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How to collaborate?

Credits: Peter Stamer

Credits: Peter Stamer

A series of dialogues on 1011 October 2014                             curated by Silke Bake and Peter Stamer  

How to collaborate? is a format of five dialogues each entertained between two researchers who meet up for the first time at the IRC "Interweaving Performance Cultures" in Berlin. On October 10 and 11, five one-on-one encounters create an exchange on diversities, challenges, theories and practices of collaboration.

The notion of collaboration has taken on an important significance within the mainstream discourses of politics, society, or the arts. As a value in itself, collaborating means to hold para-individual, collectively produced knowledge against the challenges multiple crises seem to pose nowadays. ‚Yes, we can’ has become the ultimate slogan for a post-individualized generation that wants to empower the weary citizen and make her voice audible and her deeds effective. Collaboration seems to hold a lot of promise for political or social change, it seems to make us morally superior and make us become better human beings, better theoreticians, better artists as we open up to others and their knowledge––in order to improve the world.

In the fields of the performing and fine arts, lab culture dating back to the beginning of 2000, has established new epistemic cultures which leave behind the products of a brilliant solo artist and rather foster a new collectivity of researchers who efficiently work together. New initiatives of mutual participation, local immersion, socio-artistic activism seem to draw from this shift of paradigm, stressing the needs of togetherness, aiming towards communal practices in order to overcome outdated and worn out regimes.

Thus the value of collaboration taken for granted, the question of how to collaborate is scarcely posed yet. Since how can we collaborate if the notion of difference claims to mark the individual as irreducible singularity, if multitudinous societies seem barely able to define a common denominator, if ethical and political grounds are to be constantly renegotiated during ‚communal projects’ of collaboration? How to collaborate if the very notion of how to collaborate is always already at stake during the procedure of collaboration?

Yet, this project is not looking to develop an instruction manual for successful collaboration. We couldn’t be farther away. We are rather convinced that mutual investigations in methodologies undertaken by a format of dialogues may shed more light on what makes collaboration work––or doesn’t under a given apparatus. What may be needed a.o. are a shared ethos, a certain willingness to understand at first place (before agreeing or disagreeing) and a will to ‚letting go without letting down’; and yet we stay open to what the dialogues dig out during their encounter. Thus we are not aiming at inviting finished lectures, ready keynotes, or monologues ex cathedra. For this format on methodologies of collaborating, we rather believe in dialogue as the proper format of collaboration, especially when it comes to collaborate in talking.

We have started to invite five knowledgable and experienced theorists and practitioners, asking each of them to extend their invitation to someone they would like to meet and talk to about the subject matter. Preferably, this meeting is the first personal one between the two of them. The interlocutors are asked to prep their meeting beforehand so that they have an idea about what is of interest in their meeting and why they are interested in talking to each other. The dialogue between the two interlocutors will last between approx. 60 minutes and won’t be moderated; thus the talking partners are responsible for the course of the talk themselves. Each session is followed by an intense Q&A session, since the audience are not interfering during the talks. We invite approx. 10 respondents to pursue the dialogues, forming a 'critical crowd‘ together with the researchers and staff of the Research Center. It is mandatory that each invitee stays fully on during the two days of the meeting.

The dialogues will be recorded.

Dialogue partners:

Maria Lind (Stockholm) and Lisa Robertson (Bethines)

Bojana Cvejic (Belgrad/Brüssel) and Margarita Tsomou (Berlin)

Manfred Füllsack (Graz) and Klaus Mainzer (München)

Igor Dobricic (Berlin/Amsterdam) and Peter Pleyer (Berlin)

Nicolas Galeazzi (Brüssel) and Nikolaus Gansterer (Wien)



Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung