Collaborative work has been one of the underpinning principles of Italian avant-gardist, experimental and interdisciplinary artistic practices. From the early Futurist experiments of collective writing by Gruppo dei Dieci to the later interartistic experimentation by Gruppo 1, Gruppo N, Gruppo T, Gruppo 58, Gruppo 63, Gruppo 70, Superstudio, Studio Azzurro, Wu Ming and others, collaboration has gone hand in hand with aesthetic research across the arts and media. In a 1963 seminal article published in the journal Marcatré, ‘Le ragioni dei gruppi: Il singolo è disperatamente solo nella folla’, renowned art historian Giulio Carlo Argan placed collaboration and group work at the core of interartistic activity in a way which recalled illustrious precedents such as the Bauhaus, the work of Moholy-Nagy and Albers, and the Gestaltung school in Ulm, Germany. Argan believed that the advantages of group work lie in what he called dialectical relationships and, at a time when traditional artistic languages were considered to be in profound crisis, Argan called for new forms of collaboration and dialogue between creative and intellectual fields, a call that sparked debate in journals such as Marcatré, Ana Eccetera, Linea Sud, Continuum, Continuazione A/Z and E/Mana/zione. Attempts to renew cultural practice through collaboration continues to resonate today, and has been the subject of recent influential books, such as Grant H. Kester’s The One and the Many (2011).
In this series of blog posts for Interdisciplinary Italy, we plan to explore debates and theories of collaboration in XX and XXI century Italian culture, whilst also looking at how these have been translated into artistic practice. We are particularly interested in the rationale and methodologies underpinning group work, how these reflect certain ideologies and why and how these are represented in artistic practices. We also aim to investigate transnational influences and collaboration across borders – for example, the productive relationships between some Italian neo-avant-gardist groups and Fluxus. We are proposing collaborative posts to tackle collaborative cultural production with a view to exploring through practice a process that Kester (2011) has described as double-edged and ethicially ambivalent: the word ‘collaboration’ means both ‘to work together’, but also ‘to cooperate treasonably’.
From 15th February to 15th April 2017, we invite collaboratively written posts blog posts for the following categories of our blog:
- History: Italian Group Work in the XX and XXI Century Italian Arts: forms of collaboration in early 20th-century Italy (from Symbolism to Futurism) and in the interwar period (especially artistic collaboration and the fascist state), Neo-Avant-Garde groups (such as Gruppo 1, Gruppo N, Gruppo T, Gruppo 58, Gruppo 63, Gruppo 70, Superstudio), electronic arts (such as Studio Azzurro), new media (such as Wu Ming, Scrittura Industriale Collettiva). EXAMPLES OF FORMAT: co-written posts written by scholars working on the same case study but from different perspectives;
- Theory: debates and discussions on theories of collaborative work in the arts in XX and XXI century; legacies, similarities and differences between groups and between arts (including literature, architecture, music, painting, cinema, performing arts, etc.); relationships between artistic practice and society – why has collaborative work developed in certain periods and become less important in others? EXAMPLES OF FORMAT: collaborative discussions on theories or case studies developed by scholars coming from different disciplines;
- Creative Snapshots: we invite dialogues between artists of the same group or an interviews led by a scholar with a group of artists, reflecting on what informs their group work and why;
- Postgraduate Research: we welcome posts written by two or more researchers on projects which revolve around artistic collaboration.
- Teaching: we invite blog posts which focus on collaboration in the classroom; collaborative teaching practices teaching and interdisciplinary practice/exchange
Blog posts should be co-written and no longer than 500 words. Please contact Emanuela Patti (firstname.lastname@example.org) of your intention to submit a blog post, providing the title, a sentence explaining the rationale and the names of the authors.