An intensive 2 day symposium at MoKS:
Wednesday August 6th, from 4pm until...
Thursday August 7th, from 11am until...
Unconference sessions with John W Fail and Tanel Rander
Survival is a weighted term often associated with the most challenging aspects of preservation of life as a living organism. Economy is equally weighted with the complexity and extent to which it seems to dominate our lives. And while both terms are essentially linked as fundamental aspects of contemporary reality, we often overlook the significance of connecting the two. Yet, when we think about each more carefully and independent of each other, important questions come to the surface. How often are we really confronted with the biological notion of survival?
How much, and in what way do we really contribute to or engage in an economy? In particular, how do such questions apply to us as artists and creatives, living often at the "fringes" of society, attempting to define our roles on our own terms? Although these are "big" questions, the focus of this symposium is not to provide answers so much as offer a frame in which we can move beyond the myths and modes of survival economics, to investigate constructive methods and approaches to art making and cultural production. In practical terms the symposium will take the form of an open but moderated set of discussions and workshops, based on shared interests and ideas.
Topics to pursue:
- culture as necessity, not luxury
- operating in alternative economies, exchange, gift, commons etc
- importance of informal networks, real vs virtual networks
- learning environments, exchanging knowledge, skills and experience
- collaboration as a creative act
- defining value (particularly non-monetary) in culture (of work,
materials, products etc.)
- add your own...
On the first day we opened with an introduction and sharing round. Besides stating our interests and background, each person elaborated on their personal relation to the topics of survival and economy. In many cases what emerged was stories of personal challenges in balancing the practicalities of surviving in a money based economy (as "survival") and the risks and ethics of seeking out alternative values and methods of exchange.
We then divided into three groups and were asked to discuss and write down what we as artists can offer and what we require for our work and personal satisfaction. This was done under the assumption that our basic needs were met, to freely think beyond survival mode and explore alternatives. In some ways the offerings and requirements were the same, creating a blurry boundary, whereas there also seemed to be reciprocal relationship between the two.
The second day was based on a structure of open sharing, distributed across all the participants. The idea was for each person to offer a 15 minutes 'instant workshop'. The topics and forms were left open. In the end the following 12 workshops were made:
1. Kayt - Public chalk drawing
2. Maria - Exercising awareness and presence
3. Anna - How to make butter and buttermilk
4. Alan - Exploring the 'creative uses' theory
5. John G - 1 string communication
6. Michael - Doubt, objects+stories, ephemera+artifacts
7. Germain - Honing logs, traditional techniques
8. Ross - Sense lab, finding your way
9. John F - Musical communication
10. Evelyn - Multi-lingual regilaul
11. Nicola - Finding group balance
12. Tanel - Art and political intervention