I was just discussing the concept of collaboration in current art culture with my running buddy. The conversation started when I described the good lecture presented by coordinator, curator, & theorist Nato Thompson last night at MIT. Afterwards, a group of us attendees went for drinks to continue the discourse of the night. While sitting on a local bar’s tuffet, I overheard a conversation stating the transition from a triangular art concept (artist, art theorist/ critic, art historian) to today’s rising standard of art concept autonomy in which artists are self publishing both theory and history, theorists are writing history, and historians are trying their hands more at art creation.
While listening in to that conversation, some associations came to mind:
1) That kind of autonomy is good because it encourages a level of intellectual engagement in the greater art world from individual artists.
2) That kind of autonomy can be dangerous because, instead of bunking down and really developing an idea in focused isolation, the creative time is divided among more attention-requiring tasks.
Which is how we get to collaboration. When the artists et.al. form teams and collaborate, than it is more possible to develop a strong idea while still participating in an autonomous process of presented object, idea, and context. Ideally that process of participation enriches the work and progress is made.
Another benefit to what I think is the modern concept of collaboration is that the name who produces the work is becoming less egotistical thus creating a team out of a hopefully less-aggressively hierarchal assistant structure.
So my buddy, a software programmer, pointed out that programmers are trained early and often in utilizing team structures to accomplish a greater goal. Less ego, more output. Each programmer has a skill set, and each knows that much less can be achieved alone than can be achieved collaboratively. I wonder whether this is ever taught in art programs. I wonder how that idea could work for artists. I wonder if other programmers have had similar positive experiences.