A panel discussion on Wednesday 1 May will highlight the overlaps between the way in which a radical artist collective functions and how individuals operate together on social networks. Below is an edited extract from an e-mail conversation between panel members Ben Vickers and Metahaven, and ICA curator of talks Antonia Blocker.
The proposition put forward is an antagonism that may not speak of an exact truth, specifically: ‘the peer-to-peer bond of the artist collective has been replaced by the virtual connections of Facebook and Twitter’. Collectives and social networks may not be mutually exclusive, but they do directly impact on one another.
The question that arises is whether the 'collective' form, which many groups adopt, currently represents an effective mode for achieving certain goals. By extension, the more prescient question should be: what are these goals? Be it their desolation of the state or art scene monopoly, collectives seemingly court recuperation, ensuring the unlikely actualisation of stated or implied goals.
The ICA will in many ways be a site for such processes with the Bernadette Corporation's retrospective, a process reiterated of late in London with Bank's archival MOT show and the V&A's acquisition of Deterritorial Support Group posters, to name but a few. In this respect, the timing necessitates the need for reflection or intervention.
If collectives are recuperated by institutions and rejected by the art market, should collectives decide to become their own institutions? What are the alternative routes to the apolitical content of post-internet and its excessive aesthetisation of corporate swag? Does assuming a networked perspective have the potential to reshape what many young artists perceive as collective work or action?
Peer to Platform: Artist Collective vs. Social Network panel discussion is on Wednesday 1 May 2013.
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