esclab II: ITERATIONS IV
Tuesday to Friday
2 pm - 7pm
and by arrangement
ITERATIONS is committed to the future of artistic collaboration in digitally networked contexts. Multidisciplinary artists and practitioners are brought together to create speculative works that feed the imagination of possible modes of artistic collaboration. Through a series of hands-on residencies and discursive exhibitions, ITERATIONS provides situations in which artists collectively experiment with new ways of ‘art working’ which make space for collectivity and collaboration.
The project is structured around the conceptual model of ‘iteration’. Inspired by recursive forms of collaboration as they exists in open source software development, the project ITERATIONS applies repetition and circularity to artistic methodologies, in which the output from one activity is used as the input to the next. In digital arts there is an increasing momentum for open code, sharing and networked creation. ITERATIONS further develops this exciting prospect by involving open source methodologies originating from the digital realm into analogue art-practices, artistic knowledge exchange and exhibition-making.
ITERATIONS investigates processes and motivations that invite artists to explore models of cooperation and free digital tools. ITERATIONS extends into art-related fields by addressing aesthetic, ethic and legal aspects of multi-authorship, commons based economics, political and social potentials that open up around the artistic. Following the open source philosophy, the project establishes common grounds to all activities. The project builds up to a coherent set of practices, resources and documentation that will be made accessible to specific targeted groups (amongst others: artists, programmers and activists) as well as to a wider audience, allowing the outputs and results to reach beyond the limits of the project duration.
The internet has become an amazingly complex place and can be interpreted as a metaphor for the whole world - no individual is capable of grasping its totality. For many art practitioners interested in technology, this gives reason to get together, to collectively understand, use, develop the main infrastructure of our times, and by doing so, keeping it accessible for art and culture. Many artists are in need of teaming up their efforts. In our experience, the pleasure of doing things together strengthens collaborations and exchanges, which is in its corewhat we aim for: working on a common ground. We feel that it is urgent to create situations in which this collective work is further developed. By validating the individual input of the participating artists and art practitioners, the Iterations project emphasises the shared wish and need for collaboration and collectivity.
The set up of ITERATIONS introduces a set of rules, that are repeated with different people in different locations. This way we start to research how working with people over a longer period of time can be sustained and how the outcomes can be shared with other groups of people. This procedure helps us to find ways to communicate and translate our experiences and findings to others. Important is that the involved people co-create the conditions which really put them in a position to experiment, to be able to proceed by trial and error, to find things out. Another important element is to create space for reaction on the findings and for changing the perimeters of the collective process: a sort of small scale democracy setting that allows us to develop strategies for the negotiation of content.
This needs willingness to let go of a strictly individual notion of authorship and ownership. Working with free software and open hardware as our common frame supports this attitude. Publishing the outcomes under a free license everywhere, helps as well. These tools support the idea of a common ground for all society; art and culture can be the laboratory where these approaches are tested and verified to be working and sustainable.
The concept underlying the interdisciplinary approach is two-fold. The first layer, of course, is the need for the expertise of each participant; the second layer is the exchange and interchange of methods and methodologies. Difference, affection, comparison, similarities between regions, practices and disciplines deliver the participants valuable learning material. As humans we need ways to translate the complexity of the systems that surround us. Arts and culture accompany us in these processes of translation- and transformation by offering unprecedented and surprising potentials and interpretations, by allowing us to re-imagine the world.
Two earlier ITERATIONS projects were co-organised by esc medien kunst labor and Constant. In 2015 the exhibition The Tech Oracle that was shown in escs gallery in Graz, was the result of a two week residency of artists Pascale Barret, Julien Deswaef, Heidrun Primas, Ushi Reiter, Agnese Trocchi, Iohannes M. Zmölnig. The installation consisted of a technological oracle that could be consulted by visitors. Visitors entered data in computers that were part of the work which the oracle used to produce a personalised life’s advice at the end of the visit. In July 2016, the exhibition I don’t know where this is going showed the result of a two week residency of artists Annie Abrahams, Julien Deswaef, Claire Williams, Pascale Barret, François Zajega in Center for media and digital cultures iMAL in Brussels. The installation questioned the ease of use of itinerary calculators such as Google maps in the perspective of the war in Syria. The current project proposal springs from the desire of both organisation to continue the project in a larger collaboration shared with other organisations. The two past editions of Iterations have delivered experiences that are very helpful for the next phase.
The projects main objective is to stimulate transnational collaborative art practices in digital environments, from a free and open source perspective. This will be done by creating collective working situations and developing works, code, digital tools for participants and publics from different countries. Throughout the process, we promote green mobility and slow travel taking time to get to know each other.
ITERATIONS aims to feed the imagination of possible forms of artistic collaboration. By inviting artistic groups to work together the project produces new narratives of artistic work that spark imagination for possible forms of collaboration. We stimulate the development of new symbolic representations of techno-collective creation which helps advance fantasies about possible futures by disrupting the artistic-economical, -institutional -political status-quo. The project delivers meaningful, sustainable inspiring situations for artistic creation that foregrounds working conditions. An important key aspect is the creation of trust, equality and the willingness to work together with pleasure. In order to achieve this, establishing common grounds between everyone will be a recurring task.
<creation and production>
By doing repeatedly, reviewing, and doing again ; we train
gesture and routine.
By stepping sideways, changing parameters and contexts ; we
learn to diversify and reflect.
<network and outreach>
By teaming up, working together, cumulating skills ; we
capacitate growing complex creations.
ITERATIONS aims to create fertile grounds on which future projects can be built. Inherent to the choreographic figure of the iteration each movement and activity spins of into new sets of potentialities. Some fall within the scope of ITERATIONS, some spark beyond our control. It is the aim of the project to leave trails of inspiration in the fields of the arts that positively impacts the future work of participants and non-participants. Through the production of reusable resources, the creation of long term partnership relations the network extends into the future and can support the development of own initiative and third party projects.