October 30, 2008

My Art

In all truth fullness I love my COLA class. When I first decided to take this class I thought it wouldn’t be that great and I wondered what could I possible learn about art for three hours. I have never been an artistic person and in most of my art class I have not done well in them. Being in this art class has really changed my entire impression of art and how it relates to me. This COLA course allows me to express myself and to learn what I am able to do when I start using the right side of my brain, also known as the artistic side. I think this Collaborative Arts course is about expanding ones mind past traditional thinking about art and allows the student to just explore what they feel and want from art as a whole.
The activities we have done caused me to grasp the idea of what collaborative arts is all about. The activities I enjoyed the most were: the bridge walk, the museums visit, and the gesture videos that we posted online. The bridge walk experience at first to me seem like a rather strange idea, but I walked across the bridge I realized the impact it had one me. The walk allowed me to think and sort of meditate on life and things moving around in the space surrounding. My favorite activity of all was the museum visit; it really allowed me to express myself. The piece that I choose truly spoke to me, it made me feel like I was the only person in the museum and that I could do whatever wanted because the art was mine.
An activity that we have done that wasn’t my particular favorite was the ritual experiment. I didn’t receive anything from the activity, In all I really do enjoy this class and what its doing for me in my life.

Cornering the Collaboratory

I would describe our Art of Collaboration class as an exercise of democracy in action. While I think “democratic? is the best adjective, it would be shamefully inappropriate to assume collaboration means “voting on a means to an end?.
Folks may choose to stick the label of collaboration onto any form of art where people have agreed to some mode of creating a product, whether this be choosing someone to “be in charge? or dividing tasks, but this seems inaccurate. In such projects, there is an important distinction between those isolated moments of collective decision-making that can be described as “collaborative? or democratic, and the vast majority of time and process that models some input-output mechanic. Real collaboration is an unpredictable stream of action, where all agents attempt to participate in and consense on the next moment of action. It requires the sort of on-going, complex communication that intuitive gesture best delivers. This form of honest collaboration is difficult to observe or quantify, because the requirements of constant, informal participation and consensus are practically impossible to “measure?. The only thing approaching proof is personally feeling the honest experience, sensing your own participation as well as the collective input.
By this description, our class’s most successful project was the shadowbox showing. In the small group I participated in, there was a clear sensation that everyone’s input was valid and valuable, that there was no chosen or assumed decider, and we were really all making it from moment to moment. This theme seemed to extend to the class, evident by the amazing finished products and the universal confessions that nobody had a clue what was going on.
In comparison, our least collaborative effort was probably walking across the Washington Avenue Bridge. As the twenty or so of us made our way over, less than five people seemed to feel comfortable suggesting a course of action. As we were about to start our half-hour trek, there was a clear air of confusion and dissatisfaction in the group. Some went and did their own things, others more or less cooperated with the plan to stay slow, silent, and spread out the whole time. Since we had “decided? what to do, any deviance from this plan for the next thirty minutes felt a little uncooperative or just uncommitted, certainly not spontaneously collaborative.

October 28, 2008


Collaboration... Teamwork, effort, support, fun, goals, missions these are all parts of collaborating that i think of when attempting to describe what collaboration means to me. Growing up i was the typical athlete, going from team to team on a mission to reach our goals and do our best, nothing of this type of collaboration would have ever crossed into play for me. Arts wasn't very included in that part of my life. Yet coming here i see that not only are we a team, but we are a group that relies on one another learns together and continues to express how we feel about our emotions,experiences as well as our triumphs or defeats. Although when i thick of such triumphs or defeats its hard to pin point the line in which to walk that truly justifies what is such success or what is failed. In collaboration there is no such thing if something has been learned or experiences or even just attempted. Making food was my favorite. Cooking and just sharing a meal that related so easily to our everyday lives was by far the most rewarding for me. Sharing a meal and time to prepare is no easy task. Although some of our assignments like the dinner were rewarding to me other i found to not be as much like that of the bridge walking. For some reason this whole idea seemed so cold, isolated and just not collaboration. I think that alot of it does depend on our moods and our willingness or eagerness to be involved with these experiences but from what we have done so far i have come along way to realizing that collaboration is not just about a team with certain already pre-set goals but advances in knowledge feeling or expressions that will continually shock and surprise us.

October 25, 2008

Speech time

Karsten Jensen
ARTS 1905
Freshman Seminar
The Art of Collaboration

This course has turned out to be very different than I initially expected; I imagined it would only explore arts in the twin cities area, but it has gone much farther beyond that, and I must admit that I love it. My concept of collaboration before was actually quite limited: I knew to a certain extent what it meant and that it was necessary in music at least, because I had participated in so many ensembles and musical productions that I knew everyone had to work together to accomplish the goal of creating the final piece of music. However, I now realize how important it is in every aspect of life, and even more so in working with those who perhaps do not share your same interests or views. Ignoring, even erasing the sketches of stereotypes is essential to any kind of collaboration, whether the arts are involved or not, and in every aspect of life. Collaboration means breaking down the borders of disrespect or discomfort between individuals and groups – learning to coexist and work with others that we might not normally, to combine your talents with theirs to not only create something more interesting or meaningful, but also to learn from others, and them to learn from you.
I think the class that we all loved and collaborated best together in was when we made dinner at Michael’s Open Eye Figure Theater studio in groups. Each group had to work together in preparation as well as deciding what to cook, assigning roles, and bringing what we each knew to make it a better experience overall. It was feasible to collaborate in this situation, likely because most of us are familiar with cooking with others before. The Banana Ritual, however, was new to us all. Probably most of us partake in rituals every day, whether they are habits or rituals that are religious or part of our own family’s tradition. I think this was the most I have been stretched to be creative collaboratively, but it was very interesting and fun to be crazy, creating a fanciful ritual that was of utmost importance in the moment – at the same time, I realized how silly and even intimidating other rituals in life are, and that makes me want to step out of society’s constraints. I also loved going to MIA, though we worked as individuals there instead of collectively to find. I don’t think anything has failed completely so far, save for the shadow theater boxes, during which my group was the “dysfunctional group? until the last day. I think something changed in our perspectives that day, because we enjoyed working together and had a lot of fun.

Danika's two cents

For me, working with a group of people I find myself connecting with is the beginning of collaboration. When the group no longer needs to ask one another questions and "manners" so to speak are not necessary. Everyone involved gets what's going on and does it. Collaboration can also be a solitary experience though. Just flowing in you actions (often multi-tasking) is collaborative for me. When several aspects of myself are working constructively at the same time (one one thing or a few different things) I get into a really great zone of working with myself. All in all, real and complete creative honesty in every meaning of the words either alone or with others is collaboration.

As far as successful or not so activities, I would say some successes were
-the banana ritual. i didn't think too much of it (aside from being fun) until it was all put together. That was really cool. I'd like to see it!
-the m.i.a. tour. what an awesome way to see a museum and get to know each other. really.
-shadow show. This was a hella cool first activity. there were lots of glitches, but it got everyone thinking and laid a good groundwork.

Didn't do it for me:
-the dinner. I wish this would have been something more than it was. I wanted the meal to be more socially wholesome. And yeah, it was probably table set up. regardless, though.
-the bridge walk. though i didn't walk across the group so maybe i shouldn't be one to talk, i didn't like the idea of having to block other people to do the activity. going on top of the bridge was kickass. i do love the idea of going slowly across the bridge though. that is really nice.