Martin Schmidle, drawing made during the Taking the Matter into Common Hands symposium, iaspis, 2005. [enlarge]

Martin Schmidle, drawing made during the Taking the Matter into Common Hands symposium, iaspis, 2005.

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REVIEW

Taking the Matter into Common Hands

Black Dog Publishing
Edited by Johanna Billing, Maria Lind and Lars Nilsson

Reviewed by: Mona Casey »

Taking the matter into common hands originated from a two-part symposium of the same name organised by Maria Lind of Iaspis in conjunction with Johanna Billing and Lars Nilsson in Stockholm in 2005. The subsequent publication is a collection of essays contributed by collaborative practitioners from a predominantly European background, thought there are also texts from such projects as the Tehran-based Shahrzad Art and Design Collective and 16Beaver, a network of artists, curators, writers, thinkers and activists in New York. It is worth pointing out that the editors clearly state that this is an anthology “that measures the pulse of collaboration within contemporary art. It is neither a survey nor a comprehensive catalogue but a subjective approach”.

The choice of contributors represent a broad range of organisational types and interests, with each commenting on their structure, working conditions, decision-making processes and their ideological focus or non-focus, (whilst talking first hand of their experiences in relation to a particular project or projects).

What, How and for Whom, a curatorial collective based in Zagreb, are interested in how independent cultural organisations collaborate and how these economic organisations produce and distribute goods, with what technologies and to whom. Tirdad Zolghadr talks candidly about the formation of Shahrzad and the issues around working relationships and friendships within the collective, as well as discussing their politically motivated projects dealing with such issues as censorship and oil. B&B, the London based curatorial partnership explore how play can become a key contributor in the generation of change within the regeneration of an area. The publication also introduces essays such as ‘The Collaborative Turn’ by Lind, which focuses on contextualising collaborative art practice, and ‘Four Notes’ from Ayreen, co-founder of 16Beaver, who negotiates the terminology and concepts of collaboration, cooperation, collective, etc.

Taking the matter into common hands does not by any means offer a utopian or conclusive notion of how we form or work together, but instead presents us with interesting models and options, which are relevant to collaborative practices today.

www.blackdogonline.com

Go to Subscriber prizes to win a copy of Taking the matter into common hands

Writer detail:
Mona Casey is an artist living and working in Birmingham who works both individually and collaboratively and is co-founder of COLONY an artist's run space. She is interested in writing about all art forms and has a particular interest in 'curatorial agendas' and ideas of 'truth' in photographic and digital media.

monacasey@another.com| www.colonygallery.co.uk

Venue detail:
Black Dog Publishing »
10A Acton Street, London WC1X 9NG

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