We had a wonderful discussion this past Saturday in preparation for our upcoming March 9 event (details: Krowswork Gallery; poets Kevin Killian, Jen Burris, Ben Mirov; artists Chrstine Elfman, Adrian Buckmaster, and Nick Almquist; 7:30pm).
Looking at some different examples of collaboration, we talked about what it is that makes that "third thing" emerge, as Chrstine put it the "puff of blue smoke in a chemistry experiment" that's neither ingredient alone but rather a result of the reaction between two.
Class of '47, a comic by New York schoolers Brainard and Creeley, as an example of a kind of traditional (or, "exquisite corps-ey" as John Sakkis called it) teaming-up of poet and writer.
War the Musical by Rob Fitterman, as reworked through video by Rob and artist Klaus Killisch (so good, a must see, esp "Don't Give up the Ship," with the dog.).
Swamp, by Robert Smithson and Nancy Holt, an essential exemplification of the problematic nature of directing/receiving directions in a collaborative setting. We may have decided, through this, that everything is kind of a sham.and various iterations of Christian Marclay's work "Manga Scroll," with special attention to the Shelley Hirsch version that we were lucky enough to witness at the SF electronic music festival last year. This brought up questions about what the relationship between a composer and player is; is it collaboration? Can it be a struggle between egos? Is that necessarily bad, good, neutral? It also reminded John Sakkis and Tom Comitta of the many interpretations of Kurt Schwitter's Ursonate, of which we listened to Christian Bok's super speedy Bone thugs-worthy reading as well as a robotic xtranormalesque rendition.
Conclusions were nowhere to be found, but we did have some pizza and wine and our heads together and for some good ole third-thing-thinking.