A colleague at the University is looking into the role play has in urban design. I agree with your assessment, however I would argue that art is the only vehicle to challenge this state of play ( pardon the pun). Further, that in the social ecology of the artist collective play could become a powerful tool. I found this article ( see link) that might be of interest?
HAHA! This is great! Yes another machine invasion- probably for the better in this case. I now have an image of Don Draper looking really confused :D and trying to think how to market Vaping. Maybe this could be an alternative universe.
Yes! You are right at least in how my research is panning out. It seems to be apparent that there is a ‘deeper level’ of human agency at work in the collective. What I mean by this is, through beginning to develop an historiography of the evolution of the artist collective, what seems to be emerging is something I hadn’t quite expected. There is an almost imperceptible discursive thread which seems to have evolved out of the immense social and political changes which occurred during the early 19th century. This thread which unsurprisingly, follows the development of modernism, seems to have produced a paradigmatic shift carried by the notion that, change was and is possible. My research has actually pin pointed this to a set of thinkers, writers, curators, architects and artists/critics all operating within Britain from around the 1820s to 1900. They include Pugin, Ruskin, Morris, Dickins, Marx and Engels (in Manchester). There is a sense of a re-imaging of the ‘artistic guild’ overtly within Ruskin and positioned in other ways with the other writers. This guild was different to previous guild-type iterations, as it wasn’t principally about installing a framework for manufacturing crafts or workshops. This time it had a political engine. Proto-collectives such as the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and Morris & Co developed directly from these writings. After this era the same thread migrates to France, Germany, the then USSR and Italy and exponentially developed and was questioned. The thread became consumed by the socialist movement and eventually the internationalist tendency to develop manifesto’s and wider groups such as the Futurists, October, DADA and Bauhaus emerged. However, this thread has a perceptible shift again after 1945 and both wars, when we enter the cold war era and overtly politically engaged artist collective Internationalist groups take a centre stage such as The Situationists etc.
Of course, in the West, capitalism begins to take hold and we enter a third distinct era of evolution, where very specific groups occur during the 60s -the late 80s such as Art and Language, Black British Artists and Artemesia (feminist collective) these were highly linked to civil rights movements.
Now my argument comes to its main point that I contend we have entered into a different phase of evolution of the artist collective. One as we have discussed, with all the problematic connotations of which the human race is grappling to understand. It is in the face of this history and accumulation of capital that the collective appears once again in a spectral form. Changed and shifted in its focus but with ghosts of its collective past still very much alive within its intent. The ominous drive for professionalisation within a neo-liberal economic model exerts tension and locates a friction within its socialist tendencies.
I must point out that this is a very brief summary and I have glossed over vast elements. Off course this is not a linear progression either, with artist collectives forming at different times and for different social and political reasons. However, there is a thread which I intend to prove (as best I can within Humanities) that exists within the artist collectives cultural DNA. In a sense this history is (un)historical as it is entirely contemporary in a time when history appears as a space or place to engage with.
Anyway, I’m going to leave it there for now. I just wanted to sign off with a few questions for you in general. Firstly, this is a co-authored project so If you think we need create any changes let me know? or if you have any suggestions. Secondly, I have been invited to deliver a paper at a conference in Toronto at the OCAD University (art and design) in March and I intend to highlight our project on YARN. I wondered if there was anything you wanted me to show? as I will have a presentation to accompany my paper.