Monday, November 12, 2007

collaborations

i've been thinking a lot lately on the nature of collaborations. i have a project right now where i ask people to help me with making a portrait of themselves. or i actually whittle the portrait of them out of wood and they help me make the setting for it. i began by asking them to collaborate with me but now i'm having issues with using that word since the pieces are my idea and are for a show i will be formatting. it is tough for anyone to measure the level of personal investment given by another person so the only thing i have to go on is if they seem willing or excited. so now i just ask them for their help on the project. i think i'm okay with this. in return for them helping, they get to keep the final object.
the whole issue i'm having is just with how to word things. approaching people with a project like this is hard. i want to genuinely cooperate on something and not have there be any undertones of exploitation. i wonder if that is even possible.

3 comments:

cyruswsmith said...

from my own experiences, i wouldsuggest that you make sure that everyone involved understands their role in the collaboration. Almost every problem I've had with collaborative projects stemmed from this core issue.

when it is clear, then there is no room for exploitation. The collaborator then is either acting as subject, assistant, co-artist, or whatever role is decided on.

to be clear though, be clear. I have bruised many egos, and upset several friends and strangers with a lack of clarity in collaboration.

Katy Asher said...

I'd agree with Cyrus. From my experiences, it helps to communicate about what each person hopes to get out of the project, and to keep communicating about it as the project progresses.
Sometimes when this type of project is new to people, they don't know what they want at the beginning. As time passes and if the project gets more exciting, people put more effort in, have a larger stake in the project, and then their feelings about their role in the outcome changes. Maybe they start as a subject, then feel more like an assitant, and then they really want to be considered the co-artist.

I guess I'm just saying - yes to clarity, and yes to ongoing check-ins.

Katy Asher said...

I'd agree with Cyrus. From my experiences, it helps to communicate about what each person hopes to get out of the project, and to keep communicating about it as the project progresses.
Sometimes when this type of project is new to people, they don't know what they want at the beginning. As time passes and if the project gets more exciting, people put more effort in, have a larger stake in the project, and then their feelings about their role in the outcome changes. Maybe they start as a subject, then feel more like an assitant, and then they really want to be considered the co-artist.

I guess I'm just saying - yes to clarity, and yes to ongoing check-ins.