Transmitting the message
Sometimes Keeping up Momentum events develop a momentum of their own. This post describes our experience of working together, with a hope that this will inspire others to do the same.
The four of us (from the Drawing, Creative Arts, Painting and Photography pathways) met in January at Keeping up Momentum – Pushing the Envelope as Team Transmit and enjoyed the experience enough to decide to continue after the workshop.
Inspired by another team’s book of text and image, we decided to create a chain of works, responding to “provocations”. We started the process with a quote from André Derain: “I do not innovate. I transmit” and went from there. Unlike our Pushing the Envelope work, where we worked in turn on the same painting, each participant contributed a unique image and quote responding to their predecessor’s work. During the process we met online briefly fortnightly. The meeting kept us on track and has also become a place to share other work.
Although we set out with a specific goal in mind – a physical book with images and text – it became apparent that this would pose problems for us as a geographically dispersed, online, group, so we moved to fully online with individual curations. Our curations all use the same image set but displayed them in different ways.
Reflecting on the experience, a common theme was an appreciation of working together without the pressure of a deadline or a prescription. We also noted that the sea was starting to evolve as a uniting theme. We all found the individual curations a key learning experience and all believed that the experience would feed into our future work. Other individual thoughts were:
Kevin: This collaboration has worked very well. Ideas have been freely shared and I think it is fair to say that we have managed to integrate quite different approaches to image making and still produce something coherent. Perhaps that is partly due to our individual curations of all the images, which meant that we were not committed to a final product that nobody really wanted.
As someone who can neither draw nor paint I am always somewhat in awe of those who can and the skills of my collaborators gave me inspiration.
Sarah: Without the weight of expectation, I found the whole experience of responding to a quote I hadn’t chosen both inspiring and liberating, albeit I invariably left it to the eleventh hour. It was a great way to get us to think outside the box which should have a knock-on effect on the way we approach our coursework. I was amazed at the range of creative responses we managed to come up with between us.
Rebecca: Being 2 hours from the nearest piece of sea, I longed for a way to incorporate this into my work whilst thinking on the theme of Transmit. So I therefore tried to stay with a natural setting for my curation and found some rather breezy days were upon us. We all love the sea breeze on our faces. If I had been by the sea, I would have liked to use eco-friendly paper to print the work on and then allow them to drift out to sea.
Deborah: I particularly appreciated that we were comfortable with allowing the original goal to evolve. I am fascinated by how the collaborations I have been involved in have been shaped by their participants’ approaches and so each one has brought something new, as well as creating new networks.
We have decided to continue working together and are currently responding to a poem written by one of the group.
For us the group has shown that apart from the immediate benefit of taking part in Keeping Up Momentum events, it can also lead to new connections. You may or may not end up with a masterpiece, but you will be able to experiment and find inspiration from your colleagues. We would thoroughly recommend any reticent would-be collaborators to give it a go, you won’t be disappointed!
The padlet below charts our works and progress plus links to our individual curations which might be considered the finished pieces. It would be interesting to get some views on this from outside the group.
Deborah, Sarah, Rebecca, Kevin