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  • Stonefeather

Collaborating towards the unknown...

It sounds interesting and fun, but it's a dilemma I find myself and my students in constantly; stress inducing, produce diluting effects of collaboration. I acknowledge that many physical products, brands, pharmaceuticals, mountain bikes, aeroplanes, companies, headphones, houses, cars, boats, pencils, things that make pencils, things that make the bolts that connect the things to make pencils have all been collaborative in some form or another. But what happens when an 'arty' type has a really psychedelic dream and the ancient protagonist in that dream is profoundly sensible in every way...and their message is vivid and strong and could save all of humanity...and then you take it to the band and they completely fuck it up because of the democratic process of fair collaborative practice...and your deep, profound dream ends up on a 30 Second 'Spray n Walk Away' Advertisement? Yes I can hear you saying, just fight for the message Wazza! Serve the song Wazza! ..but wouldn't it be easier just to do it myself and fuck Collaboration right the fuck off to Silicone Valley??? Is that the be all and end all - to be like Google?? ...Don't get me wrong, I have had to collaborate many times on many great projects; The Mana Moana Matariki installation was lots of fun - I had to fly up to Gisborne and record three amazing Poets; The Everest Memorial I am still working with Studio Pacific Architects on which has been an amazing experience. Collaborating with Anne on the Avalon School Bee project - It brings me back to the difference between creating with design in mind and creating from divine inspiration/visceral activity for no reason other than to make something!

I was watching my son watch a youtube channel this morning of some guy building a generator from nothing. My son is 12 yrs old and has always been into making and breaking stuff. I loved observing his curiosity and could almost hear his brain processing the construction of this thing - I was expecting the "Dad can we go buy a welder?..." Im keen anyways. If I was to collaborate with my son, that would be a bonding experience with an objective in mind. But if I was to say to him "son..lets paint something together." I would get Hong Kong level protestations. I know Pop songs are hugely collaborative (sometimes 15-20 people work on one song) but that's a type of design to generate revenue and fans - I wouldn't call Pop music Art (lines blur of course). What defines 'popular' anyway? 100 likes? 100000 likes? Pop art/music...popular...gross.

There were sections or morsels of Project Aristotle (Google Company - Matt Sakaguchi) that I did enjoy; acknowledging psychological safety and emotional conversations between collaborators could possibly result in improved work well being - I'm pretty happy to be around in a time where workplace satisfaction seems to be a thing and governmental focus on health and well being at the top of an agenda somewhere - pretty cool. Ok enough ramblings from me. I think I was just reading a couple of offerings from a couple of masterclasses that I missed and decided to respond. Maybe it's ok to have a big toe on the nitrate/carbon consuming grass either side of that meandering chalk line on a rainy day...

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