Panel on Collaboration
Sunday, February 5th at 2pm
The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave.
We are excited to invite you to a panel discussion on collaboration with an emphasis on what it means to co-labor in a divided society.
Our Panelists include arts writer Cameron Shaw, artist duo Generic Art Solutions, playwright Barbara Hammond and author/journalist Sebastian Junger. The discussion will be moderated by Front member Cynthia Scott.
Thoughts on Collaboration
"I have worked with a collaborator, Amanda Brinkman, going on six years. Through our creative partnership, I have developed a theory and model of how successful collaborations function, which along with other case studies will form the foundation of a book. In addition to this research, our work together is particularly interested in the implications of elevating collaboration as a working method, especially in the visual arts, where festishization of the lone-wolf artist or genius curator—whose ideas are being executed by an otherwise anonymous and invisible staff—continues to hinder the ability of administrators and institutions to effectively advocate for fair wages and equitable treatment."
"When I knew I couldn't do something by myself, but somehow it got done, I can look back and see I've been in a collaboration whether I knew it or not. Each of our lives is dependent on nearly constant collaboration amongst people who have no idea that that's what's happening."
"Ongoing creative collaboration may be the single most important difference between humans and all other animals. It is the original instance of a sum being greater than its parts. It is the ultimate example of a person transcending him- or herself and accessing the unique vision of another human being. It is as close as any of us are going to get to a universal human consciousness - which of course is the fundamental goal of all the world's religions. If you're not collaborating, you're dead - literally, metaphorically and spiritually. So lets get going..."
Cameron Shaw is a writer, editor, and the Executive Director of Pelican Bomb in New Orleans. Her writing has been widely published including in The New York Times, Art in America, and BOMB Magazine, as well as in books on Chris Ofili, Nick Cave, Tameka Norris, and other artists. Shaw was awarded a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant for Short-Form Writing in 2009 and was selected as a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Writing Fellow in 2015. She has lectured and moderated panels on a range of topics including translating theory to practice, rethinking organizational sustainability, creative publishing strategies, and institutional/community relationship building.
Gereric Art Solutions
Generic Art Solutions is the collaborative efforts of Matt Vis and Tony Campbell. This New Orleans-based art duo utilizes nearly every art medium as they examine the recurring themes of human drama and the (dis)functions of contemporary society. Always rooted in the performative, they play every character in their work. In their more distilled “duets” we see something of a yin and yang (a balance between individuals that aren’t quite interchangeable), but in their more elaborate stageings the resultant effect is as epic as the subject matter itself. By combining Classical, Romantic, and Baroque compositional elements with contemporary pictorial techniques, they manage to illuminate the common thread that connects past histories with current events. This strategy creates something of a “Déjà Vu effect” that is driven by drama and surreality with traces of levity. In this dialogue between the past and present the viewer realizes several things: 1) that the history of art is inextricably political, 2) that human behavior repeats itself no matter how tragic or brutal, and 3) that this cycle of repetition must be broken so personal and societal progress can be made. Despite all this, their work contains a glimmer of hope-a hope that through thoughtful examination (and armed with a commitment to change) we can indeed forge a better future.
Their “Video Portraits” (Caesar and Caligula, Power and Shame, Tin Soldiers) are certainly no less poignant, if less visually complex. Shot in black and white and viewed in pairs, the near-identical figures (again, played by Vis and Campbell) resemble “living human sculpture” struggling to keep their composure. The nearly motionless figures portray disciplined characters as they accept their fate before our very eyes. Consequently, these looped real-time observations provide the viewer a feeling of control as they stand in silent critique of society’s power figures and their eventual corruption.
Their public performances certainly contain their most humorous and irreverent commentary on the function of art and contemporary life itself. More absurd than comical, their performances engage the audience by playing carefully developed roles with a specific task at hand. Their best-known and longest-running performance is the “International Art Police”, or the “Art Cops”. Beginning in 2000, they have outfitted themselves in authentic police uniforms (complete with badges, police cruiser, and special ticket books) and have taken to the streets with the mission of “Safeguarding Art Communities Worldwide”. Dubbed a “Public Service Performance”, they patrol art galleries, museums, and events looking for suspicious art activities. They maintain professionalism with respect to their self-imposed duty, and issue a “Notice of Violation” only when both officers are in agreement. The list of infractions indicates that they don’t take themselves too seriously: “Too Art School”, “Formulaic”, “Too Trendy”, and “Even I Could Do That”, to name a few. Many artists familiar with their mission even request tickets at their openings, but although all fines are only $45, few artists actually pay. As in the rest of their work, the underlying message reminds us that every action has its consequences whether we address them or not.
Hammond is currently under commission from the Royal Court Theatre. On a recent trip to Essex a boatman took her on a journey seven miles offshore to the world's smallest country, the Principality of Sealand, for research for her latest play, TERRA FIRMA. In October 2017, the Magic Theatre will produce THE EVA TRILOGY.
In August 2017, Theatre Battery will produce WE ARE PUSSY RIOT OR EVERYTHING IS P.R. That play was originally a commission for the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, and in February 2016 had a residency at Duke University followed by a workshop production at Emerson College. Her research took her to the world's biggest country, and its courts, cathedrals and counter-culture. She witnessed one of the last opposition protest rallies in the centre of Moscow at Pushkinskaya Square in September 2014.
She and her plays have won recognition, awards and funding from many national and international sources, including New Dramatists (’18), the National Endowment of the Arts, The Tyrone Guthrie Centre, The Venturous Theater Fund, the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, as well as Emerson College, Duke University, Yale University, the Contemporary American Theatre Festival, The Helen Merrill Foundation, Seven Devils Theatre Conference, the First Irish Theatre Festival, the Edward Albee Foundation, the Tennessee Williams One-Act Play Festival and the Kerouac Project. A member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild, she was named one of the Influential Women of 2011 by the Irish Voice.
Sebastian Junger is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of THE PERFECT STORM, FIRE, A DEATH IN BELMONT, WAR and TRIBE. As an award-winning journalist, a contributing editor to Vanity Fair and a special correspondent at ABC News, he has covered major international news stories around the world, and has received both a National Magazine Award and a Peabody Award. Junger is also a documentary filmmaker whose debut film "Restrepo", a feature-length documentary (co-directed with Tim Hetherington), was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.
"Restrepo," which chronicled the deployment of a platoon of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley, is widely considered to have broken new ground in war reporting. Junger has since produced and directed three additional documentaries about war and its aftermath. "Which Way Is The Front Line From Here?", which premiered on HBO, chronicles the life and career of his friend and colleague, photojournalist Tim Hetherington, who was killed while covering the civil war in Libya in 2011. "Korengal" returns to the subject of combat and tries to answer the eternal question of why young men miss war. "The Last Patrol", which also premiered on HBO, examines the complexities of returning from war by following Junger and three friends--all of whom had experienced combat, either as soldiers or reporters--as they travel up the East Coast railroad lines on foot as "high-speed vagrants."
Junger has also written for magazines including Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Outside and Men's Journal. His reporting on Afghanistan in 2000, profiling Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was assassinated just days before 9/11, became the subject of the National Geographic documentary "Into the Forbidden Zone," and introduced America to the Afghan resistance fighting the Taliban.
He lives in New York City and Cape Cod.