Participatory Conceptual Collaboration

My 18-year-old niece, Matilde Chan Do Rosario, wanted to make art with me so we did a small blackboard she can take back to Macau. It's participatory so she can invite her friends to decipher the sentences and conceptual because I only supplied the idea, the words and the process.


The Use of Objects (excerpt)

by Nicolas Bourriaud

The difference between artists who produce works based on objects already produced and those who operate ex nihilo is one that Karl Marx observes in German Ideology: there is a difference, he says, between natural tools of production (e.g., working the earth) and tools of production created by civilization. In the first case, Marx argues, individuals are subordinate to nature. In the second, they are dealing with a "product of labor," that is, capital, a mixture of accumulated labor and tools of production. These are only held together by exchange, an interhuman transaction embodied by a third term, money. The art of the twentieth century developed according to a similar schema: the industrial revolution made its effects felt, but with some delay. When Marcel Duchamp exhibited a bottle rack in 1914 and used a mass-produced object as a "tool of production," he brought the capitalist process of production (working on the basis of accumulated labor) into the sphere of art, while at the same time indexing the role of the artist to the world of exchange: he suddenly found kinship with the merchant, content to move products from one place to another. Duchamp started from the principle that consumption was also a mode of production, as did Marx, who writes in his introduction to Critique of Political Economy that "consumption is simultaneously also production, just as in nature the production of a plant involves the consumption of elemental forces and chemical materials."

Marx adds that "man produces his own body, e.g., through feeding, one form of consumption." A product only becomes a real product in consumption; as Marx goes on to say, "a dress becomes really a dress only by being worn, a house which is uninhabited is indeed not really a house."(1) Because consumption creates the need for new production, consumption is both its motor and motive. This is the primary virtue of the readymade: establishing an equivalence between choosing and fabricating, consuming and producing . . .


1. Marx, Karl. A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy; Translated by S. W. Ryazanikaya, Maurice Does (Ed.); New York; 1970; 195-96.


Extra Soft Ginger Cookies

Before listing the ingredients to this sweet indulgence, I must say this semester was a lot of fun. The most memorable event was our trip to Pennsylvania Avenue to film a movie. Film-making is a very complex activity but we made the most of it. I wish each of you the very best of luck in the future. I retrieved the original recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. The nutrition facts are listed below the recipe. Enjoy the cookies!

2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour (I usually sift the flour but unsifted flour works well too.)
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup butter (1  1/2 sticks of softened butter)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons of sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. Beat in the 1 cup sugar. Add egg and molasses; beat well. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1 1/2 inch balls, using about 1 heaping tablespoon dough for each. Roll balls in the 2 tablespoons sugar to coat (I normally place 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl. I roll the ball around in the sugar by twisting my wrist. Make sure the ball is completed coated in sugar.) Place balls about 2 1/2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. 

4. Bake in a 350 degree oven about 8-10 minutes or until light brown and still puffed. (Do not overbake.) Cool cookies on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. 

Nutrition facts per cookie: 
138 calories
6 g total fat (4 g saturated fat)
24 mg cholesterol
114 mg sodium
20 g carbohydrates
0 g fiber
1 g protein

Daily Values:
5% vitamin A
0% vitamin C
4% iron

Only in art school

my cookie art i made for myself and then promptly inhaled like the piggy i am!
MCB's cookie he made for himself

MCB eating his own cookie creation

even our security people joined in on the fun!
MCB with the "special" cookie I made for him, I better get an A
the writing guy, Casey Smith, who knew he was so dang funny!
and a slight resemblance to George Clooney, no?
some high school kids that came on a tour to our school


Bff Farolyn! Will you post your fabulous cookie recipe???


Cookie Bust

So yesterday's cookie bust was pretty fun. I enjoyed watching people decorate cookies (those who actually PARTICIPATED). I am not quite sure what I expected to see when people decorated their cookies, but I thought it would be a little more interesting. From what I observed, a lot of people put and even amount of frosting on the cookie, but then didn't get very creative with the decorating of sprinkles, etc. I saw a girl do a spiral on her cookie, or just layer on tons of sprinkles. Which is fine, I'm not quite sure what I expected to see. I thought I would see more artistic expressions on the cookies. Maybe some more imagery...I enjoyed watching Joseph Orzal and his friend (guy #2) decorate their cookies. When guy #2 was covering his cookie with vanilla frosting he said, "hey, this is like gessoing a canvas!" I liked how he connected decorating the cookies with creating art in his studio. Joseph and guy #2 finished decorating their cookies and when Joseph wasn't looking Guy #2 stole Joseph's cookie and made one large cookie sandwich. They each took a bite out of it and it was pretty hilarious. That was the kind of fun I wanted to see yesterday. I'm glad those two enjoyed it.

The cookie bust for myself was a bad idea. I had like three cookies and came to an aburpt sugar crash. I almost fell asleep at the table and had to go walk around. Sigh. To me, bein preggers makes me very sensitive to sugar. So if I have too much I get jittery or have an awful crash. What is this baby doing to me?!? hahaha.

To my surprise when I came back everyone had left the room but Mark and Elana. Mark had waited for me to come back. :) Nice guy!

Anyway, the cookie bust was a success! I enjoyed it and believe they should be mandatory at the end of each semester. In the future, I would recommend making more posters for the event. I made the one for the entrance, but I think having more would have been helpful.

I hope everyone has a great end of the semester! It was wonderful working with everyone and I hope you have a great summer. :)


Cookie Bust

So I was kinda irritated at today's cookie bust if you guys didn't notice, and this is probably why I am not more involved in collaborative art. Not you guys (my classmates) but at the other participators. People were coming in there and just taking cookies (some of them 3, 4, 5, 6 cookies) and NOT DECORATING them and just taking them and leaving. Excuse me but I did not get up at 5 am this morning to make cookies so you can have lunch. That's why I wrote on the white paper "You must decorate to eat the cookies". Am I just overreacting ? I don't think so. I mean dang people, we are in an art school, there's blank cookies and decorating supplies galore are you really going to be a selfish cookie monster and take all those cookies? Then I am going to label you as uncreative and boring. LEave them for someone who  will participate in the art making and go to the Clara Barton cafe next door and get your own cookies. 

This is why I am not all up in collaborative art. I feel like I have no control. I want to be able to tell people that "HEY! you better decorate that cookie if you want to eat it".  When people don't decorate there cookies I get upset. I want to ask Tiravanija if he gets offended when people come in to his makeshift restaurant and bring a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and just leave a beautiful bowl of Pad Thai untouched. Things that make me go hmm . . . 


CityVision Collaborative Work: Fail

Still not much luck getting the students in CityVision to collaborate successfully. I had hoped this week we could get them to bring all of their ideas into one beautiful catalyst, but nope. The volunteer instructors who were working with them found that the conversation was going around in circles. James (an urban planner) had to step in (I was working with two girls on a power point) and just tell the kids how they would place their buildings on the site. He gave them a certain amount of space then allowed them to work individually on a building.

I'm not sure why I have so much difficulty with this group. My students this summer were great. They were always eager to participate, worked very well together (some too well, but you know teenagers...) and LISTENED to instructors. I feel as though this spring group is always interested in putting up a fight against what advice we have for them. This is a challenge for me. I feel as though I need to re-evaluate my classroom management skills. Maybe they aren't as sharp as I thought they were!

My problem is getting them to work as a team. Each student seems to have his or her own agenda. It's rather sad. There are a handful of team players on my group who are eager to work hard and I feel as though something gets taken away from them.

Maybe Farolyn needs to hook me up with classroom management ideas! Sounds like her experience from Laurel working with her large number of students may have given her some good experience.

Cookies tomorrow! weeeeeeee.....

Crazy video

So I was lurking the internet trying to find inspiration for a blog tonight and I found this crazy youtube video.

It is a collaborative art project. The video itself plays for 1 minute and 45 seconds in total. The song that narrates the video I find VERY annoying. Sigh. However, it is kind of cool. If you have a youtube ID just log onto the website and when the video plays click on the video to add a comment. The options after you click on the video allow you to choose a text box, type in text, then choose a color for the text box. Pretty sweet I think. I tried it twice. If you watch it my quotes show up pretty fast under "Mandeesa5".

Enjoy. Try not to shoot yourself in the head from the annoying song.


Cookies !

I AM SO EXCITED TO MAKE COOKIES THIS WEEK !!!! and justify it by being able to say I am working on my final project !

I make these cookies from scratch every christmas for all my friends. THey taste sooo good but it is a really involved process that I don't think I will have time for this week. 

I will find some other easier to do ones, and easy to decorate ones and we are going to have some cookie fun ! WOO WOO !

Here is a video of a cookie lab for an art foundations course in color. But non art majors take this class and supplies for this class have gotten expensive. THe professor solves this problem with this cookie color activity! THe one girl talking about passion is  crazy, don't mind her. 

Even thought I was not there for last class I am glad to hear that my presentation on Tiravanija and relational aesthetics was an influence on deciding our final class project. I have learned a lot about not only collaborative art, but contemporary art in general through this class that I wasn't exposed to before, it has even influenced my thesis topic that I am proposing. Eager to end the semester with some yummy cookies!


Collaborative Cooking

Community Portrait Project

The project was anchored in Wendy Ewald's fall semester class Collaborative Art: Theory and Practice of Working with a Community. Both the campus community collaboration project and the Practice of Collaborative Art Class culminated with the large-scale public works mounted across the Amherst College Community and an exhibition at the Mead Art Museum. The exhibition includes a catalogue being published in 2009 highlighting the complete semester long experience.

Community Portrait Project Enlivens Campus written by Amherst College student Terry Jarrett. Below are excerpts from the article. Click here for full article.

"Thanks to the Collaborative Art: Practice and Theory of Working With a Community seminar, six 12.5 by 30 feet triptychs with both photographs and oil pastel portraits have been put up across the campus, as well as in the Mead Art Museum. Each triptych has a portrait or photograph of a student, a professor and an Amherst staff member and includes a corresponding quotes."

"A lot of work went into turning these 18 faces into meaningful art. With the help of Artists-in-Residence Wendy Ewald and Brett Cook, the seminar students dedicated two weeks to interviewing their muses and creating the base work for the art. The seminar also met frequently over dinner in Valentine Hall to discuss the social and educational realities that they each faced, and wanted to represent through the art."

"On Sept. 28 the seminar helped coordinate a public celebration on the Valentine Quad. At this celebration all Amherst community members were invited to help color in the triptychs. There were also musical performers and local food in Valentine Dining Hall."

SnickerDOODLE- "to scribble frosting and sprinkles absentmindedly."

Collaborative Cookie-Making: Drop In and Decorate Cookies for Donation was organized by two friends: an artist/experienced baker and "bake-o-phobe." Family and friends are invited to decorate cookies. Once complete, the cookies are wrapped in a cellophane bag and given to an emergency shelter for Latino families. Click here for more information. 



Collaborative work with my 7th graders

Hi. So Thursdays I have a team of 10 7th graders that I work with. We are creating a project together and I find it hard to have them collaborate. Today, I even had them do a little team building exercise called the "Peanut Butter Pit (of Doom)" and I found two of my most vocal students wanted to be "leaders" though no leaders are required on the exercise. I had to say to them, "there is no 'I' in team" and I felt like a grandma saying that to them. Sure enough, Rezan and Myesha took the lead role in the exercise and I tried my best to moderate. It is kind of difficult to try and get the other students engaged when they allow Rezan and Myesha to take leader roles.

At one point I was asking the students their opinion on the design for our building ( a large mixed use building--a mall, gym, pool, rec center, skate park) and tried to ask them how we could divide the large building up into smaller buildings. As usual, the leader Rezan kept speaking up about how he thought it would be more convenient to keep it as one large building. I was getting a bit frustrated, because he kept talking and gave no one else a chance to speak up. So I said, "okay, so we know how Rezan feels about the building design. What are some other people's thoughts on what to do." I thought that would give some one else time to speak, but NO Rezan started to speak again. I was thinking...what? Are you kidding me? Sigh. It's hard to keep a project collaborative with equal participation all the time.

I ended up having the students sketch out their ideas on how to divide the buildings up in their sketch books privately for 15 minutes. That way they could work independently and not be influenced by others. When the time was up. We went around in a circle to show every one's drawings and then talk about each one for about 2-3 minutes. Afterwards we hung up the drawings on the wall and talked about the strengths of each ideas. we had a good discussion going and next week we are going to try and combine some of those ideas. So lets hope this collaboration works!

Collaborative Discovery... Compliments are Free!

Cameras can be very intimidating. I was concerned about my posture and facial expression the entire time. It was easy to give compliments to people who looked amazing as opposed to a guy dressed in an unflattering tutu. Our day was well-spent and enjoyable. We captured spontaneous occurrences in front of the White House while complimenting random folks. I really enjoyed our conversation with the family from Boston. I sure hope they visited the Natural History Museum while in Washington. Would I change anything about our adventure? NO, because I learned a new definition for the term 'collaboration.' Collaboration: not easy, takes time and patience, worth the while, a learning tool, scary, intimidating, nerve-wrecking, requires structure, time, excellent communication skills, needs facilitator(s), and the eye. Last semester, a collaborative organization visited our class. The name of the group was Floating Lab Collective. Anyway, the group consisted of more than 50 members. Yikes! Can you imagine 50 people working on one project? Our team consisted of 5 very optimistic students. Mark and Nic were the camera crew. Myself, Tina and Sara were the compliment-anchors. While posted near a tree, the compliment-anchors would randomly give compliments to anyone. Well, maybe not. I spoke with Tina while standing on the 'stage' and we both decided that we could not just give people compliments especially if it was not sincere. A few other events lead to an unforgettable collaborative experience such as the rally for social freedom, the group of teens from Pennsylvania, and the large group of military folks dressed in clean white.


Re: Film Making

Yesterday's class really pushed me outside of my comfort zone. I don't have a lot of experience with film so I felt a little lost and unsure of its possibilities. In addition, approaching strangers in an unnatural/forced way is another thing that makes me feel uncomfortable, so the two things combined significantly raised my stress level. I was thinking about my reaction, as I walked home yesterday, and I realize that I tend to disengage and space-out when I feel anxiety. What this tells me (aside from a self-help diagnosis) is that when working with new media, especially in a group setting, I might need to do some research or come in feeling more prepared. The more comfortable I feel, the more invested I feel. Yesterday's experience was not only interesting in terms of what/who is out there in DC but it let me know a little about my current working practice. Now that we have gotten some experience it will be interesting to see where we take this, as a group, next week. I hope everyone has a good weekend.


What is Collaborative Film-Making?

Keith Haring

Collaborative Film-Making is very similar to social networking. In many cases, a production company will use the internet community to create films that vary in content from suspense to action. Star Wreck Studios, based in Tampere, Finland, hopes to build a permanent community for collaborative movie making. Star Wreck Studios is responsible for the creation of an online community titled Wreck-a-Movie. Wreck-a-Movie is a permanent community site for movie-making collaborators. In early August of 2008, the community was working on two projects: "a science fiction comedy about Nazis on the moon, Iron Sky and a horror film called Sauna." Iron Sky and Sauna were written by professional script writers. The community participates by commenting and discussing the script. The production leader decides what is used in the creation based on the comments and ideas discussed on a forum. The company aspires to "take a community of thousands of online movie-making buffs, and have them collaborate on a feature-length film." Anybody interested in film can join the community and create plot and music proposals as well as comment on scenes.

(Links to information above: Star Wreck Studios, Wreck-a-Movie, Iron Sky, Sauna)

Still interested in collaborative film-making? Check out the sites below:)

Rootclip.com " was created to give filmmakers, writers, actors and anybody who just likes to watch movies the ability to collaborate on a video project. Our goal is to be the catalyst that gets people thinking and being creative with video in such a way that it infects the masses and brings a new life to the art of filmmaking. Get creative and show us what you've got! "

In January of 2009, University of Toronto offered a Collaborative Movie-Making Workshop with filmmaker Oliver Husain, who is a Toronto based artist and filmmaker. The workshop began at 10 am and ended at 6 pm and was only offered to University of Toronto students. Workshop participants were able to produce a collaborative video using Hart House, the school's theatre, as a film set.

Nirvan Mullick, an animator and former student of California Institute of the Arts, produced a micro-collaborative movie titled, The 1 Second Film. The purpose of the film is to raise one million dollars for the Global Fund for Women as well as set "the course for a long term project that utilizes collaborative art and social networking to address social issues". Nirvan Mullick began the project in 2001 with an idea "to bring together all the arts programs at the school to create a community art project through "micro-collaboration, a process of many people contributing in small ways to make something much bigger. " In 2007, over 7,900 people had donated over $200,000. All those who donate money to the 1 Second Film will be listed as producers in the credits. Click here to read the interview with Nirvan Mullick.


Re: Still Standing

As of yesterday, our sculpture/display pedestal was still standing under the stairs. So I guess, even if our participation rate wasn't that high, someone must have considered it art to have allowed it to stay there for this long..ci9ci9okhtb g j/.≤≤≤≤≤≤≤≤≤(this is Quinn's collaboration) He is insisting that the computer is his- "mine, mine!" I guess this is a lesson in collaboration-pick your partners carefully. Collaborating with a volatile, temperamental artist (toddler) is not all that much fun. For obvious reasons this post is short today. I will write more about my thoughts on our project when my collaborator finally takes a nap!


Start: Hair Salon End: 17th and Pennsylvania Ave.

Team 1: Mandy, Tina, and Farolyn

Project: "Let's record human interaction in a hair salon!" We began with a list a mile long, from turning a hair salon into a recording studio to disrupting the natural flow of bar conversation. It took a few weeks for our project to take flight. We decided to dismiss the hair salon and bar idea early on. Our next plan consisted of myself, Mandy and Tina interviewing businessmen on Capitol Hill. This idea was neglected after we considered the odds of capturing 30 seconds of a businessman's attention on Capitol Hill during lunch hour. After many sketches, we landed upon the idea of interviewing art museum security guards. Our audience broadened to include hospital professionals as well as several passerby on 17th st. We entered jewelry stores, and local galleries to find an answer to a question that is too often debated: 'What is the definition of art?' This question left many interviewees puzzled. I can only imagine the thoughts that ran through most of their heads. They probably wondered why a couple of art students felt their definition was so important. I must say I enjoyed working with my fellow team members. After tons of planning, we were able to nail a topic and run with it. Our encounters with several passerby has inspired me to strike up conversation more often regarding the definition of art. I agree with Tina, we definitely could have benefited from more time for interviewing. An average interview lasted 20 - 25 minutes. Mandy made a good point also in her post below. Who knew one question would lead to a half an hour conversation about art classes, poetry, Frank Gehry and a lost wallet?

Conclusion: This project was tons of fun. I am very glad we stepped outside of our original plan. Interviewing strangers was far more exciting. Everyone enjoyed sharing their definition or idea of art. This experience was different from the hospital in many ways. The hospital is quiet, sterile and usually considered the last place anyone would want to schedule a vacation. The Corcoran neighborhood was live and filled with many unique individuals whose occupation, name, and residence remained hidden. The hospital provided an honest environment where techs and nurses did not mind taking a few seconds out of their work day to answer a question. Overall, this project allowed me to work on my collaborative skills. One idea spoken by one person belongs to the whole team.

Reflection on the Collaborative Project Experience

First off this was a very new experience for me. I have not done much collaborative work in any way. AND I am only child and I am use to getting what I want. This made this experience slightly difficult for me (I stress slightly!). There were times where I just wanted to do what I wanted to do and do it myself. I don't think my group members noticed this or picked up on it. I think I kept it well hidden. Every time this urge or longing came up I nudged it aside and talked through it with my members. With 3 great minds coming together there were times, in the beginning, where we had so many good ideas that we could have gone with that it became a little overwhelming. I almost wish we had more time. I also wonder what would have happened if we had done some of our other ideas instead. 

The process of conducting interviews was different in each place we did it in. Talking to the security guards at the NGA was more difficult than I originally imagined. Some of them didn't really want to talk, some of them at first resisted but then came around and got into it, and then 1 of them would NOT STOP TALKING! I think they all had good things to say,  and brought up good points and prespectives that I had not thought about myself. 

When we took our interviews out onto the street it was really fun. We went up to random people and asked them to participate. I could tell that with each of them they all had an idea or thoughts on the question we presented them. However, like Mandy said in her post, some of them couldn't quite the words out right. That is totally understandable cause they are caught off guard, they got 3 smiling art students staring at them, and probably right at that moment right before we approached they were thinking of something totally different. So yes, they might have had a hard time articulating their thoughts but I don't think they didn't already have somewhat of an idea in their head of their opinion. 

If I had the chance to do it again I would do a couple things different, I would take along a voice recorder or a video camera and I would take pictures. Also I would give myself lots and lots of time so I could talk to many people (cause each one of them was probably almost 20 minutes give or take). 

All in all it was a creative, eye opening experience that stretched me as a person, a student, a future teacher, and as an artist and I value the time spent!


Group Project

So far I have really enjoyed the process of this group project. As you may have read the interviews have been very fun and insightful. I already knew that every person has a different definition of art. However, what I may have known before but didn't expect to find were that people had different comfort levels at answering this question. A handful of people stumbled through their answer often repeating themselves. I noticed that they were very eager for the interview to end. It could have been that they weren't comfortable answering what their definition of art was, because maybe they had never thought of it. Then while that thought occurs to them two or three sets of eager eyes are awaiting their response. That might put some pressure on people.

Right now we have some wonderful hand written responses to, "what is your definition of art," but on friday we will elaborate on that question a little further by asking our classmates and Mark to respond to the question VISUALLY. Bring your creative hats people! Time to express ourselves!

I am very much looking forward to class on Friday. I wonder if I'll see Jesus walking down the street carrying a cross again?

Interviews are Interesting.

Hi there,

As you may or may not have known, my team has been conducting interviews in various places to ask people their definition of art. I find their responses to be interesting, but the conversation that stems from that question is amazing. To me, I thought we would just walk up to people to ask them our questions, they would respond for maybe five minutes tops, and then we'd go on our merry way. To my surprise, people are very eager to talk about more than respond to our question.

Our first extensive interview was at the National Gallery. We interviewed a security gaurd and he went on about his response. That was fine because it is a pleasure to have an interview with some one who has a lot to say. However, this interview turned into him telling us about works of art in our immediate area that he found "inspiring" and also artists that he thought made an impact in a certain decade or art movement. I would say our conversation with him went on for about 20-25 minutes. As soon as I thought we were done, we thanked him and went our separate ways only to have him come after us again for a fact that he forgot to mention before. I thought that was pretty funny.

We did about five interviews at the National Gallery. The next set of interviews we conducted were right by the Corcoran. We stopped in front of the Renwick and interviewed two seperate people. The first interview Farolyn has already blogged about--the two women sitting on a bench. I was really surprised by the "fiesty woman's" personality. She was so outgoing and telling us--complete strangers--all about her life and poetry. She even got pretty smart with us and bossed me around at one point! She told me to stand in front of her (I was standing off to the side. My feet were starting to swell and I was getting tired. lol.) We spent another 20 minutes with these women and they made me laugh. I could tell that they had been friends for quite some time cause all they did was laugh with each other. They were very comfortable with each other.

The last interview that took me by surprise was an older gentleman who was sitting on a bench across the street from the Renwick. We asked him our standard question and after he responded he went on to tell us about his day...how he lost his wallet, and more information on his background. He asked us information about us and even wanted to see images of Farolyn's work. I believe we spoke with him for about 20-25 minutes.

Morale of the story, I am surprised at how much people are willing to talk. I watch people standing on the corner of streets trying to get people's signatures/money for various organizations and people just ignore them on the street. I thought our interview process would be just as painful, that we would be struggling to get people to talk to us. Infact, it was hard to get people to STOP talking to us. haha. Who knew that art could be such a great starting point to conversations? Or maybe people will just talk when three lovely girls are listening. :)


"Fiesty Women Free At LAST!"

The art in collaboration is the ability to network with others. I have enjoyed working with my group members: Tina and Mandy. Our last adventure was very exciting. We met many fascinating people from jewelry store clerks to art experts. Starting at the jewelry store provided a shelter to make mistakes. Here we learned of a lady who teaches art classes inside of her home. The clerk spoke very highly of her children, one in which took courses at the Corcoran. After speaking with the jewelry store clerk I felt more comfortable with approaching random people outside. Our next stop was the Renwick Gallery. Tina suggested that we approach two ladies peacefully resting on a bench near the steps of the gallery. One lady desired to know about the Frank Gehry project at the Corcoran before participating in our project. She also wanted to know if we were familiar with Dale Chihuly. The other lady was extremely talkative and opinionated. Before we departed she commanded myself, Mandy, and Tina to stand shoulder to shoulder and listen to her Fiesty Woman poem. I recount Tina chanting, "Free at Last! Free at Last!" Last but not least we met a native Washingtonian. He was a very kind gentleman who lost his wallet earlier that day. He did not consider himself an artist but appreciated art work. This man was amazing. He and many others built the Renwick Gallery. These encounters lasted roughly 2o minutes each. Each participant was thrilled to be asked their definition of art. Come to think of it, I wish we were able to document this experience with a video camera.

"Easter Egg Hunt" (Team 2)


Re: Collaboration in Daily Life

These last two weeks have been more collaborative than usual. Our regular babysitter has been sick and my husband and I have done our best to take turns being our son's caregiver while still working and attending school. It has been a real challenge and pushed me to think about a lot of things differently. One of these is my definition of art. I found myself thinking a lot about the two articles we read-specifically the idea of relational aesthetics. Also, about Tina's presentation and the idea that Rirkrit's preparing and sharing food was an act of art. After these last two weeks, I think, I am more open to considering the idea that sharing yourself and the connections you build between human beings are art. Without being conscious of it, I think my definition of art has expanded. All of this may be self-serving because it is definitely nicer to think that I am creating art instead of just picking goldfish up off the floor. However, I think there is a non-selfish component to it. I guess I just feel more open to saying that art can exist in unconventional places and forms. Children are a humbling experience. I guess my newly earned humility makes me realize that there is room for a more expansive definition of art in my daily life.


Attempt # 1

Ok so couple things, 

First I apologize for what I am about to write, I am on medication. . .  'nuff said.
Second, . . . . dangit, I forgot. 

It is interesting that a lot of the people Farolyn asked (see post below) said something about art is an expression of emotions. It can be that, but it can be so much more right ? I think people who aren't educated in the arts don't know the full scope of what art has the potential to be, and often is. ESPECIALLY in collaborative art. 

This makes me want to ask you guys, what is art ?
I think this class has made me change what I defined as art. Or not really, I think I viewed certain things as artistic or as art before but I thought nobody agreed with me so I never said it. But through this class I found out that there are others who think the same way I do, glad to know I am not the only one. 

I was going to write about Mandy and my attempt last week on our project at the National Gallery but since we are presenting the ideas tomorrow in class I guess I will wait till then. 

Cross-Cultural Collaborative, Inc.

Art Junction: A Collaborative Art Space for Teachers and Students is a great site! The site offers links to multi-cultural collaborative art groups, successful group projects and much more. Check it out here.

While perusing the site I found a link to Cross-Cultural Collaborative, Inc. (CCC, Inc.) The non-profit educational organization encourages cultural exchange and understanding. The program promotes multigenerational and multicultural collaborations encouraging participants to find value in different forms of creativity. Artists from different cultures are brought together where they can get to know each other through the language of art. The organization believes that interaction between African and non-African artists enriches the creativity of both groups of people. 

The organization invites artists and scholars from all over the world to collaborate with Ghanians on projects ranging from mosaic walls to documentary films. The CCC, Inc. stated, "Most visitors to Ghana have only a superficial connection with the people. We find that by bringing people to live and work at CCC, Inc. we break down stereotypical thinking. Our participants form lasting friendships and come to appreciate not only other cultures, but their own as well." 

Visiting artists and tourists reside in the Aba House. It is a clay house with a thatched roof. The Aba House is considered a cultural center and guest house. There are 8 guest rooms with private baths. On the first floor there are 4 guest rooms, dining room, kitchen, gallery and several open spaces on the first floor. There are 4 guest rooms, the caretakers and directors rooms as well as studio space on the second floor. There is a ceramic studio in the backyard of the Aba House. Visiting artists and tourists are encouraged to live and work with Ghanians for a period of two weeks. The CCC, Inc. noted, "It is not uncommon to see children, adults, both professional and untrained collaborating with contemporary and traditional craftspeople."  

Check out the website for more information


Hi, Can I Ask You a Question?

(I recently had the opportunity to interview nurses and techs at Doctor's Hospital located in Greenbelt, MD. Below details my quest to help my marvelous group members, Mandy and Tina, on our current project.)

I slowly exited Room 308 A with several sheets of bright white copier paper and a blue felt tip marker. I first approached a bright eyed tech sitting at the nurses station. I introduced myself as a graduate student working on a project for class. I asked the tech to write her definition of art on a sheet of paper. After reading her co-worker's definition, she asked to write again. From this encounter, I gained enough courage to ask the nurse on duty. He scheduled an appointment to meet me later on in the evening when he finished his 'rounds.' Some participants wrote twice while others insisted that I write for them. I must say I was too afraid to ask the doctor on duty. She appeared very stern and unfriendly. I noticed the most common term used to describe art was 'expression.'



So what about trust? If we’re colloaborating with one another, are we counting on each other too? At least in context to our small Collaborative Studio, there’s an expected level of contribution for each person, or is there? This ‘expectation’ may mean more for some people than it does to others, but in either case, I think collaborating is a way of exhibiting trust.
Would we willingly collaborate with someone thought to be incapable of actually achieving the ‘mutual’ goal? What if someone has an ulterior motive, or a plan to subvert the entire collaborative agenda. After all, in a political context, a “Collaborator” has very negative connotations, often referencing a person suspected of betrayal and deception. Yet the ‘open forum environment’ which is the keystone to many large collaborative projects, allows almost anyone to join the effort. That said, I think its contradictory to the very nature of “Collaboration” to exclude certain people from any one project. In a way this invites a certain degree of failure or at least presumes and accepts that there will some who merely ride the coat tails of others but still reap the same reward. Of course this all is based on the perspective of the collaborative project as being Goal orientated and not just a community exchange. In any event though I think we assume that if someone willingly chooses to participate in a collaborative environment, we are trusting that their motivations will be the same as ours. This certainly is not always the case. Leaving the question of what degree of discrimination should we have for our fellow collaborators, and if we discriminate, are we actually even collaborating at all? It may also be important to consider this concept, especially in an educational environment, where grades assigned to each individual, are both directly influenced and also affected by one another.




This is the link for the first half of my presentation. Hope you all enjoy! The second half will involve an activity.


Re: Collaborative Kindergarden

Yesterday, I observed art classes at a bilingual elementary school in Arlington,VA. One of the classes I observed was a kindergarden class who was making large backdrops for the school's Spring Arts Festival. The students were all gathered around two large pieces of paper on the floor and everyone was painting on the paper. It was amazing to see such young students being able to use the materials (paints, brushes, etc.) responsibly and also to work together successfully to produce collective works of art. From a developmental standpoint, even the concept of sharing a tangible physical object, let alone creative space or a creative product, is challenging for young children. There were a couple squeals and protests of "hey, you can't paint on/over my picture" but for the most part they worked together remarkably well. This probably isn't collaboration in the traditional sense. There was no over-arching strategy for creating a cohesive final project and the majority of the students simply worked on their own drawings side by side. However, I thought the idea of students sharing a large piece of paper (in a sense a common creative space) was pretty innovative and something that I would like to use in my future classroom. I saw it as a warm-up for future collaborative activity. If you get used to the idea of sharing paper when you are young then, later, sharing thoughts and ideas to create works of art somehow seems more natural.


Devil's Advocate

Thanks to Tina, we have begun our forum on collaborative art at TheBroth.com. If you want to check it out all you have to do is bookmark - if you want to post a comment you'll have to join thebroth.com.

Let's see what happens.


I got one comment so far to my comment. The person told me I am "barking up the wrong tree", take a look. 


ok so an artist collective is just artists. . . . collecting. whether it be ideas, materials, space, work. but it's not, or I guess rather, doesn't have to be, collaborative art. whereas relational aesthetics is an art where the purpose is to get the viewer, the art piece, and/or the artist(s) to relate to each other and form RELATIONS ! (does that sentence make any sense to anyone other than myself ?). 

let me try this again, relational aesthetics is art where a space or opportunity is created for inter-human relations. 

going back to Sarah's post below, I agree, many things in my life fit the description of relational aesthetics. but I had never knew of the term before this class. I always, to myself, did consider it an art to sit and converse at a table over a meal with someone. However, I thought that was just me and I was crazy so I kept it to myself. 



TheBroth.com is a collaborative approach to digital manipulation and creation software like Paint (on most Microsoft Windows software) and Photoshop. Participants are able to create, collaborate, play, chat, make friends, blog, exhibit, rate, and discuss artworks. Members of the Broth can open up their own collaborative live art room, take snapshots and exhibit them in the public gallery, then rate and discuss other artworks in the gallery. Members can also create a personal profile, manage friends and stats, add avatars, earn awards and write in a blog.

"I love Mosaic so much, but I didn't expect seeing it as an online multiplayer game ! TheBroth.com is a massively multiplayer, live internet application that connects people around the globe beyond language and age boundaries. Participate and influence an unpredictable and ever-changing global playground. From live art to a novel social experiment - TheBroth is what you make it!" (quote from a member of theBroth.com)

"The game is so much fun, after entering the mosaic you can already start moving the tiles with other players online and create original artworks. You can register to take snapshot of the mosaic created, there is already many examples in the gallery. If you liked a design you can also buy it on tshirts from cafepress, and maybe in the future you can buy the mosaic itself as a package to assemble at home." (quote from a member of theBroth.com)

Examples of collaborative artworks are listed below:

*Artwork 31810 (95 players)

Artwork 23440 (9 players)

Artwork 19774 (4 players)

Artwork 7605 (4 players)

Artwork 13979 (4 players)

*Artwork 23660 (3 players)

*Artwork 23183 (3 players)

*Arwork 27370 (3 players)

*Artwork 29844 (3 players)

Artwork 24564 (3 players)

Artwork 20427 (2 players)

*Artwork 20083 (2 players)

Artwork 22422 (2 players)

Examples of 1 player artworks are listed below:

Artwork 20696

Artwork 26424

Artwork 22757

Artwork 20516

Artwork 22314

Artwork 22216

Artwork 23803

*Artwork 27305

*Artwork 26800

*Artwork 26989

*Artwork 1102

For more information click here.


As I understand it, relational aesthetics seeks to create art that captures or produces relationships between people. Nicolas Bourriaud defines relational aesthetics as "an attempt to create relationships between people over and above institutionalized relational forms." I see this as attempting to break down the traditional roles of artist and viewer. For example in Tina's presentation, it seems clear that Rirkrit needs the viewer to partake of his meal; interacting with him, the food, the environment, etc. to realize the substance and goal of his project. This is where it gets tricky for me. So many things and people in my life fit this description. Are they all artists? If so, what is the implication of that? Is every act of caring and connection to another human a work of art? What are the standards we use to judge inter-human connection and are there critics that can specialize in determining this? If everyone who connects or creates connections is an artist, what implication does this have for the people who define themselves as professional artists?
Artists' collectives, in contrast to relational aesthetics, seem focused on the process. They are basically groups of artists working together to create art. The art that is created does not necessarily have to be collaborative even if the process of its conception is. An artists' collective could work on a painting, sculpture, or some other object-based work. They could also choose to work on something more conceptual and/or collaborative. They could choose to make a piece that is judged a success using relational aesthetics.


I love how art is changing, and being redefined always, and as a reaction of the times. This past Wednesday, in another class, someone brought it up that "art is the most important thing but also the most invisible thing" in our lives. And I think I agree. 

I've always been a part of the school of thought that you can't really get away from art. It's a part of everything but I'm not sure if that idea occurs to most people. Its in the clothes we wear, the desks we sit in at school, the cars we drive, the streets we walk on, the computer we type on, and the sink we wash our hands in. All of these things, all of everything, someone had to design, put some thought and creativity into it. Whether it is bad of good design is another matter but still it is design, it is a part of art. 

Before this class I had never really thought about collaborative art, was never really exposed to it much and never really was interested enough to learn. I liked my art, I like to create what I wanted to create and I wanted it to be mine and only mine. But my thoughts are changing. And I learn more and more that collaborative art can be very useful in the classroom with kids but also as adults. I think you have some real potential for things you can't usually get alone. It's cool to participate in it and see how things turn out. Collaborative art, to me, seems to be a lot about our reactions to things, playing off each other, whether its a group of artists, an artist and his audience, the artist and the environment or the times. 

Personally I feel as if I am at a bit of disadvantage cause I was never taught much about contemporary art. I only did indepth study up to postmodernism. And I never did much study of collaborative art but I am glad that I am taking this class. It makes me think, it is helping to redefine what I think f as art and be more open to possibilities. 

Collaborative Learning

Keith Haring

Collaborative Learning- "the grouping and pairing of learners for the purpose of achieving a learning goal."

Four Collaborative Learning Strategies include:
  1. Think-Pair-Share- The teacher poses a question demanding an analysis, evaluation, or synthesis of a subject. The students are given approximately one minute to respond to the question. After brainstorming, the students share their responses with a partner. During a follow-up discussion, the students share responses with a larger group of 4 or more students. Students learn by reflection and verbalization.
  2. Three-Step Interview- Considered a team-building exercise, this strategy can be used to share information about a hypothesis or reactions to a movie or article. First, two students interview each other. Next, the two students join a pair of students to discuss information or insights gathered from the interviews.
  3. Simple Jigsaw- The teacher divides a project or topic into four parts with all students from each Learning Team volunteering to become "experts" of one part. The "expert" teams work together to master a fourth of the material and to discover how to teach someone else the material. All experts reassemble into their original learning teams and teach their group members. For example, a class of 20 students divided into 5 Learning Teams volunteer to research one of four artist from the Surrealist movement. In one Learning Team (a group of 4 students); one student studies Paul Eluard, another student studies Andre Breton, another student studies Salvador Dali, and another student studies Rene Magritte. These students will join other students in the class who share the same artist (Expert Team). After becoming experts, each student returns to their base learning team to discuss their findings.
  4. Numbered Heads Together- A Learning Team of 4 students counts off: 1, 2, 3, or 4. The teacher poses a question (sometimes factual) that requires "higher order thinking skills." Students discuss the question making sure each Learning Team member has agreed upon the same answer. The teacher calls a number, from 1 to 4 and the team member designated that number in the beginning of the activity acts as the spokesperson for the whole team. Since no one knows what number the teacher will call, each student is usually invested in finding the right answer. All students are actively involved in the project. With this project, is it best to let students pick and choose their group members?
Intended Learning Objectives (ILOs) and Optimal Learning Methods-
The benefits of individual, competitive and collaborative efforts are as follows:
  • Individual- Acquire specific knowledge in a field and develop simple skills such as spelling.
  • Competitive- Develop knowledge that requires a lot of practice (competitive sport such as basketball or swimming), apply and share knowledge or principles.
  • Collaborative- Understanding difficult concepts, problem-solving, enhance creativity, value diversity, manage prejudices, understanding different perspectives, develop positive attitude towards learning, and positive self- esteem.
44 benefits of Collaborative Learning (I will mention a few that stand out to me. Feel free to check out the link):
  • Promotes student-faculty interaction and familiarity
  • Increases student retention
  • Enhances student satisfaction with the learning experience
  • Promotes positive race relations
  • Creates an environment of active, involved, exploratory learning
  • Builds more positive heterogeneous relationships
  • Creates a stronger social support system
  • Classroom anxiety is significantly reduced
  • Promotes higher achievement and class attendance
  • Increases leadership skills of females (Interesting?!)
  • Students are taught how to criticize ideas not people
Tips for designing group work:
  1. Make the group work relevant.
  2. Create group tasks that require interdependence.
  3. Create assignments that fit the students' skills and abilities.
  4. Assign group tasks that allow for a fair division of labor.
  5. Set up "competitions" among groups. (awarding prizes for best aesthetics or most efficient structure)
  6. Consider offering group test taking.
Evaluating group work:

  1. Give students an opportunity to assess peer performance. Ask students to complete a brief evaluation on the effectiveness of the group and each member of the group.
  2. Decide how to grade members of the group. If each group member will receive the same score then the grade should not be considered significant. Some argue that grading students individually leads to competition within the group and ruins potential benefits of group work.
  3. Ensure individual student performance by randomly calling on a group member to present their groups progress.

Dealing with the "I hate working in GROUPS!" attitude:

  1. Let students know at the beginning of the term that you will be implementing group work.
  2. Encourage students to stick with a group even if it is not working. This will help them become effective team members.
  3. Explain your rationale for group work.
  4. Design well-structured meaningful tasks
  5. Give students clear directions.
  6. Set strong expectations for how team members are to contribute and interact.
  7. Invite students to try working in a group.
  8. Informally check in with groups to see how everything is going.
  9. Offer assistance as needed.
  10. Provide time for groups to assess themselves.

Collaborative Learning Video
  1. KS2 located in London, England explores poverty and education. Teacher offers helpful tips when dealing with aggressive students in a group.
  2. One of four Collaborative Learning strategies, the Jigsaw technique is successfully implemented at a elementary school. Longer Version (14 minutes). Shorter Version (3 minutes).
  3. Message for teachers from Murdoch University, Austrailia on facilitating Collaborative Learning.
  4. A student attending Alternative Community School in Ithaca, New York describes the positive impact of group work.


Relational Aesthetics and Rirkrit Tiravanija

Relational Aesthetics was a term first defined by Nicolas Bourriaud in 1996 as "a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent or private space". Art is judged on inter human relations which they represent, produce, or prompt. The term was first used in a piece of writing Bourriaud did for an exhibition called Traffic which was curated by him in CAPC musee d'Art contemporain de Bordeaux (CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux). Rirkrit Tiravanija was in this exhibition and Bourriaud would continue to mention him in his conversations on Relational Aesthetics.

Bourriaud says "the rold of artworks is no longer to form imaginary and utopian realities, but to actually be ways of living and models of action within the
existing real, whatever scale chosen by the artist". In Relational Aesthetics the audience is regarded as a community, instead of art being an experience between viewer and object it becomes a shared encounter and through collective expereience there is a significance that contrasts with an individual viewer and a work of art being viewed.

The University of New Mexico College of Fine Arts links its fine arts program with the ideas of Relational Aesthetics.

Rirkrit Tiravanija was born in 1961 in Buenos Aires from a Thai background and son of a diplomat. He was raised in Thailand, Ethiopia, and Canada and educated in Chicago and New York. Currently he divides his time between New York, Berlin, and Bangkok. Needless to say he has a rich and culturally diverse background and he has used his varied cultural interactions from living around the world into his own art practice and has done so very successfully. He is regarded as one of the forerunners of Relational Aesthetics. Currently he is part of the campaign where Gap and the Whitney Museum have partnered to support arts in education by producing Limited Edition T-Shirts by 13 influential contemporary artists.

From what I understand what Tiravanija seeks to do is to create spaces and opportunities, usually in a gallery or museum space, where people can come together and ta
ke part in conversing with each other and people they have never met. Often, but not always, this involves a meal which Tiravanija himself prepares and serves.

I thought Tiravanija put it best when he spoke about his intentions concerning his art at Walker
Art Center:
"The situation is not about looking at art. It is about being in the space, participating in the
activity. The nature of the visit has shifted to emphasize on the gallery as a space for social
interaction. The transfer of such activities as cooking, eating, or sleeping into the realm of the
exhibition space put visitors into very intimate if unexpected contact; the displacement creates
an acute awareness of the notion of public and private, the installations function like scientific
experiments: the displacement becomes a tool and exposes the way scientific thought processes
are constructed. The visitor becomes a participant in that experiment."
-Rirkrit Tiravanaji

Tiravanija doesn't actually produce anything that has a monetary value. He creates a space and
tries to do so in a way that breaks away from the traditional constraints of the art world where
monetary value is often part of a goal. So his art is often consumed but nobody owns it. However
there are times when collectors are purchasing the pots and pans that he used, even leftovers.
Tiravanija has orange cots that he often sleeps on apparently IN the museum or gallery where he
is exhibiting and these cots have been sold and are installed in some museum now.

Anyways setting up a makeshift kitchen or restaurant in a gallery or museum can provide for some
interesting questions or situations. Since anyone can go into these museums and galleries Tiravanija
poses some questions by choosing to set up shop in these spaces.

Yield to Collective Action!!!

Magdalena Abakanowicz, Abakan Red (1969)

"Students in art classes today are most often engaged with working on projects alone. Why do so many teachers resist collaboration? Is it solely the organizational challenges? We’re certainly aware of the benefits it offers to both students and ourselves. How can we overcome the fear of planning collaborative work to more realistically reflect contemporary practice?" (It Takes Two....or Two Hundred by Joe Fusaro)

In the 21st century, one must consider the lack of dedicated teachers, funding to hire more teachers, large class sizes and fear. Many educators are afraid to try "collective" techniques in the classroom. Collaboration is the purest form of art. Students are given an opportunity to explore, observe, learn and create work as a team. As I mentioned before, team building skills are essential to the job market today. Art is such a diverse and flexible medium. I am often shocked when I hear stories about art teachers who refuse to introduce 'group' assignments to the class. Group activities seem to relax the jagged divide between the student labeled 'the artist' and the student that constantly shouts "I HATE ART!" Students are able to bring their own level of expertise to the drawing board. One student may have strong hand-building or drawing skills while another student may have a solid knowledge of color theory.

Research is key when implementing collaborative lessons in the classroom. It is beneficial to the educator as well as the student to bounce ideas around and seek guidance from working artists. I am currently studying the graffiti movement. Before the analysis began, I assumed graffiti was a one person show. Recently, I discovered that graffiti artists collaborate with each other when 'tagging' or 'bombing'. Come to think of it a museum collaborates with the artist, art dealer, local organization and visitor. Teachers need to be proactive, and imaginative in their approach to design lessons that incorporate collective work.

"On my way home that evening, I started thinking about the number of artists in Season 4 alone that rely on other people to make their work ready for public viewing and/or consumption. The total number? Fifteen out of the seventeen, at least, rely on others to bring their work full circle into the gallery, museum, or exhibition space.I mention this fact because it came up in discussion more than once over the past week that the days of artists working alone in a studio, tortured with their ideas and feverishly slaving over canvas, are slowly coming to an end. Artists are collaborating more and more, and using teams to realize ideas that would be impossible to complete on their own." (Joe Fusaro "It Takes Two....or Two Hundred" Art 21 website)

Re: Different Strokes

It was really interesting to hear Mandy and Tina's different reactions to the character of Annlee and I am glad both of you wrote more on your blogs. Thinking about your conversation last Friday, I had one of those "ah, ha" moments. It occurred to me that regardless of what anyone considers the traditional, visual, artistic merit of the piece, for me, there was real art in your discussion of it.
I realize this might sounds a little flaky and the fact that you could both look at the same thing and have different reactions to it isn't that remarkable. However, the way you were able to articulate your thoughts and feelings so that others, who didn't necessarily share them, could understand and empathise is something that seems to me to be a rare, sought-after quality that could be considered art. If I understand correctly, the idea of "relational aesthetics" seems to be about creating relationships. If this piece can evoke feelings, give you fuel for talking about them and ultimately create some kind of understanding  that seems like it should qualify as art.