Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Why work together collaboratively rather than make single works?

Are your individual roles in the project different?

What is the significance of the table top images y'all (mostly) have posted?

... just getting on with the essay...


  1. Well, I think for me, working together was one of the first things that I thought about when you initially approached me about this project. As we all know (and like) each other quite a bit, there was something exciting for me on a personal and practice level about what we might generate as a group. Like combining all your favourite cooking ingredients for the first time. When I got your initial email, one of my biggest questions in terms of the project, was how I wanted to (or could) speak about lesbian-ness (loch-ness) through my work. I saw the most relevance hovering in the middle of my work and my friends, so working for this project with part of that community had the potential to tease a more direct approach out of my work, and also cement in a visual way something that I felt was being articulated and shared within our relationships to each other.

    In terms of our roles... I am not sure. The ever amazing Clare Noonan has been wearing the technical hat now and then, Rachel has been writing some magical stuff and Liz knows some mean acronyms, but I think the main differences in terms of this project are probably in our approaches. I mean this very broadly to include the way we speak, write, gesture, appropriate ideas, make work, think about public space.... but the differences work together and perhaps also pose unexpected questions to us. So, yes and no and perhaps not so easy to define?

    If I remember correctly, the table top thing came up in a Skype meeting/effing dykes fan-club session in terms of thinking about what we thought was exciting about the blog. Not so super interested in the template nature of a blog, we talked about the way that effing dykes creates a series of windows into appropriates images that are then juxtaposed with each other and text. So, I think we thought a table top, with its assorted ephemeral depot of contents, could provide for a similar window/juxtaposing/contrast/medley kind of a space. We proposed taking the images also as a assignment, a way to generate some surprises or new directions through making. Have I got that right??

    Looking forward to seeing the essay, and I am happy to reply to any more questions or ideas if it would be helpful for you!

  2. Why work together collaboratively rather than make single works?

    The existing respect/familiarity/friendship I share with my fellow collaborators - and from this point the desire and irrepressible curiosity to realize a work that undulates, opens anywhere and says something right there and then, maybe like a book that you're walking through while cursing and poeticizing, and that blows out of the water what I might expect to realize out of a collaboration based on existing respect/familiarity/friendship - very much in line with what Marnie just said.

    Are your individual roles in the project different?

    Roles as skills endear respect, roles as bristling humanity via process equals art potential, valid speaking positions on female same-sex experience, and effing profound and laugh-out-loud scope of public/private address.

    What is the significance of the table top images y'all (mostly) have posted?

    Exploring the cunning stunt of signaling at a sense of 'elsewhere', especially via the everyday/table-top and how this elsewhere confounds and articulates contemporary and homosexuality.

  3. (Why work together collaboratively rather than make single works?)

    Indeed I agree with the excitement and reasons Marnie and Rachel speak of for working collaboratively. Throughout the development of the project, I think we've been aware of juggling our individual artistic voices and positions within the addressing the larger context of contemporary lesbian culture. I'm personally excited by visibility and strength in the gesture of presenting work collectively within the very public proposition of the light-boxes and an accountability to the wider GLBT project context, that the group critique and editing process has the potential to develop. I’m most excited by the collective subjectivity that it allows to delineate labels and platform complexities of GLBT, specifically lesbian, identity within the work. ...definitely a situation where the subjective and idiosyncratic positions and articulation as a group as greater than the sum of its parts! In this respect, the blog format has provided an important platform for this critique and editing process – holding, cross pollinating, generating and weeding out a wide range of personal responses, influences, references, images and ideas.

    (What is the significance of the table top images y'all (mostly) have posted?)

    Within the development via the blog format, I think the table-top images can be seen as a step towards broaching a gap between a conversational process (of our skypes and blog,) and something more tangible. I’d like to add to Marnie’s comment by suggesting that the instruction to photograph our desk-tops was a start point in dealing with the wealth of material, references, influences collecting within this conversational process. The instructional format to provide a useful format providing a homogenized start point, to produce individual results, collectively. After a couple of skype calls and about a month of blogging it ways like a literal visual inroad to what might be informing our individual practices and founding responses to this project. I think Liz’s desk image in particular illustrates an invitation into a potentially private space, which for me resonates with the risk that might be involved in presenting a personal or subjective response to contemporary lesbian identity – not to mention she’s standing on the edge of her table!

  4. (What’s the significance of the stage sets you've been doing?)

    Similarly, the blank white stage sets were platforms a way to deal with this information. In an audio Marnie posted (http://lifeinlightboxes.blogspot.com/2010/10/douglas-crimp.html), art critic Douglas Crimp (once editor of ‘October’ magazine) collapses via personal account, the otherwise separate realms of contemporary dance, art and the gay scene of 1970’s New York by articulating his subjective position visceral participation within it. He starts the audio describing his new loft apartment in 1974 where he mentions using “a stage-like platform about ten feet square standing two feet above the floor” (left from the previous tenant, stage designer Robert Israel) to spatially demarcate his bedroom, reflexively remarking: “I didn’t pay undue attention to the symbolism of bedroom as whitely-lit stage. But I guess it was apt for that moment of my life”. Crimp’s observation of ‘bedroom as whitely-lit stage’ concisely articulates this collapse between art and gay scene. For me, this phrase echoed not only a similar collapse, but exposure located in our desire for this light box project to present multiple individual and subjective voices about same-sex experience – publically.

    Along with keying in into Crimp’s audio, the stages are part of early discussions of how to activate a subject/object relationship to the spatial parameters of the light boxes which bordered on flat display cases. (See ‘Squaring the Circle’ and ‘Veils’ posts from September: http://lifeinlightboxes.blogspot.com/2010/08/squaring-circle-or-unusual-uses-for.html; http://lifeinlightboxes.blogspot.com/2010/09/veils.html)
    I originally envisaged the blank faces to present image-based references to artistic, feminist, popular culture references which seemed significant to me within a discussion about female same-sex relationships, community and identity. The varying images on appearing on the blog are tests of how the faces of the stage set might support images – these options positioning the reading of them in quite different ways. For example, the most recent test made up of images on all faces, really push the idea of the stage sets staging images to saturation point (see http://lifeinlightboxes.blogspot.com/2010/11/invisible-communities.html)