signposts in the sitescape
an experiment in collaboration

The Elastic Circus of the Revolution
invites: Maria Baker, Luke Degnan, Alex Goldberg, Amir Parsa, Megan Suttles
to the Swimming Hole Foundation residency
… where a conceptual framework for collaboration + new methods of creation
… will lead to new types of (artistic) projects and pieces

The Swimming Hole Players of the Elastic Circus of the Revolution gathered at the Swimming Hole Residency in June 2022. The group was curated, organized and invited by Amir Parsa. The group was interested in various forms of artmaking/thinking and simultaneously in experimenting with and possibly generating new types of collaborations.

Members of the group—Maria Baker, Luke Degnan, Alex Goldberg, Amir Parsa, Megan Suttles—organically and authentically formed sub-groups during the five-day residency and branched off to create pieces in multiple directions, putting into motion the different types of collaboration that were being actualized. From individual creations to pieces supported by other members to pieces created in sub-formations, a number of artifacts were constructed, along with performative, ephemeral and non-object-centered works.

All pieces were conceived and created within the residency (no works were ‘brought’ to the space), fashioned under the umbrella of the group-generated Immersive Arboresque Collaboration umbrella, and generated within the temporary grouping of the players of the ECR.

Signposts in the Sitescape was the only organizing principle around which the members explored, constructed, meditated, and ultimately created. The creation of the collaborative framework, as well as the resulting method(s) for creation, constituted the domains of the research. The resulting works took into account the spaces, the site of the creation, the dimensions of the collaboration, and each individual Player’s skills and strategic acumen.

Megan Suttles in turn curated and organized the physical exhibition taking place at the Swimming Hole Foundation during Upstate Art Weekend in July 2022. Luke Degnan created and curated the website.


Supplemental note on our research on–and exploration of–collaboration

We did not enter the residency with a predetermined method of collaboration, something we have all done, and that can easily happen. We know of many mechanisms for collaboration, various approaches and strategies. We have engaged in some, and some have taught collaboration in different contexts. But we purposely approached without a predetermined method, and without a final piece in mind. Which meant a very exciting thing: we hoped to, in effect, create a framework for collaboration. Itself. Our work: thinking about, investigating, constructing a method of collaboration, rituals for collaboration, an approach to collaboration. Thus: the collaborative framework was not determined, and we envisioned creating an appropriate collaborative framework.

We believed we were investing in the investigation of new forms of collaboration, and considering new frameworks for collaboration. That also meant encountering obstacles, challenges… We all have our ways of working, we all have our methods and processes and even conceptions of what matters… When difficult situations arose, we overcame: through conversation, genuine care for others, openness—allowing ourselves to reconsider, redirect… Again, we invested seriously in investigating what collaboration can mean and help define a project: and the type of project: and the type of outcome… Some pieces set; some processes set; some sub-collaborations set; deadline set; curatorial directors set; soon to thread all.

This group of players of the Elastic Circus of the Revolution thus gathered for the swimming hole residency and developed, through action research and praxis, the Immersive Arboresque Collaborative framework. (Or, alternatively: The Framework for Immersive Arboresque Collaboration: FIAC). “Signposts in the Sitescape”, a collection of pieces created individually and/or sub-collaboratively, includes the creation of the framework itself (even as the framework allowed/generated the creation of other pieces).

In addition, The Immersive Arboresque Collaboration allowed sub-collaborations of different types: the Swarming Collaboration–everyone contributing to a small piece in rapid ways; Vectorial Collaborations–where sub-groups of two or three launched parallel pieces and projects that, as much as they could be part of the Signposts in the Sitescape ‘album’, could also expand beyond the residency into future work together; Assistive Collaboration, where one or two artists genuinely and with deep interest helped with one particular artist’s vision of a piece that emerged through the residency and through interaction with others; Atmospheric Collaboration: where proximity, discussions, explorations, visual clues or concepts devised by one or another member, would provide inspiration/direction to other members. These sub-collaborative methods and approaches really emerged through our praxis at the residency, and contributed to the IAC. We intended to explore the possibility of new forms and types of collaboration, and we are very excited about our discovery, and NAMING, of these forms of collaboration.