Thursday, November 18, 2010

Is this the Golden Age of Collaboration?

Well, that’s a pretty large claim, but it does seem that over the past few years I’ve come across more and more collaborative books, chapbooks, and other projects. Collaborative artworks have been around as long as art, so yes, I know this is not new. And I can name several that I’ve read over the years. Books mostly.

Even with all sorts of caveats (Lyrical Ballads, etc), though, it does seem we’re in a time of renewed interested in collaborative works, and this does seem to be across aesthetics, as well. Is something up? Is something going on? If so, what?

Here’s the most recent project I’ve come across, from At Length:

I'd like to have a list of the collaborations that are out there. It's fascinating to see their various approaches to authorship, from The Rejection Group's hoods and shadows to something like the above, with names on the work itself, where it's less collaboration than, well, like they describe: telephone.


At 11/18/2010 7:22 AM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

There is also the feneon collective.

Here is a review of their just-released (though unauthorized) book, *Works and Days of the feneon collective* [jointly published by Effing and Skanky Possum presses]:

Reconfigurations journal will be publishing a roundtable discussion of the book in coming weeks, with participation of over twenty poets. Which should be very interesting, given the smarts and "critical capital" of a number of those participating...

At 11/18/2010 7:25 AM, Blogger John Gallaher said...

feneon, of course. I was just looking at that last week.

Is the Reconfigurations thing going to be talking about collaboration directly, do you know?

At 11/18/2010 7:51 AM, Blogger Kent Johnson said...

Hi John,

That I don't know, but I would imagine the matter would come up in the discussion. Indeed, the introduction to the book outlines what the feneon collective's "collaboration" resulted in: extreme discord to the point of attempted poisoning of the UK member and (possibly) the suicide in San Francisco of the member from Chile (a poet, in fact, who had been close to Roberto Bolano).

Also, the roundtable, of course, will be a collaboration itself, with people responding, arguing (I would think), bouncing ideas around, and so forth.


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