Final Thoughts...

"Fading Memories" was a unique experience last week. It did not go completely as expected because I didn't know entirely what to expect. When I think about what I would change if we did it again, I would agree with Elana and Farolyn in that I wish I had spent more time reading the full text that we captured before the tape was torn down. There was something very eloquent about the line or so that I did read. While it was obviously not the full poem that Casey read, it did capture some essence of the poem, and offered a means of bringing back some of the words and phrases that had just passed through our minds.

I was happy that Casey did provide us with some context about the poem that was read, because, in the end, it felt like a necessary component to the piece. If there were no information about the words being read and transcribed, then I would feel like something was a bit more incomplete in the whole.

As I thought back on the piece, I also could not help but wonder how it would have been different if many more audience members had shown up. While we might have felt some initial disapointment in the small numbers, I think, in the end the absence of a large audience allowed us to absorb and further participate in the piece as a collaborative group. While we had collaborated to organize and enact the piece, I think it was during the last stage--reforming the words--that we had the most intimate collaboration of the day. Farolyn and Nikki formed a special tape detangling team and became engaged in piecing together words from fragments of tape.

Overall, the collaborative experience of Fading Memories seemed very different than either of our smaller group collaborations. I think it was a valuable experience on which to end the class. The performative nature made everyone's role clearly important, and took on a whole different element than the performative nature of "Airwaves" for example. This also leads me to consider collaborative art and the difference between collaborative planning and collaborative performance, participation, or enactment of an artwork. While our first projects were heavy on the collab planning, our last project was fairly equally weighted in planning and performance. I guess this is something that depends largely on the nature of the art, but Fading Memories was a good lesson in how the planning and implementation phases of a collaborative piece need to be totally in sync in order for success. If anything, this class has made me more open to the idea of collaborative art and more aware of the factors and committment that it requires.

On a side note, I had a pleasantly surprising revelation just this morning while teaching. While doing printmaking in my morning 9th grade class, I looked down to find two students (who happened to be in one of the more turmoil-ridden collaborative groups earlier this semester) sharing eachothers linoleum blocks in order to create more interesting print combinations. This came about without any mention of collaboration or print-sharing, and I have to say, it was one of the most creative and unselfish acts my students have engaged in all semester. I suppose I could be reading too much into it, but I'd like to think there was some subconscious influence from our earlier collab project going on. In any case, it was nice to see collaboration in action.

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