Collaboration

I’ve been thinking and writing a lot (for my PhD) recently about collaboration, about the radical potential of collective work and the way in which it can critique and disrupt notions of the individual subject, of authorship, and of the majoritarian (phallogocentric) position that art privileges.

Public Love Project London, photograph copyright Izzo and Hurley
Public Love Project London, photograph copyright Izzo and Hurley

I first detected a shift towards collective/collaborative working in performance art last year. I can’t say what it was, there was just something in theair that smelt slightly different to the narcissistic practice of the individual artist (and I don’t use the term “narcissistic” entirely negatively, but follow Amelia Jones in her argument for “radical narcissism”, which “interconnects the internal and external self as well as the self and the other” (1998: 46)). I would argue that as much as “radically narcisstic” practices do have (or have had) similarly disruptive potential to critical collaboration, the dominance of the art world by money and ego in recent years has filtered through to the live art / performance art world in a way which has rendered much of this kind of resistance invisible. I write this tentatively, on the eve of a new durational work, and with plans for two further collaborations cooking away at the back of my mind…

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