Natural Collaboration or Artistic Laziness?
Rainstorm adapted from CC licensed photo shared by flicker user Simo Ubuntu
It's been a few days since Tuesday's intense thunderstorm. On Wednesday we happened upon our outdoor Corrugation sign, shredded, soggy, and half lying on the ground. My first response as any business "owner" was to replace it, possibly even making it a bit more substantial, since cardboard really can't handle sideways flying rain. This prompted an interesting discussion over what to do with the sign.
As Jenn, Max, and I were chatting about what to do with it, my concern was with the perception we are giving off to people walking by, wondering if we might look lazy or disinterested with the outward appearance of our space. Max seemed fine with the idea of just leaving it. First off, how many times do you staple up cardboard outside, expecting it to remain? Secondly, could this be seen as a collaboration with nature? Understanding that when you put something out there you release ownership, knowing the degradation of the piece can be part of the evolution of it. You couldn't really manufacture the uniqueness that a crazy rain storm has on a piece, adding incredible value to the piece itself.
The concept of Nature being a collaborator is really central to our upcoming camp "watermelon seeds". We want to recognize that we can partner with nature to push creativity in a different direction. A direction that recognizes that the best ideas may not be individual ideas, and that our human communities exist as a result of our connection to something beyond ourselves. It's a connection that can't be scripted, or pre-determined, but makes space for outcomes that allow for adaptation and unexpectedness. Making room for these unexpected collaborations pushes us as artists, teachers, and co-owners to let go of control.
It's incredible to see artists recognizing the value of Nature as a collaborator. Artists like Aganetha Dyck and Tim Knowles have made such an impression on us and our understanding of how powerful these natural collaborations can be. Take a look at their amazing work and be inspired.
Our now dry, torn, cardboard is not nearly as inspirational as a collaboration with bees, or tree drawings, but its representational of an artistic partner that we value. So I think we'll leave the sign, looking forward to things to come.