art-critical parlance — might be called “expanded farming”, the way some talk about “expanded cinema.” She is interested in things edible, how to grow them, and particularly how to find them when they conveniently and spontaneously just grow themselves; how to compost them, can them, preserve them — and how to mutualize her bio-instigation skills with others. Nance lives and farms in the middle of Little Village, a densely packed, diverse urban neighborhood in the heart of Chicago. Her house and land are daily practice in permaculture and urban living. But following some recent urban-foraging in Tucson, Arizona, she just happens to be in Philadelphia for this year’s edition of the World Toilet Summit, so she’ll be attending the potluck live at Basekamp, straight from the festival grounds.

Nance runs workshops in greywater conversion, water-harvesting earthworks design and installation, community greenwaste-to-fertility systems, horticultural systems design and green waste composting – including vermicomposting and humanmanure (hence the festival). Since 2006, she has been leading urban-foraging walks — Situationist-inspired deambulations through the spontaneous and cultivated vegetation of the urbanscape, where walkers learn to identify plants, hear their botanical histories and stories of their use by animals and humans, sharing anecdotes of specific experiences with plants. We have talked extensively about integrating artworlds into lifeworlds — but perhaps hastily assuming that those lifeworlds were human constructs or at least inattentive to the more extensive and diverse biodynamics of those worlds. Urbanforaging seems to apply the logic of the free and open software movement to the realm of vegetation and the edible in general.

 

Transcription

Week 44: Spontaneous Vegetation
   
[Scott]:  Hey everybody! So, I'm here basically with about a dozen, a dozen-ish, people and Nance is here as well.  We're a half an hour later getting started with the audio, which is cool.  So welcome Nance!  It's great to have you here.  I'll be sort of like a Talk Show Host for a second. We're here for our weekly series of chats about each week focusing on Plausible Artworlds for the year.  Yeah, we normally don't give any info for each person.  We sort of just ask you to go ahead and give us a quick start.  But, did you want to mention, we sent out this Skype, or this post that had a few, it probably needs a few changes.  Do you think we ought to get into that or do you just kind of want to...?
We can chat about that as you go on.  Okay, great.  Okay, cool.  Maybe I'll just ask everybody, if you can type in the text chat if you're having trouble hearing at all and we'll just adjust our speakers and our laptop mic, okay?
I feel like Dora the Explorer..."Can you sing along with me?"  I think you can hear me.  Cool. Ready, go!

[Nance]: So, I'm guessing that you read what I do in general?  There are only a few things I would take issue with from there.  But, I don't necessarily call myself an artist.  I actually take coverage with being called an artist.  But I use it if it allows me to have a wider audience.  So I do use aesthetic strategies to open up the dialog around some things that I think are just ignored or maybe not brought up.  Earlier, like in the seventies, and then dropped and then the way things are being allowed to work, I do, it contextualizes very doom and gloom (inaudible 2:34.5) around it.  So I do use other strategies to view, kind of get people interested in what I'm interested in.  Um, I guess I will, because of that, I also never call what I do "farming", we can touch on that later, only if you want too.

And, um, what I do, do in Chicago and now I've just moved to Tucson last week for five or six months and so what I do, do is I do a lot of growing and gathering of my own (inaudible 3:15.3).  I'm equally an eater as much as I am somebody who wants to take care my own health with plants.  But most of all, this is not a gastronomic that I'm going out there for.  I'm really
interested in plants as another species that I live in cities with and usually people are adorned with plants in cities.  They're either pruning them or ripping them out after a season and putting other ones in or they're hacking away or mowing them down, not giving them enough water,
feeding them etc.  So I'm really interested with monitoring my plant world as I'm in the city.  The other thing I really enjoy about Plant World is plants are especially spontaneous vegetation, which is the name of my site.  These spontaneous things come up really are markers of what is happening below the soil and also kind of tracing what we are doing to the soil.  So I can look at a site and actually tell you about the soil composition by just looking at the collection of plants.  Also, a lot of the spontaneous plants are creating a habitat for collimators or animals or etc.  

So, I'm kind of working on a more, um, book I'm really interested in ecology.  I do think this is really important survival homework if you want to think of it that way. (Laughing)  You kind of want to know these things if you're in trouble.  Let's say (laughing) you're camping or the grid falls apart (laughing) and you just got to start taking care of yourself, these are my skills.  It's just kind of really interesting how plants and animals migrated in the city, which is so different from how humans use it.  Humans are always following a grid or their in their cars, where plants and animals are kind of moving and breaking that and coming at things in a much more, the way they navigate and the way they come into places is a lot more interesting.  So, I'm interested in that kind of transversing my city in a more, uh, fluent way and a natural way than this constructive grid.   So I, sometimes I go foraging, not because I need anything, but because I just want to like get out of techno consumerism of the grid mentality and I just go wandering through the city in a different way.  In a different pattern, usually in a different path that I would usually.  So foraging is part of my way of getting things.  It's the way I navigate.  It's part of a much larger kind of lived practices that some people frame as art.  But I don't necessarily do that unless it's useful for increasing my audience because I have other, I have larger things I'm pointing at besides myself.  

Um, this is kind of an interesting thing and I'm here because I actually came for the World Toilet Organization, which is the other WTO.   Um, their summit is today.  Toilet Summit.  World Toilet Summit at the Convention Center!  And one of the things I do, is I poop in a bucket.  Okay, in Chicago, and I use that poop as kind of the power source for the growing.  So I came, and I was at the World Toilet Summit like all day at the Convention Center.  Um, which is awesome because I walked around the Convention Center and I found (25) things which I'm going to pass around and I guess I'm going to get pictures taken with a phone and scanned so everybody who is not physically here can see them.  But, um, I found (25) things around the Convention Center within just like a block and a half radius.  And, uh, building materials, medicinals, edibles, okay?  And some of these medicinals actually are poisons too, so I found some poisons out there.  Um, and then just for a quick (inaudible 7:24.3) found (5) other things.  So I just want to talk about these things that we found and I also want to address your questions kind of a (inaudible 7:34.8).  So, just in general, (2) building materials.  You should all know this is pretty great because Chicago has already had their killing frost, where Philadelphia is slightly warmer and so there are a lot of things that are still green.  It's a great time to get out there and forage.  Anything you see, get out there and get this stuff.  Um, almost everything I've collected, except for a few things, are HATED plants.  Like weeds, that no one likes.  The real spontaneous vegetation that is kind of coming up through our disturbed landscapes 'cause we actually live in really highly disturbed, to put it (laughing), landscapes. And these are the plants that are just making it and are much hated.  

So the (2) building materials, you could actually make a roof with these (2) materials.  This is, uh, Phragmites, which is a plant that grows in a lot of wet areas and it's used to thatch roofs in a lot of places.  So, you can make a pretty durable roof material.  And this is Dogbane, being that it's bad for dogs to eat and I wouldn't eat it either.  But this is something that you can make rope
from.  Really, really fasten it.  So, you can actually, with your rope and many of these, you could actually construct yourself a little platform raft, a bed mat or a roof.  So I'm just going to pass these around, Phragmites and Dogbane.

[Scott]:
Just so you all on the call know, we're taking photos of these and are gonna upload them, we'll be uploading them Flicker and posting the links here.  Or, I'm going to be sending them to Greg, who I think is going to upload them to Flicker.  And yeah, Daniel, we're trying to connect to you.  For some reason it's not going through but we'll keep trying, okay?

Q [Female Audience Member]:  The Dogbane, so you use vine or?

A [Nance]: What you do is you wait, you actually wait until the leaves drop off and it gets dry, okay.  And then what you do is you take the stem and you put in on a table or you mash between your fingers.  Usually, you put it on a surface, get really long fibers and you can start like you would with dread hair.  You start, just kind of, like spinning them together like this.  Just with your fingers and work your way up and you're going to have a very, very strong twine that can hold up to 50-75lbs, depending on what you can pull into it.  

Speaker: [Nance]:
Dogbane.  So it's something you recognize now because when the leaves drop, you don't see it.  You're like "where did it go?", so know where it is now.  It's all over the place here.  Recognize it now, mark your territory and then in about (2) weeks, go back, cut it and start making string (laughing).  And then of course, each strand that you weave together can make it stronger and stronger.  It's a great thing to do when it gets really calm at night and you just don't know what to do with yourself.  You're watching a movie, you might as well make some rope.  (Laughing) As you're watching your movie.

But, let me just point out a bunch of, I'm going to pass out a lot of edible greens.  Um, by the way, I just put this out.  I saw squash, melon, tomatoes just like coming out of people's lunches.  Um, just kind of growing all over the place too.  Kind of amazing.  Underneath those old ruddy train tracks.

Q [Female Audience Member]: Is part of your goal to, uh, influence the public to have less hatred towards these plants and actually embrace the plants?

A [Nance]:  Connecting.  Yeah, just connecting.  I mean, a lot of this is just about connecting to a place and connecting to our bodies in a different way.  And, uh, you know.  This is like the, you might consume these things.  This is kind of a walk through the city where you're not trying

A [Nance]:  (continued)
to consume something.  It's more about a relational thing.  Yeah, so, I'm really interested in people just getting really excited about what's around them.

Speaker: [Nance]:
So let me just see, I've got about a zillion things in here.  It's kind of, actually, I have (31) things.  So I'm just going to go through really quickly, some of this stuff.  Um, so I'm going to go
through some really easy edibles.  This is something, you're allowed to take a picture first, and then you can nibble on it if you want.  So there's a bunch of edibles that I've found.  In fact I've found (10) pure edibles and another (8) that go between medicinal and edible because a lot of food is actually medicinal at the same time.  Some of them are Yellow Wood Sorrel and Poor Man's Pepper.  Very, very nice kind of citrusy taste and a very peppery taste.  Um, a very great stand in for pepper.  Sorry everybody out there, I thought there was a video component so I was doing a visual also.

[Scott]:
That's okay, we're taking pics and (inaudible 13:03.3).

Speaker: [Nance]:
Pics and stuff. Okay, so then I'm going to pass around, so we have.  See how much everything looks like Clover but each leaf is a green heart as opposed to a round piece?

[Female Audience Member]:  Omigod, I used to eat that when I was a kid, and it did taste like lemon.

[Nance]:  Yeah! It tastes like lemon!  It's called Lemon Grass too, but it's not Lemon Grass.

Speaker: [Nance]:
Okay, a Poor Man's Pepper.  And then this is Smartweed that's tangled up with a vine.  But this is a Smartweed, it's got flowers on it.  Um, and it's a really nice edible green.  

[Scott]:
(Audio noise) I'm just going to bring the laptop closer because a few people are having trouble hearing.

Speaker: [Nance]:
Okay, you're going to be the photo stylist.  You're our photo stylist.  So, I'm going to pass these around, these (3).  Go around and look at those.  Um, 2 greens that are really closely related to edibles that we eat all the time.  One is Wild Amaranth, also known as Pigweed.  So Amaranth, if you've had it cooked as greens but also the seed, they pop it and mix it with honey and turn it into one of the, a granola bar that you can find in Mexican stores.  And the other thing is Lambs Quarters, also known as Wild Spinach, which is a very, very close relative to Quinoa, which
people are really excited about.  So, both of these (2) greens are delicious and they have tons of
protein and they're widely available right now.  And this is the last time to collect.  Um, on this Lambs, I got two pieces of Lambs Quarters or Goosefoot or Wild Spinach.  There are seeds and when those seeds come out, they taste an awful lot like poppy seeds.  They're full of protein so they're great to use into breads or cereals or anything you want.  So I'm passing those two around this way.  Here's some more, this a really great seed head if you want to kind of take these out, they're going to dry out.  You'll be able collect these later too. (Inaudible chatter in background 15:13.6 - 15:19.9).  Um, you guys can move around too if you want.  Edibles I'm thinking.

Okay, then there's this, um, a plant, this is something that, well, here's something else that's just popping up.  This is Eposote.  If you've ever had beans, this is like a great ingredient in beans.  It's really, really fragrant and it's probably naturalized here because you do have a Latin
population.  So if you even just smell it, it's really fragrant.  It makes beans perfect.  (Inaudible
audience comment 15.58.9).  Yeah, cause you already made some beans, yeah!

Um, so, I'm trying to, see all my little leaves here, but I'm trying to do, we'll probably go into the edible/medicinal.  Very delicious, so leave the leaves a little bit. (Audience chatter 16.20.4 - 166:29.4)  But these are Hawthorne Berries and Hawthorne Berries are from just along the ramp near the expressway or something.  These are full of vitamin C.  They are related to roses and apples.  The rose family has apples, crab apples, Hawthorne.  Really delicious soft fruit, like soft apple.  Very, very good for heart regulating and blood pressure whether you have too low blood pressure or too high blood pressure.  So these are known as heart medicine.  Fantastic stuff that you can make jams and jellies and just pop into your mouth.  There are seeds, but there really...

Q [Nance]: Should I just pass them to you?  

A [Male Audience Member]: Definitely.

[Nance]: And then you can nibble, if he take a picture, then you can nibble.

Q [Male Audience Member]:  Oh for real?

A [Nance]: Yeah, yeah.

[Male Audience Member]: Great.
   
Q [Female Audience Member]:  What did you call them?

A [Nance]:  Hawthorne.  Hawthorne Berries.  Delicious

[Female Audience Member]: Wow, awesome!

[Nance]: There are seeds.

Q [Female Audience Member]: Were these on Lemon Street?

A [Nance]: (laughing) I don't know what the name of the street is.  It's like going down to the
expressway.  There's a bunch of trees, there's enough to make jelly.  You want to make fruit leather, whatever.  You want to dry them and use them in teas, they'd be delicious.

Speaker: [Nance]:
Um, (singing) do do do.  So here's another thing.  Blood cleanser which is good to have anytime you're sick or just trying to support your health.  Let's say you binged once weekend and you just really need to clean yourself out. It's red clover.  Mammoth Red Clover, which is this flower right here.  It's a nitrogen fixer, so it's making the soil healthy all around.  It's a great forage plant for bees.  But this edible, but I kind of like it more as a tea.  I just pluck this whole thing out and make tea from it.  Really easily forage-able from April on.  Oh, is that a picture?  I'm trying to go through this fast you guys (laughing).

Q [Female Audience Member]: These are the Hawthorn Berries right?

A [Nance]:  It's the only berries we got, it's the Hawthorne Berry.  So if you just want to chew on the outside of it.  It's kind of got a nice tart taste to it, without a lot of seeds.  Some Hawthornes are going to be ovals this size, but I haven't seen any here.


Speaker: [Nance]:
Um, Gingko Flower, or Gingko Leaf, I'm sorry.  Brain tonic.  So anybody who's been in college who wanted to do like herbal brain stimulants cause you're staying up all night to study?

Q [Male Audience Member]:  Like smart drugs basically?

A [Nance]:  Smart drugs!  Right here!

Speaker: [Nance]:  
Gingko Biloba, they have it at CVS.  But you know what you guys?  It's right now.  You've got to pluck the leaves when they turn yellow.  It's the only time when the chemicals are available so you can totally take these, and you don't eat these, you shove these in alcohol or vinegar or something.  Let the medicine go into that then take it as a tincture.

Q [Male Audience Member]:  So you're like taking shots of brain juice at the bar?
A [Nance]:  That's what you could do!  You could make a brain juice martini.  Very good! Very good! (Laughing)
Speaker: [Nance]:  So anyways, I brought a lot of them in case anybody wanted to make some brain juice (laughing).  So, beautiful Gingko.  Very old plant.  Um...yeah.
Q [Male Audience Member]:  Just, even with saying, asking, where is all of this verbarium from?

A [Nance]:  Uh, directly around the Convention Center.  The Philadelphia Convention Center.

Q [Male Audience Member]:  I just find this all fantastic and magic and very old.  And we don't have this knowledge anymore because it's been engineered out of us.  And, can you maybe talked it out...

[Nance]: Nibble on a leaf you guys, you want to pull a little leaf there and just nibble it.  Sorry.

Q [Male Audience Member]:  It's not a conspiracy theory or anything, but how did it come to be that no one knows other than a few people?

A [Nance]:  Well, the birth of Capitalism and the death, and the birth of modern medicine are about the same time.  And it was...

Q [Male Audience Member]:  And it got engineered away from the public?

A [Nance]:  Yeah.

Q [Female Audience Member]:  I wonder if that was intentional though or if it was someone (inaudible 20:44.8) because when they found places for medicinal uses in faraway places that they (inaudible 20:52.5) some sort of form to bring.

A [Nance]:  Well, you know, it was as people moved from more wood, connection to woods and populations grew made villages they moved further away from the woods.  And further away from that plant source and they moved towards agriculture.  And it was that kind of move where they were becoming more horticulturalists or agriculturalists than they were gathering.  So, and there was this split from alchemy to modern medicine where alchemy was very much as above, so below microcosm and macrocosm, this idea that everything is relation to each other and everything is one but in different pattern sequences to understanding extractions of certain plants.  It just got specialized so it moved away.  Also, women moved into the physician.  So there, it's pretty interesting trace of that.

Q [Female Audience Member]:  (inaudible 22:02.9) education also, like I just saw this documentary about the English talking about global warming and this is how they see it happening and they're really kind of each one of the scientists would come in and who are all concerned about the polar bears not having a habitat and the seals.  And they're like, you know, polar bears, they're fine.  They're adapting, you know.  And the biologists tell us not to hunt seal but that's just part of their life.  Their like livelihood in their (inaudible 22:46.30) and I guess they needed sort of like more education, as education goes up the connection to the Earth goes down.  Like sort of an understanding?  It's sort of this weird indoors...you know, I don't know.  You're stupid, you're smart but I'm drinking....

A [Nance]:  Well, here I am at this conference where people are talking about basically, does poop really break down into soil?  Have they done visibility studies?  Have the engineers worked on this?  But doesn't it stink?  How long does it take?  Like everybody's all panicked about it.  I'm like "you guys, it's not the technology, it's the user".  The problem is not the technology called composting, called like the natural process of decay and decomposition.  It's the user and
what you understand of it.  So it's amazing when all these people who are working in developing
countries are just like "yeah, everybody, that's how everybody deals with stuff to compost their poop and then they grow food in that".  (Laughing)  And it's safe if you do it right, it's never, you don't question the natural processes, you question the mindset of the user.  The paradigm of the user.  And I think that's what is so interesting is that like the Royal Academy of Art in London is studying this and MIT and all these people are talking about it and I'm just sitting there going "Wow".  Like because it is this separation and how do we connect back in a way that we're comfortable and that seems to be the problem.  How do we connect back?  It's just, it was amazing.  It was super interesting in that kind of way. Um.....

Q [Nance]:  So does everyone like the Hawthorne Berries?

A [Female Audience Member]:  I love that texture!  Nice little....

[Nance]:  There's bigger ones, but this is a, it still has a nice kind of rose hip thing

Speaker: [Nance]:  
Um, alright! Getting through this!  Goldenrod.  Fantastic diet plant.  Really, really good for colds
and flu.  Mullen.  One of the most, oooh I love those pictures! Um, Mullen.  One of the most important asthma plants ever.  Asthma, for asthma.  Which is really big in Chicago.  There's two cold plants in Chicago and a lot of people have asthma, so this is a fantastic respiratory/bronchial clearer right here.  You can smoke it.  You can dry it, light it on fire and just inhale the smoke from this.  Or roll it.  It's great.  Cut your tobacco with this and help your lungs.  (Laughing)

Um, so, you know.  Here's another diet plant called Poke.  You want to smoosh it and smear it on paper for the, the fantastic.  When it's really popping up, it's edible.  At this point it's totally poisonous.  Birds love it.  It makes a beautiful magenta dye.

Q [Male Audience Member]:  So what would happen if we eat that?

A [Nance]:  Don't eat it.

Q [Male Audience Member]:  Okay.

A [Nance]:  Let's not find out.

Speaker: [Nance]:  
Okay, yeah.  But I would squish this and drag, drag your finger like little finger paint.  But it's all over the place and birds find it completely edible.  So great diet plant.  

Q [Female Audience Member]:  What was the name again?

A [Nance]:  Pokeweed.  Or if you're African American, it's just called Poke.  Like a Poke Salad.  It's super big in the south.  So, I learned that through some African American's who were like "what? You never had a Poke Salad?"  And I'm like "I thought it was poisonous" and they're like "not when it's young!"  And I'm like "well..."  You'd have to be able to identify it when it's just a little chute coming out of the ground, which is, you need to be a little bit more trained in differentiating the green stuff to be able to do that.

Q [Female Audience Member]:  It's like potatoes coming out of the ground?

[Female Audience Member]:  I used to squash that when I was a kid.

A [Nance]:  Yeah, but they're not in the same family.  They're not in the nitrate family.

Speaker: [Nance]:  
Um, Chicory and Dandelion are great to dig up now for roots.  They make a fantastic coffee substitute.  Also something you could cut your coffee with.  Um, Mugwort, one of my favorite plants ever.  A great, calming aid.  It opens up; it's what Chinese use in their Moxa sticks or in cupping.  It brings blood to the surface.  It makes your headaches go away.  It opens up your head.  It is used traditionally by alchemists. Alchemists were using it to open up plant communication.  So by smoking this, you actually are bringing more blood to the brain which is great also if you're looking for just clearing your head.  And it brings a heightened awareness that doesn't last but it does do it.  It's very gentle and amazing.

Q [Female Audience Member]:  What was that?

A [Nance]:  Mugwort.

Speaker: [Nance]:  
It was something that warped the mug, so this was originally used a bit here until the Catholic Church mandated Hops.  The thing about this, it's a bitter beer and people had lucid dreaming with their beer when their drinking as opposed to falling asleep when they drank beer.  Hops is related to Marijuana.  It puts you to sleep.  This wakes you up.  So people were drinking a lot of beer and were just kind of, you know, they just kept going.  The Catholic Church said "you know, people are getting to crazy in the streets, we're going to mandate Hops.  We're going to mandate a sedative to bitter the beers so they'll eventually stop the celebration".  This is Mugwort.  This is the mug.  Awesome.  I was like "yeah, can I have some of this?" (Laughing)

Q [Male Audience Member]:  So you found all of this around the Convention Center area?  Just earlier? Wow.

A [Nance]: Yeah.

[Female Audience Member]:  It's silvery on the underside.

[Nance]:  Yeah, silvery underside.  Look at the underside of the leaves.

Q [Male Audience Member]: (inaudible 29:21.0)

A [Nance]:  It's really bittering.  So if you take a little bit of that leaf and you put it in your mouth, you'll be like "ooh, bitter".

Q [Male Audience Member]: (inaudible 29:29.0-29.34.0)

A [Nance]: Yes.  You could use that instead of Hops.  You don't, right.

(Inaudible audience chatter 29:39.0 - 29:47)

Speaker: [Nance]:  
Okay, well here's some more Mugwort.  It's my favorite thing so you just keep passing it around.  Alright.

Q [Female Audience Member]:  You said we could nibble on this?

A [Nance]: What?

Q [Female Audience Member]:  You said we could nibble on this?

A [Nance]:  If you nibble on it, the Koreans make a like a bean cake, a green bean cake with Mugwort.  It's an unusual taste  

Q [Female Audience Member]:  That's what I needed to hear.

A [Nance]:  Just a little bit of it.  If you have any Korean places, you can probably get a green bean cake that's flavored with this.  It's very bitter.  It's not, it's not.  You might want to chase it down with a potato chip.

(Laughter)

Speaker: [Nance]:  
Plants right now.  This is Major Skinner.  Ah! I gotta get through this man!  A Major Skinner Plantain.  Not related to plantain, the unripe banana.  This is raw leaf plantain and I have a narrow leaf plantain somewhere.  And, oh, that's the pile up.  Okay.  Anyway, plantain, in this state, the leaf is something that you chew up.  Beautiful! Nice.  Good job!

So, I have to tell you guys, Poke Berry, fermented, the ink, fermented is what the Declaration of Independence was written in.  I'm in Philadelphia!  And, it fades to that brown color.  It was written in Poke.  Written in fuchsia.  Can you imagine?  Fuchsia?  The Declaration of Independence?  Yeah!  (Laughing)  So, you can use it as a writing and drawing ink but knowing it will fade out to this beautiful brown color when it oxidizes.  Write your manifestos in Poke!  (Laughing)

Uh, plantain, great stuff.  Skinner, it pulls things out.  And it also, it pulls infection out.  It pulls bee stings out.  It's cooling, if you burn yourself like sunburn or you get burnt on the stove or something, this is the plant that you want to have around.  And you can either put it directly on your skin, or what I do is I usually chew up the leaf and let my saliva activate it and make it a nice cud and then use it right on there.  So if anybody wants to chew up a leaf and just see how cold it gets, it turns into a little ice cube.  Very, very cooling.  Um, and ah, I use it.  I had poison oak all over my legs and I took some of this, I took some water, I took some oatmeal and I ground it up like a smoothie and just took my clothes off and just slathered all over where I had it.  And it literally took it out of my body.  But it also was so cooling that I had to put on a sweatshirt in the summertime because I was so chilled.  Because it's so cooling.  Very, very amazing plant.  You know, all plants are either cooling or warming to various degrees like this.  And then, at this time of year, it makes this, if I can find it... It makes this!  The seed head!  The seed head, if you crush it, these seeds and you eat them you have smooth moves.  It's like a really great laxative!  But not like stomach gripping, but like really, really nice.  You would just use these seeds a little bit.  Sprinkle them on something.

Q [Female Audience Member]:  And what, what are they called?

A [Nance]:  The plantain seed.

Q [Female Audience Member]:  Oh, the plantain seed.

A [Nance]:  Yes.  The plantain leaf is good for skin and the plantain seed is good for smooth moves.  There ya go!

Q [Female Audience Member]:  I'm going to write exactly that! (Laughing)

A [Nance]:  Smooth moving!  Oh my gosh. (Laughing) Smooth moves.

Speaker: [Nance]:  
Um, this is called Fleece Flower and you should look at how spotted the stem is.  Fleece Flower tasted like Rhubarb.  Not at this time of year, you've got to take it a little earlier, it gets kind of pithy and woody at this.  But you don't even have to grow Rhubarb because it's growing all over the place and you can just pick things that would be indistinguishable from Rhubarb, except that the shape is round as opposed to like a stem that's more fluted.  So this is Fleece Flower and it grows about 6'. It's all over the place. There you go.  Are you guys bored yet?

[Female Audience Member]:  No!  I'm glad you brought these!

[Scott]: We definitely want to get a chance to talk about them at the end, but it's also to see the examples too.

Speaker: [Nance]:  
Okay.  And then I'm just going to probably lay down some other examples.  I do want split this pod and I do want to talk about this plant.  Wild Carrot.  You can did it up and use it as a Wild Carrot.  It's almost like carrot parsnip.   When this sets seeds, it's called Queen Anne's Lace, that's how most people know it.  When this sets seed, it has a very, very spicy texture, really delicious.  But it also is something that stops a fertilized egg taking hold.  So if you want to look into it, look at some feminist herbal sites, you can read up all about it.  But I would not use it as your only method of birth control.  But, it's been long founded that it stops that from happening so there's a lot of people that take about a teaspoon of the seed and put it in their bread or something or have a piece of toast or something and they basically have a really good preventative.  There's something about it that makes it really slippery and the egg can't adhere so it's shed.  Wild Carrot.  And that's really well documented you guys.

Um, I'm going to just talk about, I'll just talk about the one last thing on the table and then we'll open it up.  This is Witch Hazel, which I don't remember what this is.  And this is a plant, that unlike some of the other things that are so hated, this is something that is cultivated and when you cut it, since it's a shrub, you're actually taking from that plant.  So you cut it very gently, and you usually cut it during the wintertime because what you need is the bark.  And Witch Hazel is for the skin.  Like people use it for skin washes and stuff.  It's antiseptic and helps alleviate the oils in the skin.  So anyway, this is a pod that you would take after the (Inaudible 36:36.0) leaves and you take this and you strip the bark off it, just as  you would with Willow, which is aspirin.  It's what aspirin was derived from was Willow bark.  So this is something else you would need.  
When you, the ethics of foraging, or when you cut things gently so that you don't hurt the plant.  Um, I guess, I'll stop there because my mouth is getting dry and there's more on the table.  But we'll just stop with whatever I covered at this point.  And open up to whatever.

Q: [Female Audience Member]:  I'm a lot more interested in your philosophy and (inaudible 37:16.4) philosophy and (inaudible 37:21.3) with this knowledge?  Are you trying to spread a notion of urban foraging to everyone or?

A:  [Nance]:  Yeah, I have a really strong ethic to that.  A lot of people are out there because they see dollar signs and there are a lot of people who are foraging to create gastronomic
innovations or they're cutting things and they're selling them as foraged foods or something.  But there, you know, this is a wild craft and this is something that I take gently from.  Like I only take what I need and so when I...

Q:  [Female Audience Member]:  But would you recommend that I do that and that we all do that?

A:  [Nance]:  Ah, I think that we could

[Scott]:  Would you mind if I just rephrased, or not rephrase, but reiterate that just slightly for the people that couldn't hear?  Actually, not to rephrase but to kind of like, I, I was also attending to something else but I think you were asking just at least generally, about Nance's general philosophy? Okay, yeah.  Just for the people who couldn't hear your question.

A [Nance]:  So I think there's a lot, I mean, these are ethical issues and I believe in connecting to our plant world as opposed to just, in that consumptive way.  Consumptive in that I just want to eat this so I'm going to buy it at the store or buy it from the farmer's market.  I think there's another way to connect.  Because I think that the foraging aspect connects to us as being animals because we're all into like looking for things and discovering them is really cool when we find something and just like.  I feel like it's kind of misplaced in our shopping habits, you know?  We go look for something.  I'm going to find it.  I'm going to buy it.  Yay!  And I have this thing.  So I think, I think this is a simpler way to kind of hunt and search that is really old in us.  And I think you can do it in a way really does not damage our environment by taking only what we need for something.  We know what to do with it when we take it.  And then, also, I mean, this is the seed time so I literally, this isn't ready yet, but this is Evening Primrose.  If you've ever had Evening Primrose oil or (inaudible 0:39:43.6) have seen this, this is something that when it sets seed, I just, when I go for walks I just like crush things and I just plant it.  I just like throw the seeds around all the time (laughing).  You know, I'm like "More dandelions! More!" and it's just like this also really insane wonderful thing to do.  Just keep planting the sidewalk cracks and you know, in desperate little areas that are just rubble and garbage and you just get seeds in there because all these plants are the planarian plants and they're the ones that are dealing with all this super polluted, yucky soil and making it better.  And building those soils so that other plants that are a little more delicate can start taking hold.  So I'm all about that too.  So I naturally seed as much as I'm gathering.

Q [Scott]:  So Nance, we have a question about if you could speak about the toxicity of plants in cities. Now do you mean plants as kind of (inaudible 0:40:42.0) for the toxicity of cities or the reverse?  Because that's what it sort of sounded like.

A [Nance]:  Polluted soils.  She's talking about polluted soils or air.

[Scott]:  Alright, I see.

A [Nance]:  Yeah, that's always one of the first questions.  We have 9 feet of skin on our bodies that have a bazillion pours in them.   So, we're super porous to our environment.  We also have these things called lungs that are breathing in suspended particles, so all the air pollution is coming through us, anything.  We're breathing in soil, we're breathing in dust, we're breathing in
things that are suspended in the air.  And then we're breathing, you know, we're breathing, we're coming in contact all the time with stuff.  So, we're not that walled off from our environment.  We're in a constant relationship.  So it's really about what kind of relationship do you want to have with your city and where do you choose to forage?  So you wouldn't necessarily go someplace that's the dog park for example and start picking up your leaves that you're going to use in your salad.  In the dog park.  You're gonna, if you're going to go someplace that's a little bit more, cleaner?  And, you're not going to necessarily forage underneath the expressway unless you want to have a connection to that place.

Q [Male Audience Member]:  So eating maybe like homeopathy (inaudible 0:42:21.2)

A [Nance]:  Yeah.  Because we're taking it anyway.  So there, there is this kind of metaphorical, kind of homeopathy kind of like what's outside of you, you have to take in.  It's outside.  But yeah.  You do that with, if you're allergic to certain, let's say you're allergic to like Ragweed or something.  And, ah, you have allergies to Ragweed.  What you could do is take in Ragweed or honey where bees would be (inaudible 0:43:02.9) Ragweed and you're taking in part of that Ragweed and it'll help with your allergies kind of around that seasonal,  So there is this kind of homeopathic, direct homeopathic relationship also.

Q [Male Audience Member]:  There's 3 different types of fire alleviation or processes that.  One is the plant fixes the soil in the soil (inaudible 0:43:29.2) and then there's another one where it kind of pulls it up into the plant and then the third is can actually process toxins and get it out.  So it's a combination them all, this stuff, isn't it?  So what you're eating may not be poisonous, it might have already done it's thing, but it still might be in its roots.  But until we know more...

A [Nance]:  Yeah, and certain plants actually will have certain affinities for certain kinds of things and will hold them in different places and so you can know more about that, you can read up about that too.  But I mean, I would argue that, an apple that you buy at the liquor store?  Gosh, you know, how long has it sat there?  Where did it come from?  Um, and Lambs Quarters that you get in the crack of the sidewalk?  I'd probably want to do the Lambs Quarters because it's fresh.  It's in my neighborhood.  I had the connection with picking it. Then, to buy like an apple that traveled from wherever and used whatever kinds of pesticides.  So I think there's, you just find out where you are on that spectrum.

Q [Male Audience Member]:  Is it better to forage than to shop at whole foods?

A [Nance]:  Dumpster dive for whole foods?

(Laughter)

Q [Female Audience Member]:  Is that really a question?

A/Q [Scott]:  Yes, actually it is but, I was just curious.  Some people have criticized the neoliberal sort of directive.  The sort of guilt relief.  This kind of like warm fuzzy feeling that we all get from buying organic products.  At the same time, it's not to say that we really do want to dump chemicals all over the place, but that somehow it makes not be as libratory as it appears on
the surface.  I was just curious because there's some kind of practice that you have that's about basically, I think it's a little bit more direct.  Still, but I was curious as to what you thought about this.  There's another question afterwards that we can get to.  But you were on this question about buying the apple from the liquor store and I was just thinking, well what about buying grapes from an organic market or whole foods or whatever.

A [Nance]:  Well, I was in the Reading market today and they have this little local market place.  A food farm stand.  And I got really excited because they actually account from where it comes from.  In that case, I'm like okay, all this stuff is in season and nothing, it's not January.  The apples haven't been here forever.  The celeriac root and all these things that they had there.  So that's not whole foods.  That's one step closer to a producer as it is to grow your own.  But the thing about wild foods is that they're really unusual tasting and they're actually higher in their nutritive values.  And, so many of them crossover into medicines so when you're eating you're also eating medicine.  Or, as you pointed out, making a cocktail from Ginkgo leaves.  Great idea!

(Laughter)

So, I mean, our food has been our medicine for so long and then we kind of got away from it.  And seriously, I didn't find any, but there's wild iceberg lettuce and all lettuce comes from wild lettuce and wild lettuce is soporific and it's slightly psychoactive, which is suminous sedative.  Where iceberg lettuce is not, obviously.  So there's this kind of distancing between cultivated foods and wild foods that's pretty distinct.  So if you want a little bit of an unusual taste or if you want that more packed vitamins or that medicinal quality to what you're eating, you can always incorporate some of them in your foods.

Q [Scott]:  Stephen, would you prefer to ask this out loud or would you prefer me to ask this?

A [Stephen]:  No, I can ask it.  I can kind of rephrase it and maybe get a little bit more of a context.  I think the context has to come through the series of discussions, which we've had over the preceding weeks, one of the things that I think Plausible Artworlds has been most venomitly hostile to several different things.  One has been art that's pretty much on spectatorship.  Another one is the whole regime of ownership.  But, I think the third one is nonetheless been on an object of an awful lot of critical discussion.  I mean, in this series, and that is the whole problem of expert culture.  So, I was just wondering Nance, how you engage with expert culture because in a sense, when you talk about vegetation, you do it from a perspective but I was wondering, if for you, that's the perspective of expertise and of expert culture or if it's a different type of engagement.  And if so, how does it differ?  And that kind of links to my second question, which is really not a second question.  Sorry, I mean, I don't want to ask too much at once.  But it's the whole problem that you seem to have with being accused of being an artist or being misidentified with one and I can certainly sympathize with not wanting to fall into that can of worms.  Why not redefine what it means to engage with art and be comfortable and just sort of de-dramatize the thing?   Why push that off and why not be more concerned about taking a distance from expert culture?

A [Nance]:  Oh, I do take a great distance from that.  It's kind of infused in all my projects.  In terms of expert, I really believe that this popular culture.  All my projects are very much about, kind of, teaching.  Teaching and passing it on and sharing things informally and through discussion.  I wasn't trained as an artist, I mean, that's part of it.  I didn't go to school for that.  And I think that my big problem with art and artists is that they define themselves as artists and it doesn't reflect what they live and experience with their practice.  And so there's a lot of people now really interested in ecological issues but they don't invest the time, and I'm talking about years and years and years of relationship.  This is more experiential than it is being an expert.  It's about many trials and errors and many, I don't know.  It's not about a project.  It's not about an audience.  It's something I live that people started asking me to share and so talk about it.  Does that answer anything for you?

Q [Stephen]:  No, that's a great answer.  In fact, that's exactly, I mean, I think.  Anyways, what you say about artists is dismally true.  I mean, in the conventional definition about what artists are up to.  I just like to think that there are some which are doing things a bit differently.  But certainly, in terms of your answer, the thing is though that when you're talking about plants, you talk about it with an incredibly vast and rich amount of knowledge compared to the rest of us.  How do the rest of us engage in that conversation if not in a, I mean, how do you control the inherent hierarchy which is liable to emerge?  I hear what you're saying about critiquing expert culture.  How do you control for that?

A [Nance]:  Well, I mean, I'm just trying to encourage.  Just by, like, when I found out there was no video I really wanted people to be able to see the plants I was talking about and to kind of take them in the form that I have them as opposed to trying to look them up on Google images or something because you might not see exactly what I picked now in Philadelphia off the streets, in the form that's available now to use.  So, I try to level it by talking about it this way.  I don't, it's always about passing on the information.  Some people do ask me to do an herbal consultation with them and I do that pretty reluctantly because I'd rather have them start building the relationships with the plants that might help their kinds of conditions or concerns slowly and in a way that they would want to as opposed to looking at a straight I.D. intake kind of way.  I think just how I talk and educate people is about encouraging people to build their own relationship to these things and find out which of these plants that they want to use and how.  It's probably not enough for you but it's all I can say (Laughing).

[Male Audience Member]:  This seems to be, to the gentleman, to Stephen.  It seems to be, in this context, more about sharing the feeling. The spirit here seems to be more about sharing than (inaudible 0:54:13.08) down, like authority or unknowing.  It's really more about sharing.  That's how the spirit feels.  And two, just the aesthetic of what's happening here, Stephen, is just the photos and the concept of walking and being in a space as an art move or an art experience seems to really have happened here for Nance today in Philadelphia.

Q [Stephen]:  Yeah, I hear you.  You know what, that atmosphere is kind of infectious because I'm feeling it even here 15,000 miles away.  But, it was just kind of wondering about the ethics of that sharing, which is something of an artistic experience or an aesthetic experience.  But describing that to someone who is not trained as an artist doesn't necessarily feel uncomfortable as being described as one.  That on the one hand.  On the other hand, this type of knowledge that we've largely forgotten in western civilization is widely shared in places like (Inaudible 0:55:33.6) and Southern India and in Chinese herbal medicine.  It's an ancestral tradition, which is very much ongoing.  But it's also in those contexts, very much part of an expert culture.  So, I'm just trying to ask for a kind of a precision or a precise bearing about how to describe that atmosphere of sharing without it either lapsing into art or lapsing into expertise.

A [Nance]:  What are really interesting when I forage is the people who notice me.  Either think I'm weird like something is going on and I have some kind of affliction to what I'm doing or they'll start a conversation.  Most people who start a conversation with me are people who actually identify with what's going on.  A lot of them are in Chicago and a lot of them are Eastern European who might not even speak English but they come up to me and they nod their head and they point at the plant and they're like "oh yeah".  And so I have a lot, I've had Greek, Italian, Chinese, almost all the Eastern European countries.  The Poles, the Russians. This is still part of their culture is that you do connect to plants as your own, kind of more than just what's going on in your kitchen.  And I don't think these immigrants would actually come up to me for any other, would have access to me as a person unless I wasn't connecting with plants, and they know it too.  So that's pretty interesting.  I also connect with some homeless people from time to time who tend to know about who are really resourceful and do their own foraging.  They will usually get into a conversation with me and will actually want to know what's happening with it and they're really good students of it since they're so disenfranchised of standard culture.  So that sharing happens through brilliant form just like encounter.  It's really cool.

(Audio feedback and random noise 0:57:49.2 - 0:57:59.8)

[Scott]:  Yeah, we can hear a lot of typing.  And I'm definitely guilty of that because we're using this laptop as a mic for this side of the chat.  So everyone out there's apologies.   I don't think it's to be helped unless I just don't type anything.  

(Chatter and noise 0:58:11.7 - 0:58:25.3)

[Scott]:  Penelope, do you want to ask that out loud or do you want someone here to do that?

[Penelope]:  If I speak, can I be heard?

[Scott]:  Yeah, we can hear you really well.

Q [Penelope]:  I was just asking if you about, I came late, so the conversation about being aware of one's environment and of the usefulness in creating a fuller understanding of where an individual or society is in time and place, literally and metaphysically.

A [Nance]:  Yeah.  I don't always look at plants as usefulness but I'm aware of what they're doing because they're not necessarily there for us.  They're there because the conditions are right and the communities are there.  You can look at areas and not get close to them and from a distance determine "when was the last time that soil was disturbed?"  Like dug up or moved around.  You can literally tell that.  My friend Brooke here was talking about the plants that I was finding underneath the old Reading tracks and then the plants on the Reading Railroad tracks which haven't been used for a long time and I was like "oh, that stuff up there is going to be rocking." Like it's going to be really advanced, like pioneering plants and much more bio-diversed because it's a real open pathway for the wind to carry stuff.  It's not disturbed.  People aren't going there to cut it down and spray chemicals all over it.  It's, that would be a great place to go and forage exactly for that reason.  So usefulness but also just seeing our pathways and what our pathways have done to land and how they've carried plants around.  Eposote, the lemon balm that I found.  The squash.  The tomatoes that I found are all from us just like dropping sandwiches.  (Laughing)  Or half of a sandwich wrapper or something.  (Laughing)

Q [Penelope]:  I'm hearing an interest in the interaction.  Whether it's from near or far, between humanity and the world.  Whether its nature or you can expand that to other realms.  But you're limiting right now to plants.

A [Nance]:  They trace animal migrations too.  Like birds obviously are eating and depositing things.  Mice and other furry animals have things stuck to them and they drop them.  So a lot of migrations.  Sorry, does that throw you off?

Q [Penelope]:  So it's the interaction?

A [Nance]:  Yeah.

Q [Penelope]: Interesting.

A [Nance]:  For example, the Eposote that was found. The only culture I know that uses that, it is a vermifuse, which helps you get rid of worms.  Intestinal worms, which is not needed in this culture but sometimes maybe.  But it's used in Mexican culture uses it in beans.  So it's a mark of seeds blown, dropped, scattered from somebody who was cultivating it in the city and it got out.  And that's fascinating.  So it's only naturalized in cities that have a Mexican population.  It wouldn't be out there.  That's what's really interesting

Penelope:            Thanks.  I'm thinking.

(Laughter)

Q [Female Audience Member]:  So what is this bean that you just broke open?
               

A [Nance]:  Honey Locust and it's a street tree.  Well, you can kind of taste it now.  Earlier in the season there's long pods that come off of trees and when their green you can open up these pods and there's meat inside that somewhat tastes like mango and papaya.  It's good.  So I was like "oh, yeah."  You can suck on a little bit; it's kind of like dusty date at this point.  Last night at a gathering over at Brooke's, we had Honey Locust Ginger soda that someone made and he just dropped the whole pod in there, I don't know what state, but it was quite sweet and delicious.  It was a really nice soda-pop that he had made from this

Q [Female Audience Member]:  So it's just like an edible I guess, not medicinal.

A [Nance]:  It's an edible that's fixing nitrogen in the soil, making it available for         plants around.  It's in the bean family.

Q [Scott]:  So, you were talking about the different kinds of pathways.  Well, I guess we'll just finish that slide and we'll get to Lisa's because I think it actually might segway into Lisa's question from earlier.  It seems like you're kind of also talking about ways to burn new neuropath ways as well?  You're talking about medicinal purposes.  You mentioned earlier, or at least you implied.  I don't think you really talked about psychotropic plants.  You did describe some state altering herbs or whatever or plants.  So, I had a question about that as well because they're definitely.  I'm not necessarily going to say.  Can you describe more specifically how this is political?  I mean, I think because you have been.  I was just curious, you know, beyond weighing if it's better to buy food at your local organic market or is it better to just pick it?  I think there are also other things about social transformation, other interests that you have, at least from what I've seen, of your other work that kind of carries through.  So I was curious about the sort of mind altering experience changing side of this and if there's a direct relationship between some of the plants' chemical properties and if that's been part of your interest or if you've just kind of avoided that altogether because of the obvious "are you guys growing pot on the railroad tracks?"

(Laughter)

A [Nance]:  I don't, actually, I'm pretty sensitive to plants so I can just be around this plant, or just bring this plant up to my head and kind of get some of that from it.  I don't necessarily need to unhinge like some people do.  So I don't necessarily indulge that way.  Because this is all about that more direct experience, that creative direct experience, in our environment and I feel like I get multiple highs all day just being out there looking at things in a different way.  And I don't necessarily need to do that, but I do, there are some plants that I do use as kind of help through certain stuck places that I'll get into.  But I don't necessarily need to take them in as much as somebody who is super entrenched in dominate culture.

Q [Scott]:  You think maybe you're more sensitive to your environment because you're in it?

A [Nance]:  Yeah.  Well, I try to be. (Laughing)

Q [Scott]:  I think it's plenty undoubtable that you really are.

A [Nance]:  (laughing) Yeah, I don't necessarily go for the heavy hits.  I know people who do because they have to make the break in their head so they go for stuff.  I just need to think about doing that and that's enough (laughing). So I think it's really about where you're at and what works for you and what you're trying to get at.  But I don't necessarily need to go into really strong medicinal plants, which all the really strong medicinal plants are the poisons.  I mean, they're poisonous; you just take them in lesser extent so you can drop into the mind alteration before you get into the illness.

(Laughter)

Severe stomach cramps and....

Q [Chris]:        What would be the difference between using plants as medicine and using it as food?

A [Nance]:  There are 4 groupings of plants, roughly, in this idea those certain plants you can use for food every day.  Everyday food.  Other plants, you will only use every once in awhile as food because they're a little bit more active.  So these would be tonics.  Things that you would take if you had a certain low grade condition.  For example, Gingko would be a tonic and not a food.  Dandelion, Lambs Quarters...all those things would be foods.  When you get into stimulate or sedative, I mean coffee and tobacco are really clear stimulants.  So they're at that level.  And the last level is poison.  Which is where you're psychotropic's, your strong psychotropic's rest with it as well as super poisonous plants.  So, food is every day.  Dandelion is a food, but dandelion is also a really good liver and kidney cleanse.  But it's safe enough to use every day.  It's just a matter of what you're looking for.

Q [Female Audience Member]:  I have a question about the Gingko (inaudible 1:09:37.8)

A [Nance]:  No.  By the way, if you have a female tree and you want to roast the seed inside of the stinky vomitty smelling fruit, it tastes like a boiled peanut.  It's really delicious.  (Laughing)  But you've got to get around the other stuff.  (Laughing)

Q [Female Audience Member]:  (inaudible 1:10:01.8) and once the, just because I'm in this field once a week and once the nuts are visible and white with all the stinky stuff         already gone you can collect them (inaudible 1:10:16.7).

A [Nance]:  Yeah and as long as they're not dry, they're really good just to boil and eat.  They're really nice.

Q [Female Audience Member]:  (inaudible 1:10:24.8 - 1:10:36.6)

A [Nance]:  I'm going to answer Alyssa's question because Scott's not here.  Yeah, totally.  Yeah.  Gathering knowledge through a relationship with your plants, animals, whatever you have around you.  Rocks.  I mean, you could study; other people study architecture and human behavior.  But, I tend to gravitate towards plants and animals so I studied that.  I study weather a little bit and interested in soil.  So, mostly because they're not, well, they might be, kind of related to human culture, they tend to be a little bit on their own.  I'm interested in those other dynamics, slower dynamics or quicker ways of telling time.  Or slower ways of telling time.  So yeah...being outside is how I gather my knowledge.  I just go around and again, I'm interested in plants.  I'm more interested in plants than I am in people.  Really frankly, it's true.  I couldn't handle living in Chicago so I just started going for walks and looking at plants and that's how I got started plant connecting.  That way.

Q [Alyssa]:  So would it be safe to say that going out and kind of foraging and trying to just kind of experiment for yourself.  Is that safe in an area like a city?  I guess I'm asking are there many poisonous plants in an area like this and is there even enough that if you were to eat them it would be damaging?

A [Nance]:  Yeah, you've gotta be careful.  There is a yoga instructor that killed herself in Chicago because she misidentified a plant and used it in her smoothie and drank it then had severe stomach cramps and died.

Q [Alyssa]:  What plant was that, just out of curiosity?

A [Nance]:  She thought she was getting Comfrey, which I didn't find.  It's a broad, little bit fuzzy leaf.  Instead she collected Fox Glove.  Comfrey grows in sun and Fox Glove grows in the woods.  Fox Glove is highly poisonous and she did a smoothie of Fox Glove and died.  So, there are some lookalikes we didn't talk so much about.  Lookalikes are certain families that are generally safe, and certain families that are not that you have to like pick and choose.  You go at it very slowly, everything I showed.          Everything that was taken a picture of is safe for consumption.  But you should look into it.  It's definably something you should watch out for.

[Female Audience Member]:  Get a field guide or something I guess.

A [Nance]:  Yeah, there's a lot of different plant guides.  I probably have 30 or 40 books that are different kinds of guides and orientations to medicinal and edible plants from different cultures and areas of the world.  Ecosystems.

Q [Female Audience Member]:  Are there any that are geared towards urban foraging (inaudible 1:14:01.1) that you know of?

A [Nance]:  No, I'm supposed to be writing that, so I don't know.  Not so much.  These are super common plants.  These are very common in Europe.  I heard there are some French folks here.  Most all these plants.  Stephen, you're over there man.  You get out in Paris, you're going to be finding a lot of these plants!  (Laughing)  In the sidewalk cracks in Paris!  Almost all of these plants that I showed you are either Asian or European plants anyway.  Very few of them are native American plants.

Q [Stephen]:  Nance, since you're talking about European and Chinese plants....

[Scott]:          Stephen, sorry, sorry!  You couldn't hear this but someone else was just asking a question.

[Stephen]:  Oh sorry! I'm shutting up!

Q [Scott]:  That's okay.  In fact, I wonder if this is a good time to try out this mic.  Would you guys indulge me for 15 second maximum?  Because we actually have a microphone, and if we have it, I could just pass it around and it would be much easier.  Okay, great.  This may not really... It may not really work, but it might.  I'll try one thing.

(Audio crashes)

[Scott]:  Uh-oh.  Where'd you go?  Lost the audio!

(Thumping and more thumping)

Q [Scott]:  Alright, can you hear us again now?  

[Penelope]:  You're back!

[Scott]:  Aright, well, never mind.  We'll sort this out later.  That was interruption of you.

Q [Stephen]:          I was just curious; you said you were spending some time in Tucson?  I was curious about the different cities and how foraging (inaudible 1:16:24.3) are and traveling.

A [Nance]:  Well, Tucson is extremely different.  

(Laughter)

I love it.  I just have to amp up and go get to learn a bunch of new plants.          I've been eating a lot of different cactus fruit on my hikes.  I'm eating Juju Bees; the fruit is heightened right now.  Mesquite Pods.  To me it's just like a whole, you start connecting to your landscape.  You understand why people ate what they did and why they built their pharmacopeias around the         plants because it makes sense for the environment.  So, I think it's a really great way to get into placeness.  Particularly someplace like the Sonoran Desert.  It is what it is.  There's a lot of disturbance, but there's all these native plants in the Sonoran there.  So just by taking them in, you get to internalize the place and are like "oh, I understand why the (inaudible 1:17:30.0) eat what they eat because it makes sense.  Because it's available, but all the tastes aren't making any sense.  Or like when I was in         Australia.  Bush food totally makes sense.  Like, you get it, when you start eating off the landscape, you're like "oh, wow".  You start getting into the headspace of the people.   We always think about how we shape a place, but the place shapes us.  So I'm really interested in that. Our weeds are the most prevalent and they're the ones that we         need.  They're our best simple medicines and it's all because we keep (explicative 1:18:09.05) the soils with our bulldozers and sidewalk plans or the house wreckages.  Whatever construction.  Deconstruction.  Like all the plants that are here are exactly the ones that we need for kidney, liver.  They're all about the stress and pollutants in the body.  The respiratory         plants to help clear our lungs.  They all can help us with the ailments that         we have in our environments. (Chewing)  That was a project.  (Laughing) That's art!

(Laughter)

I pushed, I planned a shopping cart full of pre-depression era corn for like 60 days around Chicago.  Until it made...corn.  (Chewing)  And then I had the big corn rows in the gallery.  That's art.  That's what I call art. (Laughing)

Q [Scott]:  Stephen, did you want to pick back up on what you were saying?

Q [Stephen]:        I don't know why, but when I was saying, I think I was just kind of on the rebound with what Nance had been saying.  I was going to say that I know that in China, and definitely in France, one of the major foraging targets is mushrooms.  The thing was, when you go mushroom hunting, even when we talked a few weeks ago with that group of artists/mushroomers, you realize there is incredible diversity (inaudible 1:20:09.0) people.  There is an incredible diversity of skills that come together among mushroom hunters.  There's really no sort of expert mushroom hunters, they're all kind of fascinated by this mystique of, not so much the use value of mushroom, and of course they are interested in that.  They're interested in the ones that taste good, the ones that can kill you, the ones that can do this or that or the other thing.  But really, it's the fact that mushrooms are kind of like in the shadows and they're almost a metaphorical kind of pursuit.  I don't think we even have to bring in the notion of art.  It's just that there's some kind of symbolic dimension to it.  I find that you're practice is more, and I may be wrong, but it seems to be more geared towards use value.  I don't mean that in a positive or a negative way.  That's just kind of the way I've been hearing what you're saying is that there's all this incredible potential with stuff that's growing in the cracks in our sidewalks and we should engage with it a lot more.  Because it's free.  And that's why in the last sentence of the little write up, which I did, and I took some liberties with your work just because I was fascinated by it and I wanted to spin it in a certain way.  But, that's the opportunity also to contradict what I said,

(Laughter)

It seemed that you're applying the logic of the free and open software movement; see I know about that thing so I use that as an example, to the realm of urban vegetation.  Do you think that's a fair comparison?  Or do you think that I'm going out on an abusive limb there?

A [Nance]:  I never talk about these plants because there free, it's because they're here with us.  We're in the same place and so...

Q [Scott]:  Well, just to reiterate and to clarify.  I don't think she necessarily means that, and I don't want to speak for you, but just because we had this dialog before about the meaning for free.  Not necessarily free as in money, or free as in free beer but free as in free speech.  Or free as in society or maybe just to throw that in there.  That can sound sort of like

A [Nance]:  Yeah.  And I like "yeah, and I don't have to spend money on them" and I'm like "well, that's not necessarily the point" so yeah.  What Scott's talking about is in that sense.

[Scott]:  Okay, okay.

(Audience chatter)

Q [Scott]:  It is a good point though because when someone mentions free and opens our software, often times it's really confusing and confused.  Often times that is the discussion, it's about money.

A [Nance]:  So, I'll just reiterate.  It's because they are here with us at the same time because of us.  And they're interacting with us.  We're exchanging our breathing with them at all times.  So every time we're breathing out, we're giving it to them.  Every time they're breathing out, they're giving it to us.  There is already a relationship there and there is this metaphorical and kind of metaphysical thing that I'm interested in too.  It's just not what I lead with because I think that there is other ways.  It just doesn't have to just exist as a metaphor as it really does exist in this really practical way.  But there is obvious connections to the metaphor of spontaneous vegetation or spontaneous growth and kind our wild mind connecting to that.

Q [Penelope]:        In farming, they called them opportunistic.  That the plant takes the advantage of the opportunity of being dropped and grows wherever it falls.

A [Nance]:  Yeah, yeah.

Q [Penelope]:  So they are opportunistic beings and a great nussience in the industry.  And in cities because they destroy roads and like the railroad tracks that you brought up.

A [Nance]:  But again, they're cleaning our soils and making them porous.

Q [Penelope]: But some of them are depleting the soils.  It depends on the individual plant.  And of course, they interact in return when you bring up the Fox Glove.  It is poisonous as a method of defense.  To keep animals from consuming it, and it's highly effective.  It's digitalis.  She actually didn't die of stomach cramps, she died probably of cardiac arrest.  It's a self defense mechanism.  So they are interacting in return.

A [Nance]:  Yeah.  I think that in these areas where I'm foraging, and in a public park where you're trying to do some cultivation, they could be taking water and other nutrients from the soil but a lot of these places that I forage are not places where people are cultivating or even caring for.  

Q [Penelope]: Well, and some places would even be dangerous to cultivate and we know that.  For instance, back to the railroad tracks.  Nothing growing on a railroad track in Pennsylvania should be consumed by a human.  There are way too many toxic chemical that could be taken up by the plant.

A [Nance]:  Yeah.  Exactly.  You know, in the same time, it's a great place if you just want to study for.  They're fantastic.  Transportation lines are used as navigation by a lot of animals.  Birds, coyotes, there hugely bio-diverse.  So it's fascinating to just go there and do your studies because you can see a huge number of plants.

Q [Penelope]: Really interesting.

Q [Male in Audience]:  I heard a term recently where someone said they want to make the invisible visible.  It seems that what you're doing is taking something that's so invisible right in front of us back to that whole earlier discussion about how it's been bred out of us because of other interests and other mechanisms of society.  Maybe even the visible, or the engaging with this visually or physically, it's invisible to us now.  We walk right by it, it's all around us as you've shown us tonight.  And yet it's been bred out of us as new types of artists or urban dwellers or whatever.  And yet, your art at this point makes the invisible be visible again and shares it with everybody.  That to me is a heart strategy or a thinking strategy, not to exploit, but just to experience again.  There is so much that is so just right there and yet we don't even see it anymore.  We don't see a lot of things in life anymore.

A [Nance]:  Yeah.

Q [Scott]:  I was just going to ask what your sensation of time is like.  In a way, I'm sort of reminded about because there's often a cross cultural comparison, or of cultures that are prescriptively forward thinking or there's a sort of, not necessarily mandatory, but I guess its part of the culture's constantly being future oriented.  Some of that has to do with religion, like imagining if there is an afterlife, well, you're always going to be thinking about the future.  And some of it has to do with the land because you're potentially present.  So I'm just curious if that was an interest of yours.

A [Nance]:  I wear a watch because I really have to watch my time all the time because I'm always getting distracted.  Like entering another time since I work a lot with soil, which is really slow.

(Laughter)

So I just always have a watch on.  I sleep with it on and I wake up frequently during the night to check what time it is.

(Laughter)

So, I kind of... My birthday is tomorrow so I'm like "wow, man, I'm going to be like halfway on my way to 90 tomorrow!  I'm going to be 45 tomorrow" that's just wild.  Just kind of weird.  So, I think since I'm looking at building soils and I'm looking at plant life and I'm constantly planting trees and grafting fruit trees so I can have fruit later, knowing that it's going to be 7 or 12 years from now.  Thinking that I'll be like 55 when I can start picking fruit from this plant if it survives.  So there's something that I do more because I'm working with a different time scale.  I'm not a geologist, which would be really wild.  But working with soils is close enough to being slow.  So yeah, time is something I definitely have to, I always have my Timex on.  I actually have 2 identical watches just in case I have a problem with this one.

(Laughter)

Q [Scott]:  Speaking of time, it's 8:00 and that's when we always wrap up, even if we never start on time we always end on time.  At least on the audio chat.  Everybody here is welcome to stay and hang out.  Nance, thanks for joining us.

A [Nance]:  Thanks you guys for the tough questions.

(Laughter)

[Scott]:  We'd definitely love to do forage. That'd be really awesome.

A [Nance]:  Yeah.  It's super fun.  Stephen!  All you Europeans get out there and look for stuff.

(Child's voice saying "bye")

End of Transcription 01:31:05.1

Week 42: Periferry

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya of the Desire Machine Collective, who operate the Periferry project, an artist-led space situated on the M. V. Chandardinga, a ferry currently docked along the mighty Brahmaputra River in Guwahati, Assam, in the North East of India.

http://www.periferry.in/
http://www.desiremachinecollective.net/

To describe Periferry as a floating laboratory for generating hybrid practices, while very true, is to skip a little quickly to the point: it is first of all a 1950s era, former government-run ferry barge, entirely river-worthy despite a bit of rust and a half century of plying the somewhat treacherous waters of the Brahmaputra between Assam and West Bengal through Bangladesh. Like the river itself, the space and its activities provide a connective, border-defiant platform for dialogue across artistic, scientific, technological, and ecological modes of production and knowledge. Periferry regularly hosts art-related, on-deck conferences and debates, regular film screenings and is more generally a platform — a floating, diesel-powered and steel platform — for cross-disciplinary flux, exploring new constellations of artistic relationships that challenge traditional hierarchical and autocratic strategies, seeking above all to move away from the center-periphery dialectics to renegotiate the role of local in the global.

Collaborating since 2004 as Desire Machine Collective, Sonal Jain and Mriganka Madhukaillya work through image, moving image, sound, and the time and flux of the river. As their name suggests, Desire Machine seeks to disrupt the neurotic symptoms that arise from constricting capitalist structures — of which the mainstream artworld is merely one instance — with healthier, schizophrenic cultural flows of desire and information

Transcription

Week 42: Periferry

Scott: Hello there

Steven: Are Mriganka and Sonal with us?

Scott: Sonal and Mriganka are not with us yet, I'll have to add them to the call now, so unfortunately we couldn't add them to the text chat, so I'll have to call them both separately.  So if everybody could just hand tight for a second, we'll get them on the line hopefully right away.

[Scott's daughter talking]

Female: Is that your girl Scott?

Scott: Yes

Steven: I feel like I should add some baby noises to this conversation.

Scott: Oh, yeah, please do.  Okay, adding Sonal now and Mriganka.

Hello Sonal, how are you?

Sonal: Hi, Hi Scott

Steven: Hi Sonal, Steven here, how are you?

Sonal: Hi Steven, good, how are you?

Steven: Good to hear your voice, it's very early...

Mriganka, Hey Mriganka, how're you doing?

Mriganka: Hi, I'm fine.  There's a delay in the voice.

Steven: Yeah, well, it's normal, it's 3.30 in the morning right, so, we can [inaudible 0:01:42.4] a tiny bit of a delay, I guess.  So, are we ready to go Scott?

Scott: Absolutely, we finally got everyone connected, it took twenty minutes, but we're here.

Steven: So, listen, welcome Periferry.  It's a real privilege and a pleasure to have you with us.  It's a particular honor since we've forced you either to stay up or get up at this ungodly hour to tell us about life on the Brahmaputra river, on this incredible platform made out of steel, with twin-diesel engines, that I've also had the pleasure of being on, talking on, and riding on.  What we thought we would do is ask you to describe the project.  We frame it as a kind of an art world, and art sustaining and life sustaining environment, but you're free to not think of it that way since it's yours.  But basically to tell us where the idea came from, where you're taking it to, and some of the stuff you've been doing, and then people will jump in with questions as we go along, both on text -- I don't know if you're seeing the text questions or not.

Scott: No, they're not able to see the text questions, but I have a separate chat so what I can do is paste in things that are, well I mean everything's relevant but specific questions maybe.

Steven: Sure, perfect.  Ok, I'm going to mute my mic for now, but don't worry I'll take it off very soon to ask questions.

Mriganka: Sonal, you want to start?

Sonal: Yeah, sure, I can do that.  

Maybe what I can do is just give you a brief outline of how we came to start Periferry, which is a project of desire machine collective, so I must tell you a bit about what desire collective essentially is.  The founding members are Mriganka, and myself, Sonal.  We started working together in 2004.  We started collaborating on a number of projects we were working on a number of film-based/photography-based projects, but what was very important for our practice is that our decision to actually come back to the region which is broadly called the northeast of India, and base our practice there.  We belong to that place, so in 2004 we actually came down back from where we were, which is the west part of India, and started our project, and started desire machine collective and started working together.  Now, just to give you a brief outline of what this region, northeast India is actually, I can just briefly take you through this.  It's geographically isolated from the rest of India, it is 99% borders with other countries, like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, China etc.  It also suffers from economic neglect.  It has a complex ethnography with dozens of indigenous groups, many [inaudible 0:05:23.9] across the national and state borders.  People have migrated freely across the borders through the centuries, and a lot of the people actually find there are groups which actually stay on both sides of the borders.  It's ethnically and linguistically quite different from the rest of India, and many still refer to it as -- you know the rest of India is mainland India.  I hope you're listening because it's a little strange too you know.

[others]: Sonal it's perfect, and the audio is excellent actually surprisingly, please keep going.

Sonal: In 2007, in this region we started this project called Periferry, which actually works as a laboratory for people engaged across disciplinary practices.  The project focuses on the creation of a network space for negotiating the challenge of contemporary cultural  production.  It is actually located on the ferry on the river Brahmaputra.  It aims to promote experimentation in art, ecology, technology, media and science and create a public space and public domain.  Now, to tell you a bit about the rive Brahmaputra, what is interesting about it is also that it is firstly a transnational river, it starts from China, actually, Tibet, close to China, and into India, Bangladesh, and into the Bay of Bengal.  It has a length of 20,900 km and over centuries, people in the region have shared a close engagement with the river.  In the Hindu belief, it is the only male river in India because in India there is some kind of myth, you might call it, which is associate with all the rivers, not most actually, all the rivers are female.  For example, [Ganga, Yamuna 0:07:37.3] all of them are female rivers.  Brahmaputra is the only male river, and the literal translation is Son of Lord Brahma and it has given inspiration to many artists, singers, poets of the region, and has found reference in folk and older traditions.  We see the river also as a transnational space because of its particular location, and that is an important reason why we decided to locate Periferry on the river.  Can I hand over to Mriganka?

Scott: Great, definitely.

Mriganka: Yeah, hi, I think in between the voice -- there's a lot of trouble in the voice, I could not hear probably, can you hear me?

[others]: Yes, we here you fine, no problem.

Mriganka: Basically, adding to what Sonal was mentioning.  This whole transition of [inaudible 0:09:06.4] we were working towards a nature of a collective [inaudible 0:09:12.3] into the participatory thought and the active kind of domain.  Basically Periferry becomes an instrument of looking at also critically to kinds of things; what Sonal was mentioning about this kind of territorial trap which was very contextual to our practice.  So this, giving ideas, which also we have to admit to an extent what was also informed by writings - if you look at when we proclaim ourselves as [desire machine 0:09:51.8  collective it actually drives and delivers [inaudible 0:09:55.8 thought?].  Secondly, when we make a transition from our own individual artistic practice to something as participatory, or as open as, like involving a space, which was some kind of force this extended idea of [inaudible 0:10:17.2] so it's like a [inaudible 0:10:19.6] kind of trying to combine multiple spaces and kind of a utopian thought within a real space.  Because there was no space which was given for any kind of artistic practice or even for a public thing, so there was a very thin layer between public actions and a more artistic [inaudible 0:10:44.5] to where actually Periferry tends to become somewhere [inaudible 0:10:49.7] kind of space. [inaudible 0:10:59.0] Can you hear me?

Scott: Yes, we can hear you, it broke up a little bit, but I think we got 95% of that, yes.

Mriganka: So that's why probably what Sonal has already mentioned, I think can address discussion of how the river is important as [0:11:27.6] as well as acts as a rhetorical flux which is also important creative space which is not bounded by certain kinds of boundary, because we had this working title of the project as something called alternate boundaries, or borders, so for certain reasons we couldn't have that name because of obvious reasons of political, or economic reasons.  But that's the reason, so the project Periferry tries to dwell between this [0:12:05.3 inaudible].  

Scott: Do you mean that you couldn't have that name for legal reasons?

Mriganka: Yes because when we were working towards this project proposal for certain kinds of funds, we were looking at it because if you look at it from a very mainstream Indian point of view, so most of the time the whole border of India and Pakistan --

Steven: Mriganka, excuse me, what name couldn't you have?

Mriganka: We said we wanted, when we started off, we wanted to have the [inaudible 0:12:56.0] name called alternate borders.  That was before the ferry, but that was the name which we were sharing this idea with people who would like to help us to create this, this kind of problem paper, which was basically was called Alternate borders, but that notion of border is very problematic within Indian contemporary discourse because most of the time, India's border is mostly Pakistan, and it is one of the most important and very delicate matter, but our problem was much more different.  It was basically that - like for example this whole 1947s memories of a new country partly from this part of this country, we don't really share anything, that's physical truth, but at the same time, we're actually northeast India, which is basically situated between south and south east Asia, which is a very interesting geographical location.  So that creates an interesting link to think about borders, so that's how -- and as Sonal was mentioning that call the geographical facts, the river, this other Asian network of countries, which was very much there before 1947 gave us think in terms of a different trajectory to create new [inaudible 0:14:32.2].  That is the background of Periferry.  

Scott: So it was possible for you to do these play on words where you were talking about an interstitial or a peripheral space on a ferry boat.  When did the ferry boat come into play?  The actual strategy of having these kinds of conversations on the water?

Sonal: I'll come to your question, but I would just also like to add a little bit more about north-eastern India

Scott: Oh yes, please, let's not jump to it too quickly

Sonal: I would like to probably just give you also a map for a reference so that we know what we are talking about when we refer to a geographical location like northeast India, so northeast India, it has a lot of indigenous groups in the region and it's a multi-ethnic society, and it has a weakness, or condition of prolonged conflict so since the division of the Indian state, there has been some or the other form of conflict and violence that has been continuing.  In some senses it is a lot like Kashmir and India, which is also much more well-known, so it is an area with a condition of sustained violence and arm struggle.  [0:16:13.3 Inaudible] cultural space transforms drastically, so markers of identity and [inaudible 0:16:19.6] health which traditionally manifest themselves in cultural forms are subverted and occupied predominantly the space for assertion of exclusive identity for political expression.  And this is actually what has actually been happening over the years.  It's basically a large masks of land between south and southeast Asia.  Fluxes migration have been the only constant in this region, it's ever changing, and identity here is not a given, it is something that is again changing constantly.  the movement for self determination translates most times based on assertion of difference into a demand for autonomy.  Separate state and separate [inaudible, disentrances? 0:17:03.0] are what is really common.  So then number of insurgent groups in the northeast and a lot of groups are asking for either more autonomy from the Indian states, or they are asking for a separate state altogether.  So this is the background of the violence and the political tension that the northeast shares with the rest of India.  In this space now what happens is dissent against the government is seen as a pro-militant or insurgent statement.  So in that sense, in that kind of state, what happens is the public opinion and public space is what suffers.  People don't have, like this again we experienced in our earlier works very early on when we were doing research on a certain film on the historical aspect of the region we realized that there is no public space in the region, so that is basically also why Periferry became really important for us to have.  Because there were certain occasions when there were some academic lectures which were also banned.  We were working with this professor who is  from the region but he lives in New York, and he's teaching in a university there, he had come and he was trying to set up with the food foundation centre, and an academic lecture by a scholar was banned.  It was at the last minute the authorities actually just stopped the lecture, so the public space is something which is very scarce in the northeast of India.  That is why also it became important to set up a space where other people could also come in to be in, and there would be a space for dialogue, for discussions etc.

Maybe I also just want to add a little bit of history of the ferry here because what is also interesting in this regard is that when we were planning to set up a space, we were interested in actually looking at a space which is [inaudible 0:19:19.8] completely like a building which kind of falls within the structure, so there were a number of ferry boats which were lying in disuse.  Until the 50s there was no bridge across the Brahmaputra so the region was actually using ferry boats for transferring people, for transferring goods etc.  In the 50s there was a major bridge that came about and after that water transport became less and less used.  So there are a huge number of ferries which are lying in disuse, and we saw these ferries as a potential spot for actually starting a project or having it as a space also because of the location, because where Periferry is located on one side you have the major city of Gauhati, and on the other side of the river is actually a rural area, so in a number of ways, it is an in-between space.  So it's still actually the process of getting the ferry is also really interesting because in a lot of ways it's still a sport because we've been in conversation with the government to try and procure it, but we still haven't got any legal documents,  or we haven't got a lease on it, so for the last 3 years we've actually managed to use it without getting a proper lease; which is also quite rare in these parts of the country.

Scott: That is very interesting, I was curious about the ownership and all of that.

Sonal: Mriganka would you like to continue?

Mriganka: We have already mentioned about the context, do you want us to speak about regarding aspirations or...

Steven: Whatever you think is important, but I mean I think that we have a certain idea, I mean a very rough idea now of the political, geographical context that you're working in, maybe why don't you say what you've done on the boat for the last three years while you've been squatting it?

Mriganka: I can't hear you, can you speak again?

Steven: Yeah, sorry.  I think we have an idea of the political, the geographical context, and why you wanted to do this, but maybe you could describe more generally, what you do on the boat, or what you have done, the types of projects that you have done and hope to do.

Mriganka: Basically as we have mentioned that there's deep link between what we do as a desire machine collective and what we desire to do for Periferry.  Periferry is a kind of a curated project of desire machine collective and it's truly a realization of the [inaudible 0:23:43.7] productions, or what happens it becomes a product in the sense of when you make a film, or in the sense when you maintain an artist's studio, within these conditions, so that aspires, or that motivates to create certain kinds of things.  It also pushes us to create, has pushed us to create this project.  So basically this project involves different kinds of people, collaborations, and when we mentioned which whole idea of borders, we were very instrumental because we tried to make a film, we tried to make several kinds of projects, but it was not really reasonable.  So in a sense, in a very civil society negotiation, so in a sense what we tried was very consciously what happened was we invited people for funding reasons we said we are doing residences but it's up like that, it's a very creative residency, it happens through a lot of discussions and a lot of negotiations and it has been really very researched based.  Projects which we have done in Periferry varies from a couple of artists working together trying to create a collaborative situation, to something like working with the community around the ferry, or to an extent, working with different communities.  Say a group of musicians, a group of folk singers and trying to bridge this border, in one sense we are trying to look at border in a much broader sense of looking at the spaces between the categories like arts, science, technology and several kind of things.  Another thing is very important because I think we also had a [inaudible 0:25:55.7] start where we are developing this, which is very real which is also a very taxing thing.  Also one this was, this notion of border also has to be negotiated to some words again, we found something again with readings of [inaudible 0:26:17.4].  So basically we will thinking Periferry also as a concept, this month on the 8th October for the first time we did a Periferry even in Berlin.  So the whole idea of notions of creating new encounters or inspiring people to meet at various frontiers, creating fresh dialogues, debates, negotiations and recordings, so we were trying to start in a new kind of discourse.  That was what we really intended, so I think Sonal can also tell you, I am forgetting a few things probably she can add.  Sonal can you please add some of the things I missed out?

Sonal: Yes, so, in the larger sense, we see Periferry as a context provider, stretching the concept of artist creation, from making content to making context.  Because it draws so largely from a larger social/political reality, I think context is something that is very close to the way we actually function.  So we are providing a context where we leave it open for people to actually come and collaborate, and also I think it's really important as a strategy because we do not want to also represent the northeast of India, or that region, or other issues, and we want people to actually come in and collaborate and we want multiple voices, rather than our voice to be talking about all of these things.  A context provider in that sense does not speak for others but induces others to speak for themselves, by providing the means or tool and the context where they can speak and be heard.  We like to engage with environment and communities and for this we invite international experts as well as very local people and people working in the natural resources, people who have very different ways of life, world views, and we see this as a really important method where we get the local and the global on the same platform as people participants.  For example, we  would like to work with local innovators, like this lady called [Name K. Pura 0:29:07.1] who is an expert on local plants and herbal medicines.  So guided by this principle of practice-like theory, we look at it as a curatorial problematic localized participatory practices are central to our discourse.  Creation and artistic direction will be undertaken through collaboration between the project partners and agreement of curatorial methodologies, we also give a huge amount of emphasis on research, so anybody who comes in would be spending a minimum of a month to  - we had a really interesting residency this winter and two artists from [inaudible 0:29:56.3] spent three and a half months on the ferry.  This is really important for people to come and engage with the place, because most of the people who come into the northeast come in as tourists, and to even understand the context requires that kind of time and engagement.  This local/global partnership, the project aims to gain a perspective on key issues through bringing together diverse players.  Now I'd like to just mention some of the key issues that we hope to look at.  

Since the ferry is located on a river, the two key elements of the project are definitely the ferry itself and water.  When we talk about water and rivers, we are very clear that there are going to be flash points of future conflicts.  This is something that is already an immediate threat because China plans to build a really huge dam on its part of the Brahmaputra, and divert huge amounts of the waters to its drought-ridden areas.  So in this sense, we are also trying to bring focus to really important issues to do with water, and rivers, and also what is really disturbing for us is the fact that since Brahmaputra actually flows through the northeast, it does not affect the rest of India so much, there is not a huge amount of outcry about the plans of China building this dam.  It's going to have huge amount of environmental consequences on the region, and the whole region; not only just India, but also Bangladesh would suffer deeply from it because the river is the food provider, the food basin for the entire region, but the Indian government is not really taking a strong stance on this.  So that is also something that we are planning to look at in the future.  I would just like to also mention some of the other aims that we are looking at: I think that Mriganka has already mentioned, that since it's on the river, we plan to conceptually and physically connect the flow of everyday currents in the region.  This again, we want to do by different ways, also, work as an archive of sorts because there are a huge number of people who are actually drawing inspiration from the river and most of the people are using older traditions to express themselves and the Bible was actually the first written text for most of the people in the northeast, so this huge tradition of oral tradition, and folk songs is central to the cultural expression of the people.  In some ways acting as an archive for all of this, we want to explore the pertinent relationship that the river has with food, energy, electricity, geography, and we want to in the future also look at making the ferry a biosphere of sorts because we have already started working in this direction since the river is the life source of the region, the ferry is also located in Guwhati which is a huge city, but it also faces huge amount of crisis which any other city in the world, or in India has in terms of food, water, etc; we are also looking at the ferry as becoming central to this discourse for actually growing food, looking at alternative energy sources, and making it into a biosphere.  

Scott: So you're working on turning the ferry itself into a resource production machine in a sense.

Sonal: Absolutely, yes.  Also, because the ferry is a diesel-run vehicle and we haven't really moved it yet.  So it becomes interesting for us to look at what it can become, if it's static, like I mentioned earlier, there are a huge number of these ferries which are lying redundant and we are on a water source as of now.  They can easily be turned into a unit of food production, and there are also another set of community, which lives around the river; the huge amount of homeless people who live there also because there's a big temple, they get alms and food from people who are deputies of the temple so they live in that areas.  This is something that we are also trying to do - to work with communities and engage in communities and also looking at it as a collaborative plan home for holistic and sustainable development.  

Mriganka: I think here I would like to read out from some of the words which we used in our manifesto of Periferry: [inaudible 0:35:55.6] words which I would like to emphasize which we have been using, but the meaning, what we mean by those words.  The three words basically, which is now we are making the lexicon of Periferry, so one of the words is experimental the word experiment being used here [inaudible 0:36:15.9] uses it, not as descriptive of an act to be later judged in terms of success and failure, but simply as an act out of which is unknown.  So even though we are talking about all this, this is like a form of [inaudible 0:36:28.2] it is not like something.  Even the residency what Sonal was mentioning, he was talking  with solar energy, but he was not really as a artist, he was not really interested in the functional ends of it but he was interested in the poetics of the photoelectric effect, we also practice other things within the ferry.  It also has this in between kind of thing.  Secondly, we mentioned hybrid practices, so basically, changing the emphasis from knowledge, from art, technology, media and science, we try to encourage cross-disciplinary collaborative processes, also aimed to go beyond the [inaudible 0:37:13.2] nations of the world.  It is our attempt  to bridge the gap between the special vocabulary of science, art, and the general interests of the audience.  Last thing, we call laboratory so basically Periferry --

[Scott's daughter talking]

Mriganka: [inaudible 0:37:39.6] on the basis of various concept between various disciplines.  In Periferry we try serve space where knowledge and cultures are made.  This laboratory also has multiple identities, it acts as a museum, a workspace, also, it can act as a studio.  These are some of these broader thing which we work upon.  

Scott: And maybe it would be worth for asking explicitly Mriganka, what kinds of specific competencies you guys are able to bring from your work as artists, and I think you just described some of the concepts that you bring from the field of art into his other realm, but I'm wondering if there are certain things that you've learned, certain specific competencies that you're able to bring as artists to this situation?

Mriganka: You were saying the functional capabilities of what...

Scott: I think so, yes.  Well, I mean, when you say, I didn't meant to make a distinction between conceptual and operative, but I think I mean, it could even -- conceptual competencies could even be something but I meant that could in some way be applied, or the ways that you apply it, I think is what I'm curious about.  Because was Steven mentioned earlier that we have been describing what you guys do in this realm that you're working with and you're creating as a kind of art world, a kind of ego system, a cultural eco system that sustains a certain kind of creative practice but an expanded notion of a creative art practice; one of the things that continues to occupy us when we're thinking about this is: What do people mean when they say art when we're describing their practice as art and usually we help to find it, or we come to some kind of a better idea when they talk about the competencies that they bring as artists.  Often even what kinds of competencies come from other fields that's able to enrich your work as artists, but I'm curious about the first, does that make sense?

Mriganka: Yes, so basically I think in that sense we have also mentioned something, two kinds of things; I think we also have to explain what are our backgrounds, what are our histories -- individual history and what really [inaudible 0:40:53.9] us because also the whole archaeology of this word art, also we try to understand because personally, I think Sonal is trained in arts, one of the prominent art schools of India, but I had a very different thing, I  studied science and then I studied design, and when we started this desire machine collective, working together, the primary thing was definitely moving [inaudible 0:41:29.4] but in a sense we were looking at ideas it was a pure ideas, it was not about the medium.  In a sense that also made us to understand this larger domain between what we're trying to operate, because India is a little complicated in the sense there is very complicated pedagogical problem, very limited.  Even sometimes, the vocabulary we use it will be amazing that this cannot be shared in a larger pedagogical situation, so it is derived from various sources, from very informal sources, there's this whole informal pedagogy-cum-conceptual domain has been created for a period of time, so basically in Periferry I think we also try to understand because sometimes it is also questionable, people question us if this is culture, this is science, so under which domain we are really operating.

Understanding of art, or in this sense, visual art what has, even in this radically, there's not an activity which is happening within India, which is radically interdisciplinary, and it is [inaudible 0:42:57.4] the concepts of art, I think to define for ourselves the groups working on [inaudible 0:43:11.5] and other practices, are involved in [inaudible 0:43:15.4].  So the amount of spasmodic events that are really rather different from what passes as visual art in the visual [inaudible 0:43:24.3] system.  So in a sense, our decision to actually work beyond this is very limited, in India the alternative art system is also dominated to an extent at a whole ideal exhibition.  Our practice is more like research to fill political, statistical and [inaudible 0:43:46.4].  So these are visual intellectual evolution that cannot be reduced to [inaudible 0:43:53.5] of the art system.  So what we call art activity, or art, is expanding, it is already expanding for ourselves, and I think also in a sense, we also have encountered this you know, [inaudible 0:44:14.0] how to make our work apart that is not a work of art, so it creates a matter of ways we might be [inaudible 0:44:21.6] with works, events [inaudible 0:44:23.1] that don't look like art at all, because in the beginning we also had a lot of resistance from artists who work in the domain of painting, sculptures, they were questioning as if we had some level of mental thing that we are supposed to develop certain thing.  Because there is no existence.  So in that sense we were not even [inaudible 0:44:44.9] because there was nothing posing to ask, there was no predominant art system [inaudible 0:44:51.7] which was operating in this area.

Scott: I was just going to say, so maybe there's a kind of opening there, you described how certain kinds of art systems were inadequate for the kind of work that you wanted to do, so you produced your own machine, your own system, your own machine for this.

Mriganka: So it is also in a sense an  experiment I think what we got I think was your question to  answering I think in a very direct way what we got I think we got, we derived for our livelihood I think I work for a design [inaudible 0:45:37.7] is one of the [inaudible 0:45:38.8] so it is design, and I also have encountered doing a lot of these issues of renewable energy which is becoming much more prominent in this design discourse.  Which cannot really implement some of these experiments within this formal system, which is pure taught.  This whole act of [inaudible 0:45:59.2] act of these things.  Which are not really domain in a dominated by products of things.  Which is pure processes.  Because I think in India think, and that's what exactly is also what Periferry is going to look in the next stage, is [inaudible pedagogy 0:46:17.2] because I think pedagogy is losing, is not really interested in the [inaudible senses 0:46:22.7] within Indian thing.  It is becoming like a part of a bigger, larger sized industry so student or things, are not really exposed to this kind of, the way of looking at several kinds of systems, so it's like... to summarize I think what we would say is that it's a marker for ways we might be able to [inaudible 0:46:48.8] with works, events and different kinds of things.  But what we calling it art somehow it can be electric, it can energy nodes etc, transmitters, conductors of new thinking, new subjectivity and actions that visual artwork in the traditional sense is not able to articulate.  That exactly is what we're trying to bring in this, this kind of hybrid knowledge which needed that fresh way of looking at is, otherwise it is some gallery or some modes of, or some models like [inaudible 0:47:23.0] for people like that kind of models are predominant so it is like that model, it is a very simple model so there is non existence for that kind of thing.  And secondly also that working beyond those territories, because I think we will also talk about network culture, but we have serious doubts [inaudible 0:47:47.8] network culture within this kind of domain, because ultimately it's still Bombay and Delhi because it still act as old port cities where trades are, where this kind of culture production happens.  So this is not really extending our equal sharing of space or information to a larger extent, I think which is what our [inaudible 0:48:18.3] of utopia is all about.  It's a kind of utopic project.  

Sonal: I would just like to add one thing: We also seek inspiration from Martha Rosler when she talks about the role of artists as a social agent.  So we see our role also to reactivate [inaudible 0:48:44.6] that are embedded in the society, yet may not have been asked.  I think that is something that is very central also to our practice.  Would anybody like to ask any questions?

Scott: Yes, by the way, you guys aren't able to see this, but we have a running text chat as we're talking, so I'm trying to pick through and see what kind of questions people have, does anyone have any other questions?  I think probably Steven and I can continue to ask one after the other, but we don't want to rule everyone else.

Well, I could ask one in the meantime while people are thinking about the next questions.  I'm curious about the other unused ferry boats, I think you said there are a lot of unused docked ferry boats all along the river?

Sonal: Right

Scott: And it seems to me often artists' project that are creating these kinds of micro social experiments - and I say micro, even though I think your project is actually quite large in scope, but micro in the sense that it's limited to one boat, and it's finite in that way - I like to see a project as this as a kind of pilot, in a way, it makes me wonder what might happen if the idea caught on, if there were a number of break out groups that could occupy other ferries, and I was curious if you guys had explored that idea at all, or if it just seems so already so much to handle with one massive ferry.

Sonal: Yeah, actually, I think we would like of course for there to be a ripple effect, but it would not be something that we would be ready at this point to take on.  But when we speak of creating a biosphere or an ecosystem, that again, we want it to be a pilot in a sense that it can be a model for other people and the government to take inspiration from our - you know, it would work as a model for other people to also do.  In that sense, definitely we are looking at our project as something that would be like a trendsetter for others.  Til now, the only other uses that people have made of these ferry boats is extremely commercial, so there's a cruise that runs on one of the boats, there are people who started small restaurants and bars on it, but apart from that, there's not much that has happened.  What would be interesting for us to see also is, there is also this complex kind of community which lives on the ferries because they serve also as home to the people who are actually taking care of them, and these people are actually government employees, and they use the space in the most intimate way, so they're living on it, actually using the water from the river, they are actually fishing in the river, and so in a sense we are really connected with the space, so we see them as true stakeholders in a project like this.

Scott: Interesting

Sonal: So, the moment, --yeah

Scott: please go ahead, It's just the lag, it's easy to interrupt

Sonal: It's just that also, I was just thinking of -- the whole vision is to, that the moment that you start growing food and people see that this is something that is [inaudible 0:53:33.1]and you have alternative energy sources coming in, then we see people actually coming on their own initiatives and adopting some of these methods.  That is the way we see it going.

Scott: and I think what's so interesting about your project though is it's not a conceptual project in the sense that it's; in the sense that Mriganka you were describing how initially it was a kind of pure idea, I think what you guys have done with this is beyond that in the sense that you're able to, the way that you use this is to have these intense exploratory sessions.  That's what it seems to me, not having been a participant, I know Steven's been on your boat, but what it sounds like to me is that you have conferences, you have experimental events, you see this as an ongoing research, whereas I think if it was purely a biosphere and a boat, that kind of activity wouldn't go on, that kind of critical community building or if that's even an appropriate way to describe what you're doing.  But in any case, it seems like something like that wouldn't happen -- but what you're doing, that's part of what, it sounds like to me, it's part of the art contacts that you bring into this situation.  It's not purely and academic pursuit, and it's not purely a visual pursuit, it's not purely the pursuit of a botanist or someone who is an eco-activist, you're, as you said, hybridizing things from many different fields but you're using, some of what at least in my impression, is some of the most flexible maneuvers developed by people in the art field over the last 50 years, or more, into this floating space of yours.  In a way, I guess my curiosity, if this were to expand, of course there would be the danger of things like corruption, but also, you wouldn't want the activity that you're doing to be watered down -- no pun intended -- by something very, much more superficial, or too specific.

Mriganka: Can you just repeat what is your question?  I understood everything

Scott: The actual question itself; is the specific hybrid practice that you've set up something that you would be concerned about becoming compromised if this were to be extended further?

and I'm only imagining this, of course, what you're doing might not really relate to what I'm asking because you're not actually actively seeking a large expansion of this, but I was curious about it because imagining that, even if what you're doing it's not a pie-in-the-sky thing, what you're doing is real, it's not just some kind of fantastical possibility, it's an actual plausible way of living and working.  But, in order to think about how that can be, how it either already is, or could possibly be applied to other realms, maybe other areas, other places in the world, or even integrated into other parts of the culture that you already tapping in to work with.  I don't know, for me it's sometimes important to take these kinds of mental exercises and sort of ask these questions.  Maybe you guys are already actively addressing them, maybe not.  But specifically, what were to happen if this were to be expanded.

Mriganka: Definitely, we discussed these possibilities and kinds of things.  But definitely, in one sense, it is also a kind of very [inaudible 0:58:15.6] if you see it's only like five or six people actually running this, and also now I think it's also time we should talk about when Steven asked us about high points and low points.  I think one of the things is also it is truth of fact is that ultimately this kind of thing what we created is also has some kind of, we have to save funds to able to realize some kind of thing, and a lot of compromises also, uncertainty also we have --

[sound cuts off for a few seconds]

Mriganka: which is also

Scott: Mriganka, could you repeat that last part?  I think we got cut out for a second there.

Mriganka: Ok, so, what I'm saying is that I wanted to tell two things specific to this point is kind of, and I was mentioning this idea of heterotopias that he actually [inaudible 0:59:22.5] interesting an example of a garden inside a city.  So the garden is the perfect heterotopias because a garden has plants and things from different parts of the world, so the garden is not pure biology, it has various kinds of other things one can dwell into, so life in Periferry is like to think we also borrow kinds of knowledge, it's also kind of fluctuating [inaudible 0:59:52.0]coming and using the floor Periferry, so the whole thing is ever expanding and sometimes happens that we also need to sit down and try to understand what is Periferry today, because various different kinds of things happening, so there is not a definite shape of Periferry, we could say about these things.  Regarding the possibility, it has given us, you know the way we are doing it, it is an experiment within space, involving people, different practices, so it is for, when we say art, science and....

[pause]

so there are various other kind of thing which sometimes we just do it and secondly I would say regarding matter of process, we have, for the last two years, we have never planned it.  Even the event we did with Stefan and Renee last year, it was basically not superbly organized, we discussed over things and little basic kind of amenities which was available and we let it grow which was never part of a program so we also belief in this whole kind of organic way of operating these things, we really don't see ourselves getting institutionalized and getting all this complicated.  But it is also a danger, you know in one sense of this really, of the real world, of the whole thing of funding because Sonal was mentioning about the context is complicated it's very difficult because there is no state funding and there is all kind of [inaudible 1:01:46.3] kinds of things, so there's always a sense of you know, and which also in one sense, which is part of the thing, kind of uncertainty of this thing.  So it can collapse, it can rise again, it's kind of really, you know a free-style kind of thing, which is not really conscious, but in a sense that's how the real state of mind, or state of Periferry is quite fluctuating, if I have explained you correctly what you really want to know.

Sonal: Yeah, I would just like to add a couple of points there, I think also what Mriganka [inaudible 1:02:27.6 ] slashed upon, the funding here is really important issue because if, I don't know if you're aware, but in India there is no state funding for anything like what we are doing, and most of the other spaces are not really, do not have any government or state funding at all.  Most of them have international funding, which brings its own set of problems, but at least people are able to do things with that funding, but when it comes to the northeast of India because the government has deemed it as a security threat and it is considered a dangerous area with terrorists and insurgents etc, and there is huge amount of scrutiny of the foreign funding that comes in also, so even getting that small amount of foreign funding is very difficult for us.  So sustainability is definitely a key questions with regards to the project so when you talk of actually expanding it, even maintaining as smaller project would be a huge challenge.

Scott: Absolutely, yeah.

Sonal: That is one, the other problematic, we are actually trying to, we are definitely clear that we do not want to get institutionalized and become an organization etc, but there's also the whole politics of development within these kind of areas, because it's a really underdeveloped area in the traditional sense of the word - the way people understand it.  So we do not at all subscribe to this notion of top down central kind of development that the Indian government or development of ideas that people have.  Out ideas is definitely -- that's why whenever we have this -- there are some certain amount of funds in India available for this kind of development of the art etc, but we are very clear that we are not trying to make northeast the next, maybe Delhi, or Bombay in terms of creating an art market and all of that so, we are very conscious of all these things.  So I think that's why also still being small and being a micro initiative is much more conducive to what we're trying to do.

Scott: Yeah absolutely, I mean the mental exercise of imagining what would happen if something were to expand doesn't always mean that it would be a good idea to do that even if it were possible.  We were just, not exactly choking, but getting a sense of the texture here, or kind of responding to what you were saying it seems -- Steven has a much better sense of it, you know, just sort of being in the area about how incredible unlikely it is for your vessel, and Kate on the chat here have both been in that area,  both sort of realize how impractical it is to imagine your ferry being co-operated by some major corporation who wants to turn it into a luxury floating hotel or something for tourists.  Actually, it's an interesting point about scale that often micro initiatives have a certain ability and strength that larger ones don't.  Even maybe if there's an ability to bypass certain kinds of scrutiny.

You were saying before that you weren't interested in developing art markets in that region, or trying to, I wouldn't even say gentrify, but bring that kind of sensibility into that region, we definitely have a really good idea, or a good sense that that's really not what you're doing, but I was curious about while you didn't want to bring that kind of "art" into the region, I was interested in the fact that you are creating a certain kind of market in a sense, or at least a certain kind of system of exchange that seems like it really isn't there.  

Sonal: Mriganka, would you like to address that?

Mriganka: I didn't hear it because there is a lot of disturbance on that side.

Scott: Do you mean audio disturbance?

Mriganka: Yes, I can't hear your voices clearly, there's a lot of disturbance in the mic.

Scott: I can try to repeat that, would that be helpful?

Mriganka: Yes, I still hear some disturbance I think.

Scott: I'll repeat that one more time, if it doesn't work I'll type it.

Well just, one of several things that were mentioned is that you guys are really not interesting in bringing a kind of art market into that region that exists elsewhere in Bombay or otherwise, and I was saying well, definitely not, but you are bringing something else to that region that seems to not be there without you.  Part of that sounds to me like it's a kind of distribution system, or at least some kind of system of exchange or something like that, that really didn't exist before, it's not so much a questions as a statement I guess.

Mriganka: So basically I think you know, what you mentioned it's about from the very beginning when we were mentioning, we started speaking about the context,  I think the idea of art market comes when we put it ourselves as artists, because there is always kind of pressure, because like if you see today if you would not have done in a sense, this communication would not have been possible.  The artists sitting here would not have been able to communicate, so there is, as artists we have always been under pressure from the art market or certain standard ideas of looking at certain kind of practices.  In a sense, what we want is the idea of perception, I think there is a lot of confusion in the beginning, with even artist communities this is art, this is because there are certain standards, modes of standards, a way of looking at art which art institutes or galleries they kind of circulate among our [inaudible 1:10:16.1] .  Even to the west, a lot of these new exhibition which has really happen of the way of looking at Indian art, like there was a competition last week , we were in Amsterdam, and somebody was really shocked that we were using certain kinds of vocabulary that person didn't have.  So this is an idea of perception.

 Now, within India we have this reason, and we have this kind of... because this thing here now we're not really using as an directive, but in a sense it's a kind of phenomena, a phenomena of perception, of looking at certain areas.  Another thing I think we missed was there's still some laws, like when Sonal was mentioning about disturbed military problems and autonomic conflicts so the government of India still has some law which is imposed on these zones which were initially imposed by Indian freedom fighters.  So there is a certain way, this is militarization, secondly it is a way of looking at anthropological categories, so I think what we also in a sense I think we would also try to extend this in a sense crossover to the concept of perception, also as an artist we are talking a lot of things, moving in ways that interest us a lot, the whole notion of perception, how you perceive is our identity, like the questions of India, what really comes to your mind because which is very different from when you call it Dutch or German, or even to an extent an American, so India is very diverse, it is very quite hybrid, in a sense that there isn't this kind of monolithic construction, it's impossible.  So this basically to Periferry what I think what we have, to some extent is to create new perceptions about this zone, or create a different kind of concentration, ok, this is also coming from there.  I think what we're also saying is Periferry is happening from there, so this is saying in a sense not even saying because it's not even the whole idea of  northeast is also very problematic because there is nothing called northeast because it's a very colonial construct, it's because northeast of where? Northeast of India.  Because there's scums from the British colonial construct frontier northeast agency and the northwest was basically Afghanistan, so by 1947 this perception disappeared, the northwest, but northeast still remains because it is still understandable by Indian state, and again, this whole love-hate relation with China, so in a sense, the proximity, so in a sense we are also kind of reconfiguring this and trying to understand because this river is also kind of greater physical illustration of what a network can me.  The river starts in Tibet, goes through Assam, and goes through Bangladesh and goes to the Bay of Bengal, so in a sense it works at the various stages, so how do we - so I think in one word it will be perception.  We are what we are actually started off and slowly it is creating this kind of re-territorializing, because now in a sense Periferry does multiple ideas that is coming from various parts of the world because ferry of ship was a vehicle of colonialism; people ventured out to different territories but using the same kind of structure to create a new way of looking at new conversations. I think that's, if I have answered the question.

Scott: Definitely, I have more questions, but I'm hesitant to ask before anyone else gets a chance.

I'm curious about the, value or the importance of philosophy in your practice because a big part of your practice is discursive, it's conversational, there are conferences, there are experimental events, but many of the things that both of you have described have reference to a number of things that I'm aware of, and very likely a lot of things I'm not aware of, but a number of the things that you have referenced that made my ears pop up were, for instance to political philosophers, and I was curious if that's, I mean from the name of your group to a number of the key concepts that you brought up.  I'm just curious if you find a value in that, in your communication so the people , if you find that it actually does help to build critical community, or if you think that's mainly a carryover from your education, that's kind of informed what you do, but not necessarily made its way into part of an ongoing discursive practice.  I'm just not sure because I haven't been to any of your events, and I was curious about that.

Mriganka: I missed the last past, there was a disturbance in the last part of the question.

Scott: Back to say, I was curious if this is a carryover mainly from your education that informs the trajectory of how you got started and how you from your social practice as artists or if that really continues to be a useful tool in your arsenal that you use regularly in the conferences and these ongoing floating discussion sessions.

Mriganka: I think in a sense definitely I think what we do is definitely informed by our subjective reading and kinds of things, which I would also like to mention.  We belong to this place and we have been in India, you have to travel about  two to three thousand km to study, and ten thousand people you have to meet, you have to kind of very multiple, a very [inaudible 1:18:17.0] information structure you have, it is not so from it.  In the sense when you encounter certain problems your solution is not so linear so you think about your practice and multiple things, your relation to other artists, your relation to your space and many other things, what it is your studio, and many other things.  I think there I think in the sense when things has almost happens, we would say accidents --

[Scott talks to his daughter]

we have encountered in the [inaudible 1:18:57.6] most of where we are studying or working, Sonal was teaching, I was studying, and in a sense, that started off the trigger, certain kinds of ideas [inaudible 1:19:11.1] trapped to one kind of territory, if you look at what [inaudible 1:19:18.8] it's more or less, it cannot be even [inaudible 1:19:22.3] philosophy or with its history, it's very transgressive kind of critical domain, so in a sense I think what became, we became artists much later but we get engrossed and we try to understand this critical domain because in a sense living in 90s or trying to place yourself in this great, this larger domain of Indian systems, it was quite difficult to [inaudible 1:19:55.7] post colonialism and other kinds of things were also very very locational in a sense.  So, I think it is actually derived from our readings and a lot of discussions and a lot of meeting with various people, and I think that's starting from, as I was mentioning in the beginning that desire machine collective it's from a collective action between me and Sonal because kinds of conversation, trying to create a collective kind of thing.  Very participatory kind of unlimited kind of action which resulted into Periferry when we actually have to come back to the specific physical [inaudible 1:20:46.8] so when we have encountered space, we're looking at encountering studio, entrepreneurship that became desire machine collective and became like the whole idea of [inaudible 1:20:57.5] your relation of the work to other kinds of things.  So I think in a sense it is a larger experiment which is happening and in a sense it is also not involving only two of us, there has become a larger kind of conversation, it's in one sense, people also inform us and also some of our thing also goes out into the public, it doesn't remain only with us.

Scott: Good point.  There's a discussion on the chat, I don't know if you guys wanted to bring it into the audio realm?  Not to put anyone on the spot, I just wanted to

Kate: I had to attend to dinner and then I hopped back in, so I missed quite a big chunk I think, but I think I'm wondering maybe you have gotten into this, having been to the northeast and having lived in Delhi for quite some time, I wonder even -- it feels to me perhaps it's important but it's in the northeast because like I would imagine doing some projects like this would be so much more difficult in Delhi, because of space and because of just the cultural differences of the northeast, and northern India for instance.  I found the northeast much more progressive in some ways unless [inaudible 1:22:57.7]

I think I'm trying to get at is that it feels important to me that it's located, the original Periferry product has been located where it is, even though I know that's something you've been trying to get away from perhaps.  

Sonal: Yeah, but, could you frame it like a question, because obviously we agree with you, you know, it's important, yes please go on.

Kate: I just think it's interesting as an artist that lived in India, I haven't come across lots of really socially engaged projects in other places in the country.  I guess I'm wondering what it is about Guwahati or up there even without the contemporary art scene that made it possible?

Sonal: Yes, I think I understand a little about what you're referring to because it's strange right now, I'm in Bombay, and talking about Periferry from Bombay gives you a completely different perspective and we were having these huge discussions about space, the notion of space in a place like Bombay, or Delhi, and a lot of people feel that space is extremely limited, because there are so many other kind of courses where there's the media or a strong post like Bollywood in Bombay that dominates everything.  We've heard from many people, even artists and art critics and writers who constantly complain about this aspect of, specially a place like Bombay where Bollywood and the film industry and its commercial giant is so dominant that there is not enough mental space to operate.  In a lot of ways I understand the nuance of your question, and I think what you mentioned about --

Kate: I was going to say,  I think one of the things I've always been interested in is how because in the US and a lot of western places, the artists and cultural communities tend to gravitate towards places where they squat, or places where the rent is cheaper, maybe not safe neighborhoods, there's like a long history of that phenomenon, but in Delhi for instance you don't really, I don't know if that exists in the same way because the squatters spaces are being occupied by other people that are immigrants or they're sort of just trying to survive, I have been so -- I've always been interested that there's this added layer of well where did the cultural communities that need to [inaudible 1:26:30.3] an existence go? and these cities of 20 million people, or like everybody's trying to fight it out for space.  But you're on a boat on the Brahmaputra which is an answer to that.

Sonal: Yeah, I think this also ties into a larger problematic of the way contemporary art functions within India because in that sense, our initiative is really even smaller than micro because obviously there hardly exists any kind of space actually to do something like this, but also even the market is not really so large, but so obviously there's this huge gravitation towards Delhi and Bombay, so most of the people who have actually trained in arts, especially in arts, and in fact, most other professional fields would also move towards the bigger cities because that's where the jobs are, that's where they'd find all kinds of life-style, and all of that, so firstly of course there's this whole movement towards Delhi and Bombay, which I think is also problematic because a lot of the artists work -- I'm talking of individual artists now, and their work draws from a certain context and when they move to a bigger city obviously they lose that context, because, as I'm sure all of you are aware India is such a large country, and there are so many differences in terms of culture and language and religion and caste and class so to kind of bridge all of that, that's also our personal observation that a lot of time people lose out because they think that the market is in the bigger cities, so firstly they move towards the bigger cities.  For us it was actually [inaudible 1:28:46.1] an easy choice when we decided to actually go back to the northeast, and I was personally told by many people that I'm crazy for doing that, but it was just so much more interesting for the reason that you mentioned earlier - that it is a space which is so different from the rest of India, in terms of the sensibilities because the huge amount of population is indigenous, and they have a very - in my view - a very progressive sensibility also because it's much more, the rest of India is much more patriarchal and the northeast does provide much more space for women, there's much more respect for women there are a number of - where I come from, the entire system is matrilineal, so women are traditionally empowered, there's no questioning of empowering them, they have been empowered.  So in a number of ways, and also in terms of culture and just the way people operate, it's definitely something, we feel much more comfortable working with.  So it was definitely a conscious choice to go back and try to negotiate that space and the standards and place our practice there.

Mriganka: And also, I think I would like to add one more small point, one thing which is also convenient I think in terms of matter, because we were not really, in the beginning we were very sure that we were not performing this for anybody.  Neither any media agency or nobody, so we didn't really - a lot of people wanted to write about us, but we said they were not coming they can try to do this by telephoning interviews or something, but we refused because those kinds of publicity would really hamper us, because those media kind of things, were not critical, it was just a report of us, and this doesn't really create anything at all on the long run, it creates confusion.  So in a sense I think more or less in the big cities the smaller initiatives they have to part from it for somebody because it has to be seen because we already are, it is invisible, so when we are performing  [inaudible 1:31:14.8]in that sense of like it was convenient.  But that is the only convenient thing.

Steven: I think we are all the more grateful for the fact that you accepted to talk with us, all of whom are extremely far from Assam, in various spots around the globe, but you also travel relatively extensively which is why it was so hard to pin you guys down for this discussion, I'm glad we were finally able to, but it's interesting, and you mentioned too earlier on is that you recently de-territorialized the Periferry experience onto the Spree river, in Berlin, how did that work out?

Mriganka: Basically we were in Berlin because of an exhibition which we basically did in Guggenheim that was part of the thing, because when we were mentioning about our [inaudible 1:32:35.5] we were basically Periferry was definitely an important component of our practice, so basically what we did was, the last, a few days back before the thing, the exhibition ends, we invited a kind of curated - the way we usually do Periferry in our northeast India, we do in Guwahati, we invited the people, they saw the exhibition, and then we wanted them to exit the gallery and take a curative part to this barge which we negotiated and took it for a few hours because of definitely certain expense we could not have been able to squat without any kind of [inaudible 1:33:20.4] .

So we invited a couple of people which we also wanted to engage, kind of people, you know certain things, this new kind of things which is happening around Europe, the social political fluxes, new thinking which is very happening, we were also quite interested to invited this interesting philosopher [Didracher? 1:33:52.2] but we couldn't contact him at the right moment so he couldn't make it -

Scott: Sorry Mriganka, could you repeat... ok Steven - you cut out for a second and I didn't catch it fully, thank you, please go on.

Mriganka: So basically we invited this group of curators, artists and initiated this thing which one of our lecture performance which was basically we titled "Speaking through to power" which it is impossible to repeat right now but the idea was to look at every moment to look the creating these temporary spaces, these kind of [heterotopic? 1:34:52.4] spaces in various kinds of things, because this journey was also curated which actually functioned like a border between past eastern or western Germany, or Berlin to an extent and then slowly we also planted two kinds of intervention, we also invited interruptions between our lecture, so it was like people were interrupting in between and kind of injecting, so it became a collaborative kind of performance which was in a sense certain points were accidental,  certain things were also very intentional, so and then we also invited two of our collaborators in a larger sense which were doing a project with London-based organization called different exchange, we're doing a project called two rivers where we're looking at Thames and Brahmaputra and trying to do visualize a project, so we invited [1:35:55.9] and we had Peter [surname 1:35:58.7] from Vienna so they also kind of did their thing on the journey.  Sonal you want to add something more?  

Sonal: No, if anybody has questions, I'd be glad to answer.

Steven: I have another question because what's impressive is how broad-reaching your collaboration are, I mean they extend to different types of political, social actors, people from cultural and artistic scenes, in Assam, elsewhere in India, elsewhere in the world, but your collective itself is relatively small, it's you two.  One of the questions that Scott and I had when we initiated this whole project around plausible art worlds and not only art worlds, but just worlds in general is how small can world be and still be a world?  How small can a collective be and still be a collective?  Is two enough?  Or do we need three, or , how does it work for you to be two and to be a couple, moreover, and why haven't you chosen to expand out to a broader group to diversity, because in fact you're interested in diversity so why not diversify the collective itself?

Sonal: Yeah,  I think that's something that we, that's a questions that we engage with all the time, and it's really interesting that - the way you put it because definitely what we kind of reflect upon a lot of times is that there have been many occasions where we've engaged other people in discussions, or in the process of making work etc, and we are definitely very open to having other people on board.  But like I mentioned, within a space like the northeast that is not very easy to have number 1.  Number 2, in terms of Periferry, we have about 5 or 6 more members in the official lists, but a lot of times what happens is of course again, that people are unable to even engage with the kind of contemporary art vocabulary that we work with, so it is a genuine problem that we see, but having said that, we've also been more and more working with many younger students and engaging people and even making work with us and I think we are definitely are committed towards creating more collaborative and collective practices, but in terms of it being just two of us, I think we've created, I'm very sure that we've definitely created a world, and the discussions and provocations for [inaudible 1:39:23.6] constant.  So yeah, it does spill over to our personal space, and so there is for us not something, there's no division between personal and kind of work space, it all merges and, but I think that's why it's also very [inaudible 1:39:46.0] for us because we are constantly provoking each other, challenging each other, or sharing ideas, and I think it really works quite well for us.

Mriganka: I want to add one thing, basically regarding the collective thing, I got something which is maybe related to add to Sonal's thing; I think from the beginning itself we were very interested to have more and more people [inaudible 1:40:14.6] but  I think in one sense, if we have to define specifically, Periferry has also become a collective, right now it's another collective which is like this hosting of this space, but regarding Desire machine collective, I think the [inaudible 1:40:31.9] of creating Desire Machine Collective involves certain kinds of conditions which we have put each other into.  I think til now, a lot of contemporary people who, in one sense we credited as the individuals, but people don't want to put themselves into that position, like to put in this kind of location, or working with this kind of difficult, like for example, this film we just did for this exhibition, so we had, and we tried to see the possibility of creating a different kind of collaboration, we had four [inaudible 1:41:11.1] we opened our film and gave access to four of our collaborators, but at the end, so they wanted to be an individual, this is their choice, because that process was very important, that we had multiple authors, multiplicity coming into, constructing this kind of narrative, so I think that, trying to force that thing, try to invite kind of thing, we also left it open more or less [inaudible 1:41:49.2], so it is their inability in a sense we were always looking at the thing.  Periferry in that sense has this possibility, I think people has to come and actually become part of the collective.

Scott: Well, Mriganka and Sonal, thank you so much for coming, I'm very interested by the way in this last point that was raised, this line of questioning, primarily, just to explain that about your exploration of collectivity and collaboration as artists, both in this particular project and in your process as a whole, as Desire Machine, but you know we'll have to follow up with you about that on another occasion, if you'd be into that, we've now hit a two-hour mark, and I think both for the sake of the people chiming in from Europe here and for your sake, we should probably wrap it up, but we really appreciate you coming to talk with us about this.

Mriganka: Thanks a lot

Steven: Thank you so much both of you, it's really been nice hearing your voices and hearing about this great project, and I think the way you concluded was really perfect, that Periferry remains open, so may it forever remain open, and thank you very much for joining [inaudible 1:43:27.8].

Mriganka: Thanks a lot, it was great talking to you all.

Sonal: I would like to thank the Basekamp team, and Steven and sorry for this huge delay that's been happening, and I think we also really enjoyed this entire conversation a lot.  Good night and thanks.

Steven: Goodnight, or good morning

Scott: Goodnight, morning, evening.

Week 40: StrataSpore

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week — as we head into prime mushrooming season — we’ll be talking with Kate Cahill, Caroline Woolard and Chris Kennedy from StrataSpore, a platform for collective knowledge about mushrooms.

http://strataspore.com/

Initiated by Kate Cahill, Christopher Kennedy, Athena Kokoronis, Caroline Woolard, and mycologist Gary Lincoff, StrataSpore uses mushrooms as material and metaphor for latent, often unseen but eminently plausible worlds. Think about it: mushrooms not only feed communities — to great gastronomic, nutritional and hallucinatory delight — but at this very moment are eating oil spills, connecting old members of Fluxus, growing as alternative packaging material. As the earth’s oldest known organism, they may even have been what turned rock into soil, turning the earth into a plausible lifeworld. And mushrooms are the pivotal orientation point for members of StrataSpore to explore urban systems. Drawing inspiration from the connective function and form of mushroom ecology, StrataSpore uses local fungi in the New York City area as a model for engagement and re-interpretation of living in urban spaces. How do mushrooms discretely but radically change a landscape’s ecology? In what way do they insinuate a world within the world?

Inspired by rhizome networks as tools for bioremediation — a metaphor for the layers of unseen infrastructure below our feet, and a collaborative niche upon which to focus a collective narrative — StrataSpore seeks to cultivate “spores” of knowledge by combining elements of task/performance-based art, experiential learning, and experimental design practice that implements a dialogue about unseen, natural and man-made systems as sites for restorative sustainability applications in local NYC ecosystems. An invisible, but eminently edible world? Mushrooms as material and metaphor for worldmaking…

 

Week 37: Internacional Errorista

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Federico Zukerfeld and Loreto Garin, two of the co-founders of the Internacional Errorista.

International Errorism was born fortuitously in 2005 when a bunch of artists and activists in Buenos Aires, planning to protest the visit of George W. Bush to Argentina, meant to google “terrorism” but mistakenly forgot the “t” and typed in “errorism”… At the time, that error yielded zero hits; it is some measure of the group’s success (or error) that today it elicits over 300,000! With their hybrid blend of carnivalesque street art and savvy, corrosive political analysis, the group hunts down and exposes the errors that pollute our global public sphere, which the powers-that-be generally try to fob off as “the Truth”.

Indeed, errorism is a full-fledged if highly heretic philosophy — one that stands opposed to the “verism” that informs virtually all other modes of thought and human endeavor. For rather than being based on a quest for an elusive “truth”, it sees error as the founding principle of life: errare humanum est! How wrong could that be?! Proceeding by trial, but more generally by error, they claim in their manifesto that “we are all errorists:”

  1. Errorism : Concept and action are based on the idea that “error” is reality’s principle of order.
  2. Errorism is a philosophically erroneous position, a ritual of negation, a disorganized organization: failure as perfection, error as appropriate move.
  3. The field of action of “Errorism” contains all those practices that aim at the LIBERATION of the human being and language.
  4. Confusion and surprise, black humour and absurdity are the favorite tools of the errorists.
  5. Lapses and failed acts are an errorist delight.

The movement itself emerged from an earlier collective called Etcetera, but has gone global! Is error a plausible (art)world?

Transcription

Week 37: Internacional Errorista

Frederico: Hello

Scott: Hello there!

Frederico: Hello, Hi, how are you?

Scott: Excellent thanks

Jeremy: hola

Frederico: Jeremy, are you here?

Jeremy: Yes

[pause]

Jeremy: Some small children eh?

Scott: Yeah, that's my three year-old in the background

Jeremy: You're from [inaudible 0:00:47.0]   

Frederico: What? No, in my home

[pause]

This is Scott's daughter here.

Scott: Ahh, yes, I'm hosting the audio remotely today, there's a bunch of people at the Basekamp space in Philadelphia, and a number of the other people that are on the call are from all over the place, some of their phones are still ringing, so we'll just sort of let that go, but any case;  we might as well get started and if anyone gets dropped from the call please just give a shout in the text and let us know and we can go ahead and just keep going over the next hour and a half.

So anyway, welcome, Federico, and Loretta and Jeremy, it's really great to have you guys, welcome to another week in this series of talks where we're looking at a different example of a plausible art world each week.  Every Tuesday night in 2010.  You guys are this week's example and I know we'll be talking soon enough together at the Creative Time Summit, and we're really excited to have you guys there.  So I don't know how many of you were able to read the intro page to the Errorists, but we also have a bunch of other links too, some videos that you made, and I'd like to post those at some point.  And if you wouldn't mind going ahead and giving an intro to you guys, when and how you got started, and how you construct your art world.

Frederico: Wait a second, did you manage to make the video link?  Which video link?

Jeremy: No, no tenemos el video

Scott: Yeah, we didn't actually add it yet, I'll go ahead and post that in a minute, I just wanted to, ohh it's ok, I mentioned something a moment ago.

I was thinking of this one just in case

Frederico: Ok, just to open the conversation a little bit.  Thank you for the invitation to participate in this kind of meeting for us, it's a new experience and I think we feel very comfortable and I think we can show in the next one before we didn't know if we didn't send you sometimes, emails to try and be in contact and make this experience, but unfortunately we didn't find the moment, and now well, anyway, we are here, in Buenos Aires, not so far away.  

So here it is half-past seven, and we want to try to go in this conversation, we would like to talk about something; not only about error, but the point of view of error that we have been trying to develop since some time ago.  Now, we understand it's an important moment to understand how important it is at this time - the idea of error and how it can change our life if we can take care of it.  For example here, we see how the relation of the new laws to control the society for example, this kind of anti-terrorist law that was operating here with this concept and this illogic of terror and error.  Error was used to explain to the society how the system was operating in that moment, it was always the pretext of mistake, they say it was a mistake in the London underground, and the invasion to Iraq, and all of the last wars we have in the world.  So, for the moment we see that in Buenos Aires it is the same sensation, and we have always, the justification after the action is error.  So we discovered this word is working very well for this planification of the system, in the sense of the domination.  Then, we say why we cannot recover the error as the real idea of error, you understand what I'm talking about?  I say Why we have to fight to recover the error?  Why error is now this very usable word.  So for us, error is when we put in our flag; when we write errorismo, and we go to the streets of different places and demonstrations, or not, just walking around.

We try to demonstrate something, but at the same time, we try to live our life in another way.  I think we are working here on two sides, one side; is this problematic, and this conflict about the error and the war on terror.  On the other hand, we have this point of view, this philosophical point of view about error. For us it's not so easy, but at the same time, we enjoy the situation because we feel it's very contemporary in our context, in our life.

Jeremy: I think it's like some error we just want denounce, I don't know if it's a massacre in Gaza, we want to say; they say it's an error, but we don't think it's errorist.

In other place it's say if you just do what are the right things and jump to don't lie because it's all big [inaudible 0:08:49.5].  So, the error it's a capacity to liberate.

Loretta: At the same time, the problem here, in the 70s, after all the [generation? 0:09:08.4] who tried to develop a new system, like in Argentina, or Chile, the situation was criminalized after years as an error.  A year built a socialist system here in our countries was taken as an error, so we took that word as a key to start again, trying to develop another kind of society.  In a way it's a word to open a new debate about what kind of society we want, and it's a very good word for us to talk about this super successful society we had in our lives as capitalist system, or neo-liberalist system.  It is a very good key word for us when we're talking about this art media space, because it's also a very hard and strong micro-world who put us under pressure to be successful and hyper-productive.  So in that way, error made us a new way to work as an artist and also to think what kind of militants we want to create, what kind of life we want to have when we mix militants, political-militancy and art, so in that way, error for us is a very good way to escape sometimes from our life and work conditions.

Scott: Loretta, do you mean the worker conditions, and life conditions that expect zero error?

Loretta: Yes, exactly

Frederico:  I'm sorry for interruption, but I think this is the principle idea we are fighting against, is the idea of successful, to be a success.  This is a real problem in our country, and I think around the world it is the same.  What does it mean to day to be successful?  What is finding the happiness in this way?  and why do we always try to go in this way and, maybe we can say it's not our choice, it's not our, you know?  But it's a common stereotype in life.  So, I think the problem of the education, when we teach children, and when they make some mistake, what is the way we have to take in this case?  We have to make more reparation, we have to, and here, this is very problematic because in that [inaudible 0:12:17.6] of education, the now generation they are teaching us, they are very rebellious, they are more alive than us.  For us, I don't know, I'm just 31 years, so for my generation we had to fight a lot to find some way in 2001 the country explode, and then in that moment we feel we are very close to some real change, and then a new liberal system came again, the people start to trust the banks and all this stuff, the history you know, so at the moment, what can we say?  What's a failure?  What's an error?

Scott: I'm curious, if you don't mind me asking, maybe you can both [inaudible 0:13:06.9] for later, but it's starting to get into it a bit, but I'm curious - you mentioned earlier the debate, the discussion that's been coming out of your approach about what kinds of societies you like to be a part of, or micro-worlds.  I was curious what's come out of that so far.

Jeremy: Qué dijo?

Loretta: Can you repeat what you said before because it was a little bit... so we try to understand.

Scott: Oh, you want me to repeat?  Sorry, my mistake; I was wondering if you mentioned earlier about the approach that you've taken in questioning the meaning of success and the meaning of what's right by being errorists, that's an interesting discussion about what kinds of societies you would like to be a part of and contribute, and what micro-worlds you would like to see, and I was just curious how that discussion and debate has been going so far.

Jeremy: Osea que llemos a...

Loretta:  Yes, I think now for us, it's a big big discussion because we are trying to create this kind of international errorist movement.  Many people around the world are trying to approach this idea, and during these five years we have continued with this idea of errorist.  Many groups are starting to have discussions with us about what it means to create a movement in this movement of the world, and at the same time, what means support an idea and an errorist and what it means also to talk about error or mistake or failure.  So, that is an interesting moment for us because it's more deeper discussion about what means this term of errorist.  In that way, we are in a moment to be open to hear what kinds of answers are given to us, in the middle of all this kind of discussion, because it's very open, for example, last year, we know about one group in Turkey who is supporting this idea of errorist, but we don't know what kind of practice they want to have about errorist, so what's been interesting to know about what they are doing about it, but we don't know about what kind of political ideas they have in their bags.  So, it's that kind of strange situation because it's a very open moment to discover what kid of real or possibilities this errorist movement has, or if it's just a passing of one idea to build a movement.  What is happening with that kind of situation.  I don't know if I answered well, I'm sorry.

Jeremy: I don't know, just I think it's just like, just not the same thing with all the militant rights will say we have a new man and a perfect man, he's a socialist, so just I think it's a break this idea, it's not new, but I think we are in this break.. It's not much to just want society or one perfect woman or man for the... yep, so we do...

[laughter]

Frederico: Jeremy, are you there?

Scott:  Just to clarify for people who are listening to the audio but are not following the chat as much, I was just asking, what does it mean to support the idea of errorism, in your opinion, what's the best way for a group of people to begin going about that?  and Frederico was just saying, "in my opinion is to recover the "ism"" and I'm curious what you mean by that.

Frederico: Well, I say that just as one shot just to open the debate about that, but you know the idea, the problem for example, in South America is all the process of these countries in the 70s was related to an idealistic dream of some revolution.  After that, the new big idea dominating all the media and the society is the failure of that idea.  That process was over, all the guerillas and the revolutionary movements were destroying and imposing a dictation and all this stuff, you know that.  So, for us in this context, when we recognize, when we use one term as errorism, it's very strong because you can see how criminalized it is, the stereotype of Latin American terrorists, it's a very complicated moment, for example in Chile, Mapuches, they are originally people from there, and they are totally criminalized and under the law of the terrorist criminal.  So, that is, for us, when I say recover the "ism" it's because you have in the history of all the avant-gardes, they use -- after that postmodern times, we cannot believe, we cannot trust  in any "ism", "ism" is over.  Because post modernity creates that sensation that nothing new can be created.  When I say recover this "ism" or create that kind of "ism" for us it's important because it's not easy to think in this kinds of issues here, and well anyway, what can I say

Loretta: Also because when we start with our group, we are part also from etcetera, so when we started with the group etcetera in the 90s, it was a discussion for us about this close history time.  About what was happening with history, what was happening with art, what was happening with the creativity, and what was happening with the politics.  When we started as a group, it was very difficult to be involved with art and politics at the same time because the word politic politica was forbidden -- not forbidden, but it was a very bad word to talk about.

Scott: Got ya

Loretta: So, for that reason, we keep this idea of this old way of making politics as also as a key to open debates and also as a key to open a new possibility for on one hand to have a communication, on another hand to discuss about what we are doing in our life, and what to [expect? 0:22:33.7] about our futures, and what to [expect? 0:22:37.5] about this future thinking in the past and also what was the real failure of all the systems, what we think were failures or mistakes.  I think we are not alone in that, I think after 2001, many of us are pushing to have this discussion because we are pushing to try to understand what was happening in the twenty years before that.  In that way, talk about "ism" talk about movement, and using this way of metaphoric way to talk about politics opens a good possibility to talk about things that people are afraid to talk about.  Error, for us, is very interesting to start to talk about terror but at the same time to talk about what was happening also with this process of the 70s and also this new possible process about guerilla or kind of idea of revolution as in the past.  It's a good way to open this closed ---

Frederico: I think at the same time -- when we use to play with the stereotypes that a very well created by the mass media, we understood this is a our opportunity to try to take a little kind of power of representation because we fight against representation, but with errorism we can create these kind of fake identities, transitory identities, totally open -- but sometimes we are afraid about the [inaudible 0:25:02.1] we make some kinds of workshops about error and we find a lot of young guys they feel involved and they try to play with this concept of errorism but then we feel it's important to going on to the background part of this society and see how we can open this idea of one international movement in this moment when nobody with believes in that, this is complicated but at the same time it's good, if you see the [inaudible 0:25:53.4] --

Scott: It seems like, in a sense you're using terms specifically that you don't agree with in order to interrogate them, or to bring the discussion to the floor; but at the same time, it does seem like there's something that you wish to recover, or there's a surplus that you'd like to take some advantage of or connect in some way, and one of those it sounds like, it is a real genuine desire is to connect people who are interested in reimagining the world in different ways from all over the world.  That's what my understanding is, do you think that that's true?  I realize that you guys are playing with language, but I'm not really under the impression that it's all tongue-in-cheek.  

[silence]

Did you hear me ok? Do you need me to repeat that at all?

Frederico: Excuse me, I'm trying to read the chat.

Jeremy: I don't know what they think about terrorism because USA is a country was speak about anti-terrorism and it's a real, some with real presence, and so we have a lot of things to know about...

[Silence]

[Loretta laughs]

Scott: I guess my main question is the way I understand you use.

I'm going to frame this in a slightly different way.

The way I understand you use language and employ terms that have implications that you wouldn't necessarily agree with in order to bring about a wider and more broader discussion.  Many things may have multiple meanings to that it actually instigates or kind of prods, a sometimes uncomfortable discussion; at the same time, what you were  just talking about—the interest to connect people all over the world who have overlapping interests, specifically overlapping interests in questioning what it means to be right or what the good life is—basically how we should live, essential questions about constructing societies, and even, in your words, micro-societies as well, that to me seems like a genuine pursuit, is that too strange of a questions to ask?  I guess I'm curious to clarify that and I was curious about what kinds of interests you have in connecting with other people who have similar ideas or who are questioning similar things.

Frederico: This is the principle idea of our idea is this one you said:  connecting people and making these kinds of contacts.  First, you said something interesting about the terms that we use, or we cannot use, but we do, or do not agree with it, or the conceptions and this is interesting for me because I think when we have to contact or connect people through this idea of error and errorism, it's incredibly easy.  In my case, I don't know, but sometimes I talk about that and I feel it's a very positive moment to speak about error in the life, and how error is working in this context and this society.  For example, we don't want to create a group of errorists because here we have a lot of people, individuals, groups, collectives, and we can deal and make things together or not.  But, the problem is the problem of how we can play this global and international situation.  What you say to connect people is interesting because in the actions we organize here in Buenos Aires a lot of people are involved here and they take the risk, they go to the streets with us and we live the experience together.  Then, our idea is these people, when they're back in their countries, they can develop something there, with this experience we have here, they can bring the experience to our micro-community, but in this case, the way to work in this kind of community I think is taking care of the sensibility and this [inaudible 0:32:01.0] part of the relationships.  When we said in the beginning of the conversation, our main idea is to fight against success, now I think it's the same because we are in a really competitive society; for that reason, error is very popular now, because losers [inaudible 0:32:24.6] they don't want to be losers, and they fight for that.  So for this reason I think if we take the way of making not an international movement, and we make a kind of new-age religion, we will be also very [inaudible 0:32:44.3].  Sorry for my long speech.

Scott: No, it's really interesting, and in a sense, I'm curious...

[Child laughing]

How someone might start a group of errorists, was because you were talking about some people who I wasn't sure exactly where.  I didn't hear exactly where, but you said that there were some people who wanted to do this but you weren't exactly sure where they were coming from.

[Child talking on microphone]

Frederico: For example the case, some interesting cases for us we discovered last time, was a performance or music band, group in London, the errorists, they are three guys.  We find that on the internet checking on Google searching for something about error and we find them and we find their manifesto that they wrote interesting, and also their music, their experimental music, so this is one case, another interesting case is in France, in Marseille, in an independent newspaper called [Newspaper name 0:34:52.2], it's a very interesting newspaper made by very great people, they're are like our family there, so they support errorism since a long time ago, and it was interesting because they use to publish some things about errorism in France, and this guy Jeremy who is now in the conversation with us was there because he is from France and he was involved with them.  So [inaudible 0:35:26.9] but the problem is we don't have any head, we don't have a main control of the situation, and we don't want to have that.  But at the same time we need to do something, for this reasons, maybe we have to create—we are working on that, some kind of website, or something to try to concentrate this energy of error, but you know it's difficult.

Jeremy: In each country they do something really different.  I saw the video in the south of France, and it's really different to what we do in Buenos Aires, it's more violent, it's not bad, not good, it's just other things.  The actions we do, we just have a really good relationship with the population - la gente al lado.

Frederico: Just to say something - I'm reading the chat there...

Scott: To me that sounds like an appropriation of that term —

Frederico: No, no, of course, this is —

Scott: when a major, when a powerful entity sees that language has some disruptive power, you know it usually is a good idea to recoup that, or try to in some why by organization, you know.

Frederico: The conflictive point for me is not only accepting the error, because accepting error is easy, you can go to pray to the church or something like this, accepting error is not complicated, the complicated point is living in error, making error your life, accepting error as something natural and not, you know.  So when I say the critic about how competitive the capitalist system is today, everybody reshaped the error, it's not my crazy idea, it's what I see every day in my life, even if the people are very open minded, it happens the same, so it's complicated because nobody wants to accept we are going in the wrong way—our society.  We are going in the wrong way so if we accept that, maybe errorism is a term very usable—we can use it in a lot of ways.

Scott: Absolutely, yes.

Frederico: We don't want to make this a very superficial situation, errorism is very easy to transform in some fashion, some stupid thing; so for reason we have to take care o that.

Loretta: Also it's very interesting how media and how error is to save their own system.  They always say "This was a big mistake, how can we fix this mistake?  We are trying to fix this mistake", the problem is for example when we wrote the first manifesto, we said we want to take error with the conscious of error; that means you are responsible of your errors.  The power always escapes from their mistakes, saying at the last way "we are doing mistakes".  We call that our not errorist mistakes, and that was one of the first points we  used in our first manifesto in 2005.  The media use the way to save this; for example how they save their legal problems, the guilt situation, taking as an error some plans they are making before; kill many people in one country, or making wars in Iraq, or whatever, they use that they make mistake, but what happens when somebody makes a mistake and is involved in a legal  situation.  For example, we had a workshop one year ago in Columbia, and one of our students is now in jail because he did a stupid mistake on Facebook, now he's in jail and he tried to defend himself saying "It was an error" and that, in the legal situation, in Columbia is not something that makes him escape from his legal problem now.  So what happens with error to the people who don't have power?  When the power use the error; for that reason, as you said before about the stereotypes made by the mass media, we use also in our actions, we use and we put evidence how this creates a stereotype and how the words error and mistake are used to build more power also.  We use these two ways of error; one as a way to liberation, and one as a key used by power to dominate, for example now in Argentina and in all of Latin America we are celebrate 200 years of independence, and we call that independence was really planning error, because it's not independence.

Frederico: But that started with Christopher Columbus, that's a long time ago, we was look for India and he arrived here; in our condition this is very... somebody is writing here, sorry.

[quiet while reading text on chat]

Frederico: This is a kind of break, I want to share a link with you.  Scott?

Scott: Yeah, we're here, I was sort of waiting in anticipation, it sounded like you were looking for a link or something, but I definitely have questions to ask.

Well there are a few things, I just didn't want to go in another direction is you're in thought here, but I was a little while ago, I was reading this discussion which turned out to be pretty elaborate discussion on the north/east-west-south website and there are a lot of things to say about this.

One thing I was interested in was last December you guys posted a video about urban errorist photography and  as we're talking about this, I just keep wanting to get some kind of a picture of some of what you guys do, and that seems to be helping  a little bit...

Frederico: It's pretty strange because I don't know if you have done something like that in Philadelphia, but here we have [Palestinian and the Israeli state 0:48:06.3] and you know, they are crossing one and another at his incredible, because when we discovered that it's a very urban errorist situation because at the same time, this point is under the control of Mossad, the secret service of Israel.  When we discovered that we thought we must put some signal here, something to try to call the attention of the people because it's an incredible situation and for the people of the neighborhood it was amazing because they know that they are paranoid because they know why it's a danger, a problematic point in the city, but if you were working there nothing happens, but in the end it's controlled by cameras and some police force.  It was strange because we organized the action only for twenty minutes because we cannot stay for long; the reaction of the people was interesting, and for us it was a crazy adventure because we tried to keep this city of Buenos Aires alive.  It's difficult at the moment, but we try.

Scott: Sorry, Frederico, are these links to various public actions?

Frederico: Jeremy, Jeremy

Scott:  We'll just take a look, I was wondering if you guys would be interested in describing some of the points from your manifesto that Steven describes, I'll type them in just so that we know what we're talking about.

I mean it may be self-explanatory, but when did that come about, I know we've gotten into some of this already, you've discussed some of this, but it seems that this is a succinct [inaudible 0:51:24.5] and I was curious if there was anything in here that you want to elaborate on.

But, you know I'm curious about how you feel about that now.  I'm curious about how this concept, or this idea is working or not; what do you think in the United States, in the context of your country where you're living, what do you think about that?  We can find some cells and people there?

Scott: I'd be curious to know what other people in the call think about that, I have media thoughts, but maybe you're asking about what people in the US think about what you've been talking about, maybe there's a cultural difference.

Frederico: Cultural difference, exactly.

Scott: I don't know, does anybody have any thoughts?   I know a couple of you are from the US in addition to me.

[Daughter singing;  Are you done Daddy?]

Frederico: Many of our reactions here in Latin America was because the Governmental decision during the last time, many reactions in the economic and social situation, so for this reason, for us it's very important to know if this context, this new situation in the United States is more flexible to organize or to do some things, I don't know, it's a simple questions; if you see the context, the situation more open to recover the public space, the public political activity and these kind of things.

Scott: That's definitely a really curious question; I'm partly interested, for instance Matthew and Greg, and other people on the call who I know deal with some of these issues in your work, I was curious if you had any immediate thoughts about that.  I mean my initial response is that there's an idea of freedom in the United States; there's dissonance between the [inaudible 0:54:34.3] and the reality.  For instance, like other places we have during major events there are distinct protest zones where one's allowed; sanction spaces where you're allowed to have dissent, which is kind of a funny idea.  There is also this idea, but it's like a really twisted idea of the commons here in the US, we really don't have much of that.  I mean there were times where that was an important idea, and depending on the government at the time, the administration, there are more or less "social programs" or "public spaces" and a lot of effort went into that.  But during other times, it's the exact opposite, I mean your name, the International Error, obviously for people in the United States not coincidentally makes people think of terrorism and it's a way to play with that, of course, but just to let you know.  I can give you a very localized anecdote, here in Philadelphia, this was the capital of the United States when it first unionized, and it's described as the cradle of liberty; we have, just a block away from Base Kamp, the Independence hall—where the Independence from Great Britain was signed, the Liberty Bell; (I don't want to make judgmental statements here so I'm trying to be very general) where it's a symbol of liberty in the United States at the very least, and there is immediately after the attacks on the World Trade Centre, symbols like that, that few people cared that much about suddenly became these national treasures that had been guarded with military might, really there these armed guards in front of these icons, these buildings, basically at this point are really just tourist centers.  They have no political power, and hard to say they even have ideological power; Japanese tourists will come and take a lot of snapshots, school kids learn about it; United States history;  it's not the Pentagon, you know, but yet we somehow felt it was important to station armed guards and actually put up all of these very difficult to maneuver pedestrian walk ways, and barricades, it really was pretty crazy, and so I think that's calmed down just a little bit in this administration, but it still is, from my point of view anyway, it's just telling that tiny story which I think is kind of funny, especially if this is such a small city for being a large city, it really has such a small city feel.  It's not isolated to that though; everywhere I go and everyone I talk to in the United States, no matter where they are has experiences like that, and sees that in their locale.  

So, I guess my answer to you is that I can't really speak on behalf of the United States, but I can say that I think that the name of the group and also the statements that you've made, and the actions that I've seen so far; the manifesto—what it is to me it's a kind of linguistic shock, it's a very tiny shock to the system, but an interesting side-step to approach this really difficult core problem of enforced competition.  I think that it's a very interesting strategy to approach a competitive environment with the idea that where all these expectations on us cultural producers to artists or whatever are that we have to win, not only that, but we have to impress, we have to success; not that we have to, but if we don't we're losers, we won't be supported, we'll have to work day jobs, all kinds of things like that, so basically I'd like to approach this where we're going to focus specifically on error.  Not as something to overcome like [inaudible 1:00:16.2]

[Daughter talking]

But, I think it's interesting, so anyway, my answer is, I do think it has a lot of potential here in the United States, will people turn into a meme?  and have lots of Errorist cells? I really don't know, but I'm curious about how you could see that happening.

Frederico: Error is something here, there is a lot of things in common but not really seen with our reference of error.  But I'm curious about that because I think everybody together is in error, it's very common to find the division, but it's important to find the point in common.  I think the point in common that we have is that we are living in the same planet, and we are under the same economic system, and sometimes that means just to go back to this idea of error in our life; if we make a plan of some activities, or some experiences, and everything goes, we do something very spontaneous and then see what happens.  Of course it's totally experimental, but at the same time, we take, maybe this is the point of, not the division, but the difference, because we are trying to provoke some political answer.  We are trying to use the resources of the art, the theatre, the performance, or I don't know; just to create some reaction—in the beginning we were shocked by the reaction of the media and how they transformed our ideas within five minutes, but at the same time, we can't try to enter there and make something.  So in this context it's interesting because error has the potential to provoke the political field, and in the everyday life.

[reading text chat]

Jeremy: If we speak; a lot of countries I think we must think about actions in a lot of countries, so the things is, maybe I'm not really interested in the sense of the error, but I think if we think about something concrete to do and also the country in the same moment, because we have unity of moment—not unity of the place, maybe we do something interesting.

The [inaudible 1:05:14.2] when they do a big error, they annoy everyone in the world, so why don't we respond?  I mean...

[reading text chat]Qué dice?

Frederico: More people great, and fortunately more people will...

Jeremy: Hola?

Scott: Yes, we can hear you.

Jeremy: Se entienden el video o no?

[Scott's daughter: Daddy, I want a pen...

Mummy doesn't want you do draw inside that book

Why?

Because it's her book, you've got other books you can draw in,

But I want a book with dots, like this one, I really want the same book as Mommy

It's Mommy's book, if she says no, then no...]

Jeremy: Qué es capitalisma [inaudible 1:07:18.4]?

Scott: It seems to me that you guys are questioning, tell me if I'm right about this so to speak, but it seems like you're questioning not so much only what is right and what is wrong, but you're actually trying to define how these terms are used because they are so misused.  They are so often used to mislead.  Do you think there's anything to that, can you hear me ok?

Jeremy: No, muy mal, it cut, and I don't understand.

Scott: It seems to me that you're not so much debating only that things that dominant cultures tends to tell people are right; it seems that you're not only saying "That's wrong", although that does seem like it's part of it, or that things that people judge to be wrong are actually right or things that are successful are actually errors and vice versa; but it also seems like you're trying to play with the language itself because, not just to debate the actual point on which things are right and things are wrong, but interrogate the way language is used because it's so often used to mislead.

And so if we continue to use these terms the way they're normally used, in the colloquial sense, or even that something is an error, or it's not an error, or it's right, or it's incorrect; then it's seems to me that we're missing the point of what you guys are doing.

And I guess I'll just stop with this, because I guess this is a question more than a statement, it seems to me, well, why don't I just ask it as a question;  Do you think that you want to provide an alternative to the definition of error; in addition to just redefining which things are or are not errors?  Does that make sense?

[silence]   

Guys are you still there?

I just read you're missing Frederico.

Hello, Frederico?

I was asking this question, and I asked it three different ways because I thought that you were there, and then I realized well you're not, maybe I'll just ask that one more time.

I'm just wondering because maybe we're just missing the point when we're discussing whether something is or is not an error, or it's right and it's wrong.  It seems to me that maybe you're not only debating that certain things we're told are right and are actually not, or that certain things that are errors are really not, but maybe do you think that what you're attempting to do is provide an alternative definition to what error actually means so that we shouldn't really be debating whether or not something is or is not an error, but that you're questioning the use of that languages because it's so often used to mislead us?

Frederico: I don't know how we can definite what we want to do, but I think if we want to put some words in action.  I don't know if it's a good explanation.  This is not an escape from the questions, but this is for me the answer.  We are taking this concept of this word because we feel this is flowing in there, and we try to take it, but at the same time put error in action.  How do you put word in action?  

Loretta: I think, when we start to do this, you know how we discover errorists, was because of a mistake.  We were preparing this action for the missing of residents in Mar del Plata and we were creating an action, a theatrical act, for that meeting.  In that time Bush was coming to Argentina, it was full of demonstrations so we decided to be there, and the idea was trying to recreate the  image made by mass media, and the image we decided to recreate was the image that the mass media created about the Middle East, for us.  So the image we had here by media was the image of people full of weapons, women with veils, men with kafiyas, and full of tanks and things like that; dangerous people, dangerous countries.  So we decided to recreate a kind of guerilla, fake guerilla, or a fake terrorist group and we start to write the text for that theatre piece when one of our comrades arrived with the pen drive and the text, we open the word program, and the title was "Acción Terrorista", "Terrorist Action", but it was written in a wrong way, it said "Errorist Action", and immediately when we tried to correct that word, it showed us two links of the word; Errorist and Terrorist, for that was the situation, that was the way how we discovered this word, and how we started to play with Errorist, but then for us the first discussion about error and errorist was in this theatrical performance we did in Mar del Plata, because it was full of mistakes; what was happening around this theatrical action, and one of the most interesting things for us, after this experience of demonstration in Mar del Plata, we discovered a method we were playing as a theatrical group.  we had two kinds of possibilities to open the game, and participation, so after we did that action, many people who were spectators started to be immediately part of this theatrical performance.  Not only people in the street, also the people who arrived to catch us, because of our Errorist action.  So I think one of the first keys we used to play with this word is connected with what the body practiced, we put our body in these political situation, or in this public space, we are using around the world, like in the streets or whatever.

Jeremy: Os piensas que se entiende algo de lo que hablamos en inglés? (Do you all think they understand what we're saying in English?)

Loretta: We are reading now what they are discussing in the chat.

Scott: Maybe it would be good to repeat the question from the chat just for people who can only access the audio.  Sometimes people are away from their laptops, so it's a good idea to repeat the questions out loud.

I can go ahead and do that if you want, Matthew, do you want to go ahead an elaborate out loud, are you able to do that?

Matthew: I'm just trying to make the associations with what we were talking before about the distinction between Brazil and America, and I think that there's a [inaudible 1:19:36.0]and  I'm finding it really interesting when the media sources don't play this role of just providing us with information but trying to allow us to negotiate the validity of the information that we're giving.  I've notice in [inaudible 1:20:02.9] I feel is the most obvious one where you've got a pseudo-newscaster commenting on comments that are being made in the political realm, and obviously showing that they're blatant lies.  It also playing this role about the[inaudible 1:20:24.7] at the same time.  So I'm guess I'm making a lot of associations with that role and the[inaudible 1:20:35.1] in that it's on a comedy network, but it's kind of news and people are taking it more as news, and I kind of feel that this idea of error [inaudible 1:20:45.3] in this grey area of... so that it can be either or, or it can be both, and it's post humorous in a way, but it's really specific, and so I don't really have a questions, but I find it really interesting that these middle areas where they're trying to make them visible and at the same time make comments on really important issues, yet we're playing this tongue-in-cheek role.

Frederico: Matthew, thank you.  Ok, sorry for the silence, I don't know.  Thank you Matthew for your opinion.  I don't want to moderate here, but...

Scott: It's ok, please do.

Frederico: But what can I say, I think what... sorry, I'm reading here.  

[Silence]

Ahh, no no, please.

Jeremy: Qué dijo?

Frederico: [laughing]

Jeremy: No entiendo nada, qué es "I like"?

Frederico: Que está diciendo me estás escuchando...

Jeremy: Si te escucho...tratemos de traducir porque no he entendido nada (Can we try to translate it because I didn't understand anything.)

Frederico: [speaks in Spanish]

Excuse me guys please, I needed to speak in Spanish because he didn't understand, maybe in French, we can speak something in French.  Anyway.

Scott: Yes, I'm curious about this too; how different people here define and understand error, because whether or not you guys wanted to answer that earlier, it still seems to me to be a very point to your project, is the kind of redefinition of what error actually means.  Obviously it's a re-contextualization of it, but also, I think it's a redefinition in some way.  Even if it's not a strict definition, it does seem to be some attempt there to approach, a different kind of approach.

Frederico: It's interesting because in commentary it said something like... you know the difference  in our context for our country, if we compare it to situations; it's totally different because in this context, we cannot take like them the same kind of activities.  Today, if we make this kind of experience, we are repeating something, that's the problem, I told you before, I don't want to close the discussion in this level of representation because I think we can create this errorism international, and everybody can do it, everyone can take the word and the concept in the way they want.  When we go to the discussion of how is the situation with this term and why we take this like our flag, it's for one reason because we trust.  In a way, we become a little bit fundamentalistic on error, and you say error [inaudible 1:27:06.3].  But I'm sure, because maybe we are inside the error right now, maybe we are losing the point, you know?

Scott: I just wanted to mention that we have three minutes before we end this chat.  Even if we don't always start on time, we always end on time, but just for the sake of people who are something like 2am for them now.  But I just wanted to mention that and say if anyone had any burning statements that they wanted to make as a kind of a bookmark for a follow up, because we will be following up, when you come to New York, that this would be one of those discussion among other discussions from past weeks; but this one in particular would be good to follow up on between now and October 10th, which is when we'll actually be discussing this again in person.  

Frederico: There would be a real [inaudible 1:28:53.6] situation.

Scott:  Indeed.  Well, it's been really great...

Frederico: I would make my [inaudible 1:29:03.8] to be a real errorist.  Please help me, I will try to call you.

Scott: Frederico, if you want to send things by e-mail, the best ways to do that, are either to send it to the discussion list, or you can also send it, if you want to, I don't know if you actually feel like doing this, but there's comments at the bottom of that page which is a really good place to add extra information.  We often add things like a link to the audio afterwards, or things like that.  So if you have follow up stuff, that's a great place, and we can also post it to the list.  But that will get some more people.

It was really great having you guys to discuss the International Errorists tonight.

Frederico: Listen, listen one question, when will we have the next, what is the program?  Because I want to show you next time, please send me the program to my e-mail address.

Loretta: Thanks to everybody and we hope we can create a new language so we can speak errorism next week, it will easier for us to speak and explain more things.

Scott: We do need to create a new language, don't we.

Have a great evening, and we'll see you soon.

Week 35: Sewing Rebellion

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Carole Frances Lung, biographer (and sometime impersonator) of Frau Fiber Textile Worker, founder of the Sewing Rebellion.

http://sewingrebellion.wordpress.com/

The Sewing Rebellion began in the fall of 2006 in Chicago, initially as a monthly free sewing workshop and clothing exchange. In January 2007, acknowledging that a rebellion couldn’t happen once a month, weekly Sunday afternoon meetings were established until May of 2007, when Frau Fiber went itinerant. Frau Fiber’s intention is to bring the Sewing Rebellion to communities around the country — and more recently to Haiti — where she lays the ground work for an economy of what she calls “STOP SHOPPING, START SEWING.” The Sewing Rebellion furthers the emancipation from the global garment industry by teaching and learning how to alter, mend and make one’s own garments and accessories. Textile work and activist Frau Fiber and / or regional chapter organizers distribute their knowledge of the garment industry, pattern making and sewing, encouraging the reuse, renovation and recycling of existing garments and textiles in the creation of unique items tailored to individual tastes and body shapes.

Whereas many of the plausible artworlds we have looked at over the past months have focused on the worldmaking potential of new digital technologies, the Sewing Rebellion has strove to pick up an older, “ur-analogic” thread — stitching, weaving, sewing, garment making — as an alternative to consumerism. More than that, the Rebellion explicitly links this activity to labor… perhaps the most crucial component of any plausible life world.

 

Transcription

Week 35: Sewing Rebellion

?: Hi Steven, Hi Carole

Carole: Hi

?: Is that you Carole  We've got Salam with us, did we lose Steven already?  Steven is joining up from Salt Spring Island which I don't know where that is.   Let's add Steven back real quick, and then we will get started.

Steven: OK, I'm back

?:  Before we get started, if you're listening in, just be sure to mute your audio to allow for as clean an audio broadcast as possible, if you need help doing that just let us know, otherwise I'm going to turn it over to Steven to introduce Carol and Sewing Rebellion.

Steven: Thanks [inaudible 0:02:04.4]

[Steven cuts off]

?: Well listen, I'll introduce you, although admittedly I'll just basically be reading what we wrote to that people are all on the same page, and then you can take over and whatever gaps I leave you can fill those in as we go, does that sound alright?

Carole: Sure

?: So Sewing Rebellion began in the Fall of 2006 in Chicago initially as a monthly free-sewing workshop and clothing exchange, in January 2007 acknowledging that a rebellion couldn't happen once a month, weekly Sunday afternoon meetings were established until May 2007 when Frau Fiber went [itinerant 0:03:02.3].  Frau Fiber's intention is to bring the Sewing Rebellion around the country, and more recently to Haiti, where she lays the groundwork for the economy which she calls "Stop Shopping, Start Sewing" the Sewing Rebellion  furthers the [emancipation 0:03:16.3] from the global garment industry by teaching and learning how to alter, mend and make one's own garments and accessories.  Textile work and activist Frau Fiber and or regional [inaudible 0:03:27.1] distribute their knowledge of the garment industry, pattern-making and sewing, encouraging the re-use, renovation and recycling of existing garments and textiles in creation of unique items tailored to individual taste and body shapes.  Whereas many of the plausible art worlds we have looked at over the past month have focused on the world-making potentials of new digital technology, the Sewing Rebellion has strove to pick an older analogical thread, stitching, weaving, sewing, garment making as an alternative to consumerism.  More than that, the rebellion explicitly links the activity to labor, perhaps the most crucial component of any plausible life-world.

So hopefully that ties in more or less what you do, but obviously, we want to hear from you about the specifics of projects you've been working on and where you guys are at now.

Carole: Ok, well I think it's really important in the context of my work to consider my background in the garment industry,  I actually worked in the apparel industry for twelve years before I went to graduate school and got my MFA and started to make this body of work that is I think slowing processing my experience working in the industry.  Working in an industry that I love the material culture of, but I never really liked the politics and didn't appreciate that way that bodies are portrayed and the labor politics and things like that.  So, I think the Sewing Rebellion came into being about the same time that I was travelling to Germany and I studied at the Bauhaus University in Weimar, in a MFA in public art and new artistic strategies.  It was at that point where I think I gave myself permission to make work about what I knew and about what I know - and what I know is garment production.  I realized, when I came back from Weimar that I had this skill set that was being lost and wanted to give it away.  So that's how the Sewing Rebellion came into being, fortunately there's some great spaces in Chicago, like Mess Hall, that allow one to present free workshops and not have to pay rent for a space.  So that's been one of the struggles I think, with the Sewing Rebellion and having it grow, there was always the search for space, or people that have space that they can host the event, so it is met in everything from private homes to public sewing spaces.  The Brooklyn chapter meets at a community sewing space, and there's actually two chapters in Los Angeles; one is on the east side, which is meeting in a someone's studio space, Jennifer Bruce's studio space, and the other one meets in hands-on3rd which is in west Hollywood.  Then of course the Mess Hall chapter continues to meet and it continues to evolve and I think basically at this point, I'm trying to get the Sewing Rebellion to operate without Frau Fiber actually having to participate.  So, does anybody have any questions about that at that point?  I'm just talking into space here, it's really funny!

?: No, yeah it might feel a little awkward at first, but believe me we're all listening and thinking, and really if there are links to specific works, or images or whatever you want to include…

Carole: Ok, well I think the national blog, which is sewingrebellion.wordpress.com

?: Yep, we've posted that, and Salem also posted a couple of other ones…

Carole: Ok, so what happens on the blog side, and I guess that's where I utilize public access and the internet, is by posting instructions, I try and distribute monthly.  Sometimes it's quarterly, it just depends on other things that are going on at the time.  It's really important I think for the Sewing Rebellion that it is a free event, I know that the Brooklyn chapter does have to charge I think a $5 donation because of space, but otherwise they are free events and that's important; and I also think it's really important that each chapter has their own identity, yes they're under the umbrella of the Sewing Rebellion, but it's really about coming together and building a community of people who are interesting in increasing the life of their clothes, and however that transpires is fine.  The LA chapter did a screen printing workshop last week, or last month, and so the instructions that also go out are optional, they're there, people want to use them but they don't have to.  One of the things that is happening now is the chapters are starting to make suggestion for instructions, and then I go ahead and type them up and format them and all that kind of thing.  What else about the Sewing Rebellion?  I'm just looking through the blog…

?: Yeah, I mean, you can pause and find specific things you want to share with us, so don't feel like you have to be rushed to talk through everything up front, this is very informal, very casual, and as you talk the gears will be spinning, and we'll start to formulate questions and ideas.

So far it's really wonderful and exciting, Steven is doing a play-by-play and so there's various threads that are happening simultaneously.

Carole: And I think it's really important to understand too that the Sewing Rebellion has become one out of several projects, and  I like to say that Frau Fiber has this multi-national corporation that she's forming and the Sewing Rebellion is one element of it.  The other element of it is knock-off enterprises which primarily are solo performances wherein Frau Fiber knocks-off regional apparel, so she did a performance in 2008 of knocking-off Hart Schaffner Marx suits in Chicago and Hart Schaffner Marx suites have been manufactured in Chicago for a really long time, and they're starting to slowly move their production off-shore, and so she does these commemorative sewing-performances that are durational in nature, oftentimes attempting to mimic what an actual garment workers' day would be like.  So like in the performance in Chicago, she was working 12-hours shifts, 6 days a week, and then only allowing herself one little ten-minute break a day to go the bathroom and have a little bit to eat.  Then most recently I'm doing, or Frau's doing a piece in Los Angeles that is supposed to start on Thursday although the pedal-powered sewing machine's not finished yet, and she will be knocking-off a Forever21 shirt which kind of looks like a cross between a work-shirt and a military shirt, and it's part of their American brand, which is manufactured in Taiwan, the label is super funny because it says [The American brand, manufactured in Taiwan 0:11:33.8] and she's going to be recreating these shirts in front of Forever21 stores, the flagship store in Highland Park, Hollywood, Santa Monica, there's another  store in west Hollywood, and then in front of their corporate headquarters, which is on the southeast side of Los Angeles.  

That's a couple of the on-going projects of knock-off enterprises, and then also most recently is the "Made in Haiti" work, which started in December 2009 but Frau Fiber was invited to attend the Ghetto Biennale in Port-au-Prince, which was hosted by a group of found object sculptures who are consistently denied visas to attend their exhibitions in the United States, Canada, and Europe, and so a British curator and one of the artists came up with this idea to bring the international art world  to this neighborhood in Port-au-Prince.  So for that project, Frau Fiber was looking at the process of used apparel and where it goes and our apparel ends up in developing countries like Africa and Haiti and what it's done is it's made a local garment production, so in Haiti you have this tradition of tailors that are trained in the French methods of tailoring and they're incredibly skilled, they basically are losing work because everyone is buying these second-hand clothes which are called "pepe", so I met this tailor whose name is [Jonas surname 0:13:22.8] and we've worked together three times now, I actually just came back last Thursday from Haiti, and he and I worked together on developing garments that are repurposed from the pepe, and then I bring it back into the States.  We started a second collection this time around, which is stenciled t-shirts which are done by some of the younger artists that live in the neighborhood and then we also started a collection of backpacks that are made from overalls, so that's a full-scope of what I've got going on right now.

Steven: You listed a number of really ambitious projects, I was wondering if we could take a closer look at one of two of [inaudible 0:14:25.5]

Carole: Sure

Steven: [inaudible 0:14:27.8] needles and thread… how they work… the most recently one actually, the Haiti project

Carole: How the project works?  Well, the first time how the project worked was hold on one second, I just want to get a statement up here.

How the project worked originally was I, as Frau Fiber went down to Port-au-Prince, and the curators new that I was interesting in working with pepe and was interested in working with a tailor, and fortunately there's a couple of tailors living in the neighborhood, so I interviewed both of them, and ended up working with one that was a little bit younger; the older tailor, he wanted me to pay him $150 a day, and it was a little bit out of my budget, so some of the important questions for me with doing the Made in Haiti work were asking the tailors and negotiating with the tailors on what they felt they should be paid every day.  At the time too I knew that there was discussion in Port-au-Prince about wages, and there were several student groups that were trying to get wages increased to $5 a day, but there is some garment manufacturing that happens in Haiti, Hanes and I think David's Bridal used to manufacture in Haiti, I don't think they are anymore, but there are some lower-end products, and they said that they would pull-out if the wages went up to $5 a day.  The minimum wage was set at $3.09 a day, and there's lots of questions about whether or not that $3.09 actually gets paid and how it gets paid.  Primarily the workers do work on a peace-rate wage, oftentimes are expected to produce what way beyond can happen in an 8-hour day, so they end up working 12 to 16 hours a day, and they still don't make their quotas.

So it's really important to me as thinking about this project too as it's an art project, but it's also becoming like this business, that the tailor have a voice in how much he makes, so after many discussions with Jonas, we agreed on $50 a day, which is a little bit about $8 an hour I guess when you break it down to an hourly wage, which I think is totally fair, and for the skills that Jonas has, he's highly highly skilled, and all the work is also produced on a treadle sewing machine, power's not really reliable in Haiti and so almost all the tailors that I saw all work on the old treadle Singer sewing machines.  Once I had established with Jonas that we would be working together, then we set about getting a bundle of pepe, so the pepe actually was called Kennedy and it was instituted by JFK as charity to provide developing countries with clothes, and I think at some point it probably was free and distributed freely, but today it's a very vibrant economy both from the US side and also in Haiti.   And so if you can afford to get a bundle of pepe, you're an entrepreneur; you can resell the stuff on the street and actually become a shop.  There are pepe shops all over the streets of Port-au-Prince, I have an article on the blog, let me see if I can just stick it in there really quick.

?: I'm just curious, this is all very new to me, but pepe jeans, it's that name aware of the way that word is used?  Or is it just a coincidence because of the name Pepe as a first name is popular.

Carole: There's a jean brand called Pepe?

?: I think so

Carole: That's awesome!  It could be a name, I don't know if there's any relationship between those two things.

?: It sounds like I'm curious about the language because you're also talking about, well first of all you're talking about Frau in the third-person, and then you're also talking about you being engaged in a corporate model, or an actually corporation if you so-call it that, but I'm wondering how language plays a role in either the performative aspect or also the way that you write about it and the way that you think about it and the way that, you know the satellite Sewing Rebellion collectives are communicated with… I'm curious what role language plays in your work, or in the work of the Sewing Rebellion, or in the work of Frau..

Carole: It's really funny because as a kid I was a terrible writer, I struggled with it so much, and had to go through all this special-ed stuff to learn grammar because I grew up in southern California and they never really taught us grammar in public school.  The last year of graduate school I just spend with advisors that were writers, and really wanted to, it was really important to me to have that skill down and so now, when you ask that-- this is the first time this question's ever been asked, and I think that language is an incredible, it's so important to the work, it's so vital to the work, and the way that I contextualize it.  I think that-- you made the comment about the Frau, and sometimes I talk about her in the third-person, and I still get really confused, because I have this other person, and then I'm trying to always keep them in check.  I can do that much better in the written form than I do when I present stuff thus far, especially talks and things like that.   With the language of the Sewing Rebellion, it's so important, and I really want that rebellious language to come through when people are hosting a Sewing Rebellion so the whole Stop Shopping and-- I don't think it's bitter or unhappy, it's more of like a milder revolutionary language, or soft guerilla language that has a critique in it if you so want to understand that, but at the same time it also has a playfulness.

One of the things that started with the Made in Haiti project, especially when I started working on the blog and was reading all these newspapers articles about the garment economy in Haiti and I just started hacking those articles and putting Frau's voice into them and taking parts that I wanted from them and erasing other parts so there was an article that came out early in November, I think I wrote it--maybe it was in December--  oh yeah; Frau Fiber's tough job in Haiti..

?: Yeah, if you want to post it, that would be great.

Carole:  Yeah.

and it was an article that had been written about Bill Clinton and the work that he was going to be doing, and how he was named special envoy to Haiti and so I basically appointed Frau Fiber as a special envoy to Haiti, and on the uniforms that I made for the work in Haiti, they had patches on them saying "Special Envoy 100% Good for Garment Workers" and I've continued that practice throughout this project, and actually the blog, I have a solo exhibition in Appalachian State that open up on September 17th, we've actually created a newspaper, it's four-page newspaper that highlights important moments throughout the blog and the collection and the visual dictionary that I made to help communicate with Jonas, because I don't speak French, I don't speak Creole, but now I'm learning Creole little by little.  It was a Creole-English-German picture dictionary of sewing terms, I don't think I've put that on the blog yet though.  So yes, language is incredibly important, and it's really fun to play with, I really enjoy playing with these articles, and sometimes they're kind of screwed up and I'm not such a good editor for myself, I need to get some help with that…

?: I think that's one thing, writing in language is something we can all work of for life, it's one of those things that nobody's perfect in.  I mean I think, I just posted a little quote from the blog that posted, the Tough Job in Haiti, and I think it's amazing how it reads very authentically but at the same time you can definitely get a sense of the humor and the underlying critique of the language that is being used.

Carole: Right, right and I think humor is so important, especially with dealing with this stuff because I think when I was in my early 20s I was like this bitter punk rock kid, and it was great and everything living in New York and really poor and angry, but I don't want to be that way anymore.  I think that people tend to repel from that, and so the humor allows access that maybe I wouldn't otherwise have.  It is sneaky in a way too because it gets people in and then they realize overtime "Oh right, this is some serious stuff, I need to think about".

?: I think even, just when earlier this evening you were talking about the workers getting--if they're going to bump them up on the $5 a day figure, I mean something like that is just, it's really unfathomable, and I think to some extent the language being playful at least gets you into that discussion and from there can feed you things subtly or not so subtly, and I think that's a really great strategy, a really great tactic.

Carole: Yeah, thank you.  Well it's amazing to just think about $5 a day when I was in Haiti this last trip and decided to do this t-shirt stenciling project, I chose to work with three gentlemen, and there's all sorts of issue about gender in Haiti too that I'm trying to negotiate; primarily the artists that work from this neighborhood are all male, there's one or two young girls, but most the women in Haiti are very busy doing child-rearing, although the men participate also, I don't want it so seem that… they definitely are active as a community rearing, but their time is spend doing that kind of stuff.  That was one of the questions I had about artists when I was there was like "where are all the women?" but anyway, I ended up working with these three guys and I paid them each $5, it was all I had left in my budget, but then they'll get paid form the t-shirt itself -- I'll send them Western Union their additional funds, and this one guy Claudel, Claudel was doing this amazing [new-inspired 0:27:25.5] images in black and white, he  was really obsessed with black and white and the unification of black and white, and all this kind of stuff, and so I paid each of them, and I've never seen anybody get so excited about $5 in my life, and he was just like "Today is a good day, today is a great day" for $5 and Haiti's expensive, people think it's low-wages so it must be cheap to live there, but it's not because everything is imported, so the cost of living is really high, and $5 will get you a meal and a couple of beer and that's about it.

?: Yeah, I mean that really points to, and I'm sure Steven could speak much more eloquently than I can on the subject matter, but it really calls to mind this idea of the alienation of the worker.  Be it from the assembly of a product, or the fact that the wage in which they're earning producing a product wouldn't even allow them to purchase the product they're making.  And that's incredibly alienating from just a very humanistic stand point; the relationship you have with your craft, and knowing that what you're producing is unattainable and yet you are producing it.  I think that's something we don't often think about unless we're reading [Marx? 0:28:58.4] or getting hit over the head with something like that.

Carole: Right, and I think that was something like what I started the Made in Haiti project, I really wanted the products to sell to the wealthy, and there is an elite in Port-au-Prince they live in Pétionville and they live behind these giant walls and they have palatial estates on the hills.  When you go behind those walls it's like walking in to me Newport Beach California, it's shocking.  I had a couple of people that saw the product, they thought it was really wonderful, but they were like, and they own boutiques and they were like "my clients would never buys this" because those people want to buy Chanel, Louis Voitton or the latest French, British, New York based designers, they're not interested in shopping conscientiously let's say.   That was really disappointing to me because for the sale that we did at the Ghetto Biennale I tried to keep the prices as low as possible but still kind of cover the expense that I paid just to pay Jonas to make sure that was covered.  While the people in the neighborhood loved the garments and maybe it's inspired them, I know it has inspired them to repurpose their own garments, even at $5 it was too much, and so that idea of not being able to afford what it is that you make is very much alive and well, even with Jonas the tailor, I'm paying him $50 a day, he still couldn't afford the things that he's making.

?: Right, after basic costs of living, food and everything else.

Carole: Yep, well and like this last trip, all the money that he earned, which was $500, his mother passed away while he was there and so it paid for her funeral, so it's like you think you might get ahead, and then shabam, your mother gets hit by a car, and the next thing you know all the money you were earning, that you were maybe hoping to get a passports so you could possibly to the States and maybe do some work here whereas that's lost in the blink of an eye, it's really kind of a bummer.

?: I was thinking about, and I want to just say this over the audio as well is please anyone who has a question feel free to chime in via audio or we can start a running list of questions and comments in the text as well so please obviously as they come to you go ahead and jot those down or chime in.  That said I'll just post a quick questions which was when you were talking about how the clients really wanted  Louis Vuitton or Chanel, or something like that, have you ever appropriated the logos or create work that's appropriating that market?  In an effort to make that comment about what's desirable or how it's made, It's authenticity, I mean we talk about authenticity in terms of painting, but also in terms of a brand or a logo, and I find that to be completely bizarre and hard to fathom, but we know it's in existence obviously because there are knock-offs of originals, but brand names.

Carole: Well and I think that idea of knock-off and branding is embedded in the work through, like the vocabulary of [inaudible 0:32:43.4] enterprises which is knock-off enterprises so it's playing with the idea of what is a knock-off ad why are things knock-offs, although the Frau was knocking things that are made offshore primarily so she's kind of knock-off the cheapest of the cheap and actually it becomes in a way more expensive because it's made with domestic labor, it's made by this artistic labor, the fabrics are purchased in the States and are more expensive.  So it's like this up-grade knock-off I guess, and then, also within the projects there are logos that are created and brand identities that I'm always playing with, like the Sewing Rebellion has this Sewing Rebellion patch which I've actually had produced as patches and there's a whole series of purchase of [inaudible 0:33:33.8] patches that you can earn, so it also mimics notions of girl scouting and achieving things, pretty much project that I do I do develop some kind of brand identity or look to the paperwork, it gets done on letterhead, oftentimes there's business cards, particular blogs, but I haven't really gone into knocking-off  high fashion stuff in that way, there's two projects that I can think of; one was [Hacking good tour 0:34:10.9] that started in New York, I don't know if they're still making stuff, but they started this project where they actually did more knock-off designer looks using old clothes and repurposing the clothes to make them have this designer feel, and then the other project is [name 0:34:29.0] Micro Waltz where she developed a knitting program so that her idea was that people would knit logo like the Nike swoosh and create their own branded hand-knotted leg warmers and things like that.  Maybe I feel like with those two projects they're kind of covering that and I also feel that when you repurpose a logo like that, it's almost like you're drawing attention to that company, and for me, maybe I don't necessarily want to draw attention to a specific company, but to the broader concept of apparel production and how our clothes are made and that there are a set of hands that go behind that work even though they have special machineries that makes it much easier to sew a seam together, it's must faster, but you still need those operator's hands.It is a skilled labor, it's not unskilled, so…

?: I think that in a way through the chat we're also addressing issues simply based on labor, I mean obviously you are going to Haiti paying people, of course it's a better way than maybe they would get otherwise, but are you ever conflicted with the process in which you go in, you establish a relationship and of course you said, in case you're sending royalties back to the workers which I think is incredible; but what level are you self-critical of the process if at all?

Carole: I think I'm constantly self-critical of the process, I mean going to Haiti was actually one of the hardest projects I ever did and I almost backed out right before; I was like "What am I doing?  What am I thinking?  I can't go to Haiti and make art about labor, this is ridiculous this is totally insane" and I muscled through and the first three days I was there, I was like "I don't know if I can do this project, it's so problematic, oh my gosh, what am I doing?  Is this right?" and then I realized that the thing that I could do that would benefit the most would be to provide jobs and how important and how desperate everybody is just to work, and they'll work even if they're not going to get paid, they still will help you set up the site.  The site where we did the Made in Haiti project, the dirt got swept and repaired, and I was not allowed to do that, and there were certain things that… I was looked at as the boss and I really had a hard time with that because I was so used in my practice being the one that was doing the labor, and all of a sudden, I became management.  I was really struggling with the whole notion that Jonas wanted me to tell him what to do, and I kept saying "But I want to work with you" he was like "No, you need to tell me what to do".

?: Do you ever just impromptu get behind a sewing machine and work with them?

Carole: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah; but I had to earn that, I had to hang around and watch Jonas work and then finally he would let me sew, this last trip I was allowed to cut and prep stuff, but he's actually much better at the machine than I am too, he's better at operating it than I am, it's really important to him though that he does the labor, that is super super important, and part of it is my whiteness, you don't let some white woman come in and do the work for you- that's terrible!  That's just not what you do.

So there's a lot of things that I think I face every trip I go down there, but then also what's happening between Jonas and I is we're realizing how much we have in common, and how much the skills that we both have; Jonas knows how to crotchet, I know how to crotchet, when I was working in the [inaudible 0:39:09.2] this last time like there's a lot of time I spent waiting, I started cutting up T-shirts and making beer Koozies for everybody and Jonas just thought that was the best thing ever.  We're starting to share out skill-sets a little bit more, and I think in a few more trips we probably truly will become collaborators, and it will be where I wanted it last December, but it's taken some time.

?: Well again like anything when we were talking about language, it's a form of communication in terms of those shared skill-sets and being able to communicate it through a process or craft…

Carole: Definitely because we definitely, the sewing words in French are very similar and used as sewing words in English, so there's things that is like that language we can both speak and can understand pretty clearly, and then through doing drawings and things like that you can totally figure out how to accomplish things.

?: Steven has posed a question a little while ago and I don't want to let it get buried so maybe I'll just read that to you so it gets out there.  He wants to know "I'd like to hear about how Frau Fiber engages with the art world, in other words the dominant art world, I really appreciates how she injects art into the garment making economy, but what about when those commodities and their production realities are re-territorialized, not just in the first-world economy but in the symbolic economy of art, maybe you can say something about the Ghetto Biennale to approach that issue.

Carole: [laughing]   

I know how to answer that really, let me think about it.

?: If you need to reference it, because there is a lot there, it's in the chat there, I can post it again in fact; take your time with that, there's a lot there, and I think really what Steven is asking is much of the plausible art world is trying to tease out which is, what is the relationship?  One foot in, one foot out?  Trying to stay out of it, is there a dialogue between the worlds in which you are engaged, and also THE art world?  Or are they completely separate entities?  I mean I don't know that they are ever separate identities completely but…   

Carole: No I don't think they're separate, and I think that the art world in many ways supports-- this is the way that I'm trying to make it work, is that I'm trying to get the art world to support the social practice world.  So for instance, I would have never gone to Haiti if it wasn't for the Ghetto Biennale and being invited by an academic to participate in that.

Also, I have this solo show in Appalachian State and I think I'm more involved with the academic; What is the art world I guess is a good question what I have.  I'm not involved in the commercial art world  let's say, although sometimes I think that it would be good to have that other audience that then supports the work that happens in the field, but I view them as different audiences.  So I approach each one very differently primarily the performances happen out in the world, let's say, like in Haiti or in Los Angeles you know, it's out in the street, it's happening live, and one of the things that I'm starting to do is really question how that material--because there is material culture that comes out of these performances, how that gets reinterpreted for the white box, or the white pew, and how that gets reinterpreted for an art audience.  One of the things that happens, I gave this presentation of the Symposium at Northwestern last Fall and it was about a work I had done in New Orleans, there I created this pedal-powered sewing machine and the idea was that I was going to help people rebuild their domestic space by making table cloths, linens and things like that, and I had done a site visit the January before and went down at May to do this piece, which was part of an exhibition called Pathogeographies that was at gallery 400 at Chicago; and they funded $500 of the project so when I went down in May then to do the work, it had gotten hotter in New Orleans, duh, and people had started retreating into the insides of their homes and not coming out.  So for two weeks, I basically set up these little shops all over this neighborhood and it took two weeks to get one customer.  I really felt like for me, in a lot of ways that project had failed because I wasn't able to serve the community the way that I wanted to, but when I showed the documentation and then gave this talk at the Symposium, everyone was like "But the documentation is wonderful, the images are wonderful" so as an art piece, it was successful, but as an act of generosity on my part, I felt like it was a failure.  I think that was one of the things that's made me realize that the art world and then the world where I engage in this work are two very different things and I approach them very differently.  I'm starting to think about, I don't like doing performances in galleries, I did one in March at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, and I just was really uncomfortable with it, it seemed very staged, and it lacked spontaneity and I just don't like it, so I'm not going to do that anymore.  I shouldn't say I'm not going to do it anymore because I don't know what's going to happen, you should never say never but it's not going to be my first choice, and you have to negotiate these things within institutions because they find  out about you because of this informative work that you do, and so they want you to do it in their institution and you're like "Well that's not what I do for institutions" for me, I'm really comfortable with displaying the objects in an institution, and having people have an experience through objects.  I'm even starting to pull away from photography and I actually do not like video at all; so everyone's always saying to me "You should do some video".

?: I'm curious, just as a follow-up  to that -- not specifically for you to tell us why you don't like video-- but  it might be telling in a sense, things that we've discussed over the course of the plausible art world's discussions are both the power and the problematic of the archive, how is something documented and to what end?  Does this become a precious object that exists under a vitrine of some sort or is this photos that document the trip? and so and to what end? Is there something that you keep for yourself to sort of document the work so you can revisit and see what was successful and what wasn't, or like you said, is it something that lives as something potentially exhibit-able in an institution and I think oftentimes I'm really weary of the archive, it scares me, but at the same time, I think it's got great potential, but much like propaganda, it's got potential for a particular use, for a particular audience.

Carole: This is true, this is true, I like the idea about it being propaganda in a way.  I guess for me the archive, or the material cultures that is created aesthetically it's something that I love, I love scissors, I love sewing machines, I love a collection of pins on a table, I love stacks of cut cloths that are ready to be put into production; it's an aesthetic of garment production that I really truly and enamored with; I love a stack of cloth

?: I can imaging smell too, I mean I don't often sew, but I'm sure that there's a certain smell to fabric, or fabric stores that is very present.

Carole: Yeah, I never thought about smell before, I'll have to think about that, I guess sometimes if you don't oil your machine it starts to smell a little bit like burning metal or something; and sounds are also I think are really important, but I still haven't figured out how I want to incorporate that and not have it seem too staged.  I mean, I really see the art world and then my career as an academic is what fuels this and allows me to make the work, I couldn't make this work if I didn't have a full-time teaching job and if I wasn't getting invited by various institutions to come and do pieces that pay me an [inaudible 0:49:08.5] then allow me to do that piece and then maybe do another piece.  So I guess I view the art world as a funding mechanism.  Which is weird because there isn't really all that much money, but for now that's how it's working

?: and it's not quite at the level of bloody money or anything

Carole: No, God no!  I think one of the things that happened too which might be in Haiti was that you met these artists and they make work because they want to sell it, and so most of the international artists that came to work in this neighborhood were doing social practice types kinds, and they all make really ephemeral work and none of us were represented by commercial galleries or anything, I think there was one.  Actually the artists of the [inaudible 0:50:07.4] probably made more money off their work than I have; like someone purchasing an object, that kind of exchange.  I was talking to one of the older gentlemen, I like was "You've probably made more money than I have" and he's like "Well why do you do it if you don't make money out of it?" and it just really makes you consider why you do it, and then I explained to him I have this teaching job, and it supports the work, so I don't have to be involved with the commercial gallery scene and it allows me more freedom to do the work I want to do without having to depend on it selling and making something that people are going to desire as an object to have in their home or have in their collection.  so we had many interesting conversations about those systems, and then it also made me realize the luxury that I have to be an artist that makes work that doesn't need to sell in a gallery setting; that is not my primary income, and of course I basically work like two jobs or three -- I work all the time, as many of us do to do these project that we're interested in, but it's also because we're in this place that we have the ability to do that.

?: Do you have, and this is completely self-serving, and again please, anyone with questions- I feel like I'm directing this discussion and I don't mean to be at all.  Do you feel like your role within your teaching life and your creative professional life as an artist or as Frau, is there an overlap there, and because again I'm trying to tease out this relationship between your creative practice and the art world--or in this case, the academic  world--and again, you've talked a little bit about that, but for instance are there aspects to your teaching that I imagine you're not simply teaching someone how to crotchet, but rather to infuse that process with the potential for activism, or social…

Carole: Absolutely, absolutely, I teach at [inaudible 0:52:32.4] East Los Angeles, it's a commuter college of about 15000 students, and I'm in the art department, but I was hired to teach in the fashion option, which I struggle with everyday that I'm teaching fashion.  I'm teaching students who want to go and get jobs in the [inaudible 0:52:50.2] industry in Los Angeles primarily, and the demographic of the community is about 95% first generation Hispanic Americans, and their parents work in sweatshops, and I have them reading texts about labor politics and gender and I teach them basically, like when I was teaching this introduction to sewing class, it was the Sewing Rebellion, teaching them how to repurpose clothes and redesign clothes.  I try really hard to bring these discussions to the surface and to allow the students to be aware of the politics of the industry that they want to work in.  I think for the most part, that's not what's talked about in the fashion industry or in institutions that are teaching fashion, it's all about decoration and beauty, bottom-line marketing and making sales  and so I think that my students are getting something a little different from the average fashion program, and so far I've been able to get away with it -- no one's really complained to the dean or anything, so it seems to be ok.

?: I imagine you run into the occasional student, just by sheer numbers and statistics, but that is really not interested in that, they want to know how to do a seam properly so that they can get a job, so that they can, in their eyes, better their life or assist their parents and get them out sweatshops, or whatever that might be.  How do you address that?  How do you wrestle with that and say "Yes, that's super important and you can totally use these skills to do that, but it's also important; like we were talking about, understanding language or whatever, to be able to communicate those ideas or be aware of how they're being subtly used against you , if you will.

Carole: Well, one of the things I tell them is that in Los Angeles there's a number of 2-year programs or trade schools where they can go and learn the technical skills of apparel production, and there and a bachelors of art program, so I'm always telling them "You in a bachelors art program, it's not like it's not a trade school so you're here to learn the technical stuff as well as the intellectual stuff and the critical stuff that goes along with it."  So while they're learning how to sew a seam, they're also doing a reading, or they're also considering--like there's a second-level sewing class where I have them break into teams and each team becomes a little piece-work production factory, so they have to choose a garment, they have to reproduce it, they have to cut it in piece-work style so they understand they system under which garments are made and hopefully they get some empathy into the expectation, and I time them and give them time-limits and they have to get so much work done in this amount of time so they also feel the pressure of what it's like to be a garment worker; and so I hope when they're in situation when they're maybe applying that pressure, maybe they might reconsider it a little bit.

?: Are you having them read Adam Smith and Division of Labor,

Carole: No, but I should

?:  It just came to mind; do you really want to be that pin making? you know?

Carole: I have them read; there's a book called… oh my gosh it's completely just left my brain.

?: Well we have a question to fill that; Michael at Base Kamp is asking he says "I'm interested in outsourcing as a form of activism, any thoughts on that and/or more examples?

Carole: What do you mean outsourcing as a form of activism, do you mean like outsourcing or activism?

?: You guys want to chime in a Base Kamp?  Please do.

Carole: Ohh, outsourcing labor as a form of activism…

?: Michael, I don't know if you're available to hop on…

Carole: So give me an example, I guess I do not really understand.  I guess I am trying to relate it back to my own work, so then is Jonas as a form of outsourcing activism?

Michael: Hi, sorry the question is a little vague, but I heard about a book, which I have not read, it's called the Two-hour work-week [inaudible 0:58:20.8]

I guess I'm interested in outsourcing as a form of activism because a lot of people associate it as a sort of potentially negative thing, you know, you get the cheapest labor that you possibly can, in order to get a product of itself, I'm interested [inaudible 0:58:44.6] where you're outsourcing labor on some level maybe, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but it's a form of activism, if that makes sense?

Carole: Well I mean, I think what makes it a form of activism in the case of Jonas is that I'm paying him $50 a day which is almost ten or fifteen times what the minimum wage is, but also I've had conversations with people that are also starting economic developments in Haiti, this is where we perhaps differ; they want to pay people the minimum wage or piece-work rates that are incredibly low and so that's probably where the activism lies is that I'm negotiating with the labor force and trying to realize what they feel they're worth, also saying, this is what you're worth.  And I think Jonas is worth much more than that, but the product that we are developing just doesn't have that kind of dollar return yet.  But one of the things that popped inside my head is like Jeff Koons because he has so much work outsourced and there's something about that that I'm curious about in the sense of like what is he paying these people that are making his paintings, and then do they get a cut when it sells?  Are they getting a bonus when it sells?  Or is it just this one-time deal; they make the work, it's finished and they got paid whatever little teeny tiny bit of money and he turns around and sells it for millions of dollars.  So I guess I'm always questioning that and how labor is used.  I think there is tones of exploitation of labor in the art world, and in the fashion world, just the use of interns that we've all participated in, and I'm sure encouraged, just like this free labor.  I was in residence of this space called Elsewhere in Greensboro North Carolina, and Elsewhere is this really interesting space, but they have--and I told them this in my exit interview-- a major exploitation of labor that is horrific, and it's really upsetting to see that happen in a place where we're supposed to be enlightened or something, right?  Because we're critiquing and we've read this stuff, but yet we still are willing to exploit these interns and those students to achieve our goals.  I mean, I have just as much problem with that as with garment workers not getting paid.

?: Thanks Michael,  I think it was very helpful to hear your thoughts.  any other questions or thoughts out there, I'm really curious to sort of open this up into maybe more of a discussion if that happens organically.

Female: Yeah, I was thinking about when I was in the 80s and I was involved with [inaudible 1:02:12.3] workshop and the problem is that a lot of people think "oh wow, we're hiring the handicapped and isn't that wonderful" and everything like that but the problem was people [inaudible 1:02:25.7]I was involved with that and there were times when I wasn't getting any money at all [inaudible 1:02:34.3] and then if you're on social security [inaudible 1:02:39.4] or anything like that and really it got I felt, a lot of people were really unhappy but not only that but it was work for really people with no brains.

Carole: Right, I mean I guess there's something on the blog here that talks about playing with NGOs and working in Haiti and, I mean I think people have really good intentions,; like I'm trying to have good intentions with the work that I make, but sometimes those good intentions end up being on the disastrous side when for whatever reason you're just not able to pay people a fair living wage, and so that you don't end up being like stuck.  I think that everybody things "Ohh these garment jobs" which tend to be like some of the first jobs that go into developing countries, "It's good for them, it helps" and well yeah, it's better than nothing when you're desperate, anything will help, but is it really good?  Are there other things that can happen? I want us to question it, I do not know what the answer is, I don't have an answer.  But, I think that as a people that have all this intelligence to go into other countries to do work, we need to question our intentions all the time, I think that's really important too as artists making work in the social realm that we ask ourselves all the time "Is this really right?  Is this going to be good for the community? Is the community's voice going to be heard? Am I doing this for my own benefit; why am I doing this?" I think that those are important questions to ask.  

?: Yeah, absolutely, I mean I think in a way we all do that, even just in our lives, but maybe not to the extent that we're really engaged in the critical process to the extent of which, as you were saying earlier at times, almost withdrawing from projects based on those concerns.  I think certainly on some level, we can't necessarily withdraw from all the aspects of life that we don't agree with, there are so many things that I'm a walking-talking hypocrite, and maybe that's a curious question that I have for you.  Obviously being so aware of how garments are produced and where they're produced; do you buy new clothes?

Carole: No, I make all my own clothes, and I've even started making my own underwear because I think underwear for women is really unhealthy, I think that we should go back to things from the 20s the [inaudible 1:05:52.8] that are like silk and loose cottons.

?: [inaudible 1:05:56.7] the quality of the fabric being bleached or whatever

Carole: It just doesn't like breathe, especially like I'm a full-figured woman and then so you get a little sweaty here and there and your body needs to breathe.  I think that like micro-fibers and spandex is the worst thing you can put on your body because it just doesn't let you breathe, and everybody's wearing it.  There are some interesting conversations because there is a point where, like one of the things that's happening is when I first discovered Frau Fiber and first started performing, I really became her like completely in a way.  One of the things that's been happening over the last couple of years is that I'm trying to separated, like we're Siamese twins, and I'm trying to form the Frausen Identity and my own like Carole Francis Long as biographer, as artist that's also interested in some other projects and then, so how those play out.  And then also like Carole Francis Long professor.  So I have like this uniform I wear when I teach in my lecture, and it's kind of like a jumper that has the top of overalls so it has a skirt on it and these pockets, and whenever Frau's present, she always is in some very stern, unattractive uniform that's either like a dark green or dark blue, it's very drab, and then this other part of me is starting to come out, which is much more feminine and playful and like when I went to Haiti this last trip I made myself a couple of nice cotton dresses because it was so hot.  I had a bunch of discussions with the artists in the [place name? 1:07:50.8] they were like "this is not your artistic political dress, why are you wearing this?"  And they were really perplexed because during the day they would see me in these uniforms, but then at night I was wearing these really feminine full-skirted kind of fitted cotton dresses that looked almost like the 1950s, but they also look a lot like Haitian peasant dresses.  I was trying to explain to them that  while I have this artistic dress that I wear when I'm Frau Fiber, I also am Carole Francis, and there's times when I just want to be a little softer, or a little lighter, and more playful, and wear bright colors and that's another part of my personality that was kind of dormant for a long time while I was developing Frau and her identity.  So that's been really interesting to see that evolve too but yeah I don't buy [inaudible 1:08:50.0].

?: Sorry we're just adding Steven back, there was a little…

Carole: You don't have a question about the Stop Shopping?

?: Do you see it?  Oh, yeah right there, sure

Carole: Yeah, if everybody followed my example there would be an extinction of outsourcing, but I think there's part my project that's totally futile.  Sometimes I like to think about that it would be so great if this actually worked, but then I also realize that it would put a lot of people out of work and so I'm a little conflicted about that.  I also think that there's also this connection to, if it was sewn in a way that was not gender-specific, like it didn't put women back in the home sewing, that's something that I'm really concerned with sometimes, and it depends on the community that I'm working in.  Like when I was in Greensboro I thought these skills that I'm preaching have a relationship to the extreme right, conservative religious like Christian-extreme right, and it made me a little nervous, and at the same time it is a politic of the left as well, but it's like a younger, hipper kind of person who's probably an artist or something and they're choosing to live this way, and [repatch? 1:10:38.3] their clothes and there's a politic to it.  There's a part of me that would really love Sewing Rebellion to be a part of elementary education so that everybody knows how to put a button on their clothes if they want to.  So they have the choice, but they have the skill, because it's so much about having choice, and if you want to choose to use your tailor, your dry-cleaner, you can do that, or you can do it yourself.  But so I feel that my work is incredibly futile, it's wonderful to romanticize and to be utopic about, but every utopia pretty much fails.

?: Yeah, actually Cassie earlier sort of commenting on sort of pros and cons about items or garments that are made in the USA which is outsourcing, she said because at this point it's become almost impossible to make money and still pay workers what they're worth

Carole: Right, right, and there is some stuff but it's really expensive

?: Right

Carole:  It's incredibly expensive.  And so it does make it for a certain class of people who are going to buy stuff that's made in the United States.  Forbes magazine, my dad was always trying to make me read Forbes magazines and sometimes it's good to know who the double is; anyway, he had given me this thing out of Forbes that was all this Made in the USA men's wear stuff, and the things were gorgeous, these brilliantly crafted leather shoes and these suits that are just gorgeous, but it's like, they were so far removed from the everyday person; the everyday person can't afford that stuff, it's kind of like the Hart Schaffner Marx suits, which are the suits that Obama wears; they're very expensive, but some part of the suit is still made in Chicago, so people like the president can wear it, the rest of the country is going to go to wherever they go and buy something that's cheap.

?: Sorry again, we're just adding Steven.. this has been incredibly illuminating on a variety of different levels, especially just in terms of talking about your art practice and the personas that you take on; and it seems like those personas are not just about creating art work but for as Salem is pointing out, the amazing quality of having different uniforms that represent… and I think oftentimes only identify that with like our mechanic jumpsuit, in a way, and this is pointing out the obvious at this point, like your clothing in essence represents your job; not explicitly all the time, but it's like--what's that old saying, something about you can tell a lot by a person's shoes…

I think that the work seems to me at this point to operate on so many different levels that I can see how you being self-critical could in essence be paralyzing, in other words the work wouldn't happen at all.  So I'm wondering what gets you over that, I mean you talking about being self-critical and sort of backing-up, but what--and I'm not asking for like tell us your end goal, you want to change the world?  But like

Carole: Of course!

?: But maybe that is it! Is that it? I mean you say that the work is futile but there's got to be something for you like this glimmer of hope like when you were in Haiti; what was it that made the work, you want to do it again and again and again?

Carole: I think that the thing that makes me want to do my work again and again and again is --and you're not going to believe this-- but in a lot of ways I'm an incredibly introverted person, I don't like going out and meeting people, but if I have this action; this kind of thing I can do that helps me meet people it's the meeting of the people and the intimate conversations that are hard -- whether it's sitting in the Grand Rue all day, or someone coming in and talking about their mother trying to teach them how to sew and what a failure it was, or interviewing-- like when I was in North Carolina working, meeting these people who had grown up in mill villages in North Carolina, and under this social system in the United States of the company town, and then meeting people that work in the [inaudible 1:15:52.7] there was this one weaver named Millie, and she's been weaving for 55 years, this high-end Levi Strauss salvaged denim, so it's the contact that I get with the public that feeds the work, and keeps inspiring me over and over again.  

?:  I don't mean to come back to it, but I'm really curious now, it seems to me also that part of meeting these people is finding out more of their story.

Carole: Absolutely, and the research, like I love the research that I do, like before I did the project in North Carolina, I think I read like six different books about the mill villages and the mill towns in the south, and then to read these texts as a starting point, so that you have something to bring to the conversation too hopefully, but then it comes alive through the people I meet.  So it's the same way with like reading articles about the garment workers in Haiti, and then having that opportunity to work with Jonas and sit with him, and get to be friends and colleagues through this action of sewing is a thing that's so fulfilling to me, and I think it's the thing that keeps me motivated and to keep making work, because there's so much to learn, there's just like so much history related to the garment and textile production and it's been the backbone of the global economy for centuries for thousands of years, like cloth is this universal thing that everybody has some kind of story or connection to, and people have seen it made in their homes, in their grandparent's homes, or they worked in the industry, I mean the garment industry in the United States was one of the hugest industrialized in the country and provided our initial wealth, but people don't want to know about that, and they just view it as blue collar workers and everybody wants to escape from being blue collars or some reason, I don't understand it but…

?:  Have you ever been [subused? 1:18:22.6] by those experiences by those knew relationships to the extent that that's where you wanted your work to be?  In other words, to turn--not to necessarily turn it into a Ken Burns documentary about sewing--but I mean have you ever thought about your work being more didactic in that way?

Carole: No [laughs], no really, I mean, I think that there's other people that can do that.  I think that my.. I guess in a lot of ways I don't want this conversation [inaudible 1:19:03.0].

?: Right.

Carole: Conversations between me and the people I'm talking to, and then it's kind of like my job as artist--or this is what I view my job as-- is to process those conversations and put them into this performance or this object, so like one example of that would be the work I did at [inaudible 1:19:22.2] at the North Carolina project which was, it was called Revolution Textiles with the People, and it was part instillation into Elsewhere space, it's a selling a room/archive of their textile collection, and then sewing with the people part was meeting with these former mill families and talking about their history which they feel has been lost, their like in their 70s, and they want some form of commemoration before they die basically.  They've been advocating with the city and nothing really much has been happening with that, and so I meet these people, and it's another one of those moments where I realize they're incredibly conservative, their politics are the exact opposite of what my politics are, but at the same time, I felt it was really important to have their voices heard, and to have this lifestyle acknowledged, and what I ended up making was this quilt--it was a four by eight foot quilt that on the front side was like a landscape of the White Oak Mill and the mill village, and it looked very country-craft let's say, just a terrible word to describe, it definitely was reflective of the community.  On the back side though it was all denim, and I'd found this text from 1907 from Hog River that talked about the shift in the workers' work week from 66 hours to 60 hours a week, and what they had to agree to in order to get that shift.  So we quilted the whole thing together with this text, and there were places where the text wasn't legible, and that was what I'd call a happy accident where the [chalk lines? 1:21:26.4] got erased and I was like "You know what, we're just going to go with it" so the text was very fragmented, and then because I had invited the community to quilt with me, there was all different levels of skill involved, and so one of the things that kept happening is people's threads would get really knotted on what would be the front side, and so it really became this metaphor for  kind of like the disappearing history, but also like a messy history, so the front of the quilt was very beautiful and really nostalgic, but then there were all these knots and these tangles and these intentional flaws so I said to people just leave it, and that was really hard for folks as well just to create this mess.  At first glance, this history seems so picture-perfect and very romanticized, but when you dig a little bit deeper you find out it's pretty contested and quite controversial, you know there was a lot of issues of racism, there was a lot of violence associated with the textile mill towns and their lack of letting people unionize and all sorts of interesting things that I hope are able to come through in that object.

?: Awesome

Carole: Ohh, you found that Elsewhere press release

?: Yeah, I kind of just typed up the words and it popped up.

Are there thoughts or comments or questions out there as we sort of, not that we're nearing the end, but we've got about 20 minutes left, and we're trying to keep it to 8o'clock exactly, again I feel like I've been dominating the questions, but it's been really engaging; I really wanted to thank you up front for filling in really last notice -- not filling in, but joining us.

Carole: Oh you're welcome, I was glad I had the opportunity to.

?: This is sort of the question you keep in your back pocket for when there's a lull; what's next?  What's in the horizon for Frau Fiber and for Sewing Rebellion and all the different projects that you have?

Carole: The Sewing Rebellion, I think I want to, well actually I'm going back to North Caroline to install this show, the Labor Trade Show at  Appalachian State and we're going to do an instructional video, so that's something that's been in my thought for a really long time in terms of one way that I would consider using video, so we're going to do an instructional video of a technique that Jonas taught me in Haiti, a way of binding a neckline or an armhole on a garment, like finishing it, and in terms of the Made in Haiti project, the next step in that is to, I think become a non-profit and start finding some stores that will carry the product and work on a little bit better a statement for the project that helps with getting people to purchase the product, and I think one of the things that I've been struggling with because I've been a little bit busy the last few years is that I want some reflexive time to look at the work and think about the work and what's next.  I live in Long Beach California right now and I'm fascinating by the port of Long Beach, and every garment that's produced outside the United States pretty much comes through the port of Long Beach, so we'll see what happens.

?: Specifically like something that you might want to address is the shipping process…

Carole: The shipping process, the shipping routes and yeah,  something that I'm also continuing to research in North Carolina, I'm really interested in the structure of the mill villages; one of the people I interviewed in North Carolina said that the mill [inaudible 1:26:19.5] was more socialism in the United States, and that statement has kind of grabbed me, and so I hope to do some more research there, and try and look at really what that system was and there's some beautiful architecture related to the mill villages and early textile production in the south after the civil war.  I think I'm looking more domestically now, for a while I was doing a lot of work in Europe, and not that I'm still not interested in the landscape, but I just feel like there's a lot to do here, and trying to establish a headquarters and I think I'll be in southern California for a while.

?: The shipping process reminds me of the centre for urban pedagogy who did this map of train lines and truck routes and shipping lines, and I just posted the link in there, it just kind of popped into my head as you were describing it, but there's a certain interest in terms of the threads and lines of shipping and how that informs the production process as well.

Carole: Yeah, especially with Los Angeles, one of the things that has kept the Los Angeles garment industry alive is that it deals with juniors and the junior market turns over too fast, it turns over like every three months, and so having stuff outsourced to China just isn't economically viable, because you don't have the long turn-over rate, like instead of every 6 months, you've got to turn stuff over  every two to three months, so that's one of the things that's left a little remnant of a garment economy here in Los Angeles.

?: Salem sort of posed a question earlier saying; How can people support your work in Haiti?  and / or how can people start their own Sewing Rebellion group?  She says "Hello Philly".

Carole: Oh, those are good questions, if you want to start a Sewing Rebellion, you just have to send me an e-mail and let me know that you want to start one and that you find a spot, and then I send you all the instructions or send them as PDFs and you them printed out, and you just start meeting.  You just meet under banner of the Sewing Rebellion.  It's pretty simple!  

?: How can people support your work in Haiti?

Carole: The work in Haiti, I'm actually hopefully in the next couple of weeks going to get all the new garments uploaded, so they'll be on the blog, and you can buy them off the blog, or if you know of any stores, if you're a shopper and you go into some funky little international store that you think would be a good spot, or if you want to have--I'm just talking from the top of my head, if you want to have  a trunk show, I can send the pieces to you and you can have a little party with your friends and sell pieces.

?: Awesome

Carole: That would be great!

?: Salem says; Cool, thanks!

Carole: Great, thank you Salem

?: This is the time in the evening when the texts start to come to life, and those threads start to happen

Carole: This looks cool, the Art Flux University, oh I think I know that group actually, I'll have to have another look at it though, thank you for that.

?: Yeah, a group of critical companies, as Steven puts it

Carole: That looks cool, I'll have to check that out.

Yeah, you can contact me at fraufiber@gmail.com

and then the other links were already … what's another [cut? 1:30:57.2] development?

Thank you guys for these links.  It's amazing how much fascinating information there is out there.  So hard to keep up on all of it.

?: Well, you are it too, right? At least for tonight you are.

Carole: Yeah, for now I am

?: Twitter and Facebook are abuzz with Frau

Carole: oh really?  I'm on Twitter and I've never used it.  I only signed up so that I can get bleeps from the guy who own the [name of hotel 1:31:47.3] after the earthquake, he was like, my vein of news that was the news that I would listen to [inaudible 1:31:54.3] from Port au Prince, and he has something like 16000 followers now, crazy.

?: Has that ever sort of filtered in, I know it was part of the description that we have on our website, but how in the past few weeks we've been talking about digital technologies or forms of new media that are being folded into in our practice in some way, shape or form, not necessarily being it and only it, but I mean, have you ever thought about using digital technologies in some way, shape or form; or do you?  I mean you use the blog…

Carole: I use the blog, and I use the internet to e-mail and whatever, to send out information and Carole Francis Long is on Facebook and she announced Frau Fiber's activity when things are happening.  I've been encourage by people to use Twitter and things like that, but it just, I haven't gotten, I just don't have time.  It's just like one more thing, and I totally need to update my webpage as you can tell, it's been like two and a half years now or something, and it's one of those things that I don't have the finances at the moment to pay someone to do it, and I don't have the time to do it myself.  Or I should say I'm not making the time, I'd rather sit at my sewing machine and make new underwear than "tweet", or work on my webpage.

?: I'm not sure how but there's  connection there and I don't know what it is, but making underwear and tweeting sounds very related and I'm not exactly sure why.

[laughter]

Carole: It's like different modes of communicated I guess on some level

?: I don't know I just feel that there's got to be a connection

Carole: I think one of the things that I wish I had more skills about too is being able to-- I would like to do a book or some kind of a document for the [inaudible 1:34:23.3] that would be downloadable, so there's things like that where I really feel like the internet is this place for free information and a free distribution for information, but I don't realize, I don't use it as good as I could, and I'm aware of that,  so just as a way of getting information out there.  So we'll see what happens with the instructional video, If I like it, you might start seeing more Frau Fiber videos up in the world.

?: Awesome.  Steven has a quick comment/question Carole, when you talk about Long Beach port it came into my mind that there's been a lot of talk about real-time garment production on ships exploiting workers onboard huge ships always at sea hence avoiding what little labor law there is; having them produce garments between ports to be offload to tailor need

Carole: And then you can also say with some of the ships you can say it's made in the United States.

?: Nice, that's great

Carole: Yeah, like the US has production in Guam, but they can put "Made in the USA" on the labels

?: What about like Puerto Rico?

Carole: I think that Puerto Rico says Puerto Rico, but I'm not sure, I just know the one about Guam, so it's amazing how you can get around these laws if you can afford to have a ship and all that stuff, but even free-trade zones are crazy things, like it's such a crazy concept, we're just going to make this zone in this country an area of free-trade where we can pay all the laborers whatever we want to pay them and, that's it.

?It's not even necessarily that it's bad, just that that's the way  it's done is bad

Carole: Well, I don't mean to say whether it's good or bad, because on some level it's good, it is providing with people some amount of income, so it's just exploitative I think is the thing, that's kind of disheartening, and it's been that way since forever, the garment industry it's just bopped around the United States, and then it went to Mexico, and then it went to Asia, and then it keeps looking for new places to exploit labor, and right now the wages in China are going up, so yeah, probably things like the sea-faring garment companies or looking to Haiti and finding another desperate company that's willing to have its working taken advantage of under the guise of some kind of economic development.

?: It’s also just a bit dubious and misleading to be able to use say Guam to be able to say "Made in the USA" there's a certain cache to that, and in and of itself is misleading and dubious, not that it's not necessarily bad for the people of Guam per se, but there is something very suspect to me about that.

Carole: Well, in a lot of ways in the US we're a little bit better because at least we label our garments, when I was doing work in Europe and Ireland and Germany, they don't put any kind of labels on their garments at all, there's no labeling laws, to you don't have any idea where anything is coming from, you have no clue.

female: Do they [inaudible 1:37:55.5]

Carole: Yeah, I think they put those labels on but there's no like where things are made.

?:  Are there specific laws to the United States in terms of labeling?

Carole: I think there are but I can't rattle them off on the top of my head, but I know that they do have to put country of origin in them, they do have to put fabric  content, and care-- how the garment is supposed to be cared for.

?: We'll have to have you back in  a couple of weeks so we can put together a quiz of some sort

Carole: [laughing] No quizzes, I'll be back in school by then.  I should make that a quiz for my students, that would be better

?: I'm sure they'd love you for it.

Well Carole, this has been an incredible presentation and talk and I think all of us have been completely invested in all of the different aspects of your work, I don't know if there are any final questions but we've got about five minutes left before we wrap up, I think maybe Steven is writing something.

Totally, inspiring presentation, I agree completely.

If there are any things that we didn't talk about that you want to talk about but I think we feel like we covered most of the bases.

Carole: I thought I would give you guys a little bit of sound of my sewing machine because I'm trying to finish a uniform for this performance, so I sew on an old Singer, it's black, it's embellished with gold leaf, it is power operated, I have a treadle machine waiting for me in Colorado, but I haven't been able to get to it yet.

[Carole start sewing machine]

?: That thing sounds medieval, at least via Skype, it sounds like a torture device.

Carole: It is, it's like a [inaudible 1:40:18.9] it only does a straight stitch, I don't like fancy machines.

?: As Steven just wrote:  It sounds dangerous, [inaudible 1:40:29.8]

It has a bit of a guttural sound to it, it's exciting.

Well thank you so much, it's been really wonderful , and I think as Scott puts it at the end of each one, we'd love to follow up, stay in touch and continue this dialogue in some way, shape or form, and you'll probably be hearing from us again soon.

Carole: Sounds great, that'd be wonderful I'd love to come back, maybe one of these days I'll actually be in Philly or something.

?: Yes, totally, and of course you're always welcome to join us every Tuesday 6 to 8, and I guess that's it.

Carole: Great, thank you so much!

?: Thanks Carole so much!

Carole: Have a good night

?: Thanks everybody, good night.

Week 31: b.a.n.g. lab

 

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Ricardo Dominguez, “principle investigator” of The Electronic Disturbance Theater (EDT), and b.a.n.g lab, a small group of artists and activists, actively engaged in developing the theory and practice of Electronic Civil Disobedience (ECD). In the framework of their U.S./Mexico Border Disturbance Art Project, the group has recently devised what they call a “Transborder Immigrant Tool” (TBT), a code-switch device that repurposes inexpensive, discarded mobile phones that have GPSantennae to function in the hands of “the tired, the poor,” as personal safety navigation systems in the Mexican-U.S. borderlands.

http://bang.calit2.net/xborder

TBT thus seeks to have both genuine use value in a geopolitical context where thousands of lives have been needlessly lost, as well as conceptual and poetic value inasmuch as it performatively raises the question: “What constitutes sustenance?” Or suggests that “in the desert, we are all illegal aliens.” But above all, the device – like the disturbance-art project of which it is part and parcel – directly raises the question of the politics of art today. What exactly is to be gained by understanding such devices and such projects to be art and not the mere real thing? By disturbing the porous borders between artworlds and lifeworlds, considering civil disobedience decidedly within the purview of artistic practice, the group clearly wants to give art political teeth; but how does art in turn add its own specific value to the device’s usership? And what kind of artworld would make that possible?

Transcription

Week 31: b.a.n.g. lab

[0:03:19]

Male speaker: Hello? Uh-oh, getting there, our signal appears to be really good and I’m talking to myself and the other people in this room, hi guys? How are you?

Male speaker: Hello?

Male speaker: Oh Greg, hello there?

Greg: Hi Scott Rigby—and everybody else at Basekamp.

Male speaker: Hello, well hello Greg?

Male speaker: Oh sorry I’ll mute my mic.

Male speaker: Hello Theresa? And –oh no you can unmute it if you want feel free. We are just going to try adding the other people back because of the signal issue but the signal is supposed to be really good right now so we will see if it works. Give me just a sec but in the meantime I will pass here to see them.

Male speaker: Greg I think you are the only one hooked into this, no the Theresa also.

Greg: I’m honored, oh my daughter is saying hi.

Male speaker: Maybe it works better when I’m in Paris, that’s my narcissism. Oh now I’m hearing the sounds of Kung fu live that’s even better.

[0:05:11]

Male speaker: [0:05:17] [Inaudible] you know it’s like  karaoke when  you are with a group of friends we are sitting  in a small circle you know we could still pass the mic around and talk mainly to ourselves, oh yeah.

Male speaker: Is there anyone else actually? Who can hear us? Greg, Charisa, Jessica, Charlotte did we want to call him?

Female Speaker: There are clients and institutions world wide, Platinum Investments, a world of Investing. Produced in association with the University of—

Male speaker: Hello?

Male speaker: Greg hey good to hear from you men.

Greg: Hi and how are you, dido. I don’t know this sound like its not going to happen.

Male speaker: No, that can’t be.

Greg: Hello

Male speaker: Jesus. Jessica are you there?

Jessica: Yeah we are here.

Male speaker: Hi? Yes I think Scott’s right the FBI is fucking with Skype but they will give up in a minute.

Jessica: Okay, did you forget the key?

Female speaker: Is there a key?

Jessica: I’m going to put it on mute.

Male speaker: Okay so we will just do the Skype talk show host stick, keep an up beat tone as we patiently await connections. Hi Mathew?  We need to put Greg back on. Yes maybe Greg could you try to host because for some reason maybe that will trick the FBI

Male speaker: Yes that would be nice.

Female speaker: [0:10:54] [Inaudible] I mean I think it’s supposedly our connection is actually quite good.

Male speaker: How do you measure that?

[0:11:06.6 - 0:14:53.0] [Background voices]

Male speaker: Wow so it’s actually extremely unusual to not be able to connect on Skype at all, Skype waits that’s really weird. [0:15:05] [Inaudible] so that half the windows are up there. Yes so how is the going?

Male speaker: Good.

Male speaker: Awesome.

Male speaker:  Yes can’t complain, how are you doing?

Male speaker: Sweet not bad, do you live in Philly?

Male speaker: Yes sir.

Male speaker: Okay.

Male speaker: I live in [0:15:22] [Inaudible].

Male speaker: Yes rock on, super bowl have you been to…

Male speaker: Its exactly six minutes for me to get home to here.

Male speaker: On your bike?

Male speaker: Yes and I know that exactly because my girlfriend works for Billy Archer and Billy archer is what [0:15:40.4] [Inaudible].

Male speaker: Wow super cool.

Male speaker: Yes so it’s awesome.

Male speaker: Yes have you been to any of these events before?

Male speaker: No I scrape in once a few weeks ago, I was in Montreal but I came across you guys but I was interested in the meeting but I couldn’t make [0:16:01] [Inaudible].

Male speaker: Alright, but you live in Philly when you are around?

Male speaker: [0:16:05] [Inaudible] studying French actually.

Male speaker: Okay.

Male speaker: Yes I’m a grab student at [0:16:09] [Inaudible].

[0:16:12.2 - 0:19:23.2] [Background voices]

Male speaker: Hello Tom? Tom? Mr. Eslac. We are hanging up.

Male speaker: Maybe I will try—you went to Adam [0:19:50] [Inaudible].

Male speaker: He wants you to sign in a [0:19:50] [Inaudible].

[0:19:57.2 - 0:25:21.8] [Background voices]

Male speaker: So are people good?

Male speaker: Yes we are great here.

Male speaker: Adam can you hear well?

Male speaker: So the only thing that might be a little complicated I mean not be able to add people if we lose them right away, let me know and I will do my best to read people to the conversation.

Male speaker: Who is in the conversation right now?

Male speaker: basekamp, Jessica, Scott, Slat, Charisa and me. We missing anybody? I’ve basically just called everybody on the list.

Male speaker: Jessica is right though we did write the word project a little too often in that write up. I think we are going to have to…

Jessica: I didn’t even know how to sign up; it’s been pretty ubiquitous in everything I have been reading since the day I think. Yes I…

Male speaker: Our secret plan actually is to make words like user ship ubiquitous so that people think that it’s normal to talk that way and then it will be normal.

Jessica: can you guys hear the air conditioner that’s running right next to me?

Male speaker: It’s horrible, no it’s fine.

Jessica: No? Nothing? Okay.

Male speaker: No.

Male speaker: Can’t hear it.

Male speaker: Carissa yes it looks like you have muted your audio successfully although you should feel free to chime in at any point of course.

Steven: So listen, Steven here, I think we are going to have to not wait for Ricardo because he could be bat George Bush airport in Houston waiting for his connection or he could be on that connection somewhere between George Bush airport and whatever the airport is called in San Diego. Yes it’s no joke and unfortunately it’s actually called the George Bush airport and there is a very large and very naturalistic sculpture of the man whose name the airport bears. Yes grosses is definitely an understatement. But I think we should start without him and Scott momentarily disappeared here, I don’t know if it’s really—Adam do you want to give your spin on the work of the b.a.n.g Lab? Maybe you know actually what b.a.n.g actually abbreviates, maybe not.

Female speaker: Adam we will be back in a minute he took the dog to go pee.   

Male speaker: B.a.n.g is bits, atoms, neurons and genes, I don’t know specifically the origins of that but obviously his work with Critical Art Ensemble [phonetic] [0:29:12] and such probably you know comes out of the stuff they were doing with genetically modified food testing and bits, atoms, neurons I don’t know, but that’s what it stands for if that’s useful.

Steven: That’s useful, who knows when the disturbance project begun, not the—there I used the project word again, but not specifically the device but the US Mexico border disturbance art project of which the transporter immigrant tool is merely one of the manifestations.

Male speaker: My limited knowledge is ECD is been around for a while but I’m trying to do a little bit of quick research to help flush this out. I thought that they grew out of heat; it was sort of something that grew out of CAE Critical Art Ensemble.

[0:30:23]

Steven: No definitely that’s a fact but the interesting thing is that the Critical Art Ensemble explicitly has stepped away from the whole concept of electronic civil disobedience which they endorsed in their first project and in their first book.

Male speaker: Right.

Steven: But already I the second book they had said that it’s like by the time the next five minutes conference took place it was already history. And they made a very compelling argument for that; I mean I remember working on that a little bit. They said that, you know, by the time it had seized to be a grey zone but had actually become a black and white zone that was really the--. It’s just like protest had already moved off the streets into the electronic sphere and it was time to move elsewhere  so I suspect that it was at that time that Ricardo and others developed this, the boarder disturbance art project  but I was wondering if somebody knew the details on that one.

Male speaker: I have limited details at the tips of my synapses, anyone else want to chime in or even just help flush it out via researching online. I have to step away from my laptop so I will only have my phone with me but let me know if we lose anybody on the chat and I will run down here again.

Adam: I think—I just got back sorry this is Adam, I think that the big thing with Ricardo and with the b.a.n.g  lab and then there is another person whose name  I don’t have in front of me but its somebody who is at UC, maybe Santa Barbra I don’t remember. Is they used what they had  developed for the  disturbance theater which is a way for anybody to go to a site, one single site, click on it and it will send a hit to another website as a  way to disobey by just opening the page. Like a way to have you know a sit-in on a website and the reason that Ricardo has been on the news recently is because they turned that’s same technique against the University of California as part of the action or the insurrection if you will that was happening over the last two semesters, the fall and the spring semester. Is that who it is? Could be. I know he is not tenure track faculty or tenured faculty so I think he might even be at more risk than Ricardo is.

Male speaker: Yes he does like GPS like lands art, he directed like land stuff using GPS so I think he has been involved for obvious reasons in terms of the trans-immigrant or transporter immigrant too. He is, I’m just linking this up, and lecturer with security of employment is how he has listed himself at UC Santiago. So here I will send a link to the—let’s see, oh shoot no that’s not it. Yes here it is I will send this and then I am actually stepping away here.

Steven: Isn’t this a little unprecedented I mean what’s the point of actually having tenure if you can take it away from someone, I thought the whole point was that it allowed you to feel free from the threats of them, I don’t  know , of a repressive environment, even relatively  repressive.

Adam: Yes you are absolutely right its, well for just different reasons but I think tenure was for what my limited understanding of it is that it’s to protect professors research interest that for some reason your research interest are at odds with the institution they can’t can you for that but the argument with Ricardo is that he fundamentally and unequivocally broke the law. and therefore you know you can’t  fondle your students, you can’t be belligerently drunk and show up to class and fall  over and you can’t break the law of there is grounds for dismissal regardless of whether or not you have tenure. And so they are claiming that he has literally broken the law and therefore they have the right to excuse him and strip of tenure. Again I am talking about stuff that I think I know about but obviously it would be much nicer if he were here to discuss that.

[0:35:12]

Steven: Yes and I hope that he is going actually be able to join before the end of this but I’m just trying to flush it out a little bit, of course the reason there is tenure is because in every single case where the employer would like to terminate an objectionable faculty members research practice they could always say that it was, you know, at odds with the law. I mean maybe it’s—after all he didn’t exactly murder someone so if we are not talking about a criminal offence, are we?

Adam: Yes can you hear me?

Steven: Yes.

Adam: Yes I think it can be charged as criminal activity yes, what’s that?

Female speaker: That was my [0:36:05] [inaudible].

Steven: That’s the investigation Adam could you spell it out a little bit.

Adam: Oh I was going to go even further on that  point because I feel it’s important to point out that he was tenured based harshly on the research that he had done with electronic disturbance theater.

Male speaker: Exactly.

Adam: If what he did to the UC is illegal so was what he did before, so they tenured him on something that they are now going to pretend is illegal now that it’s been turned on now.

Male speaker: That’s right Adam I think that’s absolutely correct.

Steven: But civil disobedience is not a crime, it’s not legal of course but it’s not a crime. It’s not and under some circumstance I think at least it is a crime not to aid persons in danger and couldn’t you argue that a GPS device that allows them to find water in a desert situation even if they are attempting to enter across the border without a VISA, that in fact helping them not to die like hundreds of other people actually have would actually be in keeping with the law?

Adam: I don’t think that’s what’s under—that’s not what’s being used against them, sorry, it’s the sit –in, the virtual sit- in. the denial of service attacks that they ran giants UCSD website as well as I’m sure the paritymarcudoff.com website surely probably didn’t help his standing with the college or the university.

Steven: Greg I’m not the only person with a little bit of a bewildered look on my face, could you say a little bit more about what that was, what they are charging him with, what he actually did or is alleged to have done?

Male speaker: I will do my best I’m literally, you know this is way too much information but I am literally standing over a toilet with  poop in it from my daughter so I’m like doing lots of things right now. Uh oh, yes.

Adam: What he was charged with was what I was talking about a little bit ago, you go to a website, you click on a link. Anybody can do it they announced it to the entire web and you go and you click that link and that link is redirected to the website. So it’s basically as if everybody goes to a website at the same time and clicks a link, it’s also known as the denial of service attack when it’s used, when a whole bunch of remote servers are used by hackers or people who are pissed off at somebody. So basically what they are doing is crushing the UC foundation or I’m not exactly sure what part of UC but they were crushing the website using this technique, does that make sense?

Greg: Yes exactly and if you guys, I don’t know if you Google searched flood net? Flood net was one of the original, you know, denial of service sort of hacker attacks website, Flood net.

Female speaker: So that’s illegal then and that’s what he is being charged for?

Female speaker: Yes.

[0:39:57]

Steven: Nice, thank you, okay this kind of—I mean I really wanted to bring a little bit of that information because it goes back to an exchange which we had or at least I was involved in  and Adam was involved in on the basekamp list  a few months back. Because I think that it raises the whole question or at least for me it raised the whole question of the politics of art today because one way to avoid the, a strictly kind of legalistic defense by saying oh well you gave me tenure for something and now you are taking it away from the same thing so in fat you are involved in a legal contradiction as much as me.

I mean of course that’s—all arguments are good arguments in a case like this in law but in fact  the politics of art also comes up in an entirely different way because one of the, it seems to me this is Steven speaking, that one of the tendencies which art has in cases where its threatened with censorship and in fact beyond the fact that he risks losing his tenure and therefore his job is that also it’s a direct attempt to sensor his art practice and to sensor art practices more generally which use civil disobedience as a material and field within the prevue off art. Is to say no you can’t, you could forbid this if—you could say  it’s illegal if I wasn’t in the art department. If in fact if I was doing this as just any old employee of the university, but in fact because its art it has a special status and it has a preferential status.

I mean it has a symbolic status because we don’t like free and democratic society to sensor art and it has a particular ontological status, in other words that’s it actually is what you are accusing it to be but at the same time its only a proposition of what you are accusing it to be. And for me it’s a huge issue which way art is going to fall on that question, is it going to say listen I think it’s really important to—sorry I’m laughing at the poop joke there. It’s really important to decide whether art should attempt to get out of difficult situations the way no other human activity could by invoking this particular status which it alone has. Or whether it should no these political issues are really what’s important and if we say its art then we are actually saying its juts art and therefore not the harmful and potentially censorship deserving real thing.

Adam: I think that, you probably know better than I would actually because its more in your field but I think that women’s studies department, queers study department, several political on the fringe of humanities departments have done the same sort of thing where they use this sort of activity, this radical political activity and use it as a defense that it is academic research to some degree. I’d have to look up for examples to disagree with you fully but I think there are other fields where you could make the same argument as art.

Greg: Hey this is Greg; I will chime in when I can. It’s sort of not to related specifically back to Critical Ensemble writings or anything like that but I know in terms of digital resistance which focused  on you know electronic civil disobedience. You know some of the questions they raised was, you know, not even whether or not its art but whether or not something like a denial of service can be considered terrorism in that anybody could--. You know and they talk about this now, this is like the huge hot button topic with, who is the dude that, you know, the guy that got--. The guy who said that there was going to be an attack from Al Qaeda and then it happens and now he is talking about you know a cyber attack on America as being terrorism. But like the whole argument of that particular essay or that particular section of the book was that terrorism only occurs when you know there is a physical body included in the harm that’s done. and you know that’s a pretty radical statement obviously but to some extend it sort of relates to what we are talking about in that whether or not its art or it’s you know activism, you know maybe it’s all in the language I don’t know.

[0:45:04]

Adam: I guess the other point that was raised earlier that related more to the transporter project than I think, well I don’t know. I guess it may have related to this too, actually it did never mind sorry to sort of like prep us saying nothing yet with saying a lot. But basically the question that we were discussing earlier in, not earlier tonight but earlier in sort of long back and forth email exchanger. One of the points that was raised was wasn’t—forgive me if I missed this while I was stepped out for a second but isn’t this part of what you risk  when you do work that I guess that challenges ideas  about what’s legal, that rides the grey zones of contested space? And I am not saying that once you do that you deserve to be canned or you deserved to be slapped or whatever, just that like isn’t this kind of a potential  outcome of that type of, you know of that type of risk and if not then  what are you actually risking you know?

If you are not even prepared and I’m not talking about Ricardo in particular but just if on isn’t prepared to actually risk something as, I don’t want us to call it trivial, but something as non-life threatening as losing your job for explosive political maneuver you know that rides the line of legality then what are you prepared to risk you know? And I guess I’m not saying that the question should be whether he deserves to be fired but just whether that’s the thing that we should all be up and arms about or whether the issue itself is, I don’t know.

Greg: Well I think there is no question that he is prepared to lose his tenure or he wouldn’t have done it I mean the man I remember him speaking before and I have read a few things, he knew when he did this especially attacking the UC site that that was a risk. However I think it was clear from the last time he talked to us that he was turning his entire academic career into a struggle and part of the struggle. I mean he put-- I remember the best that he did was somebody said that this re-situation of…

Adam: Yes that’s true.

Greg: But there is a reason with—there was a Wall Street Journal article that said this is the reason we shouldn’t have tenure and he put that in front of his tenure application. So he is really using tenure politically it’s not that he is hiding from it, he is going to go all the way with this as far as losing it or not losing it in my opinion.

Adam: Yes for sure, do you feel that the students that are protesting his loss of tenure are missing the point or are they somehow joining the struggle obliquely? You know because it seems like what he is doing isn’t about his tenure he is just using that as a point or a as opposition from which to challenge certain issues and ideas. And it seems like the protest should really be centered around those issues and ideas not so much –I mean I want to support him too I’m just saying, you know, if you see what I mean.

Greg: Yes but I think what the students are doing in California are doing is standing up for their rights as students overall. So the same people who are supporting him are also occupying building and getting arrested themselves or they were until summer came and know it’s kind of tied off which is hilarious.

Female speaker: Yes because it gets me that this guy is being put at risk  for something which happens which is like a supped up version of something that happens to me practically every time I go on the computer, I mean it’s ridiculous.

Greg: All those things that I am imagining you are describing are also illegal and it’s just hard to track those people down, they don’t stand behind it with, again, a physical body. They hide behind it through a series of tubes of you will.

Steven: One of the questions that—now to come back to the specific to the trans-boarder tool itself and its ilk. It’s very clear that those kinds, I mean to call them tools is to underscore the fact that they have a use value, in fact that these things of course they have a symbolic value I’ll get to that in a second. But they also have a true use value; they actually work or are supposed to work and are supposed to be helpful and useful.

[0:50:06]

So that’s clear that that use value of those kinds of objects brings something to art, in other words it gives it teeth. But my question really is what does the fact that they are also to be understood as propositions and as informed by an artistic self understanding, what does that bring to them as tools? You know and it’s a question which I wonder for so many of the practices which we discuss within the framework of plausible art worlds, is that these things could just exist as the real thing. You don’t need to know that they are art for them to work for their use value is not dependant on their artistic status or their artistic claim. But the fact that that they have that artistic claim what does that do does that enrich them? Does that make them doubly useful? Or does it just make them kind of awkward and a little bit artificial.

Now Greg’s right that in the write up Ricardo specifically describes the trans-border tool as performing poetry right. I’m never sure what that word poetry actually means you know, when we say something is poetic it’s kind of like saying its artistic and it begs the questions but…

Adam: Yes it was definitely unclear but it seemed like when  we were talking with him he was using poetry as more of like a word where he is describing like that which occurs is out of his control, it’s just  sort of the unknown, the you know, sorry yes I will leave it at that.

Greg: Excuse me also isn’t it using art’s historic relationship to the symbolic realm or sort of arts—well yes its, the history of art is a history of people trying to build meaning out of doing things. Doing things and making things to present to other people, to present that meaning to other people through different, you know, through different means. Through the written word, through images, through activities you know actions or whatever.

Steven: But isn’t that valid for those of us who know something about a particular history of conceptual art and couldn’t it, I mean the type of people who are liable to be users of these devices are not really liable to make heads or tails out of that history. And so what is it really bringing to them? is it bringing  something or is it really just appeasing our conscience as you know sort of post conceptual  art efficienity that we want art to be a little bit more corrosive than it actually is. And so, this isn’t my position I am being a little bit of the devil’s advocate.

Greg: Yes.

Steven: But I have encountered these cases where people just, you know you can explain to them why it’s so doubly cool that it has this double ontological status but  some people just don’t get and I understand why they don’t.

Adam: But Steven yes I’m curious you know when you talked about the fact that the tools as we would  imagine much in the way that I don’t know Marks would describe tools or you know  Adam Smith  would describe tools. I am wondering in this case how many like does  the utility of a tool depend on how many people use it or how it’s  used  because I’d really love to know like how many people actually used this device or how many people actually know that it exists. Because I mean it’s much like, you know, like a readymade you know. Like it’s a bottle rack like do people use it as a bottle rack? Like I don’t know how many people actually use this tool and so is it more of a gesture, a political gesture, a gesture of solidarity, a gesture of humanity that you know. I just wonder if it’s truly a tool as we imagine you know a hammer or a fork or a spoon or whatever else is a tool.

Greg: Yes I am also extremely curious about those practical questions relating to under what conditions and how often, how frequently these tools have been used and to what effect and in fact if we had the opportunity to talk to him those would be some of the questions I would be most interested in asking him, but to return for a second just to the question about the artistic component of these tools. I mean I don’t know the good professor’s intentions and I am not familiar with his work really personally but it would seem to me that at the end of the day the artistic component probably reduces to just a kind of nice gloss that you know educated people like ourselves like to kind of add on the real practical value of a tool like this. And that’s not to be cynical or to criticize you know the importance or the value of the artistic glosses that we add to, you know, to practically useful and politically effective tools or strategies.

[0:55:49]

But I call it the kind of gloss that we would add to the fact kind of expos facto only to probe the question, I mean you guys’ talk a lot about plausible art world is the term that you guys use. I mean I find something very interesting and attractive about the idea of art kind of coming to the scene expos facto as a way of kind of justifying political practices to kind of make arguments about they should be distinct from legal instrumental calculations. And so I am interested in  the  possibility that perhaps the functions of the artistic component is itself a kind of political strategy, something that we kind of add on after the fact to defend  the justifiability of projects like these. Do you see what I am saying?

A way  in which art is kind of just like a kind of cultural marker, a kind of signifier in which we can kind of justify or reclaim deviant and radical political practices that kind of keep a good faith for the University  for instance. I would be very interested to see if a discourse about how these tools, these very kinds of subversive tools are in fact art, I would like to see if that  argument could keep him his job, if that could save him from legal trouble. because then it would be a really interesting way to understand the artistic component as  kind of a political tool itself to kind of salvage and protect these kinds of subversive practices and inventions.

Steven: [0:57:27] [inaudible] enjoying unequal society?

Adam: Steven was just asking if wouldn’t that just revalorize the symbolic privileges that art enjoys in an unequal society, back to you.

Greg: Well if those symbolic privileges that art enjoys are going to be authentically and legitimately honestly channeled into fighting for the rights and the capabilities of people who don’t profit from the privilege of art then I would be glad to hear that. That defense would reify the symbolic privileges according to art even if art is a kind of a highly stratified you know kind of class based privilege right?

Steven: I got into trouble with some friends a few year ago because I had been very much involved in a Palestinian solidarity group and at one point I was asked to sign what appeared to everybody else to be a self evident petition which demanded that Palestinian film makers be allowed free access to the occupied territories to make films because they were obviously being e3xtremely harassed and inhibited, every kind of imaginable obstacle was thrown in their path. And they made this plea that basically saying that they were the consciousness of the nation and that therefore Israel should allow them free access to make their movies. And of course I think that’s true but I thought that it was obscene to make the argument to frame it in those terms because in fact  millions of Palestinians are not even allowed ever into their homeland and no mention was made of that in the letter.

The mention was made that it’s scandalous that film makers—well if you are a Palestinian film maker it’s because you have already had some greater degree of privileged and access to education and so on than the great majority of your compatriots. And so it wasn’t that I wanted to like take the side of the Israelis but I just didn’t—I couldn’t bear the idea of signing something which in fact would shore up the privileges of a group which was relatively speaking already [1:00:08] [inaudible] despite the fact that they were being oppressed.

[1:00:12]

So that got me excluded from that list but never the less I don’t totally give up because I think that this really has to do with the very possibility of a post autonomous and political art practice which is why I think this is really about the politics of art. Or to put the border argument just slightly the other way in think the boarder which we are really talking about is the border between the art world and the life world.

Adam: Well I’ll agree that art seems ludicrous often in the way that it’s used; I will also agree that it could be very useful and if it is then let’s use it. Then again part of what we do when we work as artists or what we can do, ultimately what we are doing whenever we are conscious of, or not, of working with—now what am I trying to say? In participating in culture production or culture meaning and any other sector not just the art field is you know we are entering the symbolic realm you know. And artists do that as part of their job description, this is what makes the field of practice and study called art not exactly unique but well yes, unique I guess among other fields. It’s something that we are—it’s not always framed that way but on some level that’s what we are supposed to be doing.

Now we are supposed to be doing all sorts of other things as artists but you know part of what we, at least many people think that we are supposed to be doing colloquially speaking, I mean not even from theories but even just if you ask anyone what the role of the artist is you will hear all kinds of clichés and all kinds of cultural baggage and all kinds of stereotypes from popular films and stories and you know whatever. Just how we learn about what the world is we learn about through clichés and we learn about through, you know, stories I guess. And part of the story that you will almost always hear if we listen is that what artists are supposed to do is, I mean it sounds like a lot of different stuff you know but what artists are supposed to do is imaginative. Not just with some particular object you are making, whether the person is talking about a painting or a sculpture whatever they understand art  to be but they are also supposed to be imaginative with the way they live you know and the way  potentially that we all live.

However it’s said you know I hear it so often by people who claim to know nothing about art. and ultimately I think they are right, people that claim to know a lot about art also talk about that, you know they talk about it differently but they talk about our role or part of our role as re-imagining at least on the more like I guess, like the stronger arguments, re-imagining every aspect of how we live and work together. And I think that that’s what artists often do I mean often really playfully, often you know self consciously, often not self consciously sometimes it’s hard to tell. And most of the time artists probably don’t do much of that or you know at least not with much ferocity. But sometimes they do and I think, and sometimes artists that do that do it in a very uninteresting way and other times they do it in a very, at least what I feel is a very interesting way.

I mean you never know I guess that’s why we talk about examples of artist practices and we have been looking at art worlds in particular because when artists turn their creative energies or their attentions to not just their world around them but in particular their world. And decide instead of playing by a game that someone else has set the rules for to modify those rules, sometimes to sort of open up the hood and mess up the wiring and other times literally make another kind of game. Then you know what they are doing is they are imagining even their small microcosm, their art world or whatever it is or you know plausible or implausible that maybe, they are somehow playing within the symbolic realm of the social and of something that could…Whether we think it’s actually scalable or whether we can just imagine that’s scaling up or out to some other existing system, they are playing or re-thinking culture you know.

[1:05:05]

Re-thinking the ways that we are together you know, how we understand ourselves and all that and not only re-imagining how you apply specific kind of material to another kind of material or something like that. So I think when Steven is talking about the possibility of a post autonomous art practice, I don’t want to put words in your mouth but that’s what comes to mind for me. And I guess the question of whether or not art should be used in the service of politics of whether the word art should be used as a shield for other kinds of activity, I think often it is but it’s not all of the question. I think part of the value is self or knowingly playing in that symbolic realm but realizing that by playing in that you are also changing the playing field.

Greg: I don’t mean to be overly sarcastic or anything but although, I mean how would you date the period in which art was autonomous, when was that?

Adam: Yes like the post art [1:06:14] [inaudible].

Steven: No but autonomy is the regime of 20th century art, in fact autonomy was something which was ten was a sort of conquest of an autonomous space which took place in  the second  half of the 19th century and of course there was no,  you know we are talking about what Al Jazeera called relative autonomy. Of course art was never anything like autonomous but you know perfect autonomy—autonoma means auto is the self and Nomos is the laws. So it means giving yourself your own laws and to the extent that anything was ever autonomous, modernist art was autonomous because it gave itself its own laws. Laws were not dictated by the prince, they were not dictated by the cardinal or the bishop, they were something which emerged and it was sort of theorized by people like Adorno and Greenburg as something which emerged from an imminent logic of art itself.

Well we remain within that paradigm if when push comes to shove we say you can’t touch this because you are not respecting its autonomy because you don’t understand what it is. You think that it’s an  illegal activity but in fact it’s an artistic practice and therefore it doesn’t fall under the prevue of your law because only half of the project falls under the prevue of your law, the real part, the other part  is perfectly, socially acceptable. So I think that if we want to—because the down side of that or the up side of course is that artist do get away with stuff that nobody else can get away with that’s true. And therefore it’s fantastic because in a relatively oppressive society and it’s only as relatively oppressive as art is relatively autonomous.

But relatively oppressive autonomy is really useful to have this thing called art which doesn’t have to obey cost benefit analysis and it can do all sorts of things otherwise you can’t get away with.  But at the same time it really boils down to the most enfeebling thing that modernist art suffering from that it’s just art. Because it’s autonomous and it doesn’t really have an effect because its own little world, of course it has an effect on consciousness but it doesn’t have an effect in the real. And I think what opposed to autonomous practice would be is not a practice that seizes to be autonomous in any way but in fact one which goes beyond that prison hose of the modernist autonomous regime.

Adam: Yes I mean if I could just follow up on that slightly, we are borrowing the term post autonomy from a theorist Michael Lingner who is writing through—not really, well these part of his writings weren’t really that widely used until another artist David Goldenberg started, well and some others using this term and exploiting the hell out of it and we just like it, you know because it seems to sum up a lot of things. But I for one I am not that interested in using that term as an era based kind of term. You know an imposed in terms of after, more like a beyond or a moving outside of or questioning of, you know what I mean?

Steven: Yes like you know post Marxists usually are not people who have broken with the political project that’s associated with Marxism, they are people who have Marxism. They have simply said well we don’t remain within the 19th century paradigm of Marxism we want to push it forward and I think that’s the ideas of post autonomy. It’s not like saying oh well what a bad idea lets seize to be autonomous and lets go back to the pre-autonomous, let’s make post autonomy look like pre-autonomy, no, It’s like lets apply autonomy.

[1:10:20]

Greg: Yes thanks for clearing that up I mean I completely understand, I understand that argument and that’s fair enough and I am sure the theorist in question made several very compelling arguments to that effect. But I mean I don’t think it’s that difficult to argue something but I think quite different maybe to kind of recast the situation in terms of maybe not autonomy versus pre-autonomy or post autonomy but maybe what it really might be described as. it might really described as like different regimes of  dependence right because even this era or the style of art making in which we might want to think of it as autonomous because a certain amount our personal freedom has been curved out.

I mean even in n that era or epoch I mean artists are still of course extremely dependent on others in different ways or I guess I had cheaply in mind their benefactors or the people who fund them, their patrons. But also I mean let’s not forget as the autonomous artist as you guys might call him comes to the fore I mean also the power of critics,   the power of kind of, you know. The real brokers of power when it comes to artistic meaning and artistic significance. I mean one could argue that sure maybe the artist gains a certain amount of autonomy but he is still really beholding to—right. I mean like he is still very beholding to the different kinds of it. But the reason that I would remind us of just this little point is. because I think it does go back to the conversation we are having and the specific case that we are talking about with his particular professor who is  doing subversive political work under the heading or art because - I mean if we want to talk about ourselves as being in a post autonomous art epoch then one of the most important things I think to kind of put on center stage are the different kinds of institutional funding that dominate the possibility of doing art today and then of course the universities.

You know the major charitable trusts and things of this nature that the many endowments for the arts and things of this nature. I mean these are the major power brokers who make most contemporary art possible at least in most of the main stream ways in which art is being carried out. An so the question  becomes developing strategies for using the resources and the power that these power brokers provide to artist but without paying back into them, you know. How should one phrase it? I guess what I’m trying to say is what we need  to try to figure out I think is how we can use those resources to the  maximum  but without you know reifying if you will or kind of re-contributing to the, you know the reproduction of all the, you, know whatever. Here one could say all different kinds of clichés about like power structures and stuff like that, it’s basically what we are getting at. And so I mean this case that we are talking about now represents a kind of interesting case study I think in that sense and I will be very interested to see how you know he gets away with x or doesn’t get away with, you know, this project in which he is really putting his own cultural capital, his political academic capital on the line for trying to achieve something outside of you know what maybe he is supposed to be achieving with the institutional [1:14:14] [inaudible]  that he is given as a tenure professor, yes I don’t know.

Adam: Hello, hopefully we are not commandeering conversation if anyone else wants to chime in do so at any point, pregnant pause.

Female speaker:  I am just thinking about those times  when I have seen  people on TV or in movies or in  the music or some cartoon or something where people don’t think  it’s actually very political but they sneak in a message that, you know—

[1:15:00]

Adam: Yes I mean the politics is always there and I guess what you mentioned about the sort of, excuse me, historic autonomy of the artist, this is ultimately and you are right it never was that way and it’s not that way now and the relative dependence of the artist I mean isn’t completely that way either. I mean it’s…

Steven;        [1:15:29] [inaudible] 1870s you know fine arts to you know the stuff that was going on prior to the French revolution. In that respect autonomy really has a very substantive meaning.

Adam: I mean absolutely the idea of what it means to be an individual changed, yes agreed. Yes but the artist is having a special, quote unquote the artist having some sort of special place in that is largely symbolic. Artists, you know I mean people that enjoy a certain—that are granted a certain degree of freedom don’t necessarily have more autonomy and artists  don’t necessarily haven’t necessarily have more autonomy. What they have provided is a very visible and compelling story that the autonomy of the artist is like is considered a myth for that reason. Not just because people don’t have autonomy they do its relative autonomy and we fight for autonomy as citizens sometimes and also recognize our dependence sometimes. But we are always dependent too, I don’t think artist enjoy a special place in that except for their role as fulfilling a symbolic or a very visible I guess marcher for this you know? And often have  been pointed to in popular culture and otherwise for that, you know not by—again and I only emphasize this because not by people who claim to be art experts but just you know  by culture at large.

So it’s something I think we need to recognize as artist is that like you said, I mean I don’t want to put words in your mouth but like you said that that main, even in an era that celebrated our autonomy artists may not necessarily have curved out an autonomous path. And I think now it, I mean it’s as important as ever for people regardless of what field you are into to work toward—well to consider what it means to chat an independent course. It’s very difficult I mean in a field of collectivity which we are always part of. You know ultimately artists working in groups I think that part of the power of focusing on that isn’t to say no we don’t want autonomy on any level; we don’t want to be autonomous citizens’ yes.

Steven: We want autonomy we have had enough of the pseudo autonomy, of this regime of autonomy that in fact gives art some sort of special symbolic privileged but at the cost of there being no real autonomy, enough of the pseudo autonomy. I think that’s the whole point of pluralizing art worlds in the plausible art worlds, is that as long as there is only one there is no authentic autonomy because it’s the type of autonomy which is permissible within that rate, that’s particular regime.

Adam: Something like sanctioned protest zones?

Steven: Yes [1:19:14] [inaudible].

Adam: Yes well, there is kung fu.

Female speaker: It’s not really working [1:19:29] [inaudible] it’s not like registering a…

Male speaker: You are either on mute though.

Female speaker: The [1:19:36] [inaudible] is on mute?

Male speaker: No I don’t think so.

[1:19:45 - 1:19:53] [Background voices]

Greg: I mean what can we really say I mean just good questions to be asked.

[1:20:02]

Male speaker: Do you have a question?

Male speaker: Yes.

Steven: Yes here is a question that there is no answer to and we could ask Ricardo and certainly it would be really interesting but it’s kind of a question which even goes beyond the specificity of this project. Is if you wanted to consider the boarder disturbance project and device as an exhibit, what would you exhibit?

Female speaker: I fell like just given the political nature of the whole project, project yes, you would really probably have to exhibit all of I would think like the news coverage that has been coming up from it and all of the culture that has been, I don’t know kind of responding to it and the political—I mean this guy getting fired you know. I feel like it’s almost that’s what’s really important rather than the device or the tool or even how many people have used it. It’s more important that the coverage is getting out there people to actually be aware of it. And I feel like that’s kind of why he is acting in this realm  of art rather than as an engineer if you  would call it you know, because its more about just making things aware.

Steven: Yes that’s –I don’t know If that that argument actually has been explicitly made but I think it would be a very powerful whirlwind to make it. Because it would also you know sit very nicely with the fact that the object which is being, you know, sort of queered is actually a communications device you know and a mass communication device. Although a communications device which only works on a one to one basis and it replaced potential technology which was never allowed to go any further. one of the spin of actually from the Vietnam war which was CB radio which had that very short moment of glory in the 1970s until the government realized that actually it was really not—well not the so much.

I think it was probably largely the private sector, realized  that this was no way to make a lot of money because in  fact you were having group communications with--. It was neither the one way system of like radio nor the one to one communication that was developed subsequently with cell phones. That’s kind of a bit of an aside but it’s true that if that’s what it is about, if zits about raising these issues and in fact all of these, some of the other stuff is almost a pretext for getting on the front page or on the cultural pages and the political pages potentially yes then we are talking about real use value. But I think that has to be named too and I wouldn’t have any like problem with you know, as an art historian making up all sorts of arguments about how that sits within an art historical paradigm as we ll. Because that’s a good point that you also raised and has been re-raised is would it help if it could be like absolutely demonstrated by major art historians that this guy was really a great artist, I mean probably the University of California would not dare to you know, give him too much grief.

You know if Roslyn Krause and Benjamin Boklou and you know, I don’t know Terry Dudoff all write you know major books on this, I mean I think that the you know, the president of the University would be like shamed into you know having that dossier just basically disappear  one day. But that argument actually hasn’t as far as I know, actually been made you know.

Adam;        Yes you mean in a wide experiment [1:24:16] [inaudible], yes I mean in a way it is being made sort of by the b.a.n.g lab’s website if you know what I mean. If you know you scroll through their posts and there aren’t installation shots most of the time you know what I mean, they are videos of these activities.

Steven: That’s true and in fact there is very few references on their site anyway, I don’t know about the secondary material but on their site to the visualized tradition. In fact they are very much within the theater traditional and theater you know not in the realist sense or the naturalist sense of lifting the fourth wall I the room but of taking all the walls down and a sort of deployment of theatre skill and lack thereof in the real.

Greg: I mean this is kind of somewhat fantastic and slightly whimsical but I mean  there is at least theoretically a down side risk and conceptualizing art as a  kind of a political foil to protect and make possible certain practices like we are kind of thinking about  it now. And that is, I mean I don’t see this on the immediate horizon in any way but one could, I mean the powers that be if you will could just as well kind of say like the boarder wall is like performative art right. Or like the minute men, the vigilante justice group, yes you need another vigilante justice people guard the boarder to prevent people from coming in, they could certainly claim to be making art, they could claim to be--. Well I mean they could certainly become artist if they wanted t right? I mean…

[1:26:05]

Male speaker: [1:26:05] [inaudible].

Adam: Well but at the point we would be skeptical of them making such a claim then we are like the snooty powerful art people who are not letting, you know, a certain self organized autonomous cell claim to be artists I mean right? All I am saying is that you know by claiming an area of free activity outside of legality for the sake of art one cannot so safely assume that the forces of radical progressive politics are always going to  be occupying that location and it could just as  well be used to justify practices we don’t find so [1:27:00] [inaudible].

Steven: I see you point but I think it’s a purely speculative point and I think sociologically you would be hard pressed to find any example of groups like the minute man acquiring an art world that was prepared the validity of their claim to, you know, chasing people down as a conceptual art practice. I mean I don’t think that they are self understanding whatever get to that and I don’t think that they would even if you  got one or two guys who though it might be a joke to try that they would ever find anything  like an art world  that would be prepared to recognize that. Because you can’t just do art by yourself and have it work out. But let me give—Scott asks us to give a different example which we were talking about earlier today is that I 1960’s Argentina there was a very rapid, radical, a political radicalization within art.

In other words art went from sort of the modernist autonomous paradigm very quickly like therefore form obstruction very quickly towards a radical dematerialization of the art object and from there to a radical politicization and  even beyond that into an abandonment of art all together. And particularly this was around a number of [1:28:31] [inaudible] movements which were mentioned few weeks ago by Judy [1:28:34] [inaudible] but particularly around a movement called [1:28:38] [inaudible]. But the outcome of that was that many of these artists who you know only months before in fact had been abstract artists and then who had dematerialized their practice all of a sudden abandoned art all together to take up the revolutionary struggle, I mean the arm struggle as the sort of logical extension of their art practice.

So they did it within a self understanding as artists and the prove of that is that in 1972 when they organized in Santiago in Chile in the last of the Ashende regime a congress for all the Latin American artists, these guys and women put down their guns and attendee the conference along with you know mural painters and relatively conventional sort of what we think of as political artists. But they did it and that is like for me, I mean  of course many of these people were killed because they weren’t  you know really, you know they were artists actually they weren’t really guerrilla fighters you know? And so they were in kind of a romantic trip in a certain sense but they really put, you know they went the whole nine yard with it. and I think that that’s super interesting not so much that they did because I think politically it was, you know, and maybe artistically it was really the wrong thing to do but what is interesting about it is they did it with a self understanding as artists and therefore with a  certain acknowledgment of an art world. I don’t think that you would find that with extreme right wing vigilante groups you know.

[1:30:18]

Adam: I will say though that it’s a very interesting what if, do you know what I mean? I mean we are relay concerned with, we are really interested in these scenarios, I don’t know how plausible it is. Maybe speculative but like for instance you know terms are often, I mean more and more political groups are very, well groups of people are extremely savvy and not the groups that might be on my side you know, and media savvy.  Yes I seriously doubt that would happen because like not that many people care about art but you know I can certainly imagine circumstances arising where the terminology could be used. And I mean people understand art differently, we may not all share the same histories and if certain  terms are used often enough or with enough  vigor or you know with enough—we wouldn’t agree on the definitions but then they become contested you know and it’s an interesting thing to think about.

Steven: I don’t want to talk about this groups but I mean obviously they are based on an ultra conservative conception of the political community which is totally at odds to – I mean I don’t know how they can possibly integrate any part of the history conceptual art into that kind of an ultra you know reactionary, close minded braces to supremacist kind of a vision of boarders because that is precisely everything at conceptual art even in this less politically you know hard line forum I wanted to break down .

Male Speaker: Can I [1:32:02] [inaudible] for a second because I think that is how this started and I guess what about the futurists? I mean they are fascist ultimately and you know like I mean that’s not in our world now, that’s not in our understanding of possible and I don’t really think there is any reason to be worried that arts are a power enough symbol for storm friends to take up, you know or would mean that much. But I could imagine you know, well I could imagine some right wing radio talk show host seeing some value in that as some point and stirring some people there. I am not saying I am imagining that actually happening, but I can’t imagine that happening, that’s an interesting thing to think about because I agree with what you are saying but there is definitely examples where that hasn’t been the case and we still understand it to [1:32:58] [indiscernible]

        Do you know what I mean? It’s not a good, it’s sort of apples and oranges because we are talking about people that were trained as “artists” and sort of extended that out into politics. But a lot of artists that we are interested in, in fact came out of the other angle too. They came not because they were trained in art academy, not all of them anyway. But because they felt some infinity with created practices and that they could identify with and got into it from another angle. I don’t know how much, I don’t know how much I really want to tease out this idea but it is just an interesting thing to think about because I hadn’t really, it’s an interesting what if I guess.

Female Speaker: I think if we are thinking in the scope of autonomy and as artists wanting autonomy, then I feel like if we were to ever achieve that, wouldn’t everyone kind of? I mean not everyone but I could see a lot of people kind of latching onto the idea of being an artist and being autonomous and not having any repercussions and I could see it then being really appealing for I mean right wing, left wing everyone that didn’t want to have law chasing the tail.

Male Speaker: And in the US usually the language revolves around the first amendment and the so called abuse of that you know like often by explicit racists or bigots and other people who feel that’s a deliberate abuse that puts their own freedom from another political angle at risk because its, it confuses at least in the – I really don’t want to be unfair in balance talking about racists here but…

[1:35:00]

Male Speaker: [1:35:01] [inaudible]

Male Speaker: Right, right

Male Speaker: That has not been, that’s not a successful [1:35:07] [inaudible]

Male Speaker: Right, right, indeed yeah. But anyway this is about a lot of popular discussion revolves around and I think it’s tied to art because art is often tied very closely with, at least in the US, the first amendment.

Male Speaker: I guess my objection was the minute men is kind of, it is a political movement, it’s kind of – I think it’s one that has been hijacked by all sorts of power and so on. But it’s hard to imagine as a movement, it could engender an artistic expressing. But it is true what could be easily imagined – so in that sense it’s not like futurism because futurism really was a movement that was fascinated with technological progress and identified that with an inner logic that art had like many [1:36:04] [indiscernible] movements but except it is fixated on one specific logic but I can’t imagine that sort of thing but I could imagine some lunatic artist, conceptual artist would also be a minute man and who – but I can’t imagine as he never get any other minute man to acknowledge his claim to be an artist because they would say you know, dude that’s not art and if you continue to say that’s art, you can’t even be part of our vigilante band anymore because as we all know is like oil on canvas. Do I have – do you know about this sophisticated [1:36:48] [inaudible]

Female Speaker: No I think something to keep in mind is that art isn’t always art in the moment I guess. I mean a lot of times, you might make something or I mean in the past I guess historically, they wouldn’t accept it as art because their peer won’t accept it as art. This does not necessarily mean that it wasn’t art later in the history books. So I mean you know I guess speculation, let’s say this did happen, you know I don’t think there would be any credit behind any minute man artist, you know in the moment. But later in the history books, I think it would certainly be something at least to add in there, at least maybe if it’s a failure. Not all arts succeed, so I guess that kind of goes back to the idea of like what is art and does it have to be acceptable, do artists have to accept it, is there one artist that can say the list goes on. I don’t know if [1:37:54] [inaudible]

Male Speaker: I don’t know, I just like that it’s a ridiculous argument that I am somehow able to follow and find some like interest in.

Male Speaker: Look yeah, I mean obviously in an absurd hypothetical to be talking about whether or not the minute men might tomorrow style themselves tomorrow as a performance troop. Of course and so the point of bringing it up was not to wonder about this as an immediate political danger that our artistic discourses right now might be flirting with. But oh okay so I mean we probably talked enough about that absurd hypothetical but I think it does point, it at least points to I think a more concrete and fair political danger or risk maybe that we tend to forget about in this kind of well educated, urban milude such as the one we are in now.

And it’s the fact that we have to remind ourselves really still in America only are very very slight minority of people would be able to agree that something like technologically modified old cell phones handed out to Mexican immigrants would qualify as art. It takes a very savvy minority to be able to see that as artistic. Whereas a certain for certain practices, we dislike, we would probably all very much dislike or probably way closer to qualifying as what the median individual in the United States would actually be able to agree is art. So I can imagine like – oh here we go into kind of a ridiculous hypothetical’s but I think this does, it leads to reflect a concrete point that is worth considering when we are trying to think about making Art Worlds Plausible for all different kinds of people across this country or others.

[1:39:59]

I mean if you were to uphold the individuals in America and ask them, which one better qualifies as art and you said something like giving technologically modified old cell phones to immigrants or a very large brilliant architectural structure that divides countries and prevents people from moving. I mean just on the face of it, just already that has actually more kind of crude superficial artistic merit, then something like a GPS project to aid and abet immigrants coming to the United States.

So I think it’s just worth recalling the kind of mainstream or average conception of art that one has to grapple with in trying to sell these things in serious ways.

Female Speaker: We say that ways sounds like they are using the immigrants and they are really not considering them much at all, they are the ends, a means to an end.

Male Speaker: Unfortunately we weren’t able to talk to Ricardo tonight. I definitely don’t think that impression would come across if we were able to but I feel some, this tingling in my spine that happens about 8:00pm Eastern Standard Time every Tuesday night. Unfortunately we need to wrap up for the sake of at least online anyway, for the sake of everyone who is fighting sleep to join us in whatever time zone you are. So actually looks like Jessica is actually earlier than we are and Adam and Mathew I am not sure where you are, nice.

But I think Steven is typing a response he wanted to send and you know why don’t you feel free to continue to do that as you want to but we will say good night for now. All right Mathew, so in any case, just to keep up with our basic program, we will end it but we won’t want to trample over something anyone wanted to say if you had something burning. If you do feel free, also feel free to type, if you don’t, that’s cool and we can always keep up, continue later. But it looks like we missed Ricardo completely now that we are ending. I would hold out a lot longer but we don’t, we haven’t heard back, he might be on the plane. Absolutely Jessica, well good night everybody and we’ll see you, see you next Tuesday.

[1:43:43]        End of Audio

Week 17: Homeworks Forum

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is the next event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with some of the participants in the Home Works Forum, a multidisciplinary platform held in Beirut, Lebanon about every other year. Since its inception in 2002 at the initiative of the Ashkal Alwan Association, Home Works has evolved into a vibrant platform for spirited exchange on art and art-related practices in the region and beyond. Artists, writers, and thinkers gather for ten days in order to share their works, which take the form of exhibitions, performances, lectures, videos, artists’ talks, workshops and publications. What links the forum’s usership is a desire to engage a common set of urgent questions, to produce and consider aesthetic forms capable of embodying those questions meaningfully — and above all to work toward the emergence of a public with the agency to carry the project forward through action and not just in contemplation. Now midway through its 5th edition, the Home Works Forum is a space in which political, social and economic realities can be explored, reflected, and made manifest as visual and verbal articulations.

“Home Works” suggests an intertwining of public and private spheres, the outside world of work and the inside space of home. More broadly, “Home Works,” itself an impossible plural, implies a process of internal excavation, of digging and burrowing deeper while simultaneously constructing and accumulating new practices.

This year, the Forum’s focus is on “In and Out of Education … What Can We Teach Nowadays”, looking at the crisis in arts education, the so-called “pedagogical turn” in artistic discourse and practice — all in the context of the plan to set up a new educational program, The Home Works Academy, which will use the city of Beirut itself as its campus, its research topic and its platform. Beirut as a plausible artworld…

http://www.ashkalalwan.org/

 

Transcription

Week 17: Homeworks Forum

[Scott]: Hey there!  I only wish I was recording the opening track.  Yeah, thank you very much.  I'm here with Barbara, Kate, Chris and Michael so far.

(Music playing in background)

Whoa. Thanks Steph. Steph, that was really fantastic

(Inaudible background chatter)

[Scott]:  We were hoping that you guys would get a little pissed ahead of time, so I am really glad.  Grease the wheels.

(Inaudible background chatter)

[Steven]: So we were actually going to start with (inaudible 0:01:28.3) who is a Lebanese Beirut based, I don't know what she does, activist and agitator.  She's fallen asleep so I guess (inaudible0:01:44.8) is going to have to start and I am looking (inaudible0:01:46.8).  I'm looking for Greg Shallotte actually because Greg, let me give a quick (inaudible0:01:54.6) and then I will handle the mic over to Greg.  Can you guys hear okay?

[Scott]: Yeah, we can definitely hear really well.  Hey guys!  Come on in.  Hey Nato!

(Inaudible background chatter)

[Steven]: Nato Thompson is here to my right, (inaudible 0:02:15.5) is to my left and a little further to the extreme left is Greg Shallotte and I have kind of put myself in the middle here because these guys have a panel this evening at the Home Works Forum.  The third and a series of panels on the question of setting up an art academy in Beirut and using Beirut campus as the site as the subject of the artistic enquiry.  And so it was kind of a panel about bringing in some ideas and counter ideas.   Judy talked about (inaudible 0:02:55.9) which could be the object of the future of Plausible Artworlds potluck project.  She is the co-initiator of the Buenos Aires in Argentina old project called CIA...

[Scott]: Oh Yeah.

[Steven]: It is the Center for Intelligence in the Arts.

[Judy]: (inaudible 0:03:22.8)

[Steven]: Let's try and get our facts right.  So she talked about that.   And to give a kind of a different example and to throw some concrete examples out there…  Greg, has been actively involved in all of discussions over the last couple of days and the Home Works Forum particularly around these educational panels  Greg kind of set up the discussion.  Asking the question of how is it possible to produce, with any knowledge economy, to produce critical forms of knowledge.  Nato also raised concrete examples would sort of his own take on it.  What's it called? The Bruce?

[Nato]: The Bruce High Quality Foundation University, which is a product that big time supported to start and I'm sure many of you are familiar with.

[Steven]: And then go into a bunch of other examples and basically questions the use of, well, the problem of lapsing into this sort of high and semiotic...  What you call it Nato?  The purgatory of postgraduate programs.  (inaudible 0:04:53.5) but let me say a few things before we talk about the panel and that just about what Home Works actually is.  Home Works was actually started in the years after the Civil War that went from 1975 to 1990.  In the mid nineties someone called Christine Tohme started an association called Ashkal Alwan, an association for plastic arts in Lebanon, and an attempt to kind of create something which really didn't exist.  Are you guys still there?

[Scott]: Hey, yeah.  Can you hear is okay?

[Steven]: yeah (inaudible 0:05:30.1).

[Scott]: Just talking into the ether? Um, yeah, I know we can totally here you.  Before you talk about that real quick media would just be good to let everybody know that our setup is a little artificial here.  We've got like it mic and liked a Skype setup and were all sitting around the table.  But I just wanted to let everyone know, at least on our side and plus whoever is out there from different Skype locations, that it is totally cool to chime in.  Even if you just wanted to say hello or have any kinds of questions or wanted to say anything.  Don't be put off by the format.  There's just no other way to communicate with people that are not sitting right in front of you decides to have some kind of technology.  So please flag us down, oh cool Steph, or if you want to sort of say something.  Just interrupt us or chime right in or type something out.  It's totally fine.

[Steven]: (inaudible 0:06:29.5).

[Scott]: Okay great.Yeah, please tell us.

[Steven]: Christine decided in a city where there was no public space and public time we're basically what wasn't in the hands of private ownership was in the hands of the different confessions, the different religious groups that have been party to that war, to try and claimed some kind of   space within the urban landscape.  And using art and (inaudible 0:07:00.6) to do that and in any attempt to bring some new ideas and to create this about 10 years ago it is now called Home Works (inaudible 0:07:16.0) for the little layout that I did the other day.  It's a kind of a platform which takes the form of exhibitions and performs lectures, videos, talks, workshops, publications and exchange in general than initially at around questions that were particularly linked to this region, which is loosely known as the Middle East but one is never quite sure of the middle of what east exactly.  This now, we are right here in the middle of the fifth edition of the forum and it is kind of evolved over the years.  What it has become it's sort of a meeting place basically to exchange of verbally but also artistic forms.  Any kind of conversation in a larger sense around how to go beyond just wanting are to be have political agency but to actually create something like a public position to carry the (inaudible 0:08:34.4) energies of art.  And the particular emphasis this year has been on the idea to turn Beirut an academy.  In other words, to make Home Works not just a biannual event where people show up and talk and then go back to where they're from, but to actually use this platform as a permit kind of affair.

So there are many things to be said about Home Works and about his upcoming or potential academy in general.  Maybe I should like Greg Shallotte, who was our moderator earlier today, tell us what he (inaudible0:09:20.9).  I should say that this is Greg's second time year, right?

[Greg]: Yes.

[Steven]: But not your third time, not yet.  Take the helm, I'll take the beer.

[Greg]: Hi Scott.

[Scott]: Hey Greg!  We are all here and totally excited about what you guys have to say and what you were doing over there.  It would be great to be there but…  

[Greg]: Yep, it is beautiful here.  It's always really lovely here in spring especially.  One of the things that is always amazing about being here is not only the sort of the impressions in mass media of what the Middle East is are just completely destroyed immediately and you fall in love with the place.  But, you know it's a complex situation as we found out tonight because we provoked a discussion and at which people were actually starting to talk about the actual conditions here in Beirut and some of this sort of difficulties in trying to start in art school here.  You know, which has some similarities to (inaudible 0:10:23.6) Argentina.  And maybe even a little bit New York's, except that in New York I remember in the 1970s it was really kind of a demolished structure physically and socially.  But it is its own place of course.  There's a lot of complexity, either a still a lot of wealth here and it mixes is into the situation in particular ways.

So one of the issues that came up was how do students enter into the system of art education when they don't come from a financially comfortable background.  Now, in the United States we are familiar with that problem but it's not such the case in Europe.  Here in Beirut is really not so much of an issue.  So that was one aspect of it.  Maybe another aspect that we didn't really address as much as we should have is what we do with the students that this art school might turn out.  How do they fit into the world?  What world do they fit into?  We actually had one of the students ask that question of us.  The way art school is taught now there's no sense of connection to what they might do when they get out.  There's no sense of how to finesse the politics of having a degree in art and preparation of what might take place after graduation.  So, you know, those are really complicated questions here but the most complicated questions seem to be in the United States.  So those are some of (inaudible 0:12:04.7) thoughts.

(inaudible background chatter)

[Judy]:   Okay.  Kind of keeping it along the lines with what Greg was saying, something that also was addressed (inaudible 0:12:29.5) was this kind of like this huge conversation of the arts implication.  And it's interesting how it operates in different contexts.  For example, in the north American (inaudible 0:12:40.4) north American context than the south American contexts because (inaudible0:12:45.8).  And there is (inaudible 0:12:52.9) context from Europe, from Europe to North America from any other context (inaudible 0:12:58.7).  Because, first of all, there are institutions that are really crystallized (inaudible 0:13:06.3).  So that gives already the background in which you can like base your discourse of education to the theory of one of these conferences.  But then when you talk about it with a different context, like could be Lebanon with the program now or in Argentina (inaudible 0:13:26.18 - 0:13:36.3).   But also because the student is not seen as a product in which in north America, a student is a product.  The student is a consumer, is somebody that is paying (inaudible 0:13:50.4) which is very different in other parts of the world.  In my (inaudible 0:13:58.5) which I've been working with two other artists on this project which is called CIA, Center for (inaudible 0:14:07.8) or Center for Individuals in the Arts or there is many names that everybody kind of (inaudible 0:14:14.7) in their own personal preference (inaudible 0:14:18.7).  We operate in a very different context which education in Argentina has always been (inaudible 0:14:30.3).  That means that you never pay to get educated.  I went to (inaudible 0:14:34.9) University and the private universities did not exist in South America, they are pretty new.  They started in the last 10 or 20 years.  So it is a new industry that has been (inaudible 0:14:49.9) and that is something that is part of the (inaudible 0:14:53.8).

And now going back to the projects (inaudible 0:14:55.8 - 0:15:05.3).  It is a different project because now in (inaudible 0:15:08.5) education has been privatized in Argentina and in other countries around.  We propose in the model that (inaudible 0:15:20.9) and also propose by the artist (inaudible 0:15:27.9 - 0:15:31.8).  And we are working on a model in which we don't have to (inaudible 0:15:38.1 - 0:16:00.4) a universal transformation of creating the institution.  And what it is a central location because we (inaudible 0:16:09.9) and to differentiate this new trend that exists in every university across America.  Like this thing with the (inaudible 0:16:23.6) because what happens there is everybody that is part of that visualizes.  It is about incorporating the notion of (inaudible 0:16:44.1) and for this I mean the (inaudible 0:16:47.4) comparable to things like literature, music, architecture from the (laughing).

(Laughter)

[Scott]: What are you guys doing over there?

[Judy]: Proposals (laughing).  So this is (inaudible 0:17:22.1) and the participants...

(background commotion)

[Steven]: (inaudible 0:17:26.0)

(audio feed he lost 0:17:34.4 - 0:17:49.1)

[Judy]: The laundry next door and they just sit there and they talk and they participate as any other student.  And then we have this conflict with the students in which they complain because (inaudible 0:18:01.4) broke down.  But, I mean, this is very important because as (inaudible 0:18:08.6) brings this element of reality to the program.  And the other component that is important is that center or Cento, as I want to say it in Spanish, it's about forces that converge with the center (inaudible 0:18:26.2) and then from there they expand (inaudible 0:18:30.3).  So we operate outside of this whatever center is.  That means we operate in slums to create a high school that is approved by university of education and it's an official high school for art in which the students from the center go and teach there and they still follow the program of (inaudible 0:18:55.0).  So it's this thing of like inside and outside and we operate in the real world.  

The other component that is important is like a (inaudible 0:19:08.6) of art in a specific scenario, particularly there are things and human issues that (inaudible 0:19:15.5).  My experience in North American universities is that it's always this kind of (inaudible 0:19:24.7).  Very different from the way we operate.  The way we operate is directly within the city (inaudible 0:19:33.7).  In the case of (inaudible 0:19:41.4) which is a project we started (inaudible 0:19:42.0) in which there were participants all over the center who go there start working in a (inaudible 0:19:47.8) of the slum in order to make it legal.  Legal for the city.  Meaning this project of (inaudible 0:19:57.7) and got approved.  So we have to go through the buearocracy.  And on that level

When you have to go through the buearocracy of politics it is very different than when you dream with your school and you're beautiful tests.  You know like "Oh, what city do I want to live in?" or " what should be (inaudible0:20:19.0) mean?" Because (inaudible0:20:21.0) you have to start dealing with the law, dealing with politicians and dealing with real forces.  That is the part that we are…  

[Steven]: So, you can here to talk about this law.  To (inaudible0:20:39.5) and it wants to create something which is not similar but would actually (inaudible and0:20:45.3).  What were the terms of engagement between you and Christine Tohme? What did she ask you?  And why do you think she is interested and what you were doing did?

[Judy]: Well Christine Tohme found out about this center I think through other people that she was doing some research with.  At some point she looked up me and then we met (inaudible 0:21:03.9) I was there and she was there and we met.  And she was like very interested in the project (inaudible 0:21:12.4) and she might come here and talk.  And we briefly talked about the model and we briefly talked about the different (inaudible 0:21:19.7) that she has here and (inaudible 0:21:23.5).  One of those from the center of (inaudible 0:21:26.9) this is a program that lasts for one year.  And we (inaudible 0:21:35.9) every year and we have around 400 applicants for 25 grants, for 25 spots.  And the problem that Christine was having in (inaudible 0:21:49.5) is that they don't have students, they have professors or people who care to teach but they don't know who they're going to teach.  They cannot (inaudible 0:22:03.4) for example, (inaudible 0:22:06.2)

(Inaudible comment or question from the background)

[Scott]: Can you just repeat that one more time?  Did you guys catch that?

(Massive inaudible conversation in background 0:22:54.9 - 0:23:18.7)

[Judy]: this is the website (inaudible 0:23:16.4) translated into English (inaudible 0:23:22.0)

(Inaudible comment or question from the background)

[Steven]: Everything at Centro takes place in Spanish.  That's the question to get actually (inaudible 0:23:39.3) here because all of our debates took place in English and English is not an official language in Lebanon.  The official language, which is Arabic of course, and the national language is French and English just happens to be default (inaudible 0:23:54.3)

(Inaudible comment or question from the background)

[Judy]: Also we had a similar problem in Argentina.  The present governor to Argentina is the (inaudible 0:24:06.2) of the Centro and doesn't speak English.  And they have a strong resistance of learning English because for them to learn English (inaudable0:24:17.1).  So it's kind of (inaudible 0:24:21.0).  A system of colonizing or whatever.  it's just a way that the world chose to (inaudible 0:24:42.5).

[Steven]: Greg are you posting pictures?

[Greg]: I'm simply getting (inaudible 0:24:49.0).  If you know how to post them and you know what the password is, and they could see kind of the context.

[Steven]: Absolutely.

(inaudible background chatter)

[Scott]: Yeah totally.

(inaudible background chatter)

[Scott]: Yeah totally.  She gave you a shout out man.  You didn't see that?  Do you want to say hello?

[Theresa]: hi baby!  I miss you.

(laughter)

[Theresa]: you guys, just one thing.  If you slowed down a little bit, it's really hard to hear speaking so fast.  So just kind of keep that in mind.  Okay bye!  Continue on.

(inaudible background chatter)

[Male Group Member]: So listen, one thing I would like to say to you just kind of backing up from our specific (inaudible 0:25:59.5) just kind of first impressions about Home Works in general.  When I was looking at this event, to be frank, I got asked to come from three different angles.  I was having beers would Anton (inaudible 0:26:13.7) and he said there is this great event and maybe you should go and Shallotte was like you have to go and then (inaudible 0:26:23.3) and then one of our board members who is also (audio feed lost 0:26:27.9).

[Scott]: Yeah, that was our fault guys.  The sound, I put the mic right in front of our speaker so you guys were getting crazy feedback probably.  All just turn it off until we have something to say.  Yeah, don't let us stop you.

(Audio feed lost/Silence 0:26:57.5 - 0:32:15.0)

[Scott]: Nato?  Who is organizing the art school in Beirut?

[Nato]: What's that?

[Scott]: who is organizing the school in Beirut?  Or the academy, I mean.  The Beirut academy.

[Nato]: (inaudible 0:32:30.2)

[Scott]: Okay.

(Audio feed lost/Silence 0:32:34.2 - 0:34:20.7)

[Scott]: Hello.  Yeah, we're still here.  It just dropped for a second.  We got basically everything right up to, well...

[Steven]: Okay so, I'm just going to (Audio feed lost 0:34:33.3).

(Audio feed lost/Silence 0:34:33.3 - 0:44:10.2)

[Scott]: Yeah, that was like a censored audio blast (laughing).  But please, go on. (audio feed lost 0:44:18.7)

(Audio feed lost/Silence 0:44:18.7 - 0:44:39.7)

[Steven]: We actually managed to (audio feed lost 0:44:42.6).

(Audio feed lost/Silence 0:44:42.6 - 0:57:33.4)

[Male Group Member]: There is a question about how much this event costs to the group.

(Inaudible background conversation 0:57:55.9)

(Audio feed lost/Silence 0:58:25.9 - 1:03:28.4)

[Scott]: Hey, what are you guys drinking there by the way?  Can you hear me?  Were you guys drinking there, by the way?  Out of curiosity.

[Male group member]: Beer.

[Scott]: Oh, okay.  Same here. Okay (laughing).  We're all looking at your photographs.  Yet, by the way, we're all looking at your photographs.  They are great.  We should send some photos your way too.  But yeah, I was just curious if what you're just describing were considerations that went into forming the art academy there?  You know, because I was wondering you know sometimes it's easier to have political discussions that run parallel with artists practice and often when artists are involved they can kind of claim that as a practice because they are in discussion about it or maybe there were references it.  But when people like all of you are involved on some level in forming something like this, a citywide art academy in a place like Beirut, I'm just curious if through this conference some of those considerations came up during the planning process.

[Male group member]: Just so you know Scott, the art academy has not started.  It's just in the forming stage...

[Scott]: Right.

[Male group member]: Part of what this was about was to float various ideas, some that are successful in some that are failures around (inaudible 1:05:12.6) learn from, right?  So I think that the first thing, most of the discussion has been (audio feed lost 1:05:24.8).

(Audio feed lost/Silence 1:05:24.8 - 1:06:37.5)

[Scott]: Do you think there's a lot of competition there?  I mean, since a lot of the people involved there are involved in various pedagogical practices or creative pedagogical practices as part of what they do.  You know.  Do you think that?  I don't know.  Do you think that anyone is kind of stepping up to the plate or there is a demand for that?  Do you know what I mean?

(inaudible background answer - audio feed lost 1:07:18.8)

(Audio feed lost/Silence 1:07:18.8 - 1:10:04.8)

[Female group member]: Scott went to the bathroom.  We are here.  So, I think maybe.  I was wondering…  Being from where you are at a conference in Beirut in a very specific place and a very specific group of people, I'm sort of wondering if there's any possibility of figuring out a sort of broader sense of what is going on.  I mean, what other sort of other than the people you have experienced through the conference is there any way to experience Beirut in a broader way?  I don't know if you can say anything about that.

[Judy]: In my personal experience (inaudible 1:10:46.7 - 1:11:13.0)

[Male group member]: I just want to say that, you know, one thing that in a broader sense is really important, that does sound so dorky.  So maybe that is worth saying because dorky things are always works saying.

(Laughter)

You know, one thing that we can always know as the community is that there are people in this region that can be allies and can be our friends. (Inaudible 1:11:38.0) ability of presenting geography as a way of producing community seems all the more urgent in regions like this where we can learn a lot from the conditions here.  I have learned so much about this kind of weird idea of what the (inaudible 1:11:56.3) is and really realizing that this isn't some complicated way of reaching people in real terms, human terms.  And this art practice really makes more sense for me go into these regions.  That sense of urgency translates to kind of a way of radicalizing me.  And then a can remind us of this project that we are invested in what America can try to feel dead and stuck in our little alcove of art and whatever when in fact, this project that we're on has relevance.  I think that is the big lesson.

(inaudible background chatter)

[Female group member]:I think what I meant by my question was more so like…  Can they hear me?

[Scott]: I don't know.

[Female group member]: Can you hear me?   

[Male group member]: Yeah.

[Female group member]: I think what I meant for my question though was almost more like an outsider perspective.  Is there sort of any possibility of gaining an outsider perspective when you are sort of in the place that you are in?  It sounded like, Steven, you went on a tour or something?  Possibly you have some kind of a neighborhood where you saying?  So maybe you have more perspective about that.

[Steven]: The practice is walking.  He's sort of did a curated walk, if you want to call it that, through two different neighborhoods.  Two very, very different neighborhoods.  But not to produce an art object but to produce perception.  He is an architect (inaudible 1:13:43.5) so it was a pretty cool interpretation of an urban landscape.  But I want to add about the inside/outside dynamic.  What is really interesting about Home Works is how it is kind of a magic combination of inside and outside perspectives which allows everyone to speak very freely and very frantically and often (inaudible 1:14:15.2) and speaking absolutely directly and not having to say " I don't really know what I am talking about but if you don't mind all just add my 2¢ worth."  Maybe you could actually say "I don't agree with that" and the other person says (inaudible 1:14:33.1).  I don't think otherwise I would come.  What is really great for me is that we find common ground and this Artworld (inaudible 1:14:48.5) and that is super interesting.

(Inaudible background conversation Judy/Nato/Steven 1:14:56.3 - 1:19:01.0)

[Steven]: With interesting for me over the years to come into this thing is to see (inaudible 1:19:06.0) also in discourse.  In certain conceptual (inaudible 1:19:10.2) has gained certain currency in the discussion today.  But I think that what is really important for all of us is how all this (inaudible 1:19.22.8).  We're obviously not, us and this room here, the ones were gonna be decided that.  I love the passion in which Nato raised questions systematically.  Greg, Judy and myself obviously we are not passive bystanders we also feel like we should take over somehow in a city where we don't live and probably never will.  And I think that is an interesting thing.  The series in which art is normally practiced (inaudible 1:20:00.3) is really infectious.  Somehow we all want that to be the case.  You know, I don't want to ask questions.  I want to pour my heart into it.

[Nato]: Yeah! Yeah!

(Laughter)

[Steven]: Do you guys want to ask some questions because we are…

[Scott]: What?  Are you guys tired? Oh, okay.  I was going to say.  I thought maybe you guys were getting tired but then I realize you just ran out of alcohol.  It makes sense.

[Greg]: That is a much more serious problem.

[Scott]: Definitely.  Wow, yeah.  There's some interesting background noise here.  I will be really interested in to see how the involvement of some of you guys and a few others that we know that are there can help shape this event.  It sounds to me like, I don't know, I could be wrong.  Sounds to me like this is a very participatory, but there is some input desired by the contributors, the people who were invited to come there (lost audio feed 1:21:36.1).

(Audio feed lost/Silence 1:21:36.1 - 1:23:09.5)

[Steven]: Well user ship at this conference is a term that has come up.

(Laughter)

(Inaudible background chatter 1:23:37.7)

(Audio feed lost 1:24:17.5 - 1:26:56.4)

[Theresa]: Babe. You look really drunk in the pictures that are coming over.  

(Laughter)

(Inaudible background)

[Theresa]: Yeah, but Greg's sending video and it really doesn't do you well.  Anyway, so let's continue.  I was wondering something else (laughing).  They are showing the video right now, is a little scary.  I had a question about where this takes your personal practice like after Beirut.

[Nato]: Well the one thing that I have been considering is, well...  I don't know, to be honest.  But the natural urge is to just start doing something in Beirut or partner with an organization (inaudible 1:28:03.1).  But then it's so funny (inaudible 1:28:06.9) and then another curator said that they were looking for partnerships and then I started seeing the logic of this thing and how they were creating an interest in the region and how that will show up.  Because I'm convinced that within a year and a half we're going to see a million different pedagogical experiments in the art world.  I think the real question is to really think politically what would be affected, how we actually produce something that affected. (inaudible 1:28:52.4) and think about ways that we can support people with things that they want.  To start conversation about what they need from people in the west and what we could use and learn from them.  The dialog around kind of a humble assistance to each other and then maybe think about building ties as opposed to this kind of knee jerk let's just do a project together.  Does that make sense?

[Theresa]: That makes a lot of sense Babe.  Anybody else?

[Scott]: OMG Greg.

[Theresa]: I mean to that question.  Anybody else to that question.

[Nato]: What are you going to take back with you from this?  How are you going to apply this to your practice?

[Judy]: To my practice in particular? I don't know. I did make an observation which is like, I think that there is dynamic that is established (inaudible 1:29:50.6 -1:30:07.2).  And the sense of like the west kind of needs to feed on a sense of newness. (Inaudible 1:30:23.6) happens here, it does have a sense of newness and (inaudible 1:30:31.1).  The western culture has a sense of oppression, you could say, and I do receive a certain sense of its limitations.  I mean, it's not gonna go farther than that because there's so much that can be done (inaudible 1:30:59.1 - 1:31:13.8) and then bye bye.

(Laughter)

(Inaudible background conversation Steven/Nato/Judy 1:31:20.6 - 1:34:00.9)

[Steven]: I just want another beer.

(Laughter)

[Scott]: Steven wait, you're taking the last beer? You're not splitting it with your comrades?

(inaudible background comment)

(Laughter)

[Scott]: Hilarious.

(inaudible background chatter)   

[Scott]: Judy, Nato, Salem, Greg it was awesome to chat with you guys.  All of you guys too elsewhere.

[Theresa]: Bye Nato, love you.  It

(inaudible background chatter)

(Singing theme from Bonanza)

END OF TRANSCRIPTION
1:37:14.1
Page |

Backchannel


Chat History with basekamp/$f150c0fed29a73c1" title="#basekamp/$f150c0fed29a73c1">Homeworks Forum http://www.basekamp.com/about/events/homeworks-forum (#basekamp/$f150c0fed29a73c1)

Created on 2010-04-27 21:45:05.

2010-04-27

BASEKAMP team: 18:06:40
hey everyone... we're running a few mins behind
BASEKAMP team: 18:06:42
LOLs
BASEKAMP team: 18:07:16
Stephen just texted, says they're on their way & we shoud give em 10 mins (or so)
Maria Kelley: 18:07:32
hello
BASEKAMP team: 18:07:37
smiley smiley smiley  smiley smiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smiley smiley  smiley smiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smiley smiley  smiley smiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smiley smiley  smiley smiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smiley smiley  smiley smiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smiley smiley  smiley smiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smiley smiley  smiley smiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smiley
Maria Kelley: 18:07:54
alright alright..  lol
BASEKAMP team: 18:08:09
woot
BASEKAMP team: 18:08:11
hi mom
Maria Kelley: 18:09:17
hi Scott!  smiley
Maria Kelley: 18:12:08
my mic isn't working.  smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:12:13
'sok
BASEKAMP team: 18:12:24
you can just liten if you want... and type in here
Maria Kelley: 18:12:58
okay, sounds good.  hope I can hear something.  nothing yet.
BASEKAMP team: 18:13:12
haven;t started yet
Maria Kelley: 18:13:17
oh, hehe
Maria Kelley: 18:13:39
well, that would make all the difference!  smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:16:00
so we're looking @ the Ashkal Alwan site now, while we wait for the Beiruit-ers to join
BASEKAMP team: 18:16:05
how's everyone doing?
BASEKAMP team: 18:16:17
not *everyone*... ;0 how are you all doing?
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:16:51
hi all - can you post the url? thanks!
BASEKAMP team: 18:17:13
oh snap http://www.ashkalalwan.org/
BASEKAMP team: 18:17:34
specific infos about tonight http://basekamp.com/about/events/homeworks-forum
Maria Kelley: 18:17:46
I'm doing well.  no sound on my end yet.
BASEKAMP team: 18:18:29
hi Stephen, Nato & Greg!
BASEKAMP team: 18:19:00
it's a beautiful breezy day in Phildelphia... a few people here right now, more walking in
BASEKAMP team: 18:19:16
but maybe we shuld get this party started since you guys are calling from 1am >smiley
gregory sholette: 18:19:16
And Judi Werthein
gregory sholette: 18:19:23
yes yes yes
gregory sholette: 18:19:43
can you add rashasalti
BASEKAMP team: 18:19:56
yes, but... i don't have the contact here
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:20:53
bummer stf cant catch a break
BASEKAMP team: 18:21:06
can you pass the skypename our way?
BASEKAMP team: 18:21:14
Sean ?
BASEKAMP team: 18:21:24
break?  smiley
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:21:33
Stefpasquini.com is using an older version of Skype that does not support multi-person chats and therefore can't join
BASEKAMP team: 18:21:48
ohhhh.. but looks like she's in now, no?
tefpasquini" title="stefpasquini">Stefpasquini.com: 18:21:57
really? I thought I was up to date
BASEKAMP team: 18:22:00
well.. let's try
BASEKAMP team: 18:22:12
sometimes skype gives us random errors that don't not suck
tefpasquini" title="stefpasquini">Stefpasquini.com: 18:22:23
I'm in the chat, I'm not in the call though
gregory sholette: 18:22:30
ok lets go
BASEKAMP team: 18:22:48
right, we haven't started yet. do we need 1 more person on your end?
gregory sholette: 18:23:00
look likes shes asleep!!
gregory sholette: 18:23:14
It's late here
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:17
yeah, we can get started & add her later ---- ah, that'd xplain it!
gregory sholette: 18:23:22
call us
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:23
ok, calling now
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:39
welcome so welcome Stephen Wright, Greg Scholette, Nato Thompson, Judi Werthein in Beirut
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:24:08
wow, that was amazing
Maria Kelley: 18:24:16
Maria here
Maria Kelley: 18:24:21
just listening
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:29:30
i'm listening and its clear
tefpasquini" title="stefpasquini">Stefpasquini.com: 18:29:50
sound's good here in italy
Maria Kelley: 18:30:10
I'm listening and the sound is very clear
Maria Kelley: 18:30:31
how's the weather in Italy?
tefpasquini" title="stefpasquini">Stefpasquini.com: 18:30:44
getting warmer!
Maria Kelley: 18:31:15
cool!  lol
tefpasquini" title="stefpasquini">Stefpasquini.com: 18:32:04
although i am about to fall asleep (nothing to do with you guys - i'm overworked lately!)
tefpasquini" title="stefpasquini">Stefpasquini.com: 18:32:29
it's 12,30 am here
Maria Kelley: 18:32:31
I can relate.  smiley
Maria Kelley: 18:32:33
wow!
BASEKAMP team: 18:32:44
Nato, Theresa says "yo whatsup!"
tefpasquini" title="stefpasquini">Stefpasquini.com: 18:32:51
much later in beirut!
Maria Kelley: 18:33:11
I'm in Georgia, USA   It's 6:30 PM here
BASEKAMP team: 18:33:19
smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley
Maria Kelley: 18:33:31
Beirut!  wow!!!
tefpasquini" title="stefpasquini">Stefpasquini.com: 18:33:32
smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:33:58
smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:36:35
aharon add you to the call now
BASEKAMP team: 18:39:03
aharon smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:39:42
can you type the names of the artists in?
Aharon: 18:39:59
hiyas! smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:46:11
we're looking @ http://balkansproject.ips-dc.org/?page_id=145 Judi... do you think this is a good place to get a sense of some of what you're talking about?
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:47:03
basekamp can you call me in again? I had to cut out for a bit, thanks
BASEKAMP team: 18:47:13
salem yea --- calling u again
gregory sholette: 18:47:13
www.ciacentro.org
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:47:43
ty
BASEKAMP team: 18:47:53
np >smiley
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:49:21
aaawwww
Maria Kelley: 18:49:27
awww..  that's so sweet!
BASEKAMP team: 18:49:35
you guys are gonna love that we're looking at the site through GOOGLE TRANSLATE!
BASEKAMP team: 18:50:07
smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley ( smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley ( smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley ( smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley ( smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley ( smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley ( smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley ( smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley ( smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley ( smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley ( smiley
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:50:13
oh no remix sound happening
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:50:28
better
BASEKAMP team: 18:50:30
oops.. better
Maria Kelley: 18:50:31
sound is mixed, can't understand
BASEKAMP team: 18:50:32
k
Maria Kelley: 18:50:40
better
gregory sholette: 18:51:24
posted file IMG_3678.JPG to members of this chat<files alt=""><file size="659675" index="0">IMG_3678.JPG</file></files>
Aharon: 18:52:03
sounds like us army lingo of good/bad guys..? m looking for the uglies.. (where's the mirrir? smiley)
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:52:15
Nato - is that because it's in Beirut?
BASEKAMP team: 18:52:25
like the dark side & the jedi
Aharon: 18:52:36
who paid their flights?
BASEKAMP team: 18:53:21
we got you photo
BASEKAMP team: 18:53:43
smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley  smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:53:51
we need greg in the photo
BASEKAMP team: 18:54:04
behind the pic
BASEKAMP team: 18:54:26
ok, we see you in the reflection in the beer bottle Greg
Aharon: 18:56:55
so.. what kind of !="academy" is it?
Maria Kelley: 18:56:57
sound is bad again  : -(
BASEKAMP team: 18:57:18
oops!
BASEKAMP team: 18:57:36
the sound is much better!
BASEKAMP team: 18:57:42
smiley
tefpasquini" title="stefpasquini">Stefpasquini.com: 18:57:44
yep
gregory sholette: 18:57:44
call us back
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:57:45
Perhaps a later ? -- is the work that people brought there reflecting that same kind of "warring/disaster area tourism" that is bringing lots of interest to the "novelty" of art in beirut? & can those who have been in this situation as observers/participants reflect upon this?
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:57:51
later after the call comes back and all that was just said is repeated of course
Aharon: 18:57:53
plus why is it that the speaker sounds so sourprised about capital checking hip "new" locals?
BASEKAMP team: 18:57:58
hey guys, looks like wireless dropped here for a secccccc
BASEKAMP team: 18:58:05
calling bak]
Maria Kelley: 18:58:20
i can hear
eanstoops" title="seanstoops">Sean Stoops: 18:58:42
OK I hear loud and clear!
tefpasquini" title="stefpasquini">Stefpasquini.com: 18:58:48
me 2
Maria Kelley: 18:59:02
m3
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 18:59:10
interesting point, stephen!
BASEKAMP team: 18:59:17
"it's like it really mattered... it's as if art actually had a role in the production of the public sphere.."
Aharon: 18:59:19
what kind of "art" is "art" practice in beirut?
Aharon: 19:01:03
examples of discussion topics..?
Maria Kelley: 19:02:38
oh, let's hope not
BASEKAMP team: 19:02:39
LOLLOLOLOLOsssss
Aharon: 19:02:58
any concrete examples of what he said? (the allah guy..)
Aharon: 19:03:37
what is "art power"??
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:05:03
so the students that we're talking about are teenagers? did I get that right? that's really interesting
gregory sholette: 19:05:13
http://www.ashkalalwan.org/ the homeworkw forum program is on the site
BASEKAMP team: 19:05:19
haha greg!
BASEKAMP team: 19:05:24
(photo)
BASEKAMP team: 19:06:13
hi megfrisch!
Meg Frisch: 19:06:20
Waves!
BASEKAMP team: 19:06:31
you have headphones at the UX conference? or text-only?
Meg Frisch: 19:06:41
UX show & tell smiley I have headphones
BASEKAMP team: 19:06:45
smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley
Meg Frisch: 19:06:46
I can keep one ear in & one ear out.
BASEKAMP team: 19:07:06
so add you to the audio right (megrfrisch)?
BASEKAMP team: 19:07:37
assuming yes
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:08:59
that's interesting - the idea that a leader would be talking about a difference between "popular" & "elite" culture, not at all an American idea
BASEKAMP team: 19:09:04
stephen  smiley
Aharon: 19:10:31
hills.. and sea..
Aharon: 19:11:13
good point - salem! smiley
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:12:47
that's a really good point - & think of that in terms of the difference between elite culture and other cultures
Aharon: 19:12:53
r u saying they were all educated by ralph nader..? smiley
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:13:10
(point that Judi made about artists being educated outside of region)
Aharon: 19:13:30
yup.. a bad smile re that..
Aharon: 19:14:31
the binary though, of elite vs popular is also interesting because it it a western construct - by enlarge - however it is bloody usefyl for control..
Aharon: 19:15:41
does not feel set???!!! maybe it is set - but not feeling like..?
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:16:26
that's amazing, so then almost all decisions are in flux - talk about powerful lobbyists!
Aharon: 19:16:31
are these religious - or tribal groups..?
BASEKAMP team: 19:17:21
how much money does Homeworks cost do you think?
BASEKAMP team: 19:17:35
sounded like a prety large event
Meg Frisch: 19:18:09
mm lost connection...
Aharon: 19:18:25
in what way, stephen, are these art works, like in home-works - are not symbolic..?
BASEKAMP team: 19:19:45
hilarious!
BASEKAMP team: 19:19:51
it's like las vegas
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:19:59
but could you have gay sex with a bear and some beers on the sides of tanks?
BASEKAMP team: 19:20:23
salem you can totally do that in philadelphia
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:20:25
thanks for answering my very important questions
BASEKAMP team: 19:20:27
minus the tanks
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:20:28
haha
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:20:44
no
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:20:51
we hope you're all wearing pants
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:20:54
hi good!
BASEKAMP team: 19:20:56
what are ou guys doing over there
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:20:57
hi all
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:21:13
berets!
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:21:36
so are political decisions effective ones? i mean you were talking before about how there were so many competing groups in political process and yet theres the sense that you can do anything, so are politics considered ineffective? irrelevant? affecting another sphere or life?
BASEKAMP team: 19:23:55
nice pic nato
Aharon: 19:26:01
is it not capitalism - exactly what u describe?
Aharon: 19:27:48
capitalism is not something organised.. the lack of state power just enables it to get more extreme.. like more extreme difference between rich and poor, etc..
BASEKAMP team: 19:28:04
are these considerations in forming the art academy there
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:29:37
isnt it not the lack of state power, but the lack of a real political sphere (i honestly have no clue what politics actually looks like in beirut)-- if minimal state for neoliberalism is where the main role of government is just military defense/ prisons (and not necessarily the preservation or cultivation of public space)
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:29:45
thats to aharon
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:33:56
yeah, same thing happens on the south side of chicago too! seriously. culture history needs to come from the hands of the makers -- can't agree more
gregory sholette: 19:35:13
posted file MVI_3694.AVI to members of this chat<files alt=""><file size="2982620" index="0">MVI_3694.AVI</file></files>
Aharon: 19:37:08
it is a good question, that of the political sphere and power/state-power.. but the point i was trying to make is that via stephen's descriptions it did sound like a very capitalistic place.. (maybe my critique of state-power was too flat and off-the-hip-ish)
Aharon: 19:37:31
(who is speaking now at basekamp??)
BASEKAMP team: 19:38:19
that was Theresa Rose
Aharon: 19:38:59
theresa, you have a new voice fan! smiley
BASEKAMP team: 19:39:13
smiley  smiley  smiley
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:39:47
what will be coming out of homeworks? do funders require some kind of publication? is there talk about what that will look like? obviously people are returning to their respective homes like nato said and brinigng somehting with them... but some of that energy goes into the new academy, what do you think is going to come out and are there better or worse things that can be done?
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:39:59
cool to hear about texts & maybe even misunderstanding being a place for common ground
gregory sholette: 19:41:01
this is a very capitalist place - the middle east is a very capitalist place, but maybe not the kind of global captialism - or financialized capital - that we are so used to - its a city filled with many small enterprises - but hoping to reach, I suspect, into the global sphere, perhaps in competition with Dubai - which now is positioning itself as the new center of culture in the middle east "post" beirut and cairo - greg
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:42:09
(bracketing my question: we are debating whether and how to do a publication for our recent drift with brian and im honestly curious about the question with respect to circulating concepts and discussions , like right now)
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:42:24
its not a question!
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:42:26
haha
BASEKAMP team: 19:42:49
Lollllllllll
gregory sholette: 19:44:09
there are also many monied classes here - who have always had access to the west in a privileged way - so the question of starting up an art school is always already marked by that class problem - which here in Beirut is also complicated by religion and politics - this small country and city is like a pressure cooker of difference - g.
Aharon: 19:44:36
ok.. that is interesting "global" (dare i say "international") capitalism and it difference with outsider capitalism.. this is kind of having an interesting point re middle east politics/activities and its anachronistic nature visavi european/us perception.. indeed is it not that some of the fascination with mideast in eu/us is that its like a contemporary window into the past..
Aharon: 19:45:10
still fighting in phily.. smiley
gregory sholette: 19:45:30
I was born in philly - g
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:45:51
great project
Aharon: 19:45:56
are they contributors, scott? not users..? smiley
BASEKAMP team: 19:46:09
re Sean -- yes
BASEKAMP team: 19:46:31
@ Aharon -- kind of both aren't they? what do you guys think?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:46:36
yeah i organize d ashow of pad.ma videos here and been in touch with ashok about it..
gregory sholette: 19:46:50
http://pad.ma
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:46:50
sebastian also did textz.com
BASEKAMP team: 19:47:08
apart from the question of whether or not usership is a form of production -- sounds as if there's a more active role
BASEKAMP team: 19:47:22
Sean ++
Aharon: 19:47:32
lol
BASEKAMP team: 19:47:48
we Bet Stephen!
Aharon: 19:48:39
difference..?? pls define..?
gregory sholette: 19:49:16
posted file IMG_3667.JPG to members of this chat<files alt=""><file size="1028064" index="0">IMG_3667.JPG</file></files>
Aharon: 19:49:25
u said makes a diff
Aharon: 19:49:35
asked about define
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:50:03
haha
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:50:50
basekamp = you'll have to post all these pix somewhere, I think they're only going to y'all. smiley beirut visitors -- can you quickly talk about the importance or unimportance of collectivism in beirut? I know that's a really large question and maybe not something you can deal with in 10 minutes
BASEKAMP team: 19:50:57
except FBI
Aharon: 19:51:01
lol
Aharon: 19:52:12
immigrate..? smiley
gregory sholette: 19:52:20
difference in a very simple and direct sense: christian right, christian liberals, christian leftists (usually marxists but not stalinist), muslim islamic and more secular fundamental types, and just plain secular types - g
gregory sholette: 19:53:14
posted file IMG_3677.JPG to members of this chat<files alt=""><file size="591336" index="0">IMG_3677.JPG</file></files>
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:53:29
salem's question?
Aharon: 19:54:13
to greg - these are just groupings that live in there.. not what art(???) does to make a different "difference" in the lebanon..
gregory sholette: 19:54:15
sorry Salem - your question again ( we have only about 5 minutes left on this internet account)
BASEKAMP team: 19:54:39
good timing.. since it's 7:55 smiley
gregory sholette: 19:54:59
Not sure what you mean Aharon by your question - can you quickly expand?
gregory sholette: 19:55:37
" these are just groupings that live in there" but this totaly defines the city and the place Aharon
Aharon: 19:55:38
the question is re stephs assertion that "art" makes a "difference" in beirut
gregory sholette: 19:55:54
can't speak for Stephen
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:56:21
I said basically -  quickly talk about the importance or unimportance of collectivism in beirut? I know that's a really large question and maybe not something you can deal with in 10 minutes. So maybe this answers Theresa's ?, it's something to write about
Aharon: 19:56:32
sure they do.  r u saying they grouped via some art project?
BASEKAMP team: 19:56:48
we just emailed you 2 pics Greg
BASEKAMP team: 19:56:54
to you r gmail acct
gregory sholette: 19:56:56
hey Salem - collectivism is here and alive - but not as fluid or informal as in Chicago - g
BASEKAMP team: 19:57:13
well.. there's not an academy there like SAIC yet right??
BASEKAMP team: 19:57:18
smiley
Aharon: 19:57:39
what kind of a difference..?
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:57:39
oh lord
gregory sholette: 19:57:44
saic? hardly. its still very formal and rigid according to our local friends - g
BASEKAMP team: 19:57:45
haha
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:58:05
lol
gregory sholette: 19:58:08
so we must say good night - stephen has his last beer
gregory sholette: 19:58:24
so much for collectivism !
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:58:27
hahahaa
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:58:33
thanks all -- was great to hear about this
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:58:52
omg
Aharon: 19:58:57
lol
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:59:02
thanks all
Aharon: 19:59:02
great!
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:59:09
good luck!
Aharon: 19:59:09
thanks!
Meg Frisch: 19:59:13
thank you!
BASEKAMP team: 19:59:16
till next time!
BASEKAMP team: 19:59:41
someone want to play some closing music?
Meg Frisch: 19:59:56
doo doo dooo didlly doo
BASEKAMP team: 20:00:13
da da da
eanstoops" title="seanstoops">Sean Stoops: 20:00:32
oh- good night!
BASEKAMP team: 20:00:57
los
BASEKAMP team: 20:01:00
lol even

Week 8: A School of Decreative Methodologies

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

We’ll be talking with some of the instigators and founding users of A School of Decreative Methodologies, an as yet unnamed, usership-based initiative favoring decreative approaches to knowledge production. It decreative process is not classroom based, nor even linked to any site at all, but is deployed through a series of collegial moments. Its objectives and structure are perhaps best summed up by its founding Charter, according to which it is:

A collegial moment without students, without teachers, without walls, without curricula, in rupture with all notions that institute art and how it is taught. The initiative accompanies forms of usership disposed to sundering art from itself.

  1. The college’s goal is to activate practices whose purpose and finality is not art.
  2. It asserts its institutional exodus.
  3. It deploys and takes form through satellite propositions, which are at once extradisciplinary and depersonalized.
  4. It functions on the basis of users alone, impugning any binary opposition between teachers / students, experts / non-experts.
  5. It operates through networks with or without affinities.

The initiative emerged in 2008 as an “extension” of the the Paris Biennale (http://www.biennaledeparis.org/) — an exhibitionless biennale, lasting two years (instead of taking place every two years) comprised of practices outside the regime of spectatorship. Recently it has asserted its autonomy from the Biennale.

Transcription

Week 8: A School of Decreative Methodologies
[0:00:00]
Scott: Hi there. Okay so let me go ahead and add some other people for the chat. I’m going to try to make this as smooth as possible this week but Greg, I think I mentioned, got violently ill just a few hours ago. He was actually planning on coming to run a bunch of stuff here. So I’m going to try to both be present and add people technically.

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: I’ll try to make it smooth for you but if you need anything from me maybe just—and don’t feel like letting other people know you can either give me a single or flag me in a text message or something.

Stephen: You bet.

Scott: Okay great. I’ll start adding other people now.

Stephen: Yep

Speaker 3: Can you see the chats afterwards?

Scott: Yes

Speaker 3 You can. How do you…?

Scott: Usually I save the chats and we make them available although we haven’t really made any of these available this year yet.

Speaker 3: I see

Scott: Yeah generally we’ll add it as an HTML file or whatever to our list. Then somebody can just click it and it’ll open in their browser and they can see everything just the way this looks.

Speaker 3: But eventually you’ll save a bunch…

Scott: Yeah we have them all saved it’s just they haven’t been uploaded—we have been adding the audio after it’s been cleaned up.

Speaker 3: Oh got ya, oh cool.

Scott: Really as of just this past week. There was a bug in embedding the audio. Initially we were just linking to that but anyway. Start adding people to the call and move on. Maybe we can get in a few minutes…

 Hi there everyone, whoever’s on, we’re still adding other people to the chat, and it’ll take just a moment here.

 Hello Jessica and the Chattanooga folks.

Jessica: Hey Scott.

Scott: Hey. Just hang tight for a second; we’re still adding people to the chat.

Jessica: Okay

Scott: Okay great. I think everyone that, besides Kathryn, who wanted to be on the call, is on now. Maybe since there are not that many people on just yet maybe we’ll wait.

Stephen: I hear a ringing sound, I don’t know.

Scott: Do you?

Stephen: That’s Kathryn Carl ringing.

Kathryn: Hi hello.

Scott: Hello Kathryn.

Kathryn: Hey how are you doing?

Scott: Excellent.

Kathryn: Great, okay I’m on, I’ll mute now too.

Scott: Okay super. So today we’re happy to welcome Stephen Wright and some of his cohorts.

Stephen: I’m not sure if my cohorts are here yet but they perhaps will join as we move along.

[0:05:00]

Scott: Great. And we’re going to be talking about A School of Decreative Methodologies. I’m pronouncing that right, right?

Stephen: Pretty much, I guess that’s how it’s pronounced.

Scott: Okay. Today, as another example of a Plausible Artworlds, one of many Plausible Artworlds that we’ll be highlighting this year during these weekly chats I just wanted to let everybody know ahead of time in case you get any terrible audio, please let us know or just let me know in the text chat or just flag me down one way or another because our audio setup is sub par this week. It’s been really great the past weeks, I think anyway, and this is not so great. So please just let me know and we’ll see what we can do about it if that happens.

 Anyway, to get past the technical, welcome Stephen and I’m personally really looking forward to talking with you about this group.

Stephen: Okay. It’s being talked about tonight under the name A School of Decreative Methodologies, it’s not really the name of the organization it’s just sort of what it is, it’s a school of decreative methodologies. The name is still up in the air, it’s still being debated. It’s actually being debated whether it will have a name or whether it will have a sort of a random name generator or whether it won’t have a name at all. Its being in the world hasn’t been anchored yet to a specific name but it is definitely a school of decreative methodologies. Can you guys hear me okay, am I…?

Scott: Yeah we can hear you pretty well here even though we have very tiny speakers this week, the built-in ones on this laptop, but we can hear you just fine.

Stephen: Okay. When I presented the—when I thought of a couple of sentences to sort of contextualize this school of decreative methodologies I thought the best way to go about it was to quote the charter. Because when the group of us came together in late 2008 to think about creating a sort of alternative knowledge construction project or knowledge decreation project we were actually—the link was that we were all in one way or another linked to the Paris Biennale. The Paris Biennale which is of course a biennale that came from the biennale started by Andre Malraux in the 1950’s, but which went intellectually, artistically and financially bankrupt in the ‘80s and then was reinvigorated at the beginning of this millennium, in 2004, 2006 and 2008 had its 13th, 14th and 15th additions.

[0:10:00]

Stephen: But it’s a biennale without an exhibition, without artwork, without authorship and without spectatorship and that was kind of the common bond which we had to try and imagine what we at that time called an extension of the biennale. The biennale has different extensions and the knowledge production school was to be one of them. But we have subsequently—ah here’s one of my colleagues now; Eric Laturno.

 We subsequently took our distance from the biennale and asserted the autonomy of this school of decreative methodologies but when we were establishing what it is we wanted to do we decided that rather than writing a manifesto we would write a founding charter. A sort of fundamental expression of what we wanted to do and we wanted to make it as tight, as precise but also as concise as possible. So I thought maybe one of the best ways to sort of talk about what it is we do and why would be simply to do a sort of a gloss informally on that rather precisely worded structure.

 Scott can you add Eric Laturno because I hope he’s calling because I can’t…

Scott: Yes we just added him to the chat and we’ll call him in just a sec.

Stephen: Okay great, thanks.

 So I don’t know if everyone has the charter…

[0:15:00]

Stephen: Mabel has also just pointed out that she is also a colleague and she’s also connected. So anytime, Eric if you’re there and Mabel, if anytime you guys want to jump in and correct me and contradict what I’ve just said please feel free to do exactly that.

Eric: Can you hear me?

Stephen: Yeah I hear you Eric. How are you doing? You can hear me?

Eric: I can hear you.

Stephen: Yeah we’re only using audio, there’s no video. If that’s okay I’ll just continue looking at this, what we call our founding charter.

Scott: There’s a charter…sorry the audio is a little bit feedbacky and I think Eric may need to mute temporarily.

Stephen: Okay. Do you want me to tell him that?

Scott: Yeah I’m trying to…but anyway I don’t want to keep going with that but it would be great Eric if you could get a sense of—you may not know where the mute button is, but in the lower left hand—actually maybe you did already. No? In the lower left-hand panel of your call window there are 2 buttons, the left-most button is the pause button and the one just to the right of that is the mute button. It looks like a little microphone with a circle and slash through it. Anyway, hope that helps.

 Here’s is the link to I think the charter. Is this right Stephen, is that the most updated version, the sort of numbers 1 through 5?

Stephen: Yeah it’s the one that’s on the Basecamp website basically.

Scott: I can paste it in as well.

Stephen: Yeah let me do that that will be easier. Let me just grab that.

Eric: Are we communicating with Mabel too or are we alone?

Stephen: Who is where?

Eric: Like Stephen is in Paris and…?

Stephen: No I’m in Vancouver actually.

Eric: You’re in Vancouver and the class is in the US right?

Stephen: Yeah there’s no class exactly. Well there is a class, there’s a class in Tennessee but we’re kind of all over the world.

Eric: We’re in Tennessee, Vancouver and Madrid now. I am in Madrid.

Stephen: Okay. And Mabel is in Paris, she’s our Paris anchor here.

Eric: Who is in Paris?

Stephen: Okay so…

Scott: So I guess we should probably continue and just try to step past some of the technical stuff. But yeah Magda and David are also in the UK and I think—I’m not sure where Kathryn—oh okay.

Stephen: What I just did now was I posted the charter to everyone on the chat. So maybe I should—if that’s okay I think I’ll just comment on that and then…

Scott: Yeah Stephen I’d really be appreciative of that. I’m actually really interested in that charter. I kind of want to ask how it came about and that process but I think maybe the best thing first would be to just talk about each of these five points a little bit.

Stephen: Okay let’s do that. So basically it originally had the name, which was very stable, which was the Paris Biennale College and I think we’re very—the subtitle was A School of Decreative Methodologies.

[0:20:00]

Stephen: This is why I’m presenting it as a school of decreative methodologies because that remains constant and I’ll come back to that notion of the decreative because it’s one of the three, in my opinion, key components of the initiative. The preamble is one sentence and it reads “As this, a collegial moment without students, without teachers, without walls, without curricula in rupture with all notions that institute art and how it is taught. The initiative of company’s forms of usership disposes to sundering art from itself.” So in those two sentences I think we underscore as radically and as economically as possible the notion that we are a school which does not exist in space but exists in time which is why we emphasis this notion of a collegial moment. Because you might say a moment is like a situation except a situation tends to be linked to a sight and we wanted very clearly to separate the initiative which we had in mind from any sight, hence the notion of without walls. So it’s a school without a school house and without any anchored site of any kind. It’s a moment so it’s something which—it’s a school in time, it exists in time but the type of time we have in mind is an immeasurable amount of time, a moment. Because a moment is at once indivisible and infinitely divisible so it can be—it’s elasticity allows it to take any sort of dimension whatsoever. But the type of dimension which we’re particularly interested in is the collegial dimension. So it’s a moment which exists collegially, so in the profound sense of the college. There’s a question that I ask, is it similar to Neue Slowenische Kunst State in Time? In a sense it’s not unlinked to that because NSK was trying to create a state that wasn’t linked to territory and certainly were trying to create a school which was not linked to a territory. But we’re particularly interested in it being—it’s not so much that it’s in time because we could have said a school in time, but it’s an immeasurable kind of time, measurable only through its collegiality. In other words the fact that it’s—collegial I think is stronger, it goes beyond the notion of collaboration or of collectivity, and it’s a particular form of collaboration. And this kind of collaboration is linked specifically to what we emphasis a great deal as being based on usership.

[0:25:00]

Stephen: Because we felt that art in its 20th century variant was very largely bound up with the meda institution of spectatorship and beyond that with a form of expert culture and we wanted to break both with the regime of spectatorship and the regime of expertise. So we sort of took advantage of the emergence of a new form of political subjectivity which seems to have emerged powerfully in the last 15 years which is that of usership, which is something very much associated with the rise of the web, but not exclusively because it’s also linked to just a form of knowledge and knowledge production based on a form of use value. In other words not a kind of knowledge which is projected from without but a type of knowledge which is generated from within.

 David says there’s no more audio.

Scott: The audio is here I think David actually has been dropped. It seems to happen with his connection for some reason. I’ll add him again. But real quickly I wanted to also—I have a pretty good sense of a lot of your ideas on usership Stephen, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind—I think I’m curious about this idea of collegiality. I don’t think I really fully understand what you mean yet by it.

Stephen: That’s for sure something which my colleagues would have something to comment on as well but I think it certainly is linked to the concept of usership because we wanted to get—as we point out in Article 4 of the charter this school is based on usership alone. So impugning as we say, binary opposition between teachers and students and experts and non-experts. So the type of collegiality which we have in mind is not one which is based on a cohort of specialists transmitting knowledge in a linear fashion to a group of people who don’t know yet. In fact the reason we have this charter in the first place is that anybody can take up, providing that they endorse all the points which are laid out in this very short charter, they could be considered to be colleagues within this collegial moment and are free to activate it no matter where they are in the world with no matter who. It’s a school which is—I mean there is a core group of colleagues if you like in Paris, but there is also colleagues all over the place and the idea is that these decreative methodologies, the decreative is also another thing I need to come back to, can be sort of performed or triggered, unleashed is probably a better word, basically anywhere.

[0:30:14]

Stephen: Yes, what it is. For sure that’s of course the crux of it. Well one thing—I think when we started we were wondering what we could do with art. We were wondering if it was good for something, if there was something that—if there was something specific and exclusive to it that we could use to decreate or to construct knowledge. And the college is actually made up of a series of collegial moments. So we say that the college itself is a collegial moment but in fact we have a list of collegial moments, we sometimes call them satellites because they function independently from the college itself, but in fact we think of them more as collegial moments. I can give you a list of them or let me just see here, let me just post some of them up. Mabel and Eric; maybe you want to comment while I’m looking for the list of collegial moments do you want to talk about them?

Eric: Are you talking to me?

Stephen: Yeah go ahead Eric.

Eric: Okay what was your question?

Stephen: Well for example you could talk about your collegial moment, the one that you’ve proposed and the one that you did.

Eric: Yeah well I think all the ideas that you are mentioning are so fascinating especially because we are still working on ‘how can we apply them?’ So I think working on that project which is on the, what we call in Canada an, Indian Reserve, Canadian Indian or we call it a reservation in Canada or any other communities where there is a high rate of criminality. But first nation reservation, this characteristic where the criminality rate is really high, I think 1/3, even sometimes more, 1/3 of the population in prison Canada is Canadian Indian. So on the reservation the crime rate is quite high.

[0:35:00]

Eric: So I started to work with the Museum [indiscernible] [0:35:09] which is a museum devoted to Indian art and contemporary Indian art which is in the community of [indiscernible] [0:35:24] in [indiscernible] [0:35:26], the community [indiscernible] [0:35:31]. On this collegial moment where—because I already started to the process where I worked with the healer of the village; the healer worked at a prison, this healer worked with the local police forces, the police officer is the singer for the healing ritual; so I’ve been involved with these people I started seeing about 6 months ago or a year ago. So I started to develop a collegial moment where I want to explore with the participants what specific skills and abilities are being developed by them by living within such a community where the crime rate is so high. So in other terms is the presence of high criminality in the community would be able to create for participants or for people in general live in this community some special skills that they can use. So I think the people who live in the community is I think the people have been some criminals. So the collegial moment is basically to try with the museum to make a meeting and share the specific consequences that they’ve developing in the community. So the collegial moment hasn’t happened yet, I’m still working on it. From the point where we will be able to understand these abilities, what they are. We want to use these abilities to create something different from what they use to be. So these abilities are considered as a kind of symbolic capital or symbolic force and it’s also a practical power that can be used in many ways within the community or by each individual. The idea is still abstract but that’s basically the idea of my collegial moment. I don’t know if you hear me though.

Stephen: Yeah we hear you perfectly. There’s a question Eric and that is “the collegial moment you were talking about, is that part of a project that people can find out more about or is it something which exists within the context of the college?” I’ll let you answer that.

Eric: Well it can exist in other context on the reserve, I’ve been working with them so I decided to do that there because I’m interested in the issue, but this can be done in prison.

[0:39:50]

Eric: The problem in doing this process in a prison for example would be that first you have to be approved by the directors of the prison and then the directors of the prison will want that to become a kind of [indiscernible] [0:40:20] thing for the prisoners, for the criminals as a rehabilitation thing which is not the point of my process, it’s not about rehabilitation from the offender into the society, it’s more about exploring what crime can create a creative process within the community or the individual. So yes the moment can be moved in different context, but according to the context the issues are different and it’s really easy to be manipulated or we call this in French être instrumentalisé, to be instrumentalized. So that’s the danger I think of my collegial moment, it’s also danger probably for others civilzied, when you shift them to another complex there’s always new issues appearing. These issues would be like you’ve been manipulated by institutions in power.

Stephen : Exactly.

Eric : Viola

Stephen : Okay. To continue, there are currently I think about a dozen collegial moments which are on offer, which are under discussion, which are activated. From time to time not all of them have been translated into English but I could make some of them—I could put some of them up here. Some of them are in English, here’s one just proposed by our friend Bob the Builder. Bob’s not with us tonight but we will actually be talking with him subsequently in Plausible Artworlds in a few weeks.

Scott : I’m sorry, Stephen, is he part of—in addition to context of au trovail is Bob part of the... ?

Stephen : Yeah Bob is also a founding user of the—because he was also part of that group that descented from the I guess Paris Biennale so he is one of the founding users along with Eric and I and Mabble and I don’t know if any of our other colleagues are with us right now. So basically Bob has proposed a collegial moment which is extremely open-ended.

[0:45:07]

Stephen: Which in fact doesn’t involve necessarily any kind of formalized pedagogy, which is to use ones place of work as a place of artistic residency, production and exhibition. Eric you have a question there, while I dig up another collegial moment maybe you want to look at that. Eric?

Eric: Yeah?

Stephen: Did you see that question? Do you have an idea?

Eric: I don’t see the thing…

Stephen: So the question is “Do you have an idea of those new ends to which to apply those new ways?” Or actually “Do you imagine the ways in which that might go?” Actually Magdalena it might be easier if you ask that question to Eric.

Eric: Yeah I think I’m still working on that so I don’t exactly know what will happen because it really belongs to the participant and I am not coming myself from a community where the criminality is really high. The reason I’ve been thinking of this is because one of my projects, an older project, I decided to do a PhD in criminology. So from that point I started to study crime and I started to be fascinated first by how the criminal can be so creative and so their methodology sometimes can be cool, some methodologies you can find in art in some way. I say that [indiscernible] [0:48:07] with the reserves but you know it’s controlled. But then I was thinking of visiting the Indian reserve that people have a certain way of behaving, they’re what we call in general [speaking French] and all these tools that are developed by people to protect themselves, to try to predict crime and stuff like that; how can these tools be used in other ways. So it really depends on who will be in the process or in the “workshops”. If they’re a member of the community that is closer to the cops that switches abilities; if the member of the community who is in the “workshop” is more like people that have different kinds of jobs and they’re not specializing, it will be completely different. So I think with each group the dynamic and the issues that will be raised will probably be different and I can not really answer because probably in one year when I will do this process I will have more answers.

[0:50:00]

Eric: And I try not to imagine anything to keep myself open to what will happen with the people, to not suggest or induce anything in the process but let the process by itself reveal the true essence of what will be important to this community. Viola

Stephen: Excellent. So in the meanwhile Eric I’ve been busily pasting up the short descriptions of some of the other collegial moments, to give a sense of the rather extreme heterogeneity of what could be understood by a collegial moment. Some of them are much more traditional in terms of the format; the one I proposed in terms of examining and flushing out a new terminology for artistic production in this century. The one I just put up just a moment ago and perhaps the one that’s been most active so far was proposed by Jean Baptiste [indiscernible] [0:52:10] which has to do with downsizing, downsizing not just within industry and elsewhere but downsizing in art itself. Mabel has just pointed out, yes it was a question a moment ago; the Paris Biennale College website no longer exists because the Paris Biennale College no longer exists and there will soon be a new website which reflects this new as yet unnamed entity but it’s not yet online but soon will be. Let me grab another one here. Just to give a certain, not overlook but a certain sense of a collegial moment proposed by Gina Badger on the ecological erotic’s of learning; so a certain number of collegial moments that focus on learning itself as a form of creative endeavor. In doing all that kind of what I wanted to suggest is that of course a school of decreative methodologies emerges within a context of what has been called the educational—the pedagogical turn and it’s clear that there’s a general crisis in terms of transmission and production of knowledge around art related practices and certainly we’re part of the general movement.

[0:55:00]

Stephen: But I also kind of wanted to emphasis that the objectives of our structure are linked to art practices whose finality is not art and I think that is something which we inherited from the Biennale and it’s something which we try to express in a word like decreative. The decreative is obviously…Hello?

Scott: Yeah I think we may need to have some of them turn down their volume. Eric if you can hear me if you could mute your audio when you’re not speaking that would helpful. Thanks!

Stephen: Okay. Yeah this word I talked a little bit about usership and certainly Eric’s example really shows how broad that understanding can be but the notion of the decreative on the one hand is a kind of refusal to be assimilated into that creative class, these creative types who have more or less infested our life world so it’s a refusal of that but at the same time it’s an attempt to go beyond that. The decreative is not the destructive so that’s the idea that something can both be art and something else at the same time. It can be what it is an a proposition of the same thing is basically, to put it really quickly, is one of the specificities of the stuff that we took from the Paris Biennale and the stuff that we’re working on now.

Eric: Stephen can I ask you a question?

Stephen: Yeah

Eric: When you talk about the decreativity is this about questioning the conditioning of the creative process or is it more about deconstructing the creative process, which I still think that can go together but can you maybe comment about that a little?

Stephen: Sorry Eric the two options were the deconstruction and?

Eric: Yeah the deconstruction of the creative process and/or about the conditioning of how we’re use to creating or what we think is creating.

Stephen: I think it’s absolutely both.

[1:00:00]

Stephen: As you know Eric, one of the things that I think is most urgent for us to do is to organize a symposium around the notion of the de-, of D-E-dash. I think it’s one of the major questions that has not actually been raised. We’re interested in deconstruction more than rather construction but it’s not the opposite of construction it’s the other construction and when you talk about des amon it’s not the opposite of amon but it’s the other of it. It’s the same emotion with the decreative; basically we don’t want to, to use Jean Baptiste’s example, we don’t want to add something more to the already existent. We want to take things away but we want that taking away also be a not purely negative experience but an enriching one. Enrichment through a subtraction if you like. Does that make sense Eric?

Eric: Yep

Stephen: Tell me who you think of it, I don’t know.

Eric: I think it’s—I like the idea but I’m still trying to find a way to do it because in the system we I think one of the starting points of this idea was to really try to free art from how it’s language is conditioned by the market…

Stephen: Absolutely

Eric: And the sentiment value but now we try to step further by not adding cultural value object or project but it’s very hard to do in a certain way. It’s kind of utopia because even though we create art that is absolutely without object, without anything that is marketable as you mentioned there’s still the symbolic value of the experience that’s there to sell. I not against or for that, but it’s just there, it just exists. So how can we subtract if we create situation and experiences? Kind of hard for you to solve that issue.

Stephen: For sure it’s kind of like squaring the circle but that’s why—I just think it’s part of the reason why we’ve had a hard time picking a name in a certain respect.  Because of course we don’t want to find a creative name, we have to find an absolutely decreative name or no name at all.

Eric: Yeah

Stephen: Because otherwise it will end up—and even a non name could end being a name so it’s not about splitting hairs into four and then into eight it’s about imagining how to do things by undoing them.

[1:05:00]

Stephen: Did I comment enough on the Charter or do we need to look at some other specific aspects of it? I think the Charter really—I insist on that, it really does define the specificity and the heterogeneity of our undertaking. Scott am I…?

Scott: We are with you; I actually completely agree that you guys need to find an extraordinarily boring name.

Stephen: Well it has to be one which we didn’t even really find in a certain sense, it has to be a ready-made name. Because a ready-made is an excellent example of the decreative.

Scott: So what’s wrong with The School of Decreative Methodology, I mean it’s sufficiently generic isn’t it?

Stephen: Well we have some other good ones too but some of them are too creative, this is the problem. I’ll tell you one of the reasons that some of our colleagues are not comfortable with the notion of decreative methodologies is they’re not comfortable particularly with the notion of the decreative. They feel that it may have a nasty side to it which is unpleasant but it may be excessively determining us into a particular direction which hasn’t been flushed out yet which is why I just said to Eric that I feel that one of the things that we need to do most urgently is to raise the question as a collegial moment, “What is the decreative?” I mean there was talk of calling it and I think it was even posted on the Plausible Artworlds site for a moment that it was going to be The Usual College and that gained a fair amount of support. These kinds of antic dotes actually tell sort of the story about how we function. It was favored by some because the notion of the collegial was present in the title and that’s something which I think we all are very sensitive to and because the notion of the usual. So it made it at once sort of ordinary and oriented toward use and of course use value is one of the things that we’re most attentive to in terms of the types of practices we’re looking at. But then others felt that this was once again pushing it too much in one direction and not enough in another so then it became The Usual College of the Academy of Decreative Methodologies and then that became the notion of academy became very off-putting for some because even if it was used ironically it was pushing it, but anyways. I won’t go through the whole thing but we do need something extraordinarily boring and extraordinarily open.

Scott: David Goldenberg has a…

[1:10:00]

Scott: Sorry I’m just looking at some of these comments, they’re really good. Before you address them I’m curious who the ‘you’ is. I realize that there are users and I know that you’ve mentioned some of them, do you guys work through a kind of consensus process or what’s your usership structure like, how are decisions made is I guess a more straightforward way of asking this. So even the decision about the name, you brought up various points mentioned but I guess I’m just kind of curious does everyone need to go through a process where there are…

Stephen: I think I lost audio there.

Scott: Oh, hello can you hear me okay?

Stephen: I can’t hear anything anymore.

Scott: Uh oh

Stephen: Scott, you still there?

Scott: Yeah I’m here.

Stephen: Okay.

Scott: Yeah I’m here Stephen; can you hear us now, better?

Stephen: Yeah I can hear fine now.

Scott: Okay great. Do you want me to ask that again real quickly or did you catch the gist?

Stephen: Well it’s based on consensus. If there’s one thing that the college or the school is not based on its consensus. It’s absolutely based on discensus. At first it appeared to be a sort of frustrating sort of stumbling block for us but as it turns out it’s kind of what preserves us from I don’t know one-way thinking. So there’s an incredible amount of discensus and the one thing which we agree on is that Charter which was the fruit of many months of hard and very dissensual labor to get it hammered out. But basically what it’s worked as now is that everyone is autonomous within the collegial structure to manage and carry out their collegial moments as they see fit but I think the practice is everyone has a veto power about the name that we will have or not have and so far that has left us very open-ended which of course will be a challenge when we get the website finished because it will actually have to have a name. So we are working on that but it’s not the only thing and it’s probably not the most interesting. It probably takes a lot of our energy but it’s not the most interesting thing which we do. So I would say yeah the decision making structure is collegial.

Scott: So actually Anthony just made a similar comment to I think what you just said, I don’t know if you saw that or basically he’s saying it seems like the naming is in his opinion the least important of the tasks.

Stephen: Yeah it’s the least important for sure.

Scott: But interesting, especially to people who are interested in language, who are deeply suspicious of language.

[1:15:00]

Stephen:  I don’t know if you guys can hear me because I hear only pings.

Scott: We hear you. I hear you there’s just Kung-Fu above our heads so I’m muting whenever not necessary that I speak.

Stephen: Randall, are you there now?

Randall: Yes

Stephen: Okay I wanted to wait until you were back before trying to answer your question. The link between decreation and slacking. Sorry?

 Okay the sound is kind of weird so I’m not sure if anyone…

Scott: Is the sound really terrible on your end Stephen because it’s fine on ours?

Stephen: Okay I can continue it’s just that I hear sounds but they’re not articulated language sounds so I was kind of wondering but I can continue. I wanted to address, if I can, Randall Shot’s comment about the relationship between the decreative and slacking. Yeah of course there’s a link particularly, I mean in a certain understanding of slacking and I think to a large degree that’s where the notion or the inspiration for the notion of the decreative came from. Because I think we see that there’s a clear link between productivism and creativity, in our era of the so-called creative capitalism.

[1:20:00]

Stephen: So we wanted to think how less was more in a certain respected terms of—I think we felt that basically education is premised also on a productivist model and that we needed to rethink the roads to—which is why we talked about knowledge decreation rather than knowledge production for example. We may also use the notion of knowledge production just because we don’t…

Scott: Oh man, well our signal is great. You have got to be kidding me.

Lisa: Hello?

Scott: Oh hi there. Hello we’re still trying to reach everyone so the few people who’ve connected so far just hang tight. Geez…

Stephen: Hello?

Scott: Hey Stephen. And we’re back. I’m just going to start adding people to the conference. Can you hear us okay, I hope?

Stephen: Yeah hey Scott.

Scott: Okay great, super. Alright just adding everyone back now. For real?

 Hey Lisa; are you there? I’m going to have to try calling you back, actually I’ll—maybe we’ll stay here. Okay you’re here so let’s keep the call on and I’ll try adding Stephen again and everyone else.

[1:25:00]

Scott: Hey Stephen; are you there?

Stephen: Yeah, hey.

Scott: Okay well if you can hear us we heard you for a second there can you try saying something again and see?

Stephen: Okay?

Scott: Okay great so you’re on, let me try continuing to add, maybe it’s just our Skype icon; it went nuts for a second.

 By the way Stephen; where is King right now, is he…?

 Hi there Stephen; are you there? We’re going to try this one more time; if we get disconnected from you again we’ll just go to text only.

[1:28:17] End of Audio

Backchannel


Chat History with basekamp/$bc2fa6813d536450" title="#basekamp/$bc2fa6813d536450">A School of Decreative Methodologies (#basekamp/$bc2fa6813d536450)

Created on 2010-02-23 21:16:55.

2010-02-23

Jessica Westbrook: 17:54:10
hi all
stephen wright: 17:54:40
Hello everyone
BASEKAMP team: 17:54:52
Hi Stephen
BASEKAMP team: 17:54:56
Hi everyone
Elysa Lozano: 17:55:01
hello!
magdalenatc: 17:55:14
hi there
BASEKAMP team: 17:57:11
We'll be starting in a few moments
BASEKAMP team: 18:01:56
hey Katherine, you said text only is fine - jsut making sure You don't wish to listen in to the audio?
BASEKAMP team: 18:02:05
who would like to join the audio?
mabel: 18:02:11
me
Jessica Westbrook: 18:02:19
audio in tennessee please
Jessica Westbrook: 18:02:27
teleseed this week
magdalenatc: 18:02:32
yes, audio here please
Elysa Lozano: 18:02:51
me too
katherinecarl: 18:03:17
ah yes I should listen, thx
BASEKAMP team: 18:03:49
ok, we'l be starting the call in a moment. If anyone feels like typing in things that are beign discussed, we won't complain smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:04:06
...for those who can't get on audio
katherinecarl: 18:04:10
great that's helpful
BASEKAMP team: 18:10:59
Nick, did you want to join the chat?
magdalenatc: 18:11:02
can hear you well. thank you.
BASEKAMP team: 18:11:24
i'l mute our audio for the moment, untill one of us has someting to ask or add smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:15
Eric, if you can mte yur audio until you want to chim in , that'd be great
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:21
maybe even lower your volume at that time
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:24
thanks smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:16:26
http://basekamp.com/about/events/school-decreative-methodologies
stephen wright: 18:16:59
A collegial moment without students, without teachers, without walls, without curricula, in rupture with all notions that institute art and how it is taught. The initiative accompanies forms of usership disposed to sundering art from itself.



   1. The college’s goal is to activate practices whose purpose and finality is not art.

   2. It asserts its institutional exodus.

   3. It deploys and takes form through satellite propositions, which are at once extradisciplinary and depersonalized.

   4. It functions on the basis of users alone, impugning any binary opposition between teachers / students, experts / non-experts.

   5. It operates through networks with or without affinities.
Jessica Westbrook: 18:17:31
hi
magdalenatc: 18:17:33
i am in UK
Jessica Westbrook: 18:17:35
tennesseeeeee
mabel: 18:17:38
paris
katherinecarl: 18:17:44
what city in TN?
Jessica Westbrook: 18:17:52
chattanooga
Jessica Westbrook: 18:18:03
2 hours north of atl, on east side of tenn
BASEKAMP team: 18:20:57
Stephen, is the idea similar to NSK's "State in time"?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:23:09
I think the audio has gone
Jessica Westbrook: 18:23:37
audio is good here
magdalenatc: 18:25:34
can you say a bit more about 'what' it is that you activate?
katherinecarl: 18:26:33
are there certain types of knowledge or ways at getting at knowledge that you are most interested in?
BASEKAMP team: 18:27:52
^^ it sounds like "getting at" might be gotten to differently through the type of usership stephen's mentioning - maybe co-producing, or another form of discovery?
stephen wright: 18:28:41
Here is a description of Eric Collegial Moment:
stephen wright: 18:28:42
We propose collegial moments between citizens for whom criminal practices are routine and familiar.  These groups of 6 to 12 people (who may be non-criminals, criminals, or ex-criminals), will embark on a process of identifying the ruses, tricks, skills, and insights that each user has developed while inhabiting, visiting, and/or creating/working in a criminalized context.  Users will be conceive of new ways to apply these specialized capacities to new ends, far afield from their initial contexts.
BASEKAMP team: 18:30:42
Is what Eric's discussing part of a project that we can find out more about? Or is this "collegial moment" something that's only understood in the context of the college?
stephen wright: 18:30:43
Here is a description of the collegial moment I have proposed;
stephen wright: 18:30:48
Open Labyrinth names the paradoxical condition of an art lost in an open field, the very openness of which prevents recognition of the loss. Art finds itself in the throes of an unprecedented ontological crisis – having lost its self-definition and its self-evident modalities of appearing in the world – while the critical lexicon inherited from the twentieth century is ill equipped to describe art-related practices indifferent to current convention. Conceived as a testing ground for developing a revamped critical terminology, each meeting draws on the presence of a guest researcher’s work on a particular term likely to usefully renew our conceptual vocabulary.
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:32:08
sounds really fantastic
stephen wright: 18:32:50
the creative processes of crime!
Jessica Westbrook: 18:33:40
smiley
magdalenatc: 18:33:41
sounds really great
BASEKAMP team: 18:34:23
Eric, it's be interesting to hear what you think about Temporary Services project "prisoners inventions": http://basekamp.com/about/projects/prisoners-inventions
stephen wright: 18:34:30
CM proposed by Bob the Builder
BASEKAMP team: 18:34:31
...no rush, but at some point
stephen wright: 18:34:32
Au travail / At work is a collective open to all wage labourers misusing their workplace as a site for residency, repurposing the means of production, resources or information. Through examining a number of documented cases of misuse, users will be encouraged to further broaden the scope of the collective in their own line of work.
magdalenatc: 18:35:34
i have a question to eric: do you have an idea of those new ends to which to apply those new ways? or actually do you imagine the ways in which that might go?
BASEKAMP team: 18:37:41
do you also see criminality in craetive processes?
BASEKAMP team: 18:37:51
^^ to eric
BASEKAMP team: 18:38:22
Stephen, side-note: is the former paris biennial collége website still up somewhere?
stephen wright: 18:38:46
Here is one of the most active collegial moments, instigated by Jean Baptiste Farkas, called "The Lessons of Subtraction", basically on downsizing in art and elsewhere.
magdalenatc: 18:38:47
sure.
stephen wright: 18:38:48
The world is a tremendous plethora.  We must begin to subtract as a form of productive activity.
katherinecarl: 18:38:50
the play on creative and productive is very interesting. Are you concerned with "output" of these knowledges or not necessarily? is it wholly process-based?
magdalenatc: 18:39:03
yes, thank you. eric
BASEKAMP team: 18:39:05
the au travail website is down
Jessica Westbrook: 18:40:16
hi greg!
mabel: 18:40:16
we are working on the site internet of the college
Greg Scranton: 18:40:26
hi jessica
stephen wright: 18:41:09
A CM proposed by Gina Badger
stephen wright: 18:41:11
Ecological Erotics of Learning is a study group that takes for granted that all learning comes from desire, which brings us in short order into relations with other begins, human and non-. More succinctly, learning creates ecologies. Users will begin with analysis and discussion of key texts on radical ecology,  marginal education, and the pedagogical turn in contemporary art, geared towards imagining a pedagogy of decreative methodologies.
BASEKAMP team: 18:42:16
mabel, i was just curious - it makes sense that the website should change now that the school has become autonomized
mabel: 18:43:30
yes, you are right
BASEKAMP team: 18:43:57
smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley
mabel: 18:44:09
smiley
Greg Scranton: 18:44:14
scott, have you started audio?
BASEKAMP team: 18:45:34
please let me know if anyone still needs to b added 2 the audio
BASEKAMP team: 18:45:44
De- symposium
Nick Hanford: 18:46:00
can i be added to the audio?
katherinecarl: 18:46:07
can I be added too?
BASEKAMP team: 18:46:18
yessssssssssssssss
siu king chung: 18:46:38
Also King from CMP
BASEKAMP team: 18:47:01
 smiley  smiley
Nick Hanford: 18:47:09
thank you
BASEKAMP team: 18:47:16
np!
BASEKAMP team: 18:47:27
we may not realize people have been booted off the audio
BASEKAMP team: 18:47:41
everyone please mute your audio when not chiming in.... -- thanks  smiley  smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:48:02
squaring the circle
BASEKAMP team: 18:48:55
hi randall!
Randall Szott: 18:49:02
hello
Randall Szott: 18:49:06
sorry i'm late
BASEKAMP team: 18:49:08
can you put your skype status to "Online"?
mabel: 18:49:25
I agree
BASEKAMP team: 18:49:38
adding you to the conference randall
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:49:45
are you talking about removing institutional language in order to arrive at a position to determine the space to function within the cultural sphere?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:50:35
in terms of a radical practice suggested by Deleuze and Nietzsche?
anthony sawrey: 18:51:59
if you are serious about taging it without getting into these quandries about 'names'...then give it a serial number ie: 2010/02
Jessica Westbrook: 18:52:30
nice anthony
Randall Szott: 18:52:59
oh audio fail
anthony sawrey: 18:53:00
seriously this debate sounds like some college kids sitting around trying to come up wiht band names. make the title the LEAST important of your tasks.
anthony sawrey: 18:53:28
audio fail here. in freefall.. trying to level out
BASEKAMP team: 18:53:33
smiley
Randall Szott: 18:53:35
its back
BASEKAMP team: 18:54:01
anthony adding you again
BASEKAMP team: 18:54:05
anyone else get dropped?
anthony sawrey: 18:54:05
tanks
BASEKAMP team: 18:54:11
np
Randall Szott: 18:55:15
hey stephen - can you say a bit about the relationship between decreation and slacking (you knew i had to ask)
BASEKAMP team: 18:55:27
Slacktivism!
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:55:33
your beginning to sound like kraftwerk
Randall Szott: 18:55:33
audio fail again
magdalenatc: 18:55:46
can't hear you, only weird sound.... should be recording it. it is quite in keeping with the de- side of things
bojana romic: 18:55:54
I got call dropped
BASEKAMP team: 18:56:18
magda, bojana, randall -- re-added you
Amanda Hills: 18:56:22
i've been cut off too
mabel: 18:56:28
me too
bojana romic: 18:56:32
works again - thanks
BASEKAMP team: 18:56:42
amanda & mabel - callign again
BASEKAMP team: 18:56:45
word
mabel: 18:56:56
great
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:57:20
maybe your talking about a new history of art or the second history of art - in terms of nietzsche and deleuze suggestion of dividing history in two!
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:57:34
sounds like rats in the system
magdalenatc: 18:57:37
is anyone saying anything? is it only me with the silence ON... oh i can hear you
Jessica Westbrook: 18:57:44
no sound here
mabel: 18:57:54
it's working now
magdalenatc: 18:58:04
i know what you mean, stephen <ss type="smile">smiley</ss>
BASEKAMP team: 18:58:11
jwestbroo - adding uagain
BASEKAMP team: 18:58:31
David G - that sounds rather avant-guardy, doesn't it?
BASEKAMP team: 18:59:14
respnding to your questions about a post- or 2nd hisory. Stephen, is this something that soem of yoru colleagues are into?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:59:27
possibly
Randall Szott: 18:59:34
aaargh
Randall Szott: 18:59:38
very buggy tonight
BASEKAMP team: 18:59:44
Drooooooopppppppppp
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:59:51
reading to much klassowski & deleuze
magdalenatc: 18:59:51
very very
Randall Szott: 18:59:55
lost audio again
bojana romic: 18:59:55
call dropped again - sorry!
BASEKAMP team: 18:59:59
calling everyone back
stephen wright: 19:00:00
I think I got cut off too
Amanda Hills: 19:00:01
dropped again
Jessica Westbrook: 19:00:01
yep
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:00:03
sound off
mabel: 19:00:07
yes
stephen wright: 19:00:39
scott can you give me a call back?
magdalenatc: 19:00:44
and me
Randall Szott: 19:00:47
and me
Elysa Lozano: 19:00:53
yep
bojana romic: 19:01:02
and me
siu king chung: 19:01:14
also me
Amanda Hills: 19:01:21
sigh
BASEKAMP team: 19:01:27
everyone still there?
anthony sawrey: 19:01:38
add me again...BTW hi jessica.. you are under a pseudonym i see
stephen wright: 19:01:45
text only for me
Jessica Westbrook: 19:01:51
ya
Jessica Westbrook: 19:01:55
its old
magdalenatc: 19:02:01
yes,
BASEKAMP team: 19:02:05
calling EVEERYONE back. This time it was our internet. One channel failed. Moving to channel 2
Nick Hanford: 19:02:05
yep
Jessica Westbrook: 19:02:22
no worries
anthony sawrey: 19:02:38
hokkay
bojana romic: 19:02:41
thanks
Randall Szott: 19:03:06
dropped again
Jessica Westbrook: 19:03:06
we are talking slackers...
BASEKAMP team: 19:03:13
haha
Randall Szott: 19:03:16
i am a talking slacker
BASEKAMP team: 19:03:19
stop downloading porn everyone
Jessica Westbrook: 19:03:23
ha!
Amanda Hills: 19:03:23
the disconnection of decreation
bojana romic: 19:03:35
oups...fail again
BASEKAMP team: 19:03:39
smiley
BASEKAMP team: 19:03:41
 trying again
Jessica Westbrook: 19:03:42
everyone in this room denied the label
Randall Szott: 19:04:50
cultural production - did you know you can now get an MA in this stephen?
Randall Szott: 19:04:50
at Brandeis?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:04:54
yes its old since nietzsche suggested it in 1889, but then discussed by klossowski in the 1970's, but it also appears to provide the back bone of deleuze's project
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:05:13
i dont have audio
stephen wright: 19:05:21
I didn't know that, Randall, but II'm not surprised
stephen wright: 19:05:26
it was inevitable
Randall Szott: 19:05:31
the term gives me hives
stephen wright: 19:05:37
"creative" writing
Randall Szott: 19:05:50
ah yes
Randall Szott: 19:06:09
no one has audio yet do they?
stephen wright: 19:06:12
should we do text only then?
Randall Szott: 19:06:12
ok
stephen wright: 19:06:15
no
bojana romic: 19:06:18
no...
Randall Szott: 19:06:38
fine by me - if we're reaching consensus - ha
BASEKAMP team: 19:06:42
unfortunately our skype is getting surges i think
Jessica Westbrook: 19:06:51
cultural production : (
anthony sawrey: 19:06:53
here again....
BASEKAMP team: 19:08:10
Guys, were giong to try audio one more time -then if that doesn' t work we shoudl go test-only
BASEKAMP team: 19:08:19
so we don't get demoralized by this process
stephen wright: 19:08:23
Man, this is not good
Randall Szott: 19:08:24
http://www.brandeis.edu/programs/culturalproduction/
anthony sawrey: 19:08:50
oke
Randall Szott: 19:09:00
only hearing typing clearly
stephen wright: 19:09:11
don't know why this is so bad, but...
BASEKAMP team: 19:09:12
and there it is
BASEKAMP team: 19:09:21
Text only -- not sure what's up in skype-land tonight
Randall Szott: 19:09:35
dropped again - text ahead?
BASEKAMP team: 19:09:36
So... can we pick bck up where we left off?
Randall Szott: 19:09:40
hey sean!
Jessica Westbrook: 19:10:00
we are talking about cultural production
BASEKAMP team: 19:10:01
oops - wil ask Sean to upgrade
stephen wright: 19:10:01
Let's do it this way
mabel: 19:10:06
yes
BASEKAMP team: 19:10:10
ok --- so . where were we?
stephen wright: 19:10:19
 And we want to be talking about decreation!
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:10:28
ha
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:10:35
are you on audio?
stephen wright: 19:10:37
No
stephen wright: 19:10:41
seems not
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:11:06
i can upgrade or whatever if you want me to... didnt know i had slippeed
anthony sawrey: 19:11:06
no audio. give it a try agian when you have a mo
BASEKAMP team: 19:11:11
chuckles
BASEKAMP team: 19:11:27
we're going to forego audio altogether, for anyone who didn't get that
Randall Szott: 19:11:37
so stephen was riffing on the relationship of slacking to decreation
anthony sawrey: 19:11:39
what do i have soup on my tie?
BASEKAMP team: 19:11:48
heh
Randall Szott: 19:12:07
and wa delving into the trickiness of escaping "productivist" language/thinking
stephen wright: 19:12:21
In the sense that slack is to work as the decreative is to creativity
ariane.d.: 19:12:40
what does slacking to decreation means stephen?
stephen wright: 19:12:41
slack "decreates" productivism
stephen wright: 19:13:20
it both undoes it and reveals it for what it is
anthony sawrey: 19:13:44
strangification is another description of the activity
BASEKAMP team: 19:13:46
so Stephen, there was a question here about the status of the school ... a few Qs actually
stephen wright: 19:14:00
It's not only strangification
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:14:10
i think you also mentioned desire or the drives
stephen wright: 19:14:11
That's a Brechtian / Russian formalist method
stephen wright: 19:14:29
the "status"?
BASEKAMP team: 19:14:39
* are you meeting on a regular basis?

* are there more than a handful of people involved, and

* either way, can other people get involved as users? if so what's the process?
BASEKAMP team: 19:15:22
did the "usership" carry over from the paris bienale, which i understand has a pretty high level of visibility?
stephen wright: 19:15:28
well, starting with the last, there is no "process" per se, but like most forms of usership, it is not something that one has to ask permission to do, nor is there any "right" way to do it
stephen wright: 19:16:02
for now, the overall usership is limited for sure
mabel: 19:16:23
actually the status is up to now instable or instatus
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:16:42
?
stephen wright: 19:17:05
an unstable status, you mean?
mabel: 19:17:10
which means at the same time that we try to resist to different fomrs
mabel: 19:17:22
and identity
mabel: 19:17:23
of institutionalisation
mabel: 19:17:51
and that the ways of operation and activation
mabel: 19:17:51
changes
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:17:51
how does that differ from what I have just said?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:18:29
concerning Nietzsche, Klossowski and Deleuze?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:19:02
in terms of removing instituitonalised langauge
mabel: 19:19:08
ah yes
mabel: 19:19:11
ok
stephen wright: 19:20:03
in my opinion, it is not so much about "removing" the language as in working to bring about a lexical shift to focus on what has already changed
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:20:22
but what you have discussed so far stephen is really fantastic
mabel: 19:20:23
yes, exactly
ariane.d.: 19:20:39
an other way to manipulate the language
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:20:41
ok just need to think about that a bit more
stephen wright: 19:20:50
meaning has been instituted, we don't want to remove it but rather minutely, yet decisevly shift it
stephen wright: 19:21:01
no, it's not about manipulation
stephen wright: 19:21:20
no one owns the monopoly on these definitions of things like... art... school... etc
mabel: 19:21:55
it's more about re-configuration than manipulation
ariane.d.: 19:22:04
of course
stephen wright: 19:22:10
I think, by and large, we see lanugage through a usership prism -- the use we make of it
ariane.d.: 19:22:36
reagencement
stephen wright: 19:22:40
we also want to let language do the work
stephen wright: 19:22:51
rather than working language
BASEKAMP team: 19:23:30
so we have another question here -- it's sort f been addressed, but probably not fully
ariane.d.: 19:23:35
i believe that gestures could be more « puissants»
BASEKAMP team: 19:24:30
Stephen & Mabel, can you describe in a few sentanceswhat "decreative methodologies" are? what you mean by that? or can you only describe them through example proposals, liek the ones you pasted farther above?
BASEKAMP team: 19:25:03
Eric we'd answer your call, but the audio has been so horrible the last 20 mins or so
ariane.d.: 19:25:06
I believe thet language is and will always be a tool of manipulation and control
stephen wright: 19:25:26
Well, I would be hesitant to give a meta-definition of what they are
siu king chung: 19:25:27
Yes, I am waitng for some examples too
eric_letourneau: 19:25:40
ok i cannot heau you at all at this point
eric_letourneau: 19:25:51
the connection is problematic here in MAdrid
stephen wright: 19:25:55
there's no audio
stephen wright: 19:26:01
only text
BASEKAMP team: 19:26:02
Eric, we intentionally stoppe dthe audio in lieu of the text
eric_letourneau: 19:26:05
i see
stephen wright: 19:26:05
we decreated the audio
eric_letourneau: 19:26:10
smiley
BASEKAMP team: 19:26:19
haha
eric_letourneau: 19:26:22
lovely
stephen wright: 19:26:47
but they are something like this:
stephen wright: 19:27:45
they both undo and redo, and in our case they do so by doing what our colleague François Deck calls the mutualising of incompetencies and competencies
stephen wright: 19:28:25
the mutualisation of incompetencies is one example of the decreative in action, because it is premised on the equivalency of the incompetent and the competent
stephen wright: 19:28:57
His collegial moment is founded on how to mutualise incompetencies
siu king chung: 19:29:27
Ha, if stephen says, for example, "we decreated the audio", it seems to mean we adapt to the situation... is that then, decreative is being adaptive?
anthony sawrey: 19:30:02
Wait. Language also locates things as much as an object locates art. Carfull when you say that ' language is and will always be a tool of manipulation and control' Tyres on a car are also ' tools of manipulation and control' but you still need them. The strangification term i used before is placed here to signal methods that can be evoked to short circuit the usual pattern that  we occupy when we think and talk.
stephen wright: 19:30:09
Well, that was more off the cuff admittedly, but somethings things become more powerful in their absence.
stephen wright: 19:31:10
But of course the decreative is moment specific
Randall Szott: 19:31:16
decreation always faces the phantom limb
stephen wright: 19:31:29
you take the formerly creative and repurpose it
mabel: 19:31:35
bur decreative in not exactly being adaptative but it's also to proposes other mode d'opération
mabel: 19:31:55
colegiality is a decreative mode, par exemple
stephen wright: 19:32:12
I sort of think that the decreative is both de- and re-
stephen wright: 19:32:19
Could you expand on that Mabel?
ariane.d.: 19:32:34
what do you mean when you say mode d'opération?
mabel: 19:32:52
"ways of"
ariane.d.: 19:33:02
oui je comprends
ariane.d.: 19:33:18
what does it mean?
ariane.d.: 19:33:50
this is such an artist language
stephen wright: 19:33:59
collegiality is decreative because it is a form of mutualisation of (in)competencies
mabel: 19:34:06
yes
mabel: 19:34:09
that is
siu king chung: 19:34:56
what is mutualisation of (in)competences?
stephen wright: 19:35:07
Here is the definition of that collegial moment:
stephen wright: 19:35:10
Si la valeur culmine dans ce qui est sans équivalent, la convertibilité d’un bien signifie une valeur moindre. Ces biens de nature inférieure sont obtenus par la propagation de l’idée de résultat. L’émergence de richesses uniques implique au contraire un retard concerté des solutions. Dans cette optique, la mutualisation des compétences et des incompétences propose une dilatation des temps.
stephen wright: 19:35:17
Translation coming right up!
stephen wright: 19:35:56
If value culminates from what is without equivalency, goods and services can only be converted at a loss.
stephen wright: 19:36:24
The lesser valued goods are obtained through the propagation of  the idea of a result.
stephen wright: 19:36:51
The emergence of unique forms of wealth implies on the contrary a concerted slowing down of solutions.
eric_letourneau: 19:37:01
This quote fron Francois is brillant.
stephen wright: 19:37:10
In this respect, the mutlaisation of competences and incompetencies offers a dilation of time.
stephen wright: 19:37:30
Yes it's the very essence of the decreative -- whether he agrees with that or not!!
mabel: 19:37:45
you are right, stephen
stephen wright: 19:38:12
So, one sees too the link between the decreative, active sloth and mutualising (in)competencies
siu king chung: 19:38:22
It just occurs to me that being decreative is to ask the most fundamental questions of the meaning of words or lexicons you are now using
stephen wright: 19:38:42
It is not "result" based (unlike neoliberal calculation)
stephen wright: 19:38:49
it slows things way down
stephen wright: 19:39:00
King, you're right -- but this goes beyond words
stephen wright: 19:39:16
If you talk to me, you get the words thing (that's my field in a sense)
stephen wright: 19:39:40
But it is about revaluing value altogether, not only lexical or verbal value
ariane.d.: 19:40:26
life values?
stephen wright: 19:40:31
In that way, it is Nietzschean
ariane.d.: 19:40:33
love values?
Randall Szott: 19:40:41
*value* is what capitalism and socialism leave unquestioned - their shared assumption
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:40:42
am I still connected?
stephen wright: 19:40:51
Exactly
stephen wright: 19:41:05
There may be other shared assumptions
Randall Szott: 19:41:11
well yes
Randall Szott: 19:41:30
also the relationship between production and value
stephen wright: 19:41:35
but what is all too often unchallenged today is the notion of "symbolic capital"
Randall Szott: 19:41:55
all that is a bit turned on its head in the US consumption based economic model
stephen wright: 19:41:56
as if it were the only form of vlaue; as if "value" were a synonym for "capital" of some kind
ariane.d.: 19:42:12
i dont agree at all, stephen
stephen wright: 19:42:14
That is a debate which we have been involved with recently in our college
stephen wright: 19:44:16
someone instigates a collegial moment, appoints a time and place (or not) and it happens
anthony sawrey: 19:44:26
okay. You have managed to define this thing..is there any action involved? Tangible things that is..
stephen wright: 19:44:27
Well there are collegial moments
stephen wright: 19:44:27
I mean, where users as we call them come together
mabel: 19:44:27
eric told one of those moments
ariane.d.: 19:44:30
who are the users?
stephen wright: 19:44:57
as I said, the moment on "lessons of subtraction" was very active recently
anthony sawrey: 19:45:01
like swarming?
stephen wright: 19:45:09
it was paris-based, open to all
BASEKAMP team: 19:45:17
Are you all interested in connecting with teh paris branch of The Public School as a way of "visibilizing" your proposals?
stephen wright: 19:45:22
no, much more reflective in this case
ariane.d.: 19:45:30
how can you become a "user"?
stephen wright: 19:45:39
by using
stephen wright: 19:45:50
it's not prescriptive
anthony sawrey: 19:45:59
whoops starting fade off into language and abstraction again
mabel: 19:46:04
by participating to one or sevral moments
BASEKAMP team: 19:46:09
^^ http://paris.thepublicschool.org/
mabel: 19:46:11
by proposing one
ariane.d.: 19:46:19
how? I guess you must be inevited
stephen wright: 19:46:42
I think that there are significant differences between the college and the Public School
mabel: 19:47:12
you can be invited and soon you will be able to have all the information on the internet site
BASEKAMP team: 19:47:48
^^ Stephen, i was curious - mainly as a way to put forth the ideas, and let other people know about them. not suggesting that the college & TPS are the same
eric_letourneau: 19:48:12
HEy friends, it is really late right now in MAdrid : I'll have to go
stephen wright: 19:48:20
I know Mabel and Eric have thoughts on the Public School
eric_letourneau: 19:48:27
Looking forward to meet you for real one day smiley
Randall Szott: 19:48:34
but this is a difficult balancing act - the visible/invisible
stephen wright: 19:48:37
bye eric
BASEKAMP team: 19:48:39
Eric -- same here
mabel: 19:48:43
bye
stephen wright: 19:48:48
We are not looking for more visibility
eric_letourneau: 19:48:54
ciao bello & bellas
BASEKAMP team: 19:48:57
will be intereting to hear what Eric has to say about TPS @ some point
BASEKAMP team: 19:49:07
Mabel, care to share your thought on the public school?
eric_letourneau: 19:49:10
TPS?
stephen wright: 19:49:16
The public school
eric_letourneau: 19:49:39
ok
eric_letourneau: 19:49:55
well it is i think really different
BASEKAMP team: 19:49:58
...not to derail this discussion entirely -- but since Stephen said the college is different, then describing that thing that's different may be a way to get at what the college is.. throgh what it isn;t... or something
eric_letourneau: 19:50:19
a school and a collège are two different ways to built and construct (or deconstruct) knowledge
stephen wright: 19:50:24
good points. the question is the type of knowledge we want to decreate, the degree of institutional exodus, the way in which we do it.
eric_letourneau: 19:50:33
they are very dintinct from each other
eric_letourneau: 19:50:57
school is really more strict
eric_letourneau: 19:51:12
hierarchical way top treansmit knowledge
stephen wright: 19:51:30
not school, The Public School!
eric_letourneau: 19:51:31
college is more a sharing of ressources
mabel: 19:51:51
and actually I think that the TPS is not necesarly interested in thinking about how to construct/deconstruct knowledge
eric_letourneau: 19:51:55
well... Public school is still a school
eric_letourneau: 19:52:09
no but they are doing it anyway
eric_letourneau: 19:52:36
but a school obey to a form or coertion by some `higher`power i think
stephen wright: 19:52:37
I entirely agree that "methodologies" is not what interests TPS
eric_letourneau: 19:52:41
whatrever it is public or not
eric_letourneau: 19:53:07
college is - IN THEORY - more free from coertion than a school
mabel: 19:53:39
it seems so
stephen wright: 19:53:54
http://thepublicschool.org/
eric_letourneau: 19:54:15
yes i think Claire went there right?
stephen wright: 19:54:26
we are as interested in how we decreate as in what we decreate
eric_letourneau: 19:54:28
and she was quite dissapointed
stephen wright: 19:54:33
yes
eric_letourneau: 19:54:37
at an opening
Randall Szott: 19:54:39
for U.S. folks - I will be calling people together to continue parallel exploration of these ideas in Vermont, New Mexico, and other locations TBD - message me if you're interested - likely weekend or longer affairs, some rustic, some less so
stephen wright: 19:54:52
when's that?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:55:19
I lost contact for about 5 mins so I have lost the thread of the discussion
BASEKAMP team: 19:55:20
Randall - great
eric_letourneau: 19:55:47
ok i really leave no
stephen wright: 19:55:57
good night eric!
BASEKAMP team: 19:55:58
well, regarding TPS, because it *is* open, anyone can propose a class about anything. So one course may be more in line with A college than others
eric_letourneau: 19:56:02
my brain is not useful for anybody right now - including myself smiley
BASEKAMP team: 19:56:03
g'night Eric!
eric_letourneau: 19:56:10
ciao again
BASEKAMP team: 19:56:11
smiley
mabel: 19:56:12
good night!!!
ariane.d.: 19:56:18
you are all so ambitous
BASEKAMP team: 19:56:42
^^ ambitious slackers
stephen wright: 19:56:53
in the collège, anyone can instigate a collegial moment too
ariane.d.: 19:56:54
for sure
BASEKAMP team: 19:56:59
Randall -- can you add us to that list of interested US folks?
anthony sawrey: 19:57:08
me too!
BASEKAMP team: 19:57:13
Stephen - cool - can we instigate a collegial moment?
stephen wright: 19:57:32
of course, that would be excellent, the Charter is quite explicit
mabel: 19:57:49
yes, it would be great
mabel: 19:57:51
!!!
stephen wright: 19:57:55
super!
BASEKAMP team: 19:58:59
Stepeh & Mabel -- thank you so much for joining us tonight!
stephen wright: 19:59:13
since it is a college without walls, you don't even need to knock on the door
BASEKAMP team: 19:59:41
heh, right
BASEKAMP team: 19:59:47
or knock down the door
mabel: 20:00:00
yes, that is
stephen wright: 20:00:09
or burning down the school. anyway thank you -- too bad about the audio
BASEKAMP team: 20:00:16
i dont' want to kill the conversation -- but i know it's very late for people in europe --
BASEKAMP team: 20:00:24
yes - indeed!
mabel: 20:00:28
yes!! thank you
Randall Szott: 20:00:32
so good to "talk" with you again stephen
stephen wright: 20:00:36
watch for the website
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 20:00:44
yes it was great
stephen wright: 20:00:44
hey you too randall!
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 20:00:46
thanks stephen and mabel sorry to miss the first part
anthony sawrey: 20:00:48
yeah, break dwon the walls!!! smiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley

 smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smileysmiley smiley

smiley smileysmiley smiley
stephen wright: 20:00:55
open up the moments
bojana romic: 20:00:56
thanks, bye
mabel: 20:01:05
smiley
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 20:01:06
at last a serious conversation
Randall Szott: 20:01:17
and maybe you can tell me via email what/if you know about Jean-Yves Jouannais,
BASEKAMP team: 20:01:22
thanks everyone - this has ben really great
stephen wright: 20:01:27
will do
Amanda Hills: 20:01:31
smiley
stephen wright: 20:01:43
talk to you all next week
BASEKAMP team: 20:01:44
See you all next week
Amanda Hills: 20:02:13
smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley smiley

Week 6: Teaching Artist Union and School of the Future

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with Cassie Thronton and Chris Kennedy about two interrelated projects based in New York: Teaching Artist Union, and School of the Future.

About Teaching Artist Union
The Teaching Artist Union is composed of NYC artists for whom teaching is — or is part of — their creative practice. The Union seeks to define the role of the “teaching-artist” through developing a supportive community, drawing attention to the work produced in teaching situations, and advocating for the rights and needs of the teaching artist. The Union works in a wide range of environments, including non-profit arts organizations, schools, museums, and other agencies. Contending that art can invigorate, agitate, and reorient stale institutional habits, the Union wants to develop a lasting structure to sustain and promote the various manifestations of the Teaching Artist. The Union came into existence in the spring of 2009 as the only organization in NYC for and by Teaching Artists, undertaking projects to support and change the art and education landscapes that we live in.

About School of the Future
School of the Future is the launching pad for the art movement of education. This artist-run school focuses on teaching artists as “experts” in the study of information through performing and visual arts. Opening this July in Bushwick’s Sgt. Dougherty Park for a month of 24-hour programming, the school serves as the first site devoted to the resourcefulness and adaptability of teaching artists. Each curriculum developed for the school is an art project, making the school a group show. The projects will be designed to use art as a learning process that both takes into account and activates the site of the school.

Transcription

Week 6: Teaching Artist Union and School of the Future

[0:00:00]

Scott: Can you still prop that up because hopefully…

Speaker 2: No you can’t even hear you.

Scott: Really? Okay. Alright well we’re going to try holding this mic today, let us know if the audio gets completely out of control.

 So who’s on the call right now? Are Adam and the class in Tennessee on the call?

Adam: Yes we are can you hear me?

Scott: Yeah we can hear you guys. Hello everybody in Tennessee.

Stephen: Hello…

Chris: Hello…

Scott: Hey Stephen and hi Chris and Cassie, it’s really great having you guys here.

Chris: We’re also here with Angelina in New York, she’s our intern.

Scott: Okay great and we’re here with a very small, but dedicated crowd who came out even under predictions of snow. Do you guys want to say hello…

Female Speaker: All Department of Education facilities have been closed for tomorrow because they told us that there’s going to be 18” of snow.

Scott: Nice and if I hadn’t hurt my foot last weekend I would be out sledding with you guys but instead you can just feel bad for me.

 Anyway, welcome Chris and Cassie and everyone else who made it to the chat. This week we’re going to be talking about the Teaching Artist’s union and School of the Future; two projects that really should be seen as distinct but are intertwined in a way. Ultimately I’m not the best person to describe how they’re intertwined; it would be great to hear from you guys. Would you mind giving a brief introduction just to those two projects and then maybe we can talk about how they connect and how they can be seen as examples of fledgling art worlds and we can just chime in whenever. Does that sound okay? Why is that Greg?

Greg: I don’t know that’s a great question.

[0:05:00]

Scott: There we go, let’s just try one more time. By the way do you want to open the chat on the projection?

Greg: Hello? Alright hi everybody, sorry for that. We’re still working out the glitches. This is Greg I’m going to turn it over to Scott here just to give a brief intro and we’ll get started.

Scott: Oh wow. Hey Chris and Cassie. Yeah so actually you won’t believe the amazing introduction I gave to you guys and I realize that the internet had already cut out.

Cassie: I felt it.

Scott: Did you? I thought so. I actually didn’t really introduce you much except to say that the Teaching Artist Union and School of the Future are two distinct projects and that our goal tonight isn’t to really disambiguate them but it would be nice to hear about them both in and of themselves. And it would also be interesting to hear about how they’re connected. And at some point during this we’ll definitely want to talk with you guys about how they can be seen as fledgling art worlds in some way or at least can be helpful as examples in this series too for other people. First of all would you guys mind just giving a brief introduction to Teaching Artist Union and School of the Future?

Cassie: Yeah we felt that it would make sense to talk about first the Teaching Artist Union and then the School of the Future because the School of the Future is a project of the Teaching Artist Union so a lot of what has come up in the Teaching Artist Union we’re trying to address by bringing the project of School of the Future. So another piece of it is that—so Chris also is the Institute of Applied Aesthetics and he has taken on the role as sort of my other half in the School of the Future but he’s part of the Teaching Artist Union. So that’s why I feel like whenever we come into a room there are so many [inaudible] [0:09:53] I just wanted to clear that up. But yeah I’m really curious actually to ask other people some questions about Teaching Artist and to discuss what the Teaching Artist Union was and what it’s become and where it’s going to start.

[0:10:20]

Cassie: So I was curious if other people are really clear about the word Teaching Artist? I feel like in New York Teaching Artist is—there is sort of a whole world of teaching artists that supplement the whole education system and our part of museums and it’s kind of—I mean it’s pretty broad because I feel like many of us also work as adjuncts and we’re a fairly unnetworked group of people and the job itself is pretty informal. But it has a sort of a special type of meaning to us here and I’m wondering if that definition—if there is a definition in other cities that relates. I think there is one in Chicago but I don’t know about other places.

Male Speaker: I’m getting a sort of vibe that Teaching Artists Union is support for maybe—like a group of artists that support teachers in a sense and help them with whatever they need as well as universities and such.

Cassie: Yeah but I feel like there’s a special meaning to the word “teaching artist” in New York City. We have a pretty important position in the entire school system but also we are in all sorts of different sites including museums and definitely some colleges and stuff too. But anyway yeah the Teaching Artists Union is sort of this place for these people to meet and figure out what it means for us to have a union. Basically we encounter a lot of issues of being freelancers but we also have special pieces in common which are having a social practice automatically and being a part of a lot of larger institutions. I see someone saying ‘Is this a New York City thing?’ Oh this is interesting, ‘I’ve only seen the word used in New York.’ So there’s a national organization called The Association of Teaching Artists and that’s actually a national—it’s a website to support teaching artists everyone. But anyway so I guess it is sort of—I’m seeing that it’s a New York centered thing.

[0:15:00]

Cassie: But we’ve been meeting for about a year, we are a group of probably 50 people that know each other pretty well. Our meetings are about 20 people at a time in my studio and we have scribble shares every month, we have a monthly supportive meeting called Infinite Support and it’s really just they’re talking and learning about teaching and a big piece of it is we consider teaching a part of our practice, our creative practice. Just showing each other our work and talking about ways to deal with a lot of the problems we encounter as parts of institutions.

Chris: How many people are in Teaching Artist Union?

Cassie: I think it’s about—depends on how we’re talking, maybe 200 people but we know 50 well and it’s a super local community, we know each other’s faces and that’s really important to me.

Chris: When did you guys start?

Cassie: About a year ago.

Chris: What are the main goals of Teaching Artists right now?

Cassie: The main goals are to define ourselves as an intentional community who knows each other and who can sort of refine our practices as artists and educators and also to define the role of teaching artists as an important part of the education process and something that should be planned into education from the beginning.

Chris: Are most people that are teaching artists that come to the union meetings are they also among art practice?

Cassie: Often but I feel like we’ve all sort of gravitated more and more toward art teaching practices for artisan practices.

Chris: So I sent Scott a Teaching Artists Union membership cards so that you guys might see that at Base Camp on the tables, you can also find it on the website.

Scott: We totally have a whole stack here.

Chris: Amazing.

Cassie: Scott do you have your super big one?

Scott: Oh I do, let me hobble back with my cane to the back room and get it and I’ll be right back.

Greg: Yeah I printed up a bunch, we’ve even got them on different colors; goldenrod, cherry, yellow and white, so if you see any that appear to be forgeries they are just Base Camp originals.

Cassie: Yeah so the Teaching Artists Union card offers free admission wherever teacher or student discounts are given and that’s available in the Artworld newspaper too. The Teaching Artists Union is super local, it’s a group of people that know each other really well, we’re all working on the same type of work and it’s a great community of people. It’s one of the best.

[0:20:00]

Cassie: I think the interesting questions come when we start to talk about more like unionizing and what that means to us. So we can talk about that or…

George: Are you unionizing as teachers or I mean obviously this is a teacher’s union, but this is a different segment of maybe like an artist as a role of a teacher, as a role of maybe as a citizen of the community and also as a future role in everybody’s digital perspective?

Cassie: Totally. I think a good example of part of the different between a teaching artist and a person that would be invited to the teacher’s union is that we’re just invited to come for sort of like—usually in a project based way so we’re there for like three to six months and we’re not planned in from the beginning. It’s like when they have a little bit of overhead grant money at the end of the school year often it’s like ‘oh well maybe we should invite some artists in.’ So it’s a lot about we’re not planned in from the beginning so then we’re also not supported, we don’t have health insurance offered to us or even just a sense of belonging in institutions because we’re definitely invited as a supplement to what’s already there. So the idea of unionizing it’s unionizing as a super specialized group of people who are—yeah I guess just put in these situations. Often the work is—I compare it to being sort of like missionary work because you’re sent usually alone to a school, you’re the only artist in this institution and you’re kind of expected to deliver their art department. It’s pretty rigorous work and you’re never compensated for your preparation time, or very rarely, and you’re basically paid the same way somebody is paid as if they just show up with ping-pong to play with kids. So it’s pretty—I feel like it’s really important to get together as union and to show how valuable our work is and how important it is to have arts in schools with real artists. The union part is really interesting because I still don’t really know what that will be, like what our answer to that is. I really decided at one point that we could become a project based union where we can have gripes but we can respond by creating projects that relate to those as a group. So that’s where the School of the Future comes in.

George: And it works both ways too because I think the schools benefit from this entity, if I may call it, and to have it support these schools that they may have resources and different things; it could be the lesson plan and such things the union might have together. It could be many facts that the teachers always struggle with sometimes in class.

Greg: Can I interrupt just a minute. This is Greg at Base Camp, can we have when people are asking questions or discussing just remind everybody who you are, just occasionally, not every single time but that way people know who everyone is, sometimes it can get a little confusing. So who just asked the question, sorry?

George: George Johnson.

Greg: Great thanks George and when…

George: I’m a teacher and I’m really enjoying this conversation.

Greg: No that’s great, thanks George for the questions, they’ve been great. When we’re not talking we ask that people mute their microphones to keep the audio quality relatively decent. So continue, sorry you can answer that question if you remember it or maybe George can…

Cassie: Sorry George, what was your question?   

George: I just completely agree to the fact of unionizing because it benefits the school and I’m adding to the fact that it’s such a great possibility that the School of the Future, that the Teaching Artists Union is going to employ so much of their resources as a group to work with the schools. I think the big question now is how is it going to be possible; through the National Teaching Association?

Cassie: How is what possible, the School of the Future or getting involved with the education system?

George: Just getting more involved, making it more of a global…

Cassie: At this point my priority is definitely dealing with the New York City Department of Education. I’m really interested in other Teaching Artists Unions sprouting up, I love watching how the public school moves like a virus and I think that can happen with Teaching Artists too but I just don’t know if there is—I honestly have no idea if there’s enough of a community of teaching artists in every other city to do that. I guess right now the dream would be that we can sort of through the value of Teaching Artists and through the School of the Future kind of create a model or something that we could potentially present to the DOE and at least begin a conversation about arts in education. I think one of the main goals of the School of the Future is through that process creating a few different publications that we can distribute to different people for different reasons. One of them would be sort of something to offer organizations so they can understand the position of the teaching artist better.

[0:30:00]

Cassie: Another publication would be for teaching artists in New York to have as sort of a manual of handouts that can help them connect with what they need to connect with to get through the job and to access the resources that they need. Then another one could potentially be to offer some advice to the Department of Education for ways that we feel like we have seen or proven that work with using art to solve problems in schools.

George: It’s very concrete. I mean it’s all possible but with as many members as you have there has to be a way to work it into the system as—you know one of the requirements to get unionized—I think I’m talking too much, I’m sorry.

Cassie: No it’s great. I hate talking to nobody; it’s really difficult to talk when nobody else is talking.

Chris: It’s like a question of [inaudible] [0:31:37] and the different between Teaching Artists Union and a Workers Union. You can talk about that a little bit.

Cassie: I definitely had my share of conversations with people who are really turned off by the idea of union because they think of factory workers rallying for healthcare. We’re not in a bad position, we have really awesome work, and we’re doing exactly what we want to do. We’re all super idealistic and I feel like we’ve found a way into the system and don’t want to become such a formal—we don’t want our careers so formalized that we have to be angry workers. I think it’s about identifying what about unionizing can work for us and what our real goals are and how to actually achieve them which I really don’t think has that much to do with participating in the systems that have already been set up or unionizing. So I think [inaudible] [0:33:23] important I don’t think that many of us really believe in the healthcare system so I don’t really know if I’m that interested in being part of a union where that goal remains. I could go on and on, there are so many tropes to unionizing that have been really important but I feel like we’ve only learned that we definitely need something different. Also as artists we have the ability to [inaudible] [0:34:02].

Chris: Kind of as a non-classic definition of a teaching artist on the science indicator by training and to see the emergence of this amazing community over the past couple of years happening has been really amazing and just inspiring to see people coming together that are artists that are also teachers and everything go smooth.

[0:34:58]

Chris: For them to have a way to exchange with each other, have a way to build a network that’s cohesive and meaningful in New York City where there are so many fractured communities, I think that’s a really great thing. That’s a deviation from the [inaudible] [0:35:12] of the union and I think that’s what makes it so beautiful and powerful.

Cassie: I see a really good question, ‘is there a difference between teaching artists and artists who teach?’ I think I’m really open, the union is really open to involving—yeah or art teacher, right—to involving people who are interested in education and art and who practice one or both and have something to offer based on that. Also really interested in the people that come to the union as just artists with social practices because they feel like they have something to gain from performance—they think their practice of performance or communication is related to teaching. But I think the definition itself of teaching artists from the Association of Teaching Artists or something would say that a teaching artist is an artist who teaches. I would say that my emphasis in teachers who teach as a part of their creative practice which I think repels some people.

Chris: Can you give us an example of a cool project you’ve done recently or what you’re doing right now with the School is Bushwick?

Cassie: Yeah I feel like my job is amazing and I don’t know if other—like I keep saying I don’t know if other people in other cities have opportunities like this, but for example I got hired to work with science teachers to produce a project for Brooklyn schools to reproduce where basically I’m creating art projects that will complement the science curriculum. It’s been pretty amazing to just get to work—I’m working as a professional developer now so I’m working both with students and with their teachers to try to figure out alternative ways to teach what they’re learning so I feel like it’s kind of the most amazing way to get into the system and have a voice and have an audience that spans outside of the people I know or the people I know who they know or their cousins or their two friends. Like dealing with all 200 second graders in one school I feel like I have access to so many parents and so many families. So for instance I taught 120 kids today about how to grow mushrooms in their house and they’re growing them inside of this huge mountain on wheels and that’s their big project this year. We’re talking about habitat and what makes them comfortable and how to use what you have and I work on making stuff that’s sustainable, it lasts for the school. I don’t know, I just feel like it’s a really, really amazing job, its amazing work. Unfortunately a lot of people really aren’t compensated or treated that well for their work but I think, not to play into the under valuing of art, but I really understand—I feel like I’m doing work that I do for free so I just happen to get paid for it.

[0:40:00]

Cassie: So Teaching Artists Union is really cool because we just spend a lot of time hanging out and talking about what’s going on in these very specific situations that we end up being in.

Chris: Do you think this is a good time to talk about School of the Future a little bit, unless people have questions?

Scott: Do you guys have any questions here?

Gerard: I was curious based on what you were talking about a second ago, what do you think artists bring to teaching that other teachers don’t? My names Gerard, I’m here in Philadelphia.

Cassie: Yeah I feel like I bring a lot of awkward silence…I ask questions that maybe don’t have answers. In New York City I witness what you see on the news about teaching to the tests and we’re just an assessment-based education system and everything boils down to…

Scott: Hmm I don’t know, on our end it looks okay. I think their connection got lost. Hey everyone I think we lost connection with Chris and Cassie but it looks like a bunch of other people are still on the line. We’ll go ahead and add them back to the same thing.

 Hey guys

Cassie: Hey now.

Scott: Yeah we lost you for a second there.

Cassie: That’s what I just said.

Greg: Its okay, we’re all blushing.

Cassie: Good.

Greg: And you should know there are many faces here at Base Camp despite the potential blizzard.

Scott: Oh I think we lost Tennessee too; I’ll go ahead and add them back. Oh wait we lost Chris again. Our connection seems just fine.

Greg: Other folks can hear us okay? You don’t have to necessarily talk you can just text that you can hear us.

Scott: You could just raise your hand and nod.

Greg: Hello?

Scott: Yeah can hear, just not the ones that got dropped that’s all.

Greg: You know what I think I’m dropped because I’m not getting any…

[0:45:00]

Scott: Okay we’re going to hang up on everyone and recall.

Greg: I think we’re having troubles.

Scott: I think so too.

Greg: I think Matthew is there, hi Slats. We’re having some internet issues.

Cassie: Alright.

Greg: Are we back in business?

Scott: Alright so…

Greg: I guess we’re sort of in transition anyways so it wasn’t a terrible loss. I don’t know where you guys were, if you were opening the floor to discussion or questions or if we were transferring over to School of the Future?

Chris: Did the person that had the question get it answered? In Philadelphia?

Scott: Oh yeah, hey Gerard?

Gerard: Yeah?

Scott: Did you get an answer before we ran into a technical…

Gerard: If there are more thoughts on that I’d be really curious. Not only from our guests but from others who are typing and stuff. This is a question that I think haunts what I do. But typically parent artists to do what we do which is often far exceeding making art.

Scott: So basically you’re asking about artists’ competencies and how they can be translated into…

Gerard: Exactly, what do artists know, what are compencies about teaching?

Chris: Can you just repeat that for us?

Cassie: Yeah can we have a translation.

Gerard: Again the question was really about what it is that artists bring to teaching which is different from those other teachers in the sciences or the humanities who may have—many of us are practicing studio artists, the best we did was get an MFA which doesn’t have a teaching component at all. What is it that we as artists bring to teaching that’s unique and valuable, what kind of contributions do we make to learning?

Cassie: I think there are really practical answers and then there are more metaphysical ones. I think the practical answers are we don’t have to [inaudible] [0:49:22] standards as those teachers do so that we can explore the way that we approach subjects. I feel like we bring the ability to not have answers in school which I feel like doesn’t really happen in schools—what I was talking about before was that we teach to tests, the whole Board of Education is so wrapped up in assessment that I think they miss the part about learning.

[0:50:08]

Cassie: Where just most kids are—they’re memorizing and then regurgitating. I think in art we’re just asking questions and we’re asking big enough questions that there is not just one answer, giving kids the opportunity to just wonder and to explore. I also think we’re teaching them a process that is maybe a little bit mysterious at times but giving them the skills to follow a process through to complete something because they believe in it and because they need to complete it because we ask them to. It’s really like problem solving to get stuff done in a way that otherwise I feel like they only know how to shuffle information around, like we’re raising middle-men.

Chris: I think that’s good. The teaching artist is I think the glue of the school, it provides this access point for exploration, for creative problem-solving, for addressing questions that do not get asked. Things that overlap; science overlapping social studies, overlapping with real-world sort of stuff and the teaching artist is like the piper, they take the kids outside to explore and they ask questions about how the world works and you guys find answers.

Cassie: We go on and on, I mean schools are so set on overlapping subjects that there is no interdisciplinary…so that overlapping…is allowed to overlap subjects it kind of wreak havoc on that whole system automatically and I think it creates a lot of opportunities for questions. Also the school [inaudible – bad audio] [0:52:51] at times and we’re brining not only ourselves but our knowledge of other communities and other people and their ways of doing things that communities and cities [inaudible] [0:53:13] basically there’s not a lot of awareness of what’s going on…I think the little bit of freshness that we bring.

Chris: Yeah. I think it’s about school [inaudible] [0:53:32] about Teaching Artists Union…

Scott: Hey Chris and Cassie; can you hear us okay?

Cassie: Yeah

Scott: Diana here has a question.

Diana: Well I guess this kind of goes back to what you were talking about before, but it struck me that artists are researches inherently and that they provide new avenues and new ways of looking at the world that are not just about reading or writing but more about all five senses and maybe other senses. So I don’t know if that’s a question necessarily but…

Chris: No I think that’s really true.

Female Speaker: I was thinking of something along the same lines.

Chris: I think an artist in school helps visualize that and provide opportunities for the school to interface with that community for a teacher if everything comes from visual or [inaudible] [0:54:55] hypothesis.

[0:55:00]

Chris: So yeah seem to be challenging like the prism, the light shining through.

Female Speaker: I was thinking along the same thing of what Diana here was saying, there are a lot of people that if they get in there and they just hear a bunch of words about history or something they won’t understand it. But if they get somebody to show them and actually get them involved in seeing things and drawing pictures of stuff that’ll activate parts of their brain which will get them through things that wouldn’t get in there otherwise. There are some people that just learn better that way.

Cassie: Experiential learning. The history of School of the Future is that last year the Parks Department gave me a park that has been much overused in my neighborhood in Bushwick in Brooklyn. They gave it to me because I proposed doing some sort of summer education from there and the Parks Department does not have an education program in northern Brooklyn so they were very happy when I suggested it. They didn’t give me very much time so I pushed it back a summer when we could do it full on. So basically what we have is a park and a big group of teaching artists and now we have a building—a portable building we built there that will be there to—or the students at the Columbia Architecture built for us. So that’s what we have so far. And what the basic premise of the school is that it’s a school where the teaching artist who’s usually not based anywhere will belong and their process—the process of the school is an extension, an exhibition of their process and how to [inaudible] [0:58:30]. And the site where the school will be is in a super industrial neighborhood, next to a highway and a Staples mega-store and we’re going to be there addressing the site, addressing the people that we have to work around and doing that through what we’re calling the method of teaching artist. Now we’re pretty heavy into kind of think we went through phase 1 and now I think we got those people on board and a lot of people that have out reached right now. Another thing is we really want to research schools [inaudible] [0:59:50] through the school so we’re going to have a team of teachers led by Chris who are going to be documenting, studying what’s going on at the school and making that [inaudible] [1:00:09] researchers there from the outside just watching and participating because we really want to create some documentation that can be reusable or at least that can be useful in some way.

[1:00:28]

Chris: Yeah I’m going to be serving as head librarian for the School of the Future and I think it’s got this really great opportunity to display the idea or to display working hypothesis in a way that school can be outside of a brick building, it can be transparent, it can be outside and that art can be the mitigating factor for their gain. Kind of responding to a very situated specific site.

Cassie: Right and education does not mean a brick building.

Chris: Right, right.

Cassie: I really like this question, “In what way is this a school of the future rather than a school of the past?” I think it’s a school of the future because it’s the idea of using art as a vehicle to learn [inaudible] [1:01:56] and that our goal would be to actually create [inaudible] [1:02:07].

Male Speaker: I started to write a manifesto for my school of the future. I want to read some of it to everybody. I’ think the really cool thing is that there can be many people; education, school or teacher, with interest in a project, they all come together, a good community effort. At my school of the future is not inside, but sometimes both at the same time. My school of the future I’m the teacher and the student and we are teachers together. At my school of the future I [inaudible] [1:03:04] with my teams. At my school of the future I know all who are copied in our community. At the school of the future creating practices celebrated and explored. At my school of the future everyone fails, everyone explores and everyone asks the questions they always wanted to ask. At my school of the future my desk is my body, my pencil is my mind. This school of the future, your school of the future can happen anywhere, anytime people come together and learning can happen. This is just a start of some ideas I was putting down.

Cassie: I think we’re also really interested in the history of education and the history of art education and the history of artists and being a site that acknowledges those histories as well as a way to unite all of the artist-run [inaudible] [1:04:19] that are popping up everyone in the city, which there are many.

Chris: I think we’re really excited about the idea of how do we [inaudible] [1:04:36] the School of the Future will hopefully be a way to introduce that idea.

Cassie: I think I’m going to just get this huge block that it’ll give me the art world, the education world and then even a very specific art education world which has its own [inaudible] [1:05:10] that we’re sort of just getting involved with right now.

[1:05:15]

Cassie: [Inaudible] [1:05:15] between those worlds and even if it’s in a small way if we can start to absorb pieces of the conversation from all of those different sides we can come up with some things [inaudible] [1:05:41].

Chris: Yeah

Cassie: I think having relationships with [inaudible] [1:06:07]. I think that teaching for a few years is probably the reason why I still do art and I have an art practice that goes in and out of [inaudible] [1:06:28]

Chris: I think that the flipping [inaudible] [1:06:58] that school is like this kind of binding factor for everybody, everybody has an experience with school and I think it’s a really interesting platform in which to kind of jump off of but also come back. So recently we were giving this presentation at our friend’s project in lower Manhattan and we were kind of like reflecting on our own personal histories of education in school as a way to kind of fill up School of the Future because they were really responding to own experiences of learning and education and what it has been and what could be, what it needs to be.

Cassie: Yeah I feel like school is pretty heavy and everybody has a lot going on with that. There is so much to explore, it’s just a formative time and some that we all share. So I think for some reason there has not been a lot of art that just asks people to talk about it until recently. I think it’s a great conversation to have at the School of the Future.

Diana: This is Diana here in Philadelphia. I was wondering you mentioned divides between different—between the art world, education and art education, teaching artists. It sort of sounds like teaching artists do what progressive educators already do. I’m thinking about this group of publishers called Rethinking Schools and they do some incredible work already in all sorts of fields. So maybe there isn’t such a divide. Can you talk about maybe the ways that there are overlaps in these fields already?

Cassie: There definitely are overlaps of course I just don’t think there’s enough.

Chris: It’s a question of access.

Cassie: Yeah. I mean those overlaps aren’t happening in schools that I’m in.

[1:10:00]

Cassie: I’ve been in so many Department of Education meetings where there is no time or money left for art at all so…

Chris: Yeah I think at the end of the day every student in the United States is required to take a math and a reading exam at the 4th Grade, 8th Grade and High School level. That’s what every school that gets funding from a state or federal entity is worried about and I really think that eats away at opportunities for creative play instead of a lot of disciplines in school. I mean Waldorf Education is amazing, Montessori education is amazing and private schools are great but there is very much a lack I think of those kinds of pedagogies in public schools across the board in the United States. I was just going to bring up School of the Future, it’s an artist run school but it’s opening in July in Bushwick Brooklyn, a section in Brooklyn we are in habit called Hunt for Curriculum right now so if anybody would like to propose a project, any way that they would like to use education or learning or art as a way to interact with the community we are open to many things right now.

Cassie: We’ll be open for 24 hours programming…

Chris: 24/7

Cassie: For that month and the idea also to host a conference or an assembly or congress at the end or somewhat near the end that [inaudible] [1:12:25] for people involved in the education system with the teaching artist and so the conversation to continue and to bounce off of everybody what happened at School of the Future.

Chris: I think really [inaudible] [1:12:58] right now sitting amongst TA members is what is the future of the School of the Future.

Scott: Would this be okay time to ask another question that relates to the future of the School of the Future?

Cassie: Yeah

Michael: Hi this is Michael at Base Camp. I’m curious do you guys—I’d like to hear about sort of what you visualize the School of the Future and the Teaching Artists Union in about 10 to 15 years; 20 years maybe.

Cassie: Well the School of the Future, we’ll see what happens with the first one but I really like the building, the way it’s being constructed is that it can be taken apart into pieces and moved to other sites where it can be rebuilt. Basically what we’re making is pillars that will be able to be repositioned somewhere else and then a new School of the Future can develop from that. I’m not sure, I mean we’re going to work really hard on publishing some stuff that can be used in creating some new models of it but I feel like we have a really, really big process that is the first time that either of us, Chris or I, have [inaudible] [1:14:50] and we don’t know.

[1:15:00]

Cassie: I think that the dream would be to go out of the art world with it, to have some sort of a meeting with some boards of education. But maybe one day there will be a school district in New York that doesn’t have a location, or not a geographical district but it’s actually a school district for artist run schools or a school district for the arts. Somehow there is something, a trace lapped from the process. I really don’t know what it is. Teaching Artists Union I think it’s really important that it remains and continues to grow. I think I’m very wary of how formal the teaching artist position becomes because a lot of what’s so beautiful about it is our freedom and our ability to kind of fall through the cracks of these institutions and have access to all of these people to do all kinds of impractical/practical things that might be regulated. I think the Teaching Artists Union is beautifully underground right now and hopefully it will remain really strong but also kind of stay somewhat under the radar. For me if other Teaching Artists Unions can open around the city I think it’s really important to have a local group of supporters. I think perhaps we could help create at some point a larger network that can pull resources but I can’t really tell I can’t see what’s going to happen yet. This is a really damn good group of people right now. It’s like the moment right now is really good.

Chris: Yeah my dream is really to do some fun research like really things [inaudible] [1:17:52] what kind of learning happens at the School of the Future so that can be published in an academic journal but also can serve as an art keep in itself. Thinking about a deviation between a pre and post survey like ‘how many TAW members did you engage, what kind of things did you learn’ let’s think about a creative way so that we can measure the kinds of learning the Teaching Artists like really involving and bring to the table. That can hopefully progress a conversation about the value of Teaching Artists and art education in general. So I think that can live on indefinitely in many ways; that research and that knowledge that we collect through doing experiments. Was that Michael Bower? Hello Michael!

Michael: Hi.

Scott: That was Greg typing that in.

Greg: Doesn’t it though—it’s like ‘so the School of the Future is the school of today. Join us.’

Chris: There’s actually a really great—well a weird school division in Philadelphia, do you guys know about that?

Greg: No

Chris: It’s run by Microsoft.

Greg: Oh yeah, The Gates Foundation. We all belong to that.

Chris: Are there any questions about School of the Future?

Greg: We do have a question, I’m not sure what it’s about though, hold on.

Hankin: So this is Hankin here at Base Camp in Philly.

[1:20:00]

Hankin: I guess I was just wondering if there was ever and I apologize because I joined late here today so you might have already covered this but I was wondering if there’s a social component to the research that you’ve done or things that you discuss. The reason why…

Chris: You’re asking about social component to research?

Hankin: Yeah let me elaborate. I went to this alternative school from K-8 and there was as large component of it that was focused on the social aspects of the classroom. So there is a lot of focus on communal bonding and group exercises and just the whole structure of it was classes were taught in circles and not at desks. I don’t know I was just kind of wondering if that was a component of what you worked on.

Chris: Well I’m looking to fit in the notion of—this is like an educational term called communities of practice so a community of practice is a group of people who come together kind of like under the—they might be preexisting but somebody is brought into a community practice because they want to learn something. They want access to some sort of expertise so I’m interested in how the community practice is formed. The community practice can be anywhere, it can be a group of teachers out of school, it could be midwives that deliver babies and they talk to each other and share their skills but I think the School of the Future is going to produce a really kind of interesting and unique kind of community practice that will hopefully sustain over time. I think that’s my interest, how can this experiment bolster the teaching artist union, include more people around the community of Bushwick and then stay over time as an autonomous community that’s impactful and helpful to the people that are a part of it. So there’s a number of variables you can measure in terms of retention and formation of communities of practice. I recommend a really cool book by Etienne Wenger and I’ll type it in after I stop talking, but he’s written a lot of books about situated learning and communities of practice so I think those are things that I want to research. And they’re inherently about social dynamics.

Scott: Cool and Stephen had a question. Do you want to go ahead and ask that Stephen? Are you in a place where you can?

Stephen: Can you hear me there?

Scott: Yes

Stephen: Actually I have a bunch of questions but maybe I can kind of make them into one. It seems to me that—I already asked the question of ‘why aren’t you more skeptical about art’ because I feel that there’s a real very strong kind of belief or bias in art and it’s not that I don’t share it but it’s that I think something needs to be really profoundly questioned. So you’ve been ascribing to art this specific status; it could really do something, it could change the world, it has this perception busting capacity that needs to be unleashed on the world but the problem with that is that it kind of gives art this very special status which actually is tantamount to improve much in the world.

[1:25:10]

Stephen: So I’m kind of wondering how you can deal with that because on the other hand you’re also talking about citizenship, you’re talking about equality, so how do you kind of square that equation. Because on one hand you want to make art something which is egalitarian and at the same time you’re holding up art to be something which will never be egalitarian because it has something which has very special privileges and actually it gives artist privileges that other people don’t have in case of just symbolic rights of going to museums at half price and to sort of behave in a way that we’ve grown accustom to see artists behaving which is really quite disgusting and it’s one of the reasons why we want to rethink the whole notion of art worlds where artists wouldn’t behave that way. So have you—it’s kind of a paradox and even maybe a contradiction that I’d like you to address.

Cassie: Sure I guess I’m super skeptical of most art. I think that we’re talking about work that happens with kind of people with the intention of communicating explanations in a specific community that needs a connection to—a new way of connecting with some type of information or skill.

Chris: I think we’ve been talking a lot more about learning and education, the conflict of art which is a very different thing. I don’t think we’ve been talking about art much at all today, it’s been more about education and I think we’re trying to bring to the learning process an artist process and that [inaudible] [1:27:35] I think as necessary or community reform. I think the artist is really [inaudible] [1:27:51] for many different patronages.

Cassie: I guess I have not wanted to identify with artists for most of my life but the times that it’s come in really handy have been when I’ve been outside of art communities. So when I am at a school art kind of does have—the word ‘art’ and idea of art has the ability to melt away a lot of the sort of suffocating rules and bureaucracies. So that is a privilege I’ve been given through art. I think a lot of people use it really well in these contexts that we’re talking about.

Female Speaker: I think art is…

Stephen: It is a problem. It’s a problem to say that someone uses their privilege well, is it not?

Chris: I don’t understand that.

Cassie: I don’t know if it’s a problem.

Stephen: Well people who have privilege tend to say that they use it well. You will find this is almost a universal characteristic of privileged people, they think that they use it well. In so far as they acknowledge the privilege I mean.

[1:30:00]

Stephen: I find this particularly problematic in the case of art because it’s the one thing that seems to go unchallenged in art. Art wants to challenge everybody else’s privilege but not its own.

Cassie: I guess I think it’s a problem with language right now because I actually think that…I think that what’s going on is good. I think there’s a lot of definitively good moments happening and I’m not focusing on the way that I’m describing it because I guess I’m just not really being cautious of my language but I understand what you’re saying. I’m really not sure that I know how to respond to that.

Diana: This is Diana in Philadelphia. I have two comments; maybe one is an answer. I see current art practice, maybe an avant garde practice as being sort of parallel to education and the School of the Future and Teaching Artist Union are kind of examples of that. I mean if you define art as relational aesthetics or about dialogue then you can start to see the parallels between what artists are doing, what you’re doing and education. Then this idea also of privilege; I think can sort of be resolved when we start talking about art that is about social justice and when we bring communities into art it’s about getting at those issues of privilege and the issues of elitism in the art world.

Chris: This is Chris from Philadelphia and I was thinking part of it, from what my perspective, is that when I was younger I went to school for people with learning differences and minimal brain dysfunction. I was thinking maybe it could be possible that if they had one of these kind of schools that it could be with people, instead of having all these labels and everything and then you get to go a special school for this, it could be anybody that could go in there, it could break down barriers in that sort of way. If that will help anybody.

Chris: I think we’re really just trying to play with a lot of different interfaces; art, education, but I think we’re all just kind of all melted together so it’s hard for us to separate all of these vain, classical terminologies that maybe people associate with those words. I think that’s a really cool thing that I think we’re working to right now in terms of a process; what is art, what is education, how do they come together, what are their interceptions and what kind of possibilities do they present for a community in a lot of different context. I think the art for me is about responsibility. If you’re going to be artists I feel like you should know the community that you are [inaudible] [1:34:18], who you are impacting as being an artist and just be cognizant of that. I think we’re trying to do that with the School of the Future in a lot of ways.   

Scott: I think there seems to be—in some of the questions and discussions so far there almost seems to be this kind of binary being set up between a celebratory perspective or a kind of optimistic one and a highly critical one.

[1:35:03]

Scott: I don’t know if that’s necessarily really important to thread out, I think the discussion about that is really important but I think one question that I have kind of relates a bit to the critical side. I know a lot of the work that you do Chris and I understand that a lot of what motivates these projects is highly critical of current problems, both in education and art. You guys have mainly focused on the problems in education, not so much in art. In a sense it sort of seems like, tell me if I’m right about this, but it seems like you see art as almost a loophole within education or at least that’s what you’re describing with these practices. You’re not really so much addressing the problems of art per say, you’re just kind of using some sort of status that you get as artists or that you can use as artists to apply to this potentially even more problematic or even more bureaucratic educational system. Do you think that’s true?

Cassie: Yeah I think it’s definitely become a bit of a vehicle to solve problems and I think that a lot of the paradigm of art pedagogy—pedagogy as art relies on the idea of art as a problem solver. So we’re using it but I think the School of the Future is our art project.

Scott: I think the thing is that isn’t one of the problems that artists as problem solvers is one of the primary ways that this really large talent pool gets instrumentalized by every industry in the world. We’re sort of seen as problem solvers and we take that role and generally our initiatives are self-run and low budget and DIY until the point where they actually take off and then either we cash in or someone else appropriates us. So I guess my question is about how these kinds of projects can on one hand raise critical awareness and sort of instigate more ferocious critiques. On the other hand offer some opportunities, some kind of alternatives that don’t necessarily have to kind of drag through the mud of every—critiquing every existing problem, you just kind of side-step a lot of them. I think both of those things are really interesting. What am I ultimately saying? Just that one thing that I’m always conscious of is I guess that potential to be either appropriated or to sort of willingly at some point allow the systems that we’re setting up to just ultimately not be that different from the existing ones. Or have a disillusion yeah. That’s not in the form of a question, but…

Greg: It’s alright, it’s not Jeopardy.

[1:40:02]

Scott: Right it’s not Jeopardy, but I guess I wanted to form it like a question because I was curious what you guys thought about that. Especially seeing how these two projects are both based in New York, both cultural tsunami—this giant cultural vacuum cleaner. I don’t know, this major center with so much gravitational pull and so many creative minds that are there and so many incentives for all of the intangible creative capital that you’re building. Do you know what I mean? I feel like there is a lot of not necessarily danger because—well anyway I feel like there’s a lot of danger to allow critical projects that you set up to either be appropriated or to basically in many ways resemble the things that you’re trying to side-step or overcome in the first place. I was wondering how you guys approach that danger.

Cassie: I think it’s just the mentality that is there is no danger; it’s just those systems that we might be absorbed into. We could also see it the other way and see them as a part of our project that we’re working in the art projects.

Chris: It comes down to also choosing the right people that are sincere in what they’re doing, being cognizant of I think the long term goals we’re all setting for each other, the formation of the community that I think is autonomous. If we can motivate that I think there is a way that it can be the best compilation that can be perceived like you’re saying Scott, that’s maybe not so good.

Cassie: I’m not that really [inaudible] [1:42:51] in the art world itself when it doesn’t reach that side of itself. I mean [inaudible] [1:43:03] solving communities that reach outside of the [inaudible] [1:43:22] art world.

Chris: I think New York City really needs a response right now [inaudible] [1:43:31] and it’s hard I think to break free of that. I think we’re trying to provide places where the communities form and start that are the difference in their current intention. I think that’s what it comes down to, is what is intention of the community or the individual? I think our intentions are pretty sincere and [inaudible] [1:44:08]. I trust that.

Scott: Totally. I have another question I just don’t want to keep jumping on if anybody else has other things they want to…

Chris: [Inaudible] [1:44:36]

Scott: Absolutely. Speaking of the wider community, how do you see School of the Future’s potential to engage with other existing pedagogical projects by other artists?

[1:45:10]

Scott: Can you hear me at all by the way? Sorry can you guys hear me? I think we lost them coincidentally. We’ll add Chris and Cassie again hold on a second. Hey guys. Hey we just wanted to pummel you with some more questions right as the Kung Fu is starting above our heads.

Greg: That’s not actually a joke, it’s true.

Scott: Yeah it’s totally true. But yeah, I was curious, speaking of the wider community, how you see School of the Future’s potential to engage with other existing critical pedagogy projects by other artists and groups. I know that you guys do, at least…

Chris: [inaudible] [1:47:02]

Cassie: We’re also sort of a social community. We’re kind of up to our knees in artist run schools that are happening around us so I feel like a lot of the other teachers, practitioners of participating are already engaged in their own full projects.

Chris: Yeah Cassie made this awesome school flag for other Teaching Artist schools; it’s on the Flicker account.

Scott: Okay yeah, we’ll look for that. Definitely, I know you are, I was just kind of curious if—I think it’s something interesting to discuss and thought it might be good to chat about with you guys. But I also saw your note that you guys are pretty much ready to wrap up soon so we definitely don’t want to keep you on for too long. Michael has a question.

Michael: I’m curious about strategies to bring together all these artist run pedagogical experiments or whether you guys are doing different types of outreach or anything to connect with those groups.

Chris: Michael was asking [inaudible] [1:49:09].

Cassie: The weird part is we know—those are our friends. I feel like there’s a pretty tight group of people here that are all doing projects.

Chris: Yeah we’re going to hopefully think about invitation and having some sort of like maybe big events.

[1:50:00]

Chris: I think it’s just really a question of how much [inaudible] [1:50:05] but I think we’re going to try and of course that’s something that I don’t mind, [inaudible] [1:50:20]. So if people want to add to that I think there’s a lot of [inaudible] [1:50:36] in Portland that’s coming up, there’s going to be some cool people there. We would love to have something at the School of the Future.

Male Speaker: I’m thinking about a lot of activity happening in Los Angeles too like the public school, the mountain school, ASAP. There are all these sort of really interesting experiments where I feel like they’re all sort of like, I don’t know some of them seem to be claiming their own territory but I think it would be wonderful if there is some way to sort of bring some of this activity together.

Joe: This is Joe from Philadelphia and I was just interested in this kind of bringing schools together there’s an artist, Mel Chin, who is working on this project right now that’s fundred.org with this connection with all of these schools that he’s connected with. There are many in Philadelphia, he’s coming here in the middle of April for this big pick-up of all of these fundred dollar bills. It’s like this link of trying to get the schools and education as a base to make a change or make a difference and it’s by rising—how can we raise 300 million dollars to erase the lead problem in New Orleans. It’s like is that possible, well maybe? So you can link to there and you can see all of the schools that he’s connected with and it’s also a really good model of how to get these schools involved. It’s like he’s reaching out to these teachers with the Teachers Union and saying this can happen by developing practices in a way that’s really contemporary, he’s not going to try to make any money off of this project but trying to solve a problem. Will it work? Maybe not, but maybe there’s an opportunity for people to learn in that way.

Scott: Well guys I’m really interested to see how this is going to shape up in New York. I’m wondering if there are any interests in the School of the Future, this particular project. I didn’t really quite get a good sense of how you guys were interested in working with other existing projects beyond the fact that you’re aware and you’re friends with them. I totally understand that, I don’t think it’s a really easy question to answer to be honest.

[1:54:48]

Scott: Also I don’t know that it’s necessarily assumed that you should be working with everybody just because—I was just asking because for one thing I only know you’ve for much a shorter time Cassie, but Chris I know a lot of your work you do work with existing projects and I know that we’re working on something that’s pretty massive that connects with a lot of people as well, that we’ll be talking about next month or so. But I was just curious if this particular project, if there was any real interest to overlap with other existing creative pedagogy projects. Because of their proliferation there is a kind of ground swell of this type of work, I think a lot of people are wondering is it something that will mostly benefit the people involved for the short time that it has that perceived momentum behind it or can we actually seize some of these moments and push past some of the barriers that we actually have in existing art worlds. Because Cassie I know that you guys aren’t really all that interested in working through—like specifically getting stuck in some of the problems of some of the most dominant art worlds but then again when all is said and done as soon certain moments and momentum are over and that does happen, we’re sort of left with whatever structures people put in place. I think that’s what really interests me about what you guys are doing, what a lot of other people are doing is not only are you building an art project that you can put on your resume and not only are you interested in doing some good in the world or something like that too, which is awesome, but you’re also setting up systems that other people can use and you’re co developing certain structures and systems that other people have helped to set up as well. In doing that I think you’re kind of getting beyond some of the competition that you were talking about initially that usually keeps us pretty alienated from one another and usually keeps our ability to use this incredibly massive and almost dangerous potential as a giant group of creative cultural practitioners, it kind of keeps us from doing really awesome things with it. It makes us sort of weak as a giant group and sort of allows us to get used by any interest that’s larger than any one of us, which is a lot. It would be nice, whether we address that more here tonight or whether we follow up with that it would be really awesome to follow up with you guys because I think you guys have a lot to offer and it would be nice if we could actually enter into that conversation together in addition to looking at all of the awesome things that are happening in the moment.

Cassie: Yeah I think it’s really important to show an awareness of all of these other projects and try to—there’s no real need to compete, there are so many issues to deal with, there is so much about everybody super specific location situations they can deal with and all we can do is keeping learning from what they’re already doing and hope to create something interesting enough that they want to contribute.

Chris: Yeah I think it’s something we’ve been aware of from the beginning, before we did the School of the Future. I sent a couple of links to something called the Demonstration District as a project that Cassie and I see as maybe being the future event that station of School of the Future.

[2:00:00]

Chris: And that is again school district of artist run schools. So the idea is to create school district offices around town, who knows but using it to create boards of education that unite all the different projects. So that’s very much already in the works.

Scott: We’re checking out your—the Demonstration District website right now. Thanks so much for taking the time out to join us. I happen to know you guys are involved in a lot of stuff there right now with the trade school and getting things prepared for the design of the School of the Future this Thursday. There is a lot going on so I’m glad that even though you weren’t able to come here in person this week I’m glad that we were still able to connect.

Cassie: Yeah I would love to have a Teaching Artist Union get together in Philly sometime and yeah I’d love to learn what the local situation is there.

Scott: Great. Yeah we could definitely try to connect with people here for sure. I know there are a lot of people that fit that category and I bet a certain percentage of them might be interested to have a conversation about it.

 Alright guys well thanks a lot and we’ll just follow up with all of you guys online and see you next week.

Chris: Alright. Thanks Scott, appreciate it.

Scott: Bye guys.

Greg: Thanks guys, bye.

[2:02:34] End of Audio

 

 

Week 6 (PART 2?): Teaching Artist Union and School of the Future
[0:00:00]
Speaker 1: And utilized by others for various profit. Are we unwilling collaborators or uninformed collaborators in the system?

Speaker 2: I think that’s what you were touching on.

Speaker 1: Yes, technique plays into the thesis.

Scott: Absolutely and what you were talking about—well what everyone’s talking about right now is one of the main issues that we take often with artists’ social practice and so called public art. Especially when it leads toward the celebratory often it’s just a very easy and convenient way for local and governments or states to not give funding to social programs that actually need it and just sort of use the amazing low-paid or even unpaid like PR abilities of artists and just kind of say ‘hey aren’t we doing such a great job as a state?’ Or as a city or as whatever it is, ‘isn’t this so amazing’ when in fact ‘no not really.’ It’s just a very incredibly tiny amount of money and resources that are going towards this. It’s like ‘hey these artists are really going to give us a good sell and we actually can even do less.’ So I mean it seems really similar to what you said about schools. It felt like that happens with Social Services and so-called Public Works, I’m sorry…

Speaker 1: This is something George used to rant about, artists raising funds and getting perks. Healthcare issues all the time.

Scott: Yeah. On the other hand I wouldn’t want to completely be just a negative-Nancy about this and all peoples’ attempts to do something in the world are nullified because we’re actually spending our time trying to do something to change our circumstances or the world around us, but on the other hand I feel like artists have a particular responsibility—well…

Speaker 1: Artists I think differ from [inaudible] [0:03:19] that would be interesting, the difference between design thinking and art practice. Where design is inherently totalitarian, its goal is to be gratuitous and art is very often the instrumental, it’s the thing attempted to [inaudible] [0:03:42] and it’s resistant to that. I mean art is inherently resistant to usefulness.

Scott: Well I think you and Stephen should definitely have a conversation about this.

Speaker 2: That’s the real challenge, people are unaware that education is happening, art education where I’m teaching students still demand that there be skills and particle aspect to—something I stress more experimentation, they want ‘how do I make good versus bad so I can make money?’ I think that ties them to the sort of what you’re talking about, sort of creation of the creative skills.

Speaker 3: I think a lot of what Cassie was saying early on about how the education system hasn’t prepared students for varies outcomes based learning, ‘we want to learn how to do X because it’ll be on test.’

[0:05:00]

Speaker 3: Those students who wash up on your shore want to learn how to make this versus that. So I mean…

Speaker 2: The one thing I would’ve liked to have asked, but I think it was just sort of off topic, which was it seems to me that the alternative practice of being a teaching artist as she said, if in direct sort of suspicion of an artist who is a teacher had for instance a college or high school, I don’t necessarily get that sense from a public school, but from some of the sort of alternative educational models, it’s in there. I think what you were saying Scott, setting up the binary which is we are outside the institution and anybody inside the institution is corrupt, perpetuating the process which you paid $40,000 a year for education. But I feel like that’s missing a lot of the stuff working inside the system. I don’t know that sort of not being a negative-Nancy that sometimes you can do more good than necessarily hang your head against it. When you talk about all these things that you catch on, what if there’s a real tie into this? Why don’t you sort of work from the inside, read some of this material, ideas, process?

Female Speaker 1: A lot of this is also cultural, there’s an acquired need figuring out what you already do well. Like teaching to a test, that’s important for students.

Speaker 2: Yeah for some things that is very important.

Female Speaker 1: But you’re almost doing students a disservice if you don’t do that because they’ll probably study it that way. So how do we combine it to a necessity [inaudible] [0:07:57]. So I wonder when we [inaudible] [0:08:07] racially, like working outside of the system, what does that mean, who are these people working outside of the system versus the people who are in the system, how do we insert here?

Female Speaker 2: Me personally, I don’t care if [inaudible] [0:08:33], as long as they learn how to think. I don’t care if they think that everybody at the White House is paid in cream or whatever, as long as they know how to think about the whole situation.

Scott: Well one thing that we keep stressing every single week here just because we sort of started out this year with the example of the public school as the project that Michael had mentioned and a lot of what these forms are on the wall for the few of you guys who haven’t been here during the previous weeks this year yet, part of our goal is to work with the LA branch to start a Philadelphia Public School and I guess that’s already happened in the form of, I don’t know, how many—I’m thinking it’s like approximately 2 dozen class proposals.

[0:10:00]

Scott: There are more than we had initially printed up there for the Philly branch as well. One of the things that could actually be helpful for is actually following up with us and anyone else locally and also potentially people who aren’t local. It’s sort of set up on a city by city basis at this point. I think even though we’re the only people that—I think we’re the only branch that has sent them sort of multi-city classes but still I think it’s probably largely going to happen locally just because of the way it’s set up. Anyway that would be a good way to continue to connect. Some of the things that have—various questions that have come up could become course proposals. I think tonight Michael made at least one proposal I saw, maybe. Anyway, if you guys are interested in that at all it’s easy to do it online but we printed out a bunch of forms to make it a lot easier for everybody to not have to remember where to go and what to do. So if you would like them I’ll give you some of them. We can even talk about them here. I don’t know what you guys think about this but the framework of being able to propose any kind of class for anything and then being able to express interest in a class, any existing class is a kind of like open ended structure that really doesn’t exactly resemble a university in any way or even a more structured free school. It’s actually just kind of—anyway without getting into the reasons behind it, it’s really just sort of drawing from a generic idea of a class to a course to just give some kind of space to different desires that we have and interests. To just give you an example one of the courses that were proposed last week by one of the artists of residence here was how to pick locks. The reason for that is that our lock actually seized up on us, the front door and they actually had to take it apart just to get out which was pretty messed up so we got a new one. We happen to have this lock that’s laying around now that kind of periodically seizes up so Halps thought ‘I’d really like to lock pick’ so he proposed that class and a bunch of people have already signed up for it. He has no idea how to pick locks yet so he’s trying to figure it out. But then some of the courses are much more in depth with a lot of resources and that probably the people that get into them will only get into them because they’re super engaged with that subject and they’ll be much more self-selective.

[0:15:08]

Scott: Anyway I just wanted to let you guys know about that. I may not be describing it the best way.

Speaker 1: I’m going to be trying to get sort of a core group of people together to help facilitate classes. They call it DAN, which is an acronym. What is it called?

Speaker 2: I don’t know, I thought it was Distributed Artist Network but that’s not it.

Scott: I have no idea, actually I think the Philadelphia—basically the city by city committee is just called D-A-N and I don’t think it stands for anything actually.

Speaker 1: Yeah it’s just made up; it’s essentially a core group of people that are helping to make these classes happen. So next coming month or so we’re going to be trying to develop a group who would be interested in helping to facilitate some activity here.

Scott: Yeah so if any of you guys are interested let us know.

 Oh that’s you Joe. Hey we had an email exchange briefly.

Joe: Yeah it would be great to get together and just sit down and talk about…

Scott: Oh cool.

Joe: Things like that.

Scott: Absolutely yeah

Joe: Just this kind of idea

[0:17:34] End of Audio

Backchannel


Chat History with basekamp/$6eacdf357caaebd4" title="#basekamp/$6eacdf357caaebd4">Teaching Artist Union and School of the Future http://bit.ly/bxh0nd (#basekamp/$6eacdf357caaebd4)

Created on 2010-02-11 08:52:45.

2010-02-09

BASEKAMP team: 17:48:11
http://www.skype.com/go/joinpublicchat?skypename=basekamp&topic=Teaching...
BASEKAMP team: 17:49:24
hello world
BASEKAMP team: 17:56:24
hello chris
Christopher Kennedy: 17:56:36
hello
choenbc" title="schoenbc">schoenbc: 17:56:51
hi
BASEKAMP team: 17:57:11
hey hey hey
Christopher Kennedy: 17:57:27
hello everyone
BASEKAMP team: 17:59:24
hey everyone we'll get started soon, just finishing up w/ tech here in the space
BASEKAMP team: 18:04:50
ok looking good here...
Brett Bloom: 18:10:35
yep
Matthew Slaats: 18:11:48
Did the line just drop out?
stephen wright: 18:12:07
18 inches?
Brett Bloom: 18:12:39
audio just got dropped
stephen wright: 18:12:42
lost
BASEKAMP team: 18:13:17
ugh! hang tight gang
BASEKAMP team: 18:13:20
audio gone
BASEKAMP team: 18:14:03
working on reconnecting gang sorry
stephen wright: 18:14:10
man, it sounds like you're vomiting
stephen wright: 18:14:22
are you okay?
Brett Bloom: 18:14:34
chris and cassie are really space aliens
Christopher Kennedy: 18:15:03
does it sound weird on our end?
stephen wright: 18:15:14
it doesn't sound
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:22
ok, internet cut
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:30
callign back now
atrowbri: 18:16:19
greg, we find your voice SMOOTH
BASEKAMP team: 18:16:44
just a friendly reminder that while Chris & Cassie are talking could you please mute your mics, many thx
BASEKAMP team: 18:17:05
you mean smoove?
Christopher Kennedy: 18:17:37
www.teachingartistunion.org
BASEKAMP team: 18:17:45
BTW, we've muted our audio --- everyone please mute until you want to speak -- thanks!
Christopher Kennedy: 18:18:34
teaching artist?
stephen wright: 18:18:36
Nope
stephen wright: 18:18:38
not yet
atrowbri: 18:19:54
I''ve never heard it
BASEKAMP team: 18:20:09
can you identify yourself before talking, thx
stephen wright: 18:20:23
This is a NYC thing?
stephen wright: 18:20:40
Sorry, don't live there.
Brett Bloom: 18:20:55
there is a similar org in Chicago
Matthew Slaats: 18:21:02
Definitely, I've only seen the word used in NY.
atrowbri: 18:21:23
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teaching_artist
atrowbri: 18:21:29
and on wikipedia smiley
Christopher Kennedy: 18:21:57
http://www.teachingartists.com/
Christopher Kennedy: 18:22:20
http://www.flickr.com/photos/schoolofthefuture/4341520517/
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:03
hi Aryon smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:12
want to be added to the audio ?
Aryon Hoselton: 18:23:14
perfect!
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:23
i think we had the wrong skypename
Aryon Hoselton: 18:23:26
please! i have been so excited about this talk!
Christopher Kennedy: 18:24:49
http://teachingartistunion.org/Documents/PROJECTS/PRAXIS/Institute%20for...
stephen wright: 18:25:11
why should teachers and students get discounts?
atrowbri: 18:25:34
the link doesnt seem to work Chris
Christopher Kennedy: 18:26:19
http://www.artandwork.us/2009/11/teaching-artist-union-card/
BASEKAMP team: 18:26:45
again can you please identify yourselves before you talk, just so everyone knows who is who thanls
Christopher Kennedy: 18:31:47
nyc.thepublicschool.org
BASEKAMP team: 18:32:04
Is there a difference between traching artists and artists who teach?
BASEKAMP team: 18:32:11
oops teaching
BASEKAMP team: 18:33:46
we're all here!
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:34:17
I seem to have lost audio connection
atrowbri: 18:35:17
it's cutting in and out here
BASEKAMP team: 18:37:00
or an Art Teacher?
BASEKAMP team: 18:37:21
david g, you're back in the call right?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:37:29
yes thanks
BASEKAMP team: 18:38:33
also links to projects?
Christopher Kennedy: 18:39:00
http://www.anothercupdevelopment.org/projects
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:39:34
thank you
Matthew Slaats: 18:40:55
I kind of feel that teaching is a part of being an artist.   Aren't we always trying to inform people about our practice, teaching them about ways of experiencing. Isn't that what teachers do every day in classes?
Matthew Slaats: 18:41:30
Good question?
BASEKAMP team: 18:42:07
uh oh...
stephen wright: 18:42:30
lost you
Matthew Slaats: 18:43:31
I'd be curious to hear about the relationship to the real teachers union?  My guess is that the teaching artist union isn't beheld to standards, which gives them the freedom to pursue new ways of engagement.
stephen wright: 18:43:33
no sound
choenbc" title="schoenbc">schoenbc: 18:43:45
yes
Colin Hart: 18:43:46
i can hear
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:43:57
its ok now
choenbc" title="schoenbc">schoenbc: 18:44:07
its cutting out now
Matthew Slaats: 18:44:10
I was bounced off the call.
atrowbri: 18:45:00
operator, we have been disconnected
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:45:05
the audio has been cut off
Christopher Kennedy: 18:45:10
eek
BASEKAMP team: 18:45:56
w00t!
BASEKAMP team: 18:47:24
anyone still left out of the call?
Brett Bloom: 18:47:32
yep
Colin Hart: 18:47:55
here
Colin Hart: 18:47:59
as well
Brett Bloom: 18:48:01
thanks
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:48:17
how would you define an artist in the first place?
BASEKAMP team: 18:48:19
brett, cassie was just answering the question that Gerard asked
Brett Bloom: 18:48:28
ok. thanks
BASEKAMP team: 18:48:39
"what do artists bring to pedagody?"
BASEKAMP team: 18:48:42
paraphrased
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:49:04
what has metaphysics got to do with anything?
BASEKAMP team: 18:49:12
what are artists' competencies - what do we "know"?
BASEKAMP team: 18:49:35
and how does that translate to autonomouse knowledge production?
BASEKAMP team: 18:49:50
Diana has a Q here
BASEKAMP team: 18:49:55
btw...
Matthew Slaats: 18:50:27
Do you guys know about the Institute of Play?
BASEKAMP team: 18:50:29
also henken has a Question here too
atrowbri: 18:52:31
Are you guys familiar with Albert Cullum?  http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/touchofgreatness/teacher.html
stephen wright: 18:53:13
You guys really seem to believe in art! Like it could change the world. Isn't that pretty 20th century?
Christopher Kennedy: 18:53:30
www.schoolofthefuture.org
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:53:54
Thats what i sense
Christopher Kennedy: 18:54:35
http://www.flickr.com/photos/schoolofthefuture/4341523373/
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:54:44
that there is a danger of conveying the same errors and problems presented by Beuys
Christopher Kennedy: 18:55:15
http://schoolofthefuture.org/index.php?/site-sgt-doug/video-of-the-park/
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:55:51
What happens if there is no such thing as the artist?
BASEKAMP team: 18:56:11
A Q from someone here: "How important is the process vs product of teaching artists?"
Christopher Kennedy: 18:56:36
process is key!
stephen wright: 18:56:37
In what way is it the school of the future? Rather than the school of the past? Not in terms of the status of the artist which you seem to endorse?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 18:58:30
so art becomes even more totalising than it already is?
stephen wright: 18:59:09
"art as a vehicle to learn everything else." that's a pretty strong statement.
stephen wright: 19:00:05
Why aren't you more sceptical about art?
choenbc" title="schoenbc">schoenbc: 19:00:19
Is it/how is it different than a simple "hands on" learning technique
Christopher Kennedy: 19:00:21
art world vs. education world vs. art education world
Christopher Kennedy: 19:02:32
school is the joke everyone gets
Christopher Kennedy: 19:08:26
http://schoolofthefuture.org/demonstrationdistrict/
BASEKAMP team: 19:10:21
So then really, the SotF is the school of today?
BASEKAMP team: 19:10:30
sounds like a Scientology hook
stephen wright: 19:11:35
how is one to acknowledge the specifity of art without implicitly according it a special status, a special privilege?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:11:52
Isnt the idea of any teaching of art to question the very basis & foundations of art rather than perpetuate its myths?
BASEKAMP team: 19:12:06
So after Henken's question -- stephen has a question next in queue
BASEKAMP team: 19:12:39
then David G has a Q after that...
Christopher Kennedy: 19:14:40
communities of practice - etienne wegner
stephen wright: 19:18:13
All artists say that!
stephen wright: 19:22:55
More broadly, do you see that teaching-art is a new paradigm of art-doing?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:23:03
There is a problem at the moment with the consolidation of  bourgeoise culture and this conversation seems to perpetuate this dilema
stephen wright: 19:23:18
What some people have called the "pedagogical turn" in art doing?
George W. Johnson: 19:23:19
without art there is no education.!
BASEKAMP team: 19:30:01
Adam are you still with us?  What do your students think? Any ?s from them?
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:31:27
the sound is breaking up
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:31:43
yes
George W. Johnson: 19:31:43
yes!
BASEKAMP team: 19:31:45
uh oh
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:31:52
no
BASEKAMP team: 19:31:53
working on it
Christopher Kennedy: 19:32:12
i think were ready to wrap things up here -
Christopher Kennedy: 19:33:08
http://schoolofthefuture.org/demonstrationdistrict/
Christopher Kennedy: 19:34:14
http://www.flickr.com/photos/evilarchitexture/4141511497/
Christopher Kennedy: 19:34:56
www.bhqfu.org
BASEKAMP team: 19:35:25
we're looking @ your flag now
BASEKAMP team: 19:35:42
link to wiki?
Christopher Kennedy: 19:36:07
http://schoolofthefuture.org/index.php?/artist-run-school-database/
BASEKAMP team: 19:37:12
http://www.fundred.org/
BASEKAMP team: 19:37:49
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV71FeUgFjk
BASEKAMP team: 19:44:35
Thanks all!!!
stephen wright: 19:44:38
Thanks so much!
BASEKAMP team: 19:44:45
Thanks Chris & Cassie!!!
stephen wright: 19:44:53
Teaching artists of the world unite!
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:45:14
ok thank so much
choenbc" title="schoenbc">schoenbc: 19:45:31
thanks
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:45:37
yep
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:46:16
the sound is gone
ost-autonomy" title="post-autonomy">post-autonomy: 19:46:43
so maybe this is a good time to say good night

Week 1: The Public School and AAAARG.org

Hi everyone,

This Tuesday is the first evening in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 focusing on examples of Plausible Artworlds, culminating in an online and printed publication in 2011. Let’s get started!

This week we’ll be talking with folks from The Public School and AAAARG.ORG. This is a rare opportunity to get people who have been involved in organizing, theorizing, participating in (or newly interested in) these projects to convene online for a couple hours in a public and open setting.

Accompanying this conversation will also be a hands-on public event to officially launch The Public School in Philadelphia, with a history of past “courses”, and plenty of room to propose new ones. Please come and join us!

AAAARG.ORG is an online research and education library integrated with The Public School – initiated by Sean Dockray with Fiona Whitton as a project for TELIC Arts Exchange at the end of 2007. The Public School is a school with no curriculum, located underneath TELIC Arts Exchange. The Public School is an open structure, or maybe a stage, on which ideas about school perform new realities. To put it another way, The Public School is invested in the idea of public space – not in the sense of state-controlled plots of land, but rather in the sense of spaces for the political.

http://thepublicschool.org/

http://aaaarg.org/

Transcription

Week 1: The Public School and AAAAARG.org

[0:00:00]

[Background Noise]

Male 1: Great. So hey, Sean, so how are you guys doing? And everyone? Welcome to our little chat.

Male 2: [0:00:18] [Inaudible]  and also Sarah [0:00:23] [Inaudible]from L.A. [0:00:28] [Inaudible]

Female 1: Well, I for one I’m good.

Male 2: [0:00:51] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Hey, Sean. Yeah, basically we wanted to invite you guys here to talk about the public school and AAAARG.org. So specifically I had a slightly introduction plan. Basically for and maybe Sean if you don’t mind, you could help fill in the gaps a little bit. We have – is he there? Okay. Great. We have a description of a public school and AAAARG on our website right now.

And I guess I’m not sure how this is for you. Let me know if you think that this is kind of wrong, but I’ll just describe the public  school super brief and you super briefly and then maybe you can correct me where maybe I’m wrong or sort of fill in the gaps a little bit. And then we can talk a little bit more about that. Does that sound okay?

[Background Noise]

Male 2: Sure.

Male 1: Cool. I think we just first want to make sure that everybody can hear each other. You know what I mean? And actually, so we don’t have to keep repeating this over and over. –

Male 3: [0:02:04] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Oh. How’s the microphone level on our side for you guys? Can you hear us okay? Or do we sound really low volume?

Male 2: We can hear you Scott.

[Cross-talk]

Male 1: Cool. Okay. Great.

Male 2: [0:02:27] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Okay. Well,  it’s a pretty sensitive mike. So shouldn’t make a huge difference whether or not …

Male 3: I’m just gonna [0:02:39] [Inaudible]. Just to make sure.

Male 1: Okay, great. Just let us know if we need to turn it down because we can’t hear ourselves ever on your side.

Male 2: You get this thing on this level. [Background Noise].

Male 1: Okay. Great. I think I was messing with that [Background Noise]

Male 2: [0:02:54] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Yeah. So, Sean and everyone, hi. I  just wanted to describe the public school briefly. If you don’t know about it, the public school is among the range of practices that we’re looking at as part of the Plausible Artworld's project.

We’re not really going to introduce the entire Plausible Artworld’s project right now. We want to jump right into a number of examples once per week for a year. And maybe over time we can talk a little bit more about the project.

But for the moment we just want to talk about each of these examples of things that we are seeing as a kind of Artworld and of itself that differs in some substantial way or in some meaningful way from dominant models of what – I guess what many people refer to as the Artworld.

And we’re trying over time to look at what these kinds of creative [0:04:06] [Inaudible] like these creative culture ecosystems are. We’re looking at each various sections or various kinds of our worlds. And the public school and AAAARG kind of fall into what we’re looking at as autonomous information production.

It’s a range of practices where people are creating there in schools. They’re questioning education, I guess various education models. And so I think like distributing information ways that are not necessarily thru mainstream channels or top-down. But really there are so many different examples that it’s very difficult to summarize. I’m almost tripping at my tongue trying to do that.

[0:05:00]

I’m gonna stop and just talk a little bit about this one example. The public school really –if I’m getting this right, Sean, I’m just gonna get from [0:05:11] [Inaudible]. It started out as a project in the basement of Telic Arts Exchange in L.A. And it was something that Sean And Fiona started as a project.

It was open for other people to be involved with and sounds like over a period of about of a few years, it grew in involvement to the point where it required project space of its won. So maybe again, Sean, stop me if I’m wrong here. Are you still there, by the way?

Male 2: Some [0:05:51] [Inaudible] it happened.. But yeah –

Male 1: Okay. Awesome. Okay. So, anyway, the project moved to its own space and Sean [0:05:59] [Inaudible] in L.A. and since been it’s actually been in the basement in a building in an alley behind Chung King Road. Basically if I’m right about that. I may be describing a kind of replay but basically people have been proposing classes or any kind, expressing interest in any existing class.

And essentially once enough people expresses enough  interest in a class, then the class staff organizes. That’s how it works. Just so you know, Sean, on the walls of basekamp, we didn’t even get finished with this because we realized we’re gonna run out of space.

So, we have about half of all of the classes that proposed in L.A., probably about 250 of them on the wall. We also have all the proposals from all the other public schools for far up on the various walls of somewhere around the corner guys. And also here and there throughout tonight, it’d be real great just to kind of let anyone know in case.

I’m not sure what your schedule is if you’re going to leave early. But you might want to sort of cruise around this. I want to let you know that our goal for tonight was both to talk with these guys about how the Public School got started a little bit more about what it’s like, in a way what makes it an [0:07:29] [Inaudible]in itself.

And at the same time, launch the Public School in Philadelphia There are a number of people who have been working on this already. One of the ways we can do this is any one of us here can express interest in any of these courses that have happened in the past express interest in them happening again in affiliate.

And all you need to do is just check  a little box that got interested in and write your name, phone number, you know, whatever it is and we’ll help get that started. We also have a bunch of light forms to write down  new course proposal ideas over on the table. So we can do that at any point. I just want to say that right  at the very beginning. So, Sean, that’s much of an intro, but I hope it gives [0:08:18] [Inaudible]. Oops. Can you hear me okay?

Male 2: Yeah. I just take in this [0:08:29] [Inaudible]

Male 1: That’s okay. Yeah, right on. So anyway, that wasn’t much of an introduction but it does give hopefully people here some sense of – that might now know what you do – some sense of what we’re gonna do here tonight. And maybe you can fill in the blanks a little bit more about how you guys got started. Again, I hope you don’t mind, how that’s leading to what you’re doing now.

[Cross-talk]

Male 2: [0:09:14] [Inaudible]

Male 1: I was just asking if you wouldn’t mind telling us how the Public School got started Sean and maybe how that kind of led to where it’s at now. I think most of us here might not be that familiar with Public School. And it would be nice to fold it at some point where AAAARG falls in.

Male 2: [0:09:42] [Inaudible]

[0:10:17]
Female 1: Yeah.

Male 1: Yep.

Male 2: [0:10:21] [Inaudible] we did a lot of observations [0:10:26] [Inaudible]. And I think the program came [0:10:38] [Inaudible]. We started Public School. [0:11:06] [Inaudible] basement. And I sort of fantasized that there’d be this like really interesting dialogue [0:11:16] [Inaudible] and the school program. And I think [0:11:21] [Inaudible].

Male 1: We’ll try to add that Sean.

Male 2: [0:13:14] [Inaudible]. We should keep up with that. So we decided [0:13:41] [Inaudible].

[0:16:28]
Male 1: Hey, man. So it’s actually really – I actually thought the Public School is a little bit older than that maybe because AAAARG is a little bit older.

Male 3: Sounds like audio’s [0:16:46] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Sean, can you hear us okay? Can you hear me okay?

Male 2: I can hear you crystal clear.

Male 1: Oh, okay. Good, good. I wasn’t sure.

Male 3: He just said no [Laughter].

Male 1: Could you tell us a little bit about how AAAARG got started? I’m going to pull that up here a little bit and maybe how that works with the Public School in particular?

Male 2: Yeah. So especially [0:17:25] [Inaudible] AAARG.org. [0:17:48] [Inaudible]. And [0:17:52] [Inaudible] [Laughter] [0:21:37] [Inaudible]

[0:21:40]
Male 1: Yeah. Are you imagining all of our shouting faces in the window shade? You got –


Male  2: [0:21:47] [Inaudible]

Male 1:  I think [0:21:51] [ Allan More] just joined us.

Male 2: Cool. [0:22:03] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Oh. Yeah. By the way, if any of you guys have any thoughts or questions. I know that the technology has been a little bit of a hurdle but I hopefully that doesn’t really get in your way. Feel free to let us know or go ahead and just talk and ask and it’s totally fine.

 Sean, I wonder if there a few questions that Jessica added earlier but I feel you addressed some of them [0:22:38] [Inaudible] locations? Do you want to talk a  little bit more about how the locations work, about school locations? It might be a good thing to think about for us because we’re beginning to work with a public school in Philadelphia.

Male 2: Sure. [0:22:55] [Inaudible]

Male1: I don’t know if anybody is from [0:22:59] [Inaudible]right now. Lawrence was hoping to get on but we’ll see.

Male 2: Well, [0:23:09] [Inaudible]Adam can probably [0:23:12] [Inaudible] about that since he’s been a lot more L.A. involved and he spend so much time in L.A. and  I was [0:23:24] [Inaudible] in New York for quite a while and also [0:23:30] [Inaudible].

Male 4: Can you hear me at all?

Male 1: Yes.

Male 2: [0:23:59] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Yeah, we can hear you well. [Background Noise][Phone Rings]. BY the way we’re just calling an Allan Morris. Don’t let that [0:24:13] [Inaudible] people periodically.

Male 2: Actually [0:24:19] [Inaudible]the first [0:24:23] [Inaudible].

Male 4: Oh, yeah. When I was in L.A. and Michael Bowers and [0:24:32] [Philly]

[Background Noise]


 Female 1: Yeah.

[Laughter]

Male 1: Awesome.

Female 1: [0:24:49] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Did Adam drop out?

Male 2: Yeah. He said something about [0:25:00] [Inaudible]

[0:25:01]
Male 1: This is a funny format. Sometimes it works more smoothly than others. Let me try it again. Yeah. Is Adam’s out there great or …?

[Background Noise]

Male 2: [0:25:31] [I’ll just tell him].

Male 1: Okay. Sure. Let’s see. Would it be helpful for you guys to have somebody tell you what has been written there? Can you help [0:25:54] [Inaudible]. I may be have to say it and say –

Male 2: [0:25:58] [Inaudible] Adam’s saying.

Male 1: Oh, thanks Sean.

Male 2: [0:26:04] [Inaudible]Oh, you really wanna be involved in my class. [0:26:37] [Inaudible] I’m kind of [0:26:43] [Inaudible]. From the beginning, [0:27:53] [Inaudible] as both setting up a framework for Los Angeles for people [0:28:03] [Inaudible]. I dunno. But anyway, I’ve been performing [0:29:26.] [Inaudible]In terms of [0:29:34] [Inaudible] [Cross-talk]

Child 1: [0:29:39] [Inaudible]

Male 2: Oh, who’s that?

Child 1:  [0:29:48] [Inaudible]

Female 1: [0:29:53] [Inaudible]

[0:30:00]
[Background Noise]

Male 2: [0:30:06] [Inaudible] I can’t really [0:30:55] [Inaudible] much more than that. [0:30:58] [Inaudible] locations are really autonomous and in a sense that [0:31:06] [Inaudible] basically [0:31:07] [Inaudible]. Learn Microsoft Word. [0:31:31] [Inaudible] for $250 a session and whatever. You know, [0:31:36] [Inaudible] more locations. There is a larger conversation on board. I dunno [0:32:03] [Inaudible].

Male 1: Yeah.

Male 2: Sorry. I [0:32:29] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Yeah did you see Adam’s –

Male 2:  [0:32:39] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Yeah, did you see Adam’s comment? I’m kind of curious what he means. Do you know?

Male 2:  Ah yeah. I know exactly what he means.

Male 1: Care to share? [Laughter]. I’m just curious. I’m wondering like –

Male 2: Well …

Male 1: I’m wondering if you guys [Cross-talk]. Okay.

Male 2: So this fall, we [0:33:10] [Inaudible] at the expense of our school here in L.A. and so we sort of explained the ways of doing it and I think [0:35:19] [Inaudible]. So here she sort of the first time he proposed is a way of people who are [0:35:28] [Inaudible].

[0:35:51]
Male 1: Cool. Yeah. You heard my little starter for a second. I just wanted to ask you. I dunno if you take your [0:35:59] [Inaudible] but yeah, Valentina is still here. And also Adam’s asking , asked a question a couple of people are curious about this basically whether they become some kind of a tipping point of a breaking point or whatever in the different schools, either kind of grow their own sort of legs and can become self sufficient and stable or they just kind of implode.

Male 2: I don’t even know but one of our goals is [0:36:34] [Inaudible] self sufficient and not like and I don’t know if we really have that [0:36:41] [Inaudible]. I’m not exactly sure. I think self-sufficiency is really a different thing and in a different context in different people. So [0:37:03] [Inaudible].

Male 1: Yeah. I was curious.

Male 2: [0:37:10] [Inaudible] But I think [0:37:15] [Inaudible] the transition from the Public School for Architecture in New York [0:37:25] [Inaudible] something new and [0:37:36] [Inaudible]. Adam?

Male 4: It wasn’t so much about what individuals [0:38:04] [Inaudible] say self-sufficient  even if [0:38:07] [Inaudible]  organization sense or [0:38:10] [Inaudible]. But [0:38:11] [Inaudible] unnecessary complication to [0:38:44] [Inaudible]. [Background Noise]. Did that make sense or not?

Male 2: Are you asking [0:39:01] [inaudible]

Male 4: I mean it’s not something --

Male 2: [0:39:05] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Yeah, go ahead Adam.

Male 4: It’s really difficult for me. [0:39:18] [Inaudible]. I guess it’s [0:39:22] [Inaudible].

[0:40:00]
[Background Noise]

Male 1: [0:40:04] [Inaudible] That’s really a question for Shaun right?

Male 4: [0:40:06] [Inaudible] One of the question that’s come up you know, [0:40:12] [Inaudible] as the Public School in New York [0:40:17] [Inaudible] considering. It’s gonna be your transition out of this three month period [0:40:24] [Inaudible]. We also had conversations that haven’t been – the arts [0:40:36] [Inaudible].

Male 1: Yeah, we hear you. We just muted the button because I think the [0:40:41] [Inaudible] I can’t give you guys some audio trouble so we’ll just unmute when we have something.

Male 4: Okay.

Male 1: Does that sound good? It’s more like – it might sound a little loud to you while we’re talking and that –

Male 4: Yeah, that sounds fine.

Male 1: Yeah. Just let us know. You’re not cutting off. It’s just we’re just muting it temporarily.

Male 4: Okay. [Cross-talk]  [0:41:00] [Inaudible] It’s another question for Sean, but it’s not specifically for Sean. One of the issues it seems to come up as [0:41:14] [Inaudible] conversation about this school in New York and also hearing from Sean [0:41:24] [Inaudible] is I guess within the opportunity for the  schools to act outside of an Artworld.

If that’s an objective. seems to me to hinge on the network [0:41:45] [Inaudible]. Is the idea this operate outside of the existing Artworld? Is this for particularly a community in Philadelphia. [0:42:20] [Inaudible] to the other potential communities along this  network [0:42:25] [Inaudible].

Male 1: That’s a good question. To be honest I really don’t know how to answer that. I think all we really have to go on is how the other schools have shaped up so far. I mean, honestly we really don’t even know what kind of interest there will be [0:42:54] [Inaudible] at all? I know that there are a number of – I mean, just to localize the – sorry. Just to let you guys know, we are getting like call request like almost every other few minutes the least, but yeah?

Male 2: With [0:43:16] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Honestly, we don’t really know, I mean, so far there haven’t – oh, the class proposal so far in [0:43:28] [Inaudible]. I dunno. I don’t know.

Male 3: We have five.

Male 1: I there would be five. Yeah, five class proposals so far. It’s a little bit different than L.A. for example which I think has something like 350 plus proposals. But then again, currently anybody in Philly knows about this project yet, about this opportunity or whatever it is that’s interface. So I don’t know if it’s a really good – I don’t really know if it’s any kind of measure at all.

Male 2: Well than maybe the need to question is how did people find out about the Public School in Philadelphia?  Is it something that you promote [0:44:08] [Inaudible]

Male 1: To be honest, it hasn’t been publicly announced until we announced the January Pala Chats like a few weeks ago. And we only really – our plan is to send out more detailed information about each Tuesday night chat every weekend which we did this weekend the first one. And we’ll plan to keep doing that.

So anyway, my point is, people haven’t actually received any detailed information unless they happen to have browsed the events on the basekamp website until this Sunday, this weekend. So, I think only the people that are already in connection with the other public schools, and there are a few that I would say that probably maybe –

[0:45:02]

I mean people that are aware of the public school affiliate are probably people that are already aware of the public schools in other cities because there’s already the link to  affiliate the website. That’s been on there for quite a while  although the activity’s been low.

But the activity’s been low because we haven’t actually done any work on our end to start it. We’ve been doing other things. So now, even though we haven’t started yet, that might – yeah.

Female 1: Yeah. I think I might say it segregate nicely into maybe how – I apologize if you already covered this but kind of how you got it up and running in L.A. and how you publicized it and maybe you can speak a little bit about that.

Male 1: Yeah. Exactly that might be good because we’re really just about to start it. I think that’d probably be a quicker way to say that.

Male 3: But not to say that we haven’t done anything. We’ve got about 20 people in the space and a stack of green Philadelphia school, sorry class signup sheets over on the table there. So we might have 25 at the end of the year. That’s exponential, probably.

Male 2: [0:46:02] [Inaudible] at least25?

Female 1: [0:46:04] [but is it possible we’re not accepted to the public schools]?

Male 1: Well, yeah. Okay. Just to clarify that, I think it can be mildly confusing because what Plausible Artworld’s is really,  and guys I don’t know how many of you heard that question? But, someone just asked what’s the relationship between Plausible Artworld’s and the Public School is. And I’m just gonna clarify that real quick, okay?

Male 2: Is it the Public School or Public School System were you asking? Okay.

Male 1: Yeah, the Public School.

Female 1: I think that’s really probably a question that  a lot of people have right. I mean we gave a little bit of description at the very beginning but yeah, why don’t we let Scott sort of give his little feel with the Public School right now.

Male 1: To  keep it simple, basically, Plausible Artworlds is really a project that it’s an [0:47:10] [Inaudible] It’s something that’s been going on for a little while. We really just get to think about it as an art project, I guess.

 A project that includes that like sticks to link up with other for a lack of a better term, Alternative Artworlds that we either know about or people that we know of know about of hopefully examples of interesting diversion Artworld’s that we don’t know about yet. And the Public School is one of those examples.

So our goal for this year, this is a project that was started some years ago. There’d been a number of collaborators this year is being co organized by basekamp and the writer Steven Right who I hope is on this call, at least  was on earlier who lives and works in Paris. And anyway, there’d been a number of people who have really contributed to this project though as well.

In any case, the goal for this year is to focus – you know, we’ve been doing these weekly discussions that have been very informal . And this is also relatively informal but our goal for this year is to focus the whole year of our weekly  Potluck Skype chats on Plausible Artworlds. The project Plausible Artworlds but also, specific example of what we’re describing as Plausible Artworld’s.

There are Artworld’s that are in some cases flagellant Artworld’s. You know that name is really giving up and running. And we’re only calling them Artworld’s because at least the way Artworld’s are understood from a sociological perspective and from – okay [0:49:06] [Inaudible]. These various examples of cultural activity qualify as Artworld’s themselves.

And we’re really looking at – we’re calling them Plausible because we see them as having on one hand is having potentiality work plausibility that are [0:49:24] [Inaudible] . And on the other hand that we can call them Plausible because they only arguably are really viable.

And we’re really not determining the validity of them. We’re just kind of looking at the different examples of Artworld. So trying to focus on Artworld’s that are different in structure in some way.

Female 1: So Public Schools is one of these [cross-talk]

Male 1: The Public School is an  example.

Female 1: [0:49:50] [Inaudible] Philadelphia as well?

Male 1: Yes –

Female: [0:49:52] [Inaudible] basekamp?

Male 1: So we’re helping facilitate. We’re also like really interested in working with anyone else who would like to help with that [0:50:01] [Inaudible]. And so basically, I hope that clarifies that the Public School and  Plausible Artworlds are not the same thing.

It’s just that through our project we are trying to describe the Public School and maybe 50 or so other examples throughout this year as Plausible art, as different kinds [0:50:21] [Inaudible]

[0:50:23]
Female 1: Right. And so to [0:50:24] [Inaudible]. I mean, one of things about having basekamp has these weekly chats every Tuesday night. But the thing about Plausible Artworld is that it kind of encompasses as Scott says, these 50 kind of examples of different Artworld’s. And so , in the space today, just to say again, we have – to try to get this up and running, we have pasted on the wall examples of past classes.

So, the kind of ideas [0:50:57] [Inaudible] look and review some of the past classes to get this section over here and point to the section over that has the five Philly based classes to far. So we’re really kind of trying to use the Public School as an example of the Plausible art worlds, but also in the space today you will see kind of an installed exhibit of things that relate to that example and also trying to get it up and running. So yeah. I dunno. Yeah.

[Background Noise]

Male 1: Yeah. Cool. Just trying to add somebody but I cannot. Somebody’s at –

Female 2: [0:51:46] [Inaudible] Public Schools got started?

Female 1: Yeah. I thought that would be – yeah. [0:51:59] [Inaudible] yeah. I need to ask because I thought it might be [0:52:02] [Inaudible] for Steven I believe to –

Male 3: Or Sean.

Female 1: Sean or Steven to speak about how they got the Public School noticed or when it originally started to kind of maybe that would relate to public school  that we’re trying to start in Philly.

Male 2: [0:52:26] [Inaudible] And so by the end of that we have 90 class proposals. We have like 250 people who signed up [0:55:02] [Inaudible]. it took a few weeks before [0:55:09] [Inaudible]. And so that made me realize how important the role [0:55:25] [Inaudible] people who are turning ideas into actual [0:55:31] [Inaudible] like [0:55:32] [Inaudible] people were. And  how I never believed it’s going to be sort of [0:55:41] [Inaudible] or power or [0:55:44] [Inaudible] dynamics. [0:55:46] [Inaudible]

[0:56:14]
Male 1: I like it.

Male 2: [0:56:16] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Oh, I’m sorry.

Male 2: And so the structure [0:56:25] [inaudible]. Some people always choose the same types of classes. They always choose. And then eventually they [0:56:53] [Inaudible] someone to [0:56:55] [Inaudible].

And so a part of the goal is to like set something up. [0:57:04] [Inaudible] that involve and participate in a certain usual way that’s [0:57:12] [Inaudible] change the way the object works. This certainly things needed to be set up in advance. [0:57:22] [Inaudible].

Female 1: Right.

Male 2: [0:58:12] [Inaudible]

Female 1: I think so. Yeah.

[Cross-talk]

Male 2: [0:58:22] [Inaudible] this started? And so all of sudden [0:58:29] [Inaudible]

Female 1: So, I mean this might be sort of like brain freeze kind of question but I guess I feel like reiterating is always helpful. So I’m just kind of wondering if you could talk about how one might post  a new idea for a class to be the actual website and talk a  little bit about that again.

And then maybe you are, you have but I just feel like it will be a good segway in to kind of how this sort of database of classes is now being maintained and how people here in the room as well as anyone listening can check it out and become involved.

So maybe you could just talk about the current website and how to propose a class, how to check the listings for each local area and what not briefly. I feel like that  would be helpful at least.

Male 2: Okay. Hi, Sarah [Laughter].  [0:59:51] [Inaudible] you wanna talk about this or not to … ? Sure. Can people hear me?

[1:00:02]
Male 1: Yeah, definitely.

Male 2: Okay. So, you just wanna [1:00:08] [Inaudible]. One was like what was the nature of the proposals and the actual or the technical [1:00:18] [Inaudible].

Female 1: I feel like it would be helpful just to really quickly  go over how you, if someone here has an idea for a class or they are considering checking out with  [1:00:35] [Inaudible] online. So the technical one first is in my opinion less – I mean anyone here can feel free to suggest an alternate question. I thought it would be good to reiterate the technical aspect of how one would actually post a question on based in Philly, based in L.A., etcetera.

Male 2: [1:01:01] [Inaudible] It’s simply like you create a user account and then you go to the city of wherever you wanna be. And you just click on [1:01:13] [Inaudible] class and [1:01:16] [Inaudible]. You describe what you want to have happened to this and [1:01:27] [Inaudible] and then you add some text.

The reason why I asked the first question was [1:01:36] [Inaudible]. it’s like a lot of different types of proposals. And so, I think there is a [1:01:44] [Inaudible] early on the Public School [1:01:46] [Inaudible] or something very short like that. [1:01:56] [Inaudible] proposals like that [1:01:58] [Inaudible].

So I think they are sort of both. You can handle 9it both ways. And I think because [1:02:14] [Inaudible] that can be really predetermined by [1:02:18] [Inaudible] about a year ago,  that was a little over a year ago, there was a class proposal that was just [1:02:39] [Inaudible].

And that was a [1:02:44] [Inaudible] and so, I taught. And you know, I didn’t really [1:02:49] [Inaudible]. It created this like [1:02:55] [Inaudible]. [Cross-talk]. With a great turnout, the [1:03:05] [Inaudible].

And then another thing Sean and I both mentioned in this [1:03:27] [Inaudible] from other cities [1:03:32] [Inaudible]  like see class proposals that they think are interesting and then there’s this giant [1:03:41] [Inaudible] and you can click and it will shop up in another city. So that’s also another way of [1:03:48] [Inaudible].

Female 1: Are the classes free?

Male 1:  That depends, right? That depends [Cross-talk].  Some people, like the goal of it –Sean, correct me if I’m wrong and everyone, is that the people that organize the courses, literally organize everything about the courses.

So if some people are dealing something that takes an extraordinary  amount of effort that oftentimes, I’ve noticed some of the courses cost a little bit of money. And I think that that might help to find the space or that person or  maybe the software or something. But generally they’ve been very cheap. And most of them are free. Is that right, Sean? Oops. Still there?

Male 2: I didn’t hear your question because I was checking …

Male 1: Oh, that’s cool.

[1:05:00]
Male 2: Most of our classes are free. Yeah.

Male 3: Are not free.

Male 1: Are not free. Okay, right. But a lot of the ones I have seen are. And some of the ones I’ve seen are not. So it all depended on the people organizing the classes, right?

Male 2: Sorry. I missed your question again.

Male 1: That’s okay. I’m glad you typed it.

Male 2:  I was actually looking for someone’s shoes.

[Laughter]

Male 1:  For someone’s shoes? Yeah.

[Cross-talk]

Male 3: I think it’s in that question Sean that [1:05:38] [Inaudible]. So this isn’t something that like has changed actually, like even sometimes maybe since  which is, I dunno, since 2008 or something? So we , like at one point you’re charging like, conducts a class at one point you’re charging five bucks a class.

At one point you’re charging five bucks a class. [1:06:00] [Inaudible] software or for teacher [1:06:02] [Inaudible]. but the whole general idea [1:06:11] [Inaudible] is that [1:06:14] [Inaudible] which is one thing Sean is [1:06:17] [Inaudible] when he said [1:06:18] [Inaudible].All those things like you don’t exchange any money for like – so when people pay for classes they’re just paying [1:06:41] [Inaudible] space.

 So [1:06:44] [Inaudible] to charge us. So I think it’s really a specific thing to each city. And also [1:06:54] [Inaudible] charge a little [1:06:56] [Inaudible] for some reason [1:06:59] [Inaudible].

[Cross-talk]

Male 1: We had a discussion about that quite a while ago and not in relation to these courses but about other events and things. Like, all of our  events have been free here.

But we’re really seriously  considering charging a dollar or like five bucks or something for different events just because when you do, it does seem to be the case that [Laughter]. I dunno. Somehow, in some places that seems to work. And we kind of wondered what that meant …

Female1: It’s like a commitment, you know, especially what I have for a recurring class, like me giving someone money is kind of like me signing up in a way, committing, giving something that I have. And so I’ll be there because I’m invested in it.

Male 3: I think it’s an echo from the commercials our experience out of that.

Male 2: Did you say [1:08:18] [Inaudible]. Did you say that [1:08:21] [Inaudible].

Male 3: If you pay for something, you’re getting more. That’s something that people might have become accustomed to thru their experience of you know, the commercial, the fact that something might be provided for free, might reflect negatively upon its value to you in a way that’s [1:08:44] [Inaudible] subconscious –

There’s no way to really explain why [1:08:48] [Inaudible] but that’s one thing I would say might have something to do with it. People think that if they’re buying something, they’re buying something just a little more [1:08:59] [Inaudible]. I don’t know why [1:09:01] [Inaudible] case. I’m just proposing it.

Female 1: But you can also see that [Cross-talk]

Male 3: Something, we’re doing a [1:09:06] [Inaudible] on Sean’s teaching or [1:09:08] [Inaudible] teaching [1:09:09] [Inaudible] right now in L.A. Just kind of, I mean we talked a little bit about this in [1:09:14] [Inaudible] course. One thing about sort of more of crucial argument here is you actually don’t pay these [1:09:23] [Inaudible].

[1:10:03]
Female 1: Yeah. One thing I just  wanna kind of encourage everyone in this space to, if they have something to say, feel free to really speak up and be loud so that people on the other end can hear it.

Also, I have another question which if we wanna continue talking about the monetary investment, we can. I was also curious about if the Public School ever had any relationship to Craig’s List. And if so, what was that relationship like and have basically the founders kind of thought about that or has it ever come up?

Male 1: I was wondering that, too.

Male 2: As a model [1:10:53] [Inaudible]?

Female 1: I mean, it seems like a very similar thing in that people can post. People make their own terms for selling items or even the misconnections section. I think it has a lot of relationships as far as features of the site. I realize they’re quite different in what they’re trying, the end goal. But I just had kind of wondered if it was ever thought about or if anyone every say post it a Public School class on Craig’s List or anything like that.

Male 2: Yeah, I mean [1:11:41] [Inaudible] advertised on Craig’s List. I don’t know if that’s what you mean but [1:11:46] [Inaudible].

[Laughter]

Male 1: That’s awesome.

Male 2: That may not be what you mean.

Male 3: Is that any better?

Female 1: I dunno. It occurred to me that it was [1:12:00] [Inaudible] and I was just wondering …

[Cross-talk]

Male 2: I think there are some u p there [1:12:05] [Inaudible] connection between the way that [1:12:11] [Inaudible] driven by demand or something. I mean a lot of [1:12:20] [Inaudible]. I don’t know. [1:12:24] [Inaudible].

Male 3: I don’t think so.

[Cross-talk]

Male 2:  [1:12:33] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Adam is saying let’s promote the class on Craig’s List. Oh, see you later, Adam. Wait, is he on audio? You are right? What? Bye. See you later.

Male 3: What I was thinking is [Cross-talk]. Like there should be a section [1:13:11] [Inaudible] Craig’s list for at city’s Public School. [1:13:16] [Inaudible]

Male 2: When I use Craig’s List. I used Craig’s List exactly once I think. I don’t know. [1:13:32] [Inaudible] And then a few people called. And then I said to one of them, ìyes, you can come and pick it up.î [1:13:52] [Inaudible].

So that was my first Craig’s List experience and I [1:14:08] [Inaudible] experience I’ve had with Public School that [1:14:23] [Inaudible] So all of our classes  at the least [1:14:33] [Inaudible]although I don’t think it’s happened yet. Typically [1:14:50] [Inaudible]partly formed idea or desire and other people are just gonna say ,îYeah, I think that sounds really good. I bet to see that happen.î [1:15:57] [Inaudible] necessarily wanna do it. And then [1:16:00] [Inaudible]


[1:16:52]
Female 1: I have a question.

Male 1: It does, Sean. We have another question here.

Female 1:  I’m interested in learning about how the idea moved from being [1:17:01] [Inaudible] artist focused. You mentioned that you started out with network with mostly artists. And what do you think your audience really is now that you’ve shifted on like an artist piece to a more academic or even a [1:17:14] [Inaudible] and how that shift occurred if it occurred and what it is right now.

Male 1: Were you able to catch that?

Male 2: I didn’t hear what [Cross-talk].

Male 1: Get a little bit closer, Sorry.

Female 1: Yeah.  Where am I?

Male 1: There’s the speaker and the mike over there.

Female 1: You mentioned that you started utilizing mostly network of artists are your kind of startup group. And I’m interested to learn if the makeup of your classes has changed all, if it’s still mostly artists and what it looks like and how that changed if that change occurred.

Male 2: [1:18:03] [Inaudible] . I think it’s. I didn’t say it’s mostly artists. I would say that  it’s [1:18:14] [Inaudible] that characterizes most of the people like [1:18:20] [Inaudible] education. Like a lot of people involved have [1:18:25] [Inaudible]. practicing artists or academics or  doing [1:18:36] [Inaudible].

A lot of people involved come into the room. And these [1:18:50] [Inaudible] People have 50 to 75 % of the people [1:19:02] [Inaudible]. Yes. Some people will look at it and go, ìI’m not just interested in this.î And turn [1:20:41] [Inaudible]. And other people will be like, îYeah this is for me.î And will go dive deeper into it. That was sort of the intention on a certain level of inviting [1:20:55] [Inaudible]. Artworld actually works in the same way. I probably [1:21:05] [Inaudible] like half of the first half [1:21:07] [Inaudible].

[1:21:12]
Now, we were up to 4500 text letter out there and I haven’t uploaded very much since then. So 4,000, more than 4,000 text or something have been [1:21:23] [Inaudible] other than me. Not only [1:21:26] [Inaudible]. Like people come and [1:22:06] [Inaudible] and just look at it and say, like, that’s not for or yes, I’m interested or they say something like, ah, this is really interesting I can’t [1:22:16] [Inaudible]. You know, they [1:22:20] [Inaudible] something. Did that make sense?

Male 1: Yeah. I’ve often seen like ceased and desist letters that get uploaded as well. Are those just for fun or do those text actually get taken down after somebody receives them?

Male 2: [Laughter] There’ve been ceased and desist letters. One from recently from [1:22:50] [Inaudible]and before that coming from Ren [1:22:54] [Inaudible] office.

Male 1: Right.

Male 2: And [1:22:57] [Inaudible]. I updated the letter as a text and I did review [1:23:06] [Inaudible] and I think that’s pretty much [1:23:14] [Inaudible] and you know, because it was [1:23:19] [Inaudible]. I think it’s better to [1:23:23] [Inaudible]and let the rest [1:23:26]Inaudible] of the  4,000 continue to exist rather than sort of taken [1:23:29] [Inaudible]

And because it’s really, in the case of [1:23:33] [Inaudible]simple because, you know, I’ve been posting it on the same server as [1:23:43] [Inaudible] under my name. You know, it’s not a big [1:23:48] [Inaudible]. We’re looking into how to [1:23:55] [Inaudible] that. [1:23:57] [Inaudible]

Male 1: yeah. That’s pretty strange to be honest. I wasn’t surprised about the  first letter because –

Male 2: [1:24:26] [Inaudible] Is anyone from [1:24:39] [Inaudible]here?

Male 1: As far as I know, no one from Corso is here but if they are, you know, that was the reason I asked the question.

Male 4: I want to make sure you received my letter alright.

[Laughter]

Male 2: [1:24:50] [Inaudible] what I’m about to say.

Male 1: Yeah, sure no problem.

Male 2: [1:24:56] [Inaudible]. just type, you know, just text /123/ you could type [1:25:07] [Inaudible]. /123/download. [1:25:14] [Inaudible]

[1:25:16]
Male 1: Oh, good.

Male 2: [1:25:18] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Okay. OneNote, 1-2-3-4? Okay. And Intel Google actually started converting audio to text and then searching it, that will be easily searchable. [1:25:41] [Inaudible] Did you see what Steven just – by the way the kung fu is picking back up so that might be initially, just let us know if – did you see what Steven just asked a moment ago on the text chat? Do you want me to read that Sean or just –

Female 1: Read it.

Male 1: Oh, yeah. Here, I’ll read it just to  make things useful for us. Steven said, I’m interested that the conversation has often moved to the issue of usership as opposed to both ownership and [1:26:14] [Inaudible]. One unique feature that I see in AAARG and the Public School that makes them different than mainstream Artworld is the sense the [1:26:22] [Inaudible] is replaced by usership.

I guess that’s not exactly a question. That’s more of a statement. But I was wondering if you ahd any thoughts about usership especially being someone who works both in the world of programming and who has been really involved in critical theory and art.

Male 2: Well, [1:26:50] [Inaudible] I think the really point that Steven made here. I guess in a way [1:27:14] [Inaudible] recently is just in sense of creating resources which I think are different eve, and certainly different than objects or tools even.

I’m not exactly sure what that is, but I think that would be something shared. [1:27:38] [Inaudible] shared use. And I [1:27:42] [Inaudible] about uses [1:27:46] [Inaudible]. That’s sort of important [1:28:03] [Inaudible] advertising or something like that [1:28:08] [Inaudible] like an important, a state to maintain. [1:28:17] [Inaudible].

And I find it the sort of arguments about the limitations of what is acceptable within this particular field can be really important [1:28:48] [Inaudible] but I think it’s great [1:28:52] [Inaudible]. And they only sort of happened because of the people having the consideration [1:29:02] [Inaudible].

Male 1: Cool. [Cross-talk]

Male 2:  [1:29:09] [Inaudible] and usually I sort of look at other people when I speak. So I’ve been  speaking about [1:29:18] [Inaudible] and become really [1:29:20] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Cool. Hey, Sean, this is totally awesome. I have like a dozen more questions but someone just pointed out to me that it’s 8:01 and our public chat is supposed to end at eight. So, not that we can’t keep going but one of the things we wanted to do which is kind of hang out a little bit and maybe look at some of the different proposals over here.

At least for anybody interested to stay about a while and make some new proposals. And I noticed that the conversations – I mean it’s really interesting but it kind of precludes being able to think about proposals.

[1:30:01]

So I was just thinking that we might wrap up. But I wanted to mention that at least one other thing before we do, and I’m surprised we didn’t start out with this because of the topic of this chat but one of the ideas for – I’m just gonna bring this back up again, Sean.

But like one of the ideas for how the public school can have a sustained presence throughout this year is that at the very least as a beginning point, each of these weekly potluck chat topics about different art world, Plausible Artworld examples could become a public school course for at least a course proposal, not necessarily a full course, maybe not a lot of people are interested either right now or ever in following up on it.

I would say at least half of these potluck chats in the past even before focus was sharpened, but Plausible Artworld’s, there’s been a lot of expressed interest in following up by people that are there, but it’s not always easy to know how to do that. And because we already have the public school framework set up and we have the Philadelphia branch at least on the website set up.

And we have all this ability to create courses, we were thinking we could do that. And I know we have talked about that briefly, and of course, we can propose other courses but that would b mean that tonight’s chat would become a public school course as well. I guess all in the public school in art as an example of Plausible Artworld.

And I guess I was just wondering if – well, first I just wanted to say that but also I was wondering if, I dunno, if you have any other thoughts about how that might become useful for us … how we might [Cross-talk]

Male 2: Tonight I think we responded by voice to [1:32:00] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Oh, yeah sure.

Male 2: Because I can’t type fast enough.

Male 1: Oh, wait, yep.

Male 2: Then what are the possible Artworld [Background Noise]. Can the public school know that? And I’d say I got no – I do actually relay one thing that we’re trying out right now. So [1:32:25] [Inaudible] funding, we have [1:32:27] [Inaudible] we decided that our space [1:32:32] [Inaudible] valuable thing for the people who are participating [1:32:36] [Inaudible].

The money that your raising [1:32:41] [Inaudible] came around. [1:32:44] [Inaudible] One thing would be done is you can enroll in public schools for a year and it’s 200 bucks. Really it’s just also [1:32:55] [Inaudible], not that you get a badge or a degree or anything like that. And so what I found is that I think a lot of people from educational institutions that are around here are taking classes at the public.

You know, it’s like, made up for [1:33:15] [Inaudible] something that they’re finding that [1:33:20] [Inaudible]. And so in a way, like they’re outsourcing something to us and so I think that we decided to be a little proactive about it. And we started encouraging institutions and offering them to enroll, basically to sell them these enrollments for their students.

And they basically have no say in what we do. Although the students as participants have the same say [1:33:52] [Inaudible]. And we’re working at the moment on one thing that [1:34:00] [Inaudible] enroll in the public school.

And if they did, they’ll be funding some part [1:34:16] [Inaudible]. We already had [1:35:00] [Inaudible] which are having certain faculty and some students start organizing [1:35:06] [Inaudible]. this is actually [1:35:10] [Inaudible].

[1:35:43]
Male 1: So … Question number two. Did you have any thoughts about what I just mentioned before then that Sean? That’s actually really interesting by the way about the – oops, sorry – about the alternative, the fact that you can have an alternative school for 20 bucks. I wish my student loans reflected that instead of like what they really do.

Did you have any thoughts about how – I don’t really know that there’s really that much to really talk about exactly, but did you have any specific thoughts about how a public school course for this week’s proposal, for this week’s [1:36:38] [Inaudible] proposal could be helpful for us in terms of …  I think you guys already did it, a course on the public school, right?

Male 3: There’s also an idea of culminates [1:36:49] [Inaudible] for about 50 weeks.

Male 1: OH, yeah and Michael just mentioned. You just kind of frame this together, sort of similar with what you just said except I think on the basekamp side – not I think. We had already decided we’re not  going to be charging for any of these public school courses but that we could see at least the Plausible Artworld’s events as being a year-long seminar so each course can be strung together in some way?

Is there a way to add them online somewhere on the public school so that you can kind of search for all the Plausible Artworld’s courses or shall we just talk about that text stuff later? [Laughter] and get on with your proposals? That was a multi part question Sean.

[Laughter]

Male 2: [1:37:44] [Inaudible] I’m listening to you.

Male 1: I figured as much.

Male 2:  [1:37:49] [Inaudible]

[Laughter]

Male 1: Awesome. Yeah. Never mind.

Female 1: So …

[Cross-talk]

Male 2: [1:38:04] [Inaudible]It’s familiar question and we talked about it [1:38:19] [Inaudible]Maybe we can have it [1:38:32] [Inaudible] message for us [1:38:36] [Inaudible]. Scott?

Male 1: Oh, this discussion you mean? Or the public school course [Cross-talk]

Male 2: Yeah, yeah.

Male 1: Yeah. We –

Male 2: [1:38:49] [Inaudible]

Male 1: We haven’t actually determined exactly the text side of  how we’re going to have like ongoing [1:38:57] [Inaudible] we have discussed that. Each event on the basekamp site has comments. And probably general comments will go there. What we’ll do is make a link to the public school course for each of these weeks. We’ll also add the recording of the audio to the website. Anybody that’s like interested to spend another two hours of their life listening to us again can, but we’ll have a link to the public school courses so that we can go directly there on any education. I don’t if you want to call it education but sort of research as practiced or following up on any ideas that were discussed or anything that might actually be useful as a course or if we can use a course to further reading all of our texts that people might have mentioned here but I don’t have access to that text. It seems that can all be really good on the public school course.

[1:40:03]

And you can follow up just on that. If that makes sense. We’ll try to simplify it because I get a feeling the text side of it might be overwhelming for people sometimes.

Female 1: Yeah. I was going to say and maybe Scott was already going to say this but because we are close to the end of the time, maybe it would just be good to say that this Plausible Artworld’s ongoing discussion series will be going on for, we will have 50 discussions, much like this one. And so anyone who has joined in both on Skype or here in person in Philly is welcomed to come every week.

You can find out what that week’s posting is from Plausible Artworld’s site as well as the basekamp’s site. And we would love for people to just tell anyone they know that they think might be interested as well as come back. And another thing to say is that this is a potluck discussion.

So when you come, you feel free to bring either a drink or something to eat. I just wanted to say both of those URLs and this is an ongoing discussion series and to thank everybody for coming tonight. I don’t know if that’s a premature closure but I felt that it’s important to reiterate on the I owe’s. Scott mentioned we will be uploading this online hopefully. So, yeah.

Male 1: Absolutely, yeah. And in fact, all of you guys that are joining in from time zones that are now 2AM or later, it’s really awesome to have you. Yeah. So maybe we should go ahead and just follow up on the [1:42:03] [Inaudible] course and hopefully Sean, you and some other people be able to join us on the following weeks?

Male 2: Yeah. [1:42:15] [Inaudible]

Male 1: Rock & roll, man. Alright. Have a great night and we’ll keep this Skype public chat open in case people want to keep going but otherwise we’re going to go and hit the audio. Have a great night, everybody.

[Applause]

[Background Noise]

[1:42:40] End of Audio

Backchannel

Chat History with basekamp/$369f89fa6cb8c4ad" title="#basekamp/$369f89fa6cb8c4ad">The Public School and AAAARG.org http://bit.ly/73CHyE (#basekamp/$369f89fa6cb8c4ad)

Created on 2010-01-05 23:23:59.

2010-01-05

 
BASEKAMP team: 17:43:23
Hello Stephen, i just added you to a Public chat
BASEKAMP team: 17:43:54
Howdy
Robert Hooker: 17:44:06
Hi
Robert Hooker: 17:44:14
Thanks
stephen wright: 17:44:38
Hey
jelena guga: 17:44:51
hey smiley
stephen wright: 17:45:03
Is this text only? Or can we yack?
BASEKAMP team: 17:45:04
Hi --- scott here (though we may switch it up a bit tonight off & on) -- adding people to the chat
BASEKAMP team: 17:45:16
we can defeinitely yack it up, audio style
BASEKAMP team: 17:45:35
smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley
jelena guga: 17:46:04
yeeeey! smiley
BASEKAMP team: 17:46:16
but we'll also have people contributing to the text "live transcription" (i think), so those who can't do audio won't be left out
atrowbri: 17:47:37
Classes don't start until Thursday so no student transcription tonight. I'll try out transcribing and see how it goes but I have been told, and I quote, "Adam types like a drunk monkey"
BASEKAMP team: 17:48:11
adam, that is a shame... smiley
BASEKAMP team: 17:48:16
next time!
BASEKAMP team: 17:48:40
personally, i think drunk monkey typing is more than anyone should expect
BASEKAMP team: 17:48:51
smiley
BASEKAMP team: 17:50:35
hi Caleb - added you to the public chat
caleb waldorf: 17:50:43
great!
caleb waldorf: 17:50:57
do i need to call in?
caleb waldorf: 17:51:03
is that how it works?
BASEKAMP team: 17:51:16
"we'll call you"
caleb waldorf: 17:51:23
fantastic
jelena guga: 17:51:39
good, was just about to ask the same
BASEKAMP team: 17:52:45
atrowbri, can you keep tabs on IRC tonight? I know at least 1 person can only join by IRC (goldielockes)
BASEKAMP team: 17:53:12
...and maybe paste some stuff in-between skype > < irc?
BASEKAMP team: 17:54:54
Hi Sean & everyone
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 17:55:16
oh i think i was typing in the other chat
stephen wright: 17:55:21
Hi Sean et al
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 17:55:34
hi all
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 17:55:37
hi stephen!
Valentina Desideri: 17:55:40
hello
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 17:55:43
are we doing this textually?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 17:55:54
siobhan is stil asleep so i cant be loud
BASEKAMP team: 17:55:56
Elysa, feel free to add them to this chat
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 17:56:41
hi elysa and valentina and sarah too
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 17:56:46
hi
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 17:56:51
how is this done?
Elysa Lozano: 17:56:52
hi
Elysa Lozano: 17:56:56
!
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 17:57:14
don't think, just type
Matthew Slaats: 17:57:19
Hey, everyone - Looking forward to this!
BASEKAMP team: 17:57:32
Hi everyone -- we wrote up a short description...
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 17:57:48
do i need to be added to the chat?
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 17:57:58
or have i been?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 17:58:02
i think you're in
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 17:58:07
heh
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 17:58:18
scott is the skype maestro, he'll know for sure
BASEKAMP team: 17:58:29
we'll start with a Public text-only chat, then in a few minutes start audio with whoever wants to join that
stephen wright: 17:58:38
ok
ashadela" title="sashadela">S Dela: 17:58:50
Hello Basecamp. Thanks for letting me join.
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 17:59:34
ditto
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 17:59:35
that
Robert Hooker: 17:59:37
I assume anything that comes up could be blogged or posted on twitter?
BASEKAMP team: 17:59:47
Here's a short description everyone -- hope it helps answer some Qs smiley
BASEKAMP team: 17:59:50
In hopes of making the Potluck more fun and making you more comfortable, we’ve described the general structure below.

Potlucks are informal talks based on mutual respect between all participants. They generally follow a loose interview style with Basekamp hosts getting the ball rolling and the floor open to questions from everyone on the call from the start. If a different format would work better, please feel free to discuss it before the chat so we can prepare.

Plausible Art Worlds Potlucks will begin at 6 PM (in the eastern time zone, “Philadelphia Time”).

Potlucks will take advantage of Skype voice chat and will generally be (loosely) transcribed into Skype text chat for those who cannot do voice chat. Basekamp will take care of initiating and maintaining the voice chat.

arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:00:10
cool
Jessica Westbrook: 18:00:41
quick hello to everyone smiley
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:00:56
voice is going to be awkward for me because i have to go into the opposite corner of the apartment as my napping daughter and keep things failry quiet
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:01:10
we could all whisper to make you more comfortable
Valentina Desideri: 18:01:38
or just sing softly your answers
jelena guga: 18:01:58
what time is it now guys? where i am it's midnight, so...
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:02:15
3
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:02:17
pm
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:02:28
adam!
jelena guga: 18:02:45
thnx sarah
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:03:25
someone from whyy in philadelphia just called now (greg gave my number) about tps philly
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:03:50
but i had to whisper, my phone is about to die, and this is happening
theadamkatz: 18:03:50
hey sarah, et al
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:03:54
hi adam!
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:04:01
smiley
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:05:12
sean, why did the whyy person call?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:05:16
jelena, its 3pm here and 78 degrees
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:05:53
dunno, to ask about tps in philadelphia?
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:06:06
why not call philly?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:06:32
good question! i guess greg gave my number?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:07:03
tried to get him to come to this chat but it seemed complicated smiley
atrowbri: 18:07:24
Skype is hard for reporters smiley
atrowbri: 18:11:10
hey Chris
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:11:14
has it gotten less cold in philly?
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:11:27
it was freezing the past two weeks
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:11:47
(when in doubt, talk about the weather)
BASEKAMP team: 18:11:55
haha
BASEKAMP team: 18:12:09
Hey Sean, so are you going to whisper, or do you want to do text-only?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:12:58
well i have no problem with whispering, but how many other people can do audio?  because whenever i come on to audio chats i miss everything because i can never play sound
BASEKAMP team: 18:13:34
i think a bunch of us are doing audio, but we will text chat with you if that's better for you
Christopher Kennedy: 18:13:48
hello from new york!
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:13:51
and also does audio make it more that only one person can speak at a time? as opposed to anarchic IRC-style text
Jessica Westbrook: 18:13:54
hi chris
Christopher Kennedy: 18:14:00
hey jessica
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:14:25
oh boy my daughter is not happy about beginning to wake up (nothing to do with this)
theadamkatz: 18:14:26
should we begin with some introductions?
justyna badach: 18:14:34
I can do audio just need a sec to figure out how to do audio chart
Valentina Desideri: 18:14:34
yes it would be nice to do it by chat
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:14:36
maybe text only is the way to go
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:14:45
yes!
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:14:50
i mean, i prefer it
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:14:51
sorry scott, i know you love audio
Christopher Kennedy: 18:14:52
ya audio would be good
caleb waldorf: 18:15:04
i'd like to try audio
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:15:05
ok we seem 50/50 then
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:28
"sorry scott, i know you love audio" (snif)
BASEKAMP team: 18:15:38
wait, that could be read the wrong way...
Christopher Kennedy: 18:15:49
yes lets please do audio
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:16:22
ok go for it
atrowbri: 18:16:32
I will try to transcribe for those who are text only
atrowbri: 18:16:43
Anyone else who wants is welcome to assist
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:16:44
cool, thank you
BASEKAMP team: 18:16:50
we can do audio with folks who ;want to, and also connect with the text chat as the main focus, since you';ll be on text Sean
BASEKAMP team: 18:17:06
So guys, just to let you konw -- we'l call you.
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:17:08
do i answer this phone call?
caleb waldorf: 18:17:23
yes
Elysa Lozano: 18:17:24
can i get on the audio a bit later?
BASEKAMP team: 18:17:24
not being unfriend;y, jsut that we received like 40 clls in the past 20 mins
Jessica Westbrook: 18:17:31
is justyna managing call?
Jessica Westbrook: 18:17:33
echos
Jessica Westbrook: 18:17:34
yes
BASEKAMP team: 18:17:37
Elysa, sre smiley we can add or remo;ve people from audio any time
atrowbri: 18:17:37
*insane sci-fi echo* call has started
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:17:47
im gonna start drinking
Elysa Lozano: 18:17:48
great!
justyna badach: 18:17:51
yes I am calling and it sounds like a 70's space film
atrowbri: 18:17:59
It's a bit scary
Jessica Westbrook: 18:18:01
i just muted here
Jessica Westbrook: 18:18:07
sounds clean now
Valentina Desideri: 18:18:33
maybe we should mute except when talking
caleb waldorf: 18:18:53
if you have headphones that will cut out the feedback
BASEKAMP team: 18:19:12
are some of you on a conference call already -- adam?
atrowbri: 18:19:17
Strange liquid noises
theadamkatz: 18:19:24
yes, i'm here in the call
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:19:31
so are we muting when not talking?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:19:43
no one is talking
Jessica Westbrook: 18:19:45
i am muting, until i have a question
BASEKAMP team: 18:19:46
we're not in a call at all here
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:19:47
eating sounds
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:19:53
i just hear people eating cereal
theadamkatz: 18:19:54
it also helps to mute while typing
atrowbri: 18:19:55
Who is supposed to initiate the call
Jessica Westbrook: 18:20:05
basekamp - call in?
Jessica Westbrook: 18:20:29
basekamp?
BASEKAMP team: 18:20:41
well, we did have hte plan to start at 6pm, but the overwhelming response is slowing it down a little... that's ok though -- we just need to hook up
atrowbri: 18:20:55
Scott, there's a call already...
BASEKAMP team: 18:20:55
jessica - where to call? are you on a conference call?
Jessica Westbrook: 18:20:56
they are doing inroductions now
atrowbri: 18:20:58
No idea how it started
BASEKAMP team: 18:21:02
hmm -- ok
atrowbri: 18:21:06
Yeah
Jessica Westbrook: 18:21:07
jutyna initated call
BASEKAMP team: 18:21:23
i see. In that case, Justyna, can you add us to the call?
BASEKAMP team: 18:21:52
We love skype, but interestingly in 5 years of weekly events this is the first time this has happened -- we're left out of the call smiley
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:22:01
craziness
Jessica Westbrook: 18:22:24
scott or greg usually call so the whole roster gets included
cesare pietroiusti: 18:22:30
me too, i'm out of the call, it seems
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:02
ok guys, how about this. Everyone hang up, and we'll do the call. I would now, but it will get very confusing if you're all already in one
atrowbri: 18:23:06
YES
caleb waldorf: 18:23:22
OK
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:30
Can someone who's in the call let everyone know, even if they're not reading the text?
caleb waldorf: 18:23:30
hung
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:36
word
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:23:44
up
atrowbri: 18:23:46
Initiate a group call, Basekamp team
Jessica Westbrook: 18:23:50
i said you guys were not in call
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:23:54
no problems like this with text smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:23:54
smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley smiley  smiley  smiley
Jessica Westbrook: 18:23:58
i just hung up
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:23:59
aws
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:24:21
smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:24:43
Sean - true... but we have 20 people here so audio would be lightly helpful... but we will keep up with text chat so all will be well (sort of)
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:25:03
and this technical fuddling is kind of an organized group chat ritual, like milling around after a lecture
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:25:08
you can't do without it
BASEKAMP team: 18:25:18
^^ True Sean
atrowbri: 18:25:20
It's a tradition
BASEKAMP team: 18:25:31
so Sean, you want to do audio right? WHo; else?
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:25:36
meee
Valentina Desideri: 18:25:44
isn't chat and call at the same time a bit confusing?
stephen wright: 18:25:45
me
Jessica Westbrook: 18:25:50
we can share here in tennessee
Jessica Westbrook: 18:25:59
audio that is
Matthew Slaats: 18:26:06
I'm up for audio
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:26:09
it is totally confusing valentina, but that may be part of the charm
Valentina Desideri: 18:26:17
ok i'm in
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:26:25
brb
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:26:45
i am usualy stuck in text-only land so this is exciting for me
BASEKAMP team: 18:27:06
ok lovely -- we'll start with that. we can add more people to the call any time!
Jessica Westbrook: 18:27:15
yes
Jessica Westbrook: 18:27:28
call me
Christopher Kennedy: 18:27:46
audio for here would be good
jelena guga: 18:30:13
audio
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:30:23
does anyone else want audio?
jelena guga: 18:30:26
if i dont fall asleep
cesare pietroiusti: 18:30:54
let's try audio
atrowbri: 18:31:04
transcribing now
atrowbri: 18:31:12
If you are not chatting please mute
caleb waldorf: 18:31:20
i'd like audo
caleb waldorf: 18:31:25
(audio)
Jessica Westbrook: 18:31:30
we are on mute. it sounds clean btw
caleb waldorf: 18:31:44
can someone ring me
Jessica Westbrook: 18:31:54
they are calling you caleb
caleb waldorf: 18:32:03
smiley
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:33:38
scott is describing the public school
theadamkatz: 18:33:41
me too?
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:33:42
fyi
atrowbri: 18:33:46
audio is a mess here a bit
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:33:46
add adam, please
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:34:02
sounds great
Jessica Westbrook: 18:34:03
scott is all clear
Valentina Desideri: 18:34:12
clear
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:34:19
i can hear stephen good
BASEKAMP team: 18:34:20
we are asking that when you are not speaking that you please mute your mic, thx
cesare pietroiusti: 18:34:25
i can hear very well
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:34:27
and sarah sounds good to me
Elysa Lozano: 18:34:32
will be back in a bit.....
jelena guga: 18:34:33
stop moving the mike smiley
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:34:35
that's cos i'm loud
atrowbri: 18:35:26
Scott is intro Plausible Artworlds
atrowbri: 18:36:07
art worlds that differ in a meaningful way from the "dominant" art world(s)
atrowbri: 18:36:21
Public School is autonomous information production
theadamkatz: 18:36:46
thx
atrowbri: 18:36:47
questioning educatinal models
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:37:31
i went on hold for  alittle while so i missed the last minute or two
Valentina Desideri: 18:37:37
it cut
caleb waldorf: 18:37:54
we got kicked out of the other call
caleb waldorf: 18:37:57
or the main call
atrowbri: 18:38:01
Public School moved into it's own space in a basement, in an alley in Chinatown in LA
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:38:07
we moved to a new space
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:38:10
since then
caleb waldorf: 18:38:11
hey
caleb waldorf: 18:38:18
can someone reinvite us?
Jessica Westbrook: 18:38:20
caleb you need ring again?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:38:20
posted file 951ckr.jpg to members of this chat<files alt=""><file size="69324" index="0">951ckr.jpg</file></files>
caleb waldorf: 18:38:25
yes
Jessica Westbrook: 18:38:27
okay
Valentina Desideri: 18:38:32
me too
caleb waldorf: 18:38:32
we got invited to another call
Jessica Westbrook: 18:38:37
basekamp can you add caleb to teh call
BASEKAMP team: 18:38:38
one sec we're working on it
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:38:38
me too
atrowbri: 18:38:44
Classes self organize based on interest. Classes are proposed by instructors or by people interested and seeking an instructor
jelena guga: 18:39:00
ring me again, please
Jessica Westbrook: 18:39:19
caleb, sean, jelenga need call
caleb waldorf: 18:39:20
thanks!
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:39:23
posted file 9417_132236016235_700901235_2438757_4268105_n.jpg to members of this chat<files alt=""><file size="49856" index="0">9417_132236016235_700901235_2438757_4268105_n.jpg</file></files>
caleb waldorf: 18:39:24
i'm in
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:39:38
sorry.. was trying to send a photo of our new space
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:39:53
dudes, adam and i need back in
jelena guga: 18:40:00
me too
atrowbri: 18:40:04
[Please mute the chat if you're not currently speaking otherwise there's feedback]
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:40:08
http://telic.info/images/951ckr.jpg
Valentina Desideri: 18:40:13
and me too
Jessica Westbrook: 18:40:24
thanks for image
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:40:33
uhh
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:40:36
what's going on?
atrowbri: 18:40:41
Is that your daughter, Sean?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:40:45
press the pause button
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:40:49
yeah thats her!
atrowbri: 18:40:52
awesome!
atrowbri: 18:41:09
Sarah and Sean are beginning to talk
theadamkatz: 18:41:22
should i be expecting a call?
atrowbri: 18:41:23
Going to address how Public School started
BASEKAMP team: 18:41:52
adam wel'll add you now
theadamkatz: 18:42:04
i've heard all this before   smiley
BASEKAMP team: 18:42:13
haha
atrowbri: 18:42:17
5 years of exhibitions, video
atrowbri: 18:42:43
performances, program became more interactive
jelena guga: 18:42:56
i havent, and would appreciate if u could ring me again
atrowbri: 18:42:57
end of 2005, they started public school
BASEKAMP team: 18:43:04
jelena ok
atrowbri: 18:43:22
Sean hoped for dialog between exhibitions and public school
BASEKAMP team: 18:43:33
jelena, pleae switch your status to "available"
atrowbri: 18:44:00
This did not really happen beyond a single exhibition and Sean was more interested in The Public School
jelena guga: 18:44:09
i just did
BASEKAMP team: 18:44:11
hmm, interesting - we can not add you for some reason jelena?
jelena guga: 18:44:24
smiley
Jessica Westbrook: 18:44:25
more interested in school than exhibitions
Valentina Desideri: 18:44:48
could you try to add me again?
atrowbri: 18:44:51
Sean found Public School to be most vibrant part of program
jelena guga: 18:45:04
can i call you guys instead?
theadamkatz: 18:45:16
i'm on. but wondering if sean sounds like HAL to everyone else...
BASEKAMP team: 18:45:26
jelena, you can but it will no t be on the conference call, (and would be really confusing to have 2 separate calls)
atrowbri: 18:45:32
Is Sean *not* an AI?
jelena guga: 18:45:44
ok
BASEKAMP team: 18:45:45
chuckles
atrowbri: 18:45:51
Sean thought it would be interesting to replace gallery with school
BASEKAMP team: 18:46:17
jelena, for some reason, the option is greyed out for your user?
atrowbri: 18:46:17
They've moved to a third space as of Sept 09
BASEKAMP team: 18:46:23
maybe skype is working with the cia
jelena guga: 18:46:45
i really have no idea what's going on
Jessica Westbrook: 18:46:47
sean this is great info
jelena guga: 18:46:53
was in and then, out
atrowbri: 18:47:11
The Public School is 5 years old
BASEKAMP team: 18:47:20
jelena maybe try to restart?
caleb waldorf: 18:47:24
AAAARG is 5 years old
atrowbri: 18:47:29
OH
jelena guga: 18:47:37
ok
caleb waldorf: 18:47:40
TPS is like two years old
Jessica Westbrook: 18:47:46
ah
atrowbri: 18:47:49
Lots of noise in the background, hard to make out, thanks caleb
caleb waldorf: 18:47:58
sure thing!
Jessica Westbrook: 18:48:48
what is the relationship tween TPS "locations"
theadamkatz: 18:49:05
(impossible to hear)
Jessica Westbrook: 18:49:07
who manages the technology/sites/applications
BASEKAMP team: 18:49:30
katherine, do you want to be added to the audio chat? we are doing audio and text -- you can do either
atrowbri: 18:49:32
Question about where The Public School (TPS henceforth) got started
Valentina Desideri: 18:49:58
i'd still like to be added on the audio
atrowbri: 18:50:33
AAAARG sprung from a need to refer to specific texts in discussions
atrowbri: 18:51:26
backend went from wordpress to drupal, 3 yrs in it's current state
jelena guga: 18:51:27
am back in
jelena guga: 18:51:38
can you try adding me to audio again?
BASEKAMP team: 18:51:58
ok
BASEKAMP team: 18:52:10
jelena - it works! calling now
stephen wright: 18:52:12
i lost my connection too
atrowbri: 18:52:18
AAAARG & TPS moved in parallel, efforts to integrate the two, using AAAARG texts for TPS classes and add texts for TPS classes to AAAARG
BASEKAMP team: 18:52:20
stephen -- we'll re-add you
jelena guga: 18:52:52
thnx
atrowbri: 18:52:55
You can group AAAARG (ARG henceforth) texts into groups to connect them
BASEKAMP team: 18:53:09
stephen is in paris, jelena is in seribia - maybe there is some conection hiccups... we should be ok now i hope
jelena guga: 18:53:33
we are smiley
Jessica Westbrook: 18:53:38
smiley
atrowbri: 18:53:39
Perhaps he's imaging ESCAPE
caleb waldorf: 18:53:47
good example of a class with a ton of texts through AAAARG: http://la.thepublicschool.org/class/1445
alanwmoorenyc: 18:54:24
skype newbie hears nothing
atrowbri: 18:54:47
Basekamp asking about other locations for TPS
theadamkatz: 18:54:51
no, i don't think so
atrowbri: 18:54:58
Philly is adding a PS
BASEKAMP team: 18:55:05
alan, do you want to join audio?
theadamkatz: 18:55:16
i could, but the audio is terrible for me...
alanwmoorenyc: 18:55:39
i can listen -- can't talk much in public
Jessica Westbrook: 18:55:42
i can hear adam
Jessica Westbrook: 18:55:46
yes
BASEKAMP team: 18:55:49
caling you now alan
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 18:55:53
im muting myself
theadamkatz: 18:56:35
sorry guys.
theadamkatz: 18:56:40
this isn;t working for me...
atrowbri: 18:56:52
theadamkatz can you just type to us?
theadamkatz: 18:57:02
sure...
theadamkatz: 18:57:16
basically we had a class that was cohosted in LA and Philly
Jessica Westbrook: 18:57:19
so maybe scott can explain how the Phila Pa PS is getting started/organized
atrowbri: 18:57:21
The question was how TPS works in other locations, how it started, etc
Jessica Westbrook: 18:57:24
as an example
theadamkatz: 18:57:25
led by michael gerald bauer in Philly
Jessica Westbrook: 18:57:27
of how they FORM
theadamkatz: 18:57:55
in that class, we learned that skype was pretty difficult
theadamkatz: 18:58:14
and not a good replacement for people in a room together
BASEKAMP team: 18:58:28
adam -- TRUE DAT
BASEKAMP team: 18:58:50
but it'sa decent replacement for flying 25 people across the planet in one night
theadamkatz: 18:59:00
that said, there is a great opportunity
Jessica Westbrook: 18:59:00
its tricky when you live someplace isolated without a local culture...
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 18:59:12
we are about to do a skype class here in LA from one part of town to another
atrowbri: 18:59:18
Sean is explaining that it is difficult to make non-local (virtual) connections between two physical locations
BASEKAMP team: 18:59:30
hi Dan
BASEKAMP team: 18:59:40
want to be added to the audio call?
Dan Schimmel: 18:59:42
hi thanks
Dan Schimmel: 18:59:48
ok
theadamkatz: 18:59:49
in parallel ativity
theadamkatz: 19:00:00
or synchronous classes
katherinecarl: 19:00:02
thanks Scott just text thanks, great to be in
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 19:00:10
http://la.thepublicschool.org/class/1765
theadamkatz: 19:00:27
ha
atrowbri: 19:00:27
From the beginning TPS saw what they were doing was as a model that could be exported/providing a platform
BASEKAMP team: 19:00:28
dan calling you now... Sean is discussing how TPS locaions work
Christopher Kennedy: 19:00:38
Hey all - Cassie and I need to split...happy new year. Scott see you saturday!
Dan Schimmel: 19:00:54
thanks we can hear now
Jessica Westbrook: 19:01:31
awe
BASEKAMP team: 19:01:35
hey Chris & Cassie -- great to have you -- see you Saturday!
atrowbri: 19:01:38
child says n'naynay
Dan Schimmel: 19:01:39
night night says evie
theadamkatz: 19:02:25
the public school in new york has their first committee meeting on the 9th
theadamkatz: 19:02:34
anyone who shows up is on the committee
Jessica Westbrook: 19:02:39
: )
atrowbri: 19:03:00
All locations are autonomous
Jessica Westbrook: 19:03:23
hahahaha
theadamkatz: 19:03:33
sean, you may want to point out that you can't actually provide support the demand for schools
atrowbri: 19:03:38
Shared sensibility for all the TPS
theadamkatz: 19:04:27
what are the implications for the network as more schools emerge?
atrowbri: 19:04:37
Sean is hinting that the idea of a shared sensibility is an important thing to consider in regards to Plausible Artworlds
theadamkatz: 19:05:08
is there a critical tipping point where the network either folds or becomes more self sufficient?
atrowbri: 19:05:33
^^^^^ Scott could you bring this up to Sean?
BASEKAMP team: 19:05:40
yep
atrowbri: 19:05:42
re: critical tipping point
theadamkatz: 19:05:56
(like the individual schools - which have their own iverse support structures, institutions, funding, etc.)
BASEKAMP team: 19:06:04
just want to hear his thougths first
theadamkatz: 19:06:09
iverse=diverse
Dan Schimmel: 19:06:42
but i-verse sounds like a good Rastafari word!
Valentina Desideri: 19:07:20
still here
atrowbri: 19:08:17
Scott repeats "is there a critical tipping point where the network either folds or becomes more self sufficient?"
BASEKAMP team: 19:08:37
atrrowbri writes that scott  repeats that ...
atrowbri: 19:08:46
Sean doesnt even know...one of their goals was for TPS to be self sufficient
atrowbri: 19:09:04
context...not a blanket way of addressing the question
atrowbri: 19:09:19
TPS LA is not yet self sufficient
theadamkatz: 19:09:22
not the individual schools (necessarily), but the network...
atrowbri: 19:10:35
theadamkatz asks not self-sufficient in a financal sense, asking as network of PS grows, does network as a whole lose it's character, is that valuable or is it a necessary complaication?
atrowbri: 19:11:28
I would re-phrase and ask how close a TPS becomes a franchise or how much it is spawned entity free to become something else
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:11:53
feedback! if you're not talking, please hit the mute button!
alemcj" title="salemcj">salem collo-julin: 19:11:58
thx!
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:12:25
yeah
Jessica Westbrook: 19:12:40
perfectly clear/listening
BASEKAMP team: 19:13:25
hi Jen, want to join the audio chat?
roctorjen" title="proctorjen">Jen: 19:13:38
sure!
BASEKAMP team: 19:13:58
adding you to call Jen
BASEKAMP team: 19:14:07
adam is asking a question...
stephen wright: 19:14:13
Can I ask a question? Sean, do you see The Public School + AAAARG as a "plausible artworld" as we have conjectured, or as a knowledge production device not particularly linked to any artworld? Or as a welcome addition to an existant artworld? Or what?
atrowbri: 19:14:53
discussion between Scott Rigby and theadamkatz about how Philly TPS might shape up
Dan Schimmel: 19:15:27
I'll bet there would be huge interest in philly in TPS classes once people get it
atrowbri: 19:15:52
Scott says hardly anyone knows about Philly TPS
atrowbri: 19:16:04
theadamkatz asks how people will find out about it
atrowbri: 19:17:17
basically there's no promo for TPS philly so only self selcting peo
atrowbri: 19:17:23
ple know about it
Jessica Westbrook: 19:17:38
hi henken
atrowbri: 19:17:40
Asking Sean how people found out about Philly TPS
Jessica Westbrook: 19:17:41
and gregg
theadamkatz: 19:18:20
good question
atrowbri: 19:18:48
What is relationship between TPS and Plausible Artworlds (PAW henceforth, sorry Scott)
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:19:03
hi stephen - i think i'd say that i see them as resources, which do connect to existing practices, often art ones, but not necessarily
atrowbri: 19:19:19
PAW is a project, an init, something that's been going on, think of it as an art project, that seeks to link up with other alternative artworlds
atrowbri: 19:19:33
divergent artworlds that we dont know about yet
atrowbri: 19:19:37
TPS is one example
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:19:47
so i like the idea of plausible artworlds, while i wouldnt have used the term myself or thought of it, i do think of it in terms of building autonomous institutions or something like that
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:20:06
but i think theyre sympathetic ideas, at least as far as i understand it
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:20:55
i think "world" is a lot nicer in that it is so ambient , as opposed to institution, which sounds very structural
theadamkatz: 19:20:57
is it important/interesting to address TPS's inevitable association with other pedagogical projects which do function as art practices?
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:21:43
but at the same time, im kind of simple minded and institution has a form that i can wrap my head around a little bit
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:22:52
they're not just examples either, because you can copy classes!
caleb waldorf: 19:23:00
Past classes can be future classes!
caleb waldorf: 19:23:03
whoa!
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:23:07
haha
caleb waldorf: 19:23:09
haha
atrowbri: 19:24:27
audio died from Sean
atrowbri: 19:24:31
anyone else?
caleb waldorf: 19:24:36
i hear him
BASEKAMP team: 19:24:42
no we can hear him ok
Jessica Westbrook: 19:24:43
i lost all audio
atrowbri: 19:24:48
recall Jessica Westbrook, scott, plz
BASEKAMP team: 19:24:53
okay
Dan Schimmel: 19:25:03
is the link between TPS and PAW that both are events/processes/networks of ongoing conversation/collaboration that seek some kind of intervention in "normal" institutions and hierarchies?
Jessica Westbrook: 19:25:11
thanks
BASEKAMP team: 19:25:48
bojana, do you want to join the audio convesation?
bojana romic: 19:26:03
yes
BASEKAMP team: 19:26:21
Aharon - want to join audio? looks like you're on
bojana romic: 19:26:29
but  now I'm having another conv.
BASEKAMP team: 19:26:35
oop
Aharon: 19:26:48
I think this might be a question of the on-looker making the "world" and/or the actual perceived environment being a "world".. It is a binary relationship that, I think, is a bit of a phantom
Dan Schimmel: 19:27:31
worlds-in-the-making
atrowbri: 19:29:31
Sean: AAAARG seems to have an incredible impact that might not come through in this chat because the system of uploading hared documents is so simple. It makes available texts that are not available to everyone because (1) educational status barriers (never heard about them) (2) economic (buy books) barriers (3) academic barriers (lack of access to JSTOR, etc). I've had multiple people thank me profusely for introducing them to aaaarg.org, much more so than they would if I tried to get them to consider teaching or attending a TPS class. Can you address the status of AAAARG as a autodidactic community (individuals) vs the seemingly much less used aaaarg forums/dicussions/issues. Is aaaarg vital as an individual autodidactic source for individuals and how does that contrast with The Public School as a community?
atrowbri: 19:29:43
hared/shared
atrowbri: 19:31:02
Question on how a class comes to be on TPS
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 19:31:21
guys, i've gotta head off
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 19:31:23
/out
Matthew Slaats: 19:31:24
Question - As the interest in developing pedagogical practice outside of the institution is becoming of greater interest (am thinking about Anton Vidokle's school for Manifesta, Ernesto Pujol's school, and the Bruce High Quality Foundation)  what is the objective of developing the alternative forms, in an art forum,
Matthew Slaats: 19:31:40
Or how does this fit into this dialogue?
BASEKAMP team: 19:31:41
L8R sarah
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:31:52
loud and clear caleb
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 19:32:10
wait i'm still here
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 19:32:15
sean, did you just ask me a question
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 19:32:16
?
BASEKAMP team: 19:32:22
smiley
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:32:26
haha no i just said bye!
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 19:32:32
eh, sorry
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 19:32:59
it's crazy over here and i've gotta head out
Jessica Westbrook: 19:32:59
mathew slaats interesting question...
BASEKAMP team: 19:33:05
Stephen, you still there?
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 19:33:09
i'm gonna leave the chat on so i have the transcription, tho
arahkessler" title="sarahkessler">sarahkessler: 19:33:13
bye guys!
BASEKAMP team: 19:33:20
kewl -- bi
atrowbri: 19:33:58
Course propsals can be very general or "well thought out"
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:34:14
matthew - obviously the interest in education is much more pervasive than simply art (self-help, the internet, cooking shows, etc), but i think the art context does have a few things, like existing networks and people who participate in it, even though they are asking questions exactly like yours of themselves all the time...
atrowbri: 19:34:51
Sean taught an S&M course, did not know much about it originally
eandockray" title="seandockray">Sean Dockray: 19:35:00
caleb taught it!
atrowbri: 19:35:01
S&M theory and practice
atrowbri: 19:35:03
OH
atrowbri: 19:35:04
sorry
atrowbri: 19:35:19
Caleb is talking
atrowbri: 19:35:26
accents sound similar smiley