Jerry Springer's Final Thoughts

And so it's over. Graduate Collaborative Studio is coming to a close.

I must admit, this class has not been what I expected. I thought the course would be more concentrated on partnered studio executions. Instead, we seemed to focus more on appreciating and basking in the glow of collective artwork. I think of this class as an artistic Intro to Yoga; we didn't come to blow away calories, but to because mentally and physically equipped for something more. We now have a set of mental tools we may later employ to mediate, invent, self-enlighten, or even burn fat, if we so choose.

While not homework-heavy, this class has been, at times, intellectually taxing. It has forced me to increase my mental flexibility in ways I didn't realize I could- or should- be flexible.

If I may be very honest, I was skeptical about this second project. I was wondering if it was "our" project or just Mark's with which we students were assisting. I felt the students did not have much creative control, but rather served as a sounding board and toolbox with which Mark could flesh out and fix his conceptual idea.

Since it's execution, however, I feel differently. Sure, I still think the project was 'Mark's' more than ours, but it was not devoid of education for us students. (In fact, it was shockingly cool.)

Perhaps the whole intention of the exercise was to bring us to the truth collaborative spirit. That is, being in art collective often means supporting the team, not necessarily getting equal influence. After all, sometimes co-authors serve more as assistants and reinforcements. If all the work goes under the name of the collective, in this case called the fall 2008 Graduate Collaborative Studio, who cares who has the most intellectual input? Maybe Mark has been trying to teach us a lesson about the aesthetic greater good.

Then again, maybe he just wanted some free help.

At the Tootsie Pop owl says, "The world may never know," but if we choose to learn from this, who needs to?

final project

Today we wrapped up the final collaborative project for this semester. I think it was quite successful. Many thanks to Casey for sharing his poetry with us. The whole process made me think of a few things that we might change.

First, I think it would be interesting to consider hearing the entire poem before any writing started. It was very hard to hear the poem being read over the noise of writing on a chalk board - I know that is not very loud, but more so than expected because of a) acoustics and b) writing on a board and not a part of the wall creating echoes. I would have also liked to have heard the poem prior to starting because I was torn between reading what was being written or listening to the poem. I felt the poem really deserved my attention and dually wanted to see what was being picked up by the writer however, it went by so quickly that I felt like I had missed both. That being said, I probably would have taken a minute to look at the writing on the boards with the tape remaining. Looking back, it may have been nice to just take a moment to review what people had heard during the process- looking at the selective hearing of the participants.

I really enjoyed watching people try to put the puzzling words back together. I think that if we had taken more time there might not have been such confusion over some of the words in the end. On the other hand, I think this confusion was what sparked the furious tape sorting at the end. It's too hard to NOT know what is supposed to be up there. I was even more glad that there was some sort of tape unfurling as I knew that where I had written 'all' someone else had turned it and the word in before it into 'succession'. Don't ask me how that happened, I really have no idea.

Anyways, I thought that it was a really successful project. If it were to be performed again, I might change those things- but maybe not. They really made it a part of the moment and of the excitement in seeing the idea carried out. I'll write more as I process over the week...

back from bitterness

So, after being really down on collaboration the last week or so has really turned me around. While I was really feeling like I needed to own something I was working on, I think I found a happy medium between owning it and having help, opinion, and collaboration. In studio core I was pretty much stuck while working on my last sculpture of the semester. For those who don't know- sculpture is really not my thing. After I sliced right into my finger the first day of class I knew this semester wasn't going to be easy for me in that class. And it hasn't. I make some really ugly stuff that I usually spend hours on in and out of the class once I finally convince my mind to create in a three-dimensional framework (a task that takes longer than you could imagine).

Well there I was, stuck. With a part of a metal sculpture that also needed to include wood and plastic. Far from being done, I planned out how I might want to include the plastic element. I made it, pretty successfully, which had me stunned in the first place. Then I'm sitting there with part of a metal sculpture, an unassembled portion of a plastic sculpture and seemingly no way to merge the two. Then it hits me: I'll drill a hole and use a wooden dowel to connect them. Except I don't have a dowel, nor is there a cutter small enough to create one that will fit. Then my superhero Nikki pipes in- she's got a metal rod that's the right size, and here, why don't I use it? Awesome. It not only fits, but looks great. Now while this may have been a small collaboration, or just helpful in the process of creating, it really reminded me why I am in this program to begin with. After being so down on creating in the more public environment of a school setting, it had clicked back into place. I missed this. I needed reflection, opinion, other sets of creative eyes. It was the reason I came back to school, to not only be inspired again, but to have the time and ability to create outside of my comfort zone. To get feedback on this thing we call creativity. To be back in a working community of artists.

I know it seems like a stretch to have gotten all of that from just lending me some materials, and guidance, but with as hard as this first semester of being back in school and just being a grown up in this crazy world, it put me back on track- something I really needed.

Here's to an awesome semester behind us and three more to come.


Second Life Collaboration

As a young man the founder of Second Life, Philip Rosedale, desired to create 3D objects from his imagination. He states that the purpose of Second Life is for people to make stuff. The online 3D virtual reality program enables users to build and interact with a world of other users. Second Life is expanding quickly with 20,000 computers connected together in three facilities in the United States assimilating this virtual space. With more than 25o,000 people accessing the site a day and over 100 million members the virtual space has expanded to the size of San Francisco in depth and space. 

Second Life provides infinite possibilities for the users to create objects. The current members have collaborated to create a universe that consists of 100 terabytes of user created data. The members are able to transfer and manipulate data. Second Life is a social network that meets basic human needs. The members have control. They can buy, sell and trade property they create. Each of the 100 million avatars play an important role in the creation, maintenance and improvement of the society. 

"From the moment you enter the World you'll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you've explored a bit, perhaps you'll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business."

To check out the lecture "Philip Rosedale: Second Life, where anything is possible" click here

Science Meets Art

Jonathan Duckworth is a multi-media artist and has teamed up with Peter Wilson, associate professor of psychology at RMIT University located in Australia. Nick Mumford and Ross Eldridge of RMIT University, Pat Thomas and David Shum of Griffith University, and Dr. Gavin Williams of Epworth Hospital in Melbourne were also collaborators who helped design Elements and set up the evaluation study. Together they developed Elements, a virtual reality workspace that helps Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) patients regain movement. TBI or acquired brain injury occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain such as a violent and sudden hit to the head by an object or an object piercing the skull and entering the brain tissue. Unfortunately, TBI is the main cause of death and disability in adolescents and young adults in Australia. 

Elements consists of a large horizontal table top graphics display,  a vision-based tracking system, and a user interface that incorporates sensor technology. I think this is the coolest part. The TBI patients are able to retrain movement and regain hand-eye coordination through the use of this sensor technology. Elements was tested on three male patients between the age of 20 -25. Their gestural skills improved as well as movement accuracy and attentiveness to tasks at hand. 

In the future, the team plans to collaborate with colleagues in London to develop a pediatric system designed to improve therapy for childhood stroke, cerebral palsy and TBI. 

To check out the full article click here

Working Together...Farolynian Thinking

I really enjoyed Nikki' s post on Farolynian Thinking. I was inspired to re-think my definition of collaborative art-making again. A few weeks ago I watched a lecture by Sugata Mitra. In the video,  'Can children teach themselves?' Sugata Mitra proposes the idea of a school designed to facilitate self-organized learning. In his ideal learning environment teachers would be unnecessary. Sugata proves through several studies that children can in fact teach each other without adult supervision. In one of his studies he places a computer in an impoverished community where the residents have no experience or knowledge of computers. Within days the students are browsing the Internet and so on. One of the first students to walk up to the computer was a adolescent male who dropped out of school. The first thing he noticed was the interactivity of the device. The computer responded to the movement of his hand. In a matter of minutes the students started teaching each other how to browse the Internet. The children organized an informal classroom with approximately 30 or 40 children. The children worked together to figure out a solution to problems they encountered. I began to form a connection between his study and the studio art classroom. Why is it a challenge for art teachers to get students to collaborate? What if a variety of art materials were given to a group of students without an explanation? Would the students interact with the materials and each other to create a collaborative art piece? Is it important to set the stage?

Fading Memories

Fading Memories is a collaborative work designed by Mark Cameron Boyd' s Collaborative Studio. Each group member in the class was asked to write one continuous line of text in response to a poetry reading by Casey Smith. The group was organized by height in accordance to six parallel strips of tape placed on the board. After the completion of the poetry reading the tape was removed leaving the lower half of the text.  The audience was invited to complete the upper half of the unfinished text on the board. 

The passage above is written in past-tense and will be displayed near the finished piece. Let me know what you think.

Have a good day.


GALs and a great group Corpse

Recently, many of us Collab Studio students have been posting entries that explore the very nature, frequency, subtlety, and necessity of collective endeavors. Our opinions on collaborations have spanned frustration, appreciation, submission, and apathy. In near-end attempt to cultivate collectiveness, we students have joined forces to create this week's blog entry. After all, couldn't a goal of this class be to gauge the worth of collective compared to individual works? Shouldn't one blog post from the fruits of joined labor be worth something equal the pithy efforts of five independent entries?

For this post the gang joined together to create an Exquisite Corpse-style story string. Participants include Brianna, Elana, Farolyn, Jenna, and Nikki. All writers authored equal parts and worked together to deauthor what we wrote. We bet you can't tell who wrote what.


XOXO, Graduate Collaborative Students of Fall, 2008

One sunny day five ladies were walking down 17th Street in Washington, DC. There names were Brianna, Elana, Farolyn, Jenna, and Nikki. While these girls appeared normal - awesome, but fairly normal- they were actually quite unusual. They were actually the members of a city-renowned crime fighting team! The team was called the Girl Art League. The Girl Art Leaguers (GALs) had super art powers that they discovered after being subjected to a mysterious 'gas' leak by the White House. The GALs decided to use their heightened art making powers to solve crime in their beloved city. Today they would have to use their powers again.

All of a sudden, the ladies' stroll was interrupted by a loud BOOM sound! They spun around to look at the Mall. There they saw the most terrible thing they could imagine: an invasion of geikos trampling the many outer-towners on mopeds. The GALs spun into action with Crayola gel markers in each hand. The laser girls were determined to fight the crime that submerged the city and surrender the geikos to the secret service men that stood in amazement. Once within reach of the ingenious creatures, the girls blasted into action using their super art powers to capture the geikos. Within seconds, the Gals nabbed the geikos and stuffed hundreds in neon printed canvas bags. They thanked the visitors for their cooperation and tapped their heels. As they turned to leave, the bewildered outer-towners exploded in anger. A 97 year old man yelled, "GET THEM! THEY HAVE STOLEN OUR CAR INSURANCE MASCOT!" The team was caught off guard. Out of anger the crazed visitors charged at the GALs. As five million geiko groupies stormed the mall, the GALS had no other choice but to activate their secret weapon of mass devastation.

While Elana, Nikki, Brianna, and Farolyn fought off the mob with clay balls, Crayola gel markers and chicken wire, Jenna teleported to Studio 88 located in Robot, NY in hopes to reach the world renown scholar, Mr. Mark Cameron Boyd. He is known for discovering the deadliest weapon of all time, pomegranate seeds. While Jenna attempts to locate the scholar she checks in with the team via hologram. The girls are comforted by her presence amidst the chaos. "We need help Jenna, we are running out of resources!" the team shouts. Jenna responds, "In a moment the glass shrine and yellow...." The connection is interrupted.

From their jail cell, the remaining GAL members wondered if they would ever be rescued. Where was Jenna? Had she successfully found the one person that could help them?! Every time the heavy wooden door creaked open to the holding cell the girls waited with anticipation. Every time they were greeted by another unfriendly guardsman. The girls began to despair. Concrete never seemed so cold. Iron bars and cement blocks surrounded them in gray. The GAL members began to think the world had lost its color permanently. Perhaps this was all a part of the master evil plan to run the world by controlling our automotive vehicles. Turning the entire world into a massive gray interstate. Paving our world one strip at a time in order to control our minds and our creativity. The GALs could not survive in a world with no color. Their powers would be useless in a land without creativity. But who could be behind this evil mastery?

As the girls sat in the cell pondering how to escape, Jenna and Mark's solution began to take action. Back in Robot, NY, a mixture of post-post-contemporary art theory and creative magic began to formulate into super power possibilities the GALs had never known. Though Jenna had lost connection, her plan was already in action and Nikki suddenly evaporated from the cell, leaving the other GALs in disbelief.

Moments later, there was a spark and the three others disappeared in rapid succession, before the guard could take notice. Shocked and steaming a bit, the girls found themselves in a new and strange place, all looking at each other for answers.

Farolyn pulled out some leftover gel markers and drew on the wall to illuminate the space. It was a dark and damp tunnel, with no end or beginning in sight. As the GALs began to make their way in one direction, a fuzzy static sounded from Elana's holographic transmitter. She pulled it out quickly and the GALs huddled around to see a blurry image of Jenna. "Where are we?!" they asked her. As Farolyn looked around at the tunnel walls, she began to see faded painting and drawings. Though Jenna was trying to communicate, it was difficult for the GALs to get a clear reception. Suddenly Farolyn made the connection and realized what Jenna was trying to say...They were in the infamous underground tunnel between the Corcoran and the White House! The GALs looked at each other in excitement--they had been wondering about this place! Just before cutting out completely again, however, Jenna gave them some bad news as well--the tunnel had been sealed for the past 8 years, and it was up to them to re-open the channels of creativity once again.

What were the GALs to do?! the Evil Mastermind Czar Zincat had set them up. He had planted the Geikos knowing the GALs would rush to the rescue. He had brainwashed and shipped in the 5million angry tourists knowing that the GALs could never defend themselves against such a formidable force. And now they were stuck in limbo between the white house and the source of their powers. Czar Zincat had already begun sapping the world of color and creativity. The brainwashed tourists would remain angry for all time without color. The anger would spread and without creativity and Czar Zincat would finally be able to rule the world! Things were looking pretty bleak to the GALs.

What Czar Zincat had not anticipated was the power of GAL creativity. Even without color, their joint creative superpower could defeat the Evil ruler. With the help of MCB, Jenna was able to locate the glass shrine which held the glowing yellow tube of paint. She had the power, but without the connection to her friends, she was losing the creativity of the collective. She didn't know what to do with this glowing key. She needed to contact the GALs, but how?!

Meanwhile, the girls in the tunnel could sense that the time apart could be sapping Jenna of her energy. They knew that they had been teleported and maybe if they reversed the streams they could teleport Jenna to the tunnel. Elana used her tech savvy to quickly rewire her hologram telecommunicator. The girls held their breath and turned on the device. Instantly Jenna appeared in the darkness. Even she had began to fade and lose her color.

Elated that they were reunited and in control of the magic paint. They began to paint the tunnel a glowing shade of yellow. The light emitted was so intense it burst open the doors of the tunnel and illuminated both the Corcoran and the White House. With the light came creativity and knowledge. The light awoke the President from his angry and lethargic stupor. With the help of his secret Panel of Corcoran professors, the President was able to find the evil Czar Zincat and lock him away for good.