Academic Session 18: UEA 2015

41st Annual Conference & Bookfair
Sainsbury Institute for Art, UEA, Norwich
9 – 11 April 2015

Mediating Collaboration: The politics of working together

Session Convenors:

Amy Tobin, University of York,
Harry Weeks, University of Edinburgh,
Catherine Spencer, University of St Andrews,

The term collaboration has suffered from its diverse uses in artistic contexts. It has encompassed a variety of practices and theoretical methodologies from ‘democratising’ artist–non-artist approaches, formalised artist–artist partnerships and activist, pedagogic or social projects. Additionally, recent digital technologies have transformed the possibilities as well as the spatial and temporal dynamics of collaboration. Recent work on these new technologies as well as nuanced readings of older art histories have begun to complicate solo artist narratives and to think in complex ways about the stakes of collaboration and its material consequences.

This session focuses on collaborations mediated by communication channels and technologies. The speakers complicate assumptions that collaboration foregrounds immediacy, presence and duration to consider the politics of working together. How might feminist, queer and post-colonial perspectives on space and time inform understandings of the media involved in collaboration? How have communication channels from television and the radio through to mail networks and the internet impacted on the relations or relationships constituted through artistic collaboration?

The papers in this session consider these questions from a variety of perspectives, encompassing video art, web-based technologies, interdisciplinary collaborations and social art practice. Together they map out moments in the complex histories of collaboration and its media that embrace their recursive, retrogressive and heterogeneous potentialities.

James Boaden
(University of York) Mutual Exchange? Videotapes by Robert Morris and Lynda Benglis

Sarah Lowndes (Glasgow School of Art) The Handshake and the Interface: The Glasgow Art scene since 1990

Xiaorui Zhu (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) and Emily Cruz Nowell (Northwestern University) Living Amongst Each Other: Artist collective efforts in China, 1993–2014

John R. Blakinger (Stanford University) Military-Industrial-Aesthetic Complex: Art and science at Gyorgy Kepes’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies

Fiona Anderson (University of Edinburgh) We Were (Not) Here: AIDS activism and the queer temporality of collective action

Lucy Bradnock (University of Nottingham) Hijackers, Riots, and Sitcoms: Mediated collaboration in feminist video art

Ian Rothwell
(University of Edinburgh) Super-Enthusiastically Working Together: Internet memes and collaborative activity on 4Chan

Yet Chor Sunshine Wong (University of Wolverhampton) Immediate Needs and Hyperactive Feeds: The struggles of location