Anagramatic ABC



Although “collaborative” may sometimes overlap, or be confused with, “collective” or “participative”, in our view this term introduces a micropolitical nuance and suggests a much more active stance than that involved in simply joining some pre-existing scheme or organization. Collaboration is much more than simply doing something with others; it’s not about adding up the work or the power of different actors, but rather about a joint production method where (ideally) controversies, issues and disagreements are continuously shared and incorporated into the process itself, pooling all the different sensibilities involved into a new plane of agency. Collaborative processes, therefore, aim at generating new forms of practice that challenge the verticality of power which is the dominant logic in the production system, but they do not imply a simple, naïve idea of the horizontal. It’s not just a matter of replacing the vertical axis of power with a horizontal axis. In the field of audiovisual production, we understand projects to be collaborative when they follow any of these methodologies: 1) an artist, or a group of artists, share everyday life with the subjects being represented/ filmed on the basis of a long-term commitment, but aesthetic choices are not negotiated with said subjects, and the creative team is organised according to different roles (director, camera, editing, etc); 2) there is a group of artists with no division of roles, where decisions are made collectively, and aesthetic choices may be discussed with the subjects being filmed or represented; 3) Non-authorial model: all the subjects- the filmers and the filmed- participate in discussion and decision-making in a constant process of negotiation.

Genealogies of practice

  • Nightcleaners (Part 1).  (UK / Reino Unido) Berwick Street Collective , 1972
    A documentary made by members of the Berwick Street Collective (Marc Karlin, Mary Kelly, James Scott and Humphrey Trevelyan), about the campaign to unionize the women who cleaned office blocks at night and who were being victimized and underpaid. Intending at the outset to make a campaign film, the Collective was forced to turn to new forms in order to represent the forces at work between the cleaners, the Cleaner's Action Group and the unions - and the complex nature of the campaign itself. The result was an intensely self-reflexive film, which implicated both the filmmakers and the audience in the processes of precarious, invisible labour. It is increasingly recognised as a key work of the 1970s and as an important precursor, in both subject matter and form, to current political art practice.

  • THE HACKNEY FLASHERS.  (UK / Reino Unido) 1974- 80s
    The Hackney Flashers were a socialist, feminist, documentary photography collective, working on issues of wages, class and childcare based in London during the 1980’s. As with some other well-documented artists groups, writers and activists working in the UK throughout the 60’s and 70’s, for example The Artist’s Union, The Artist’s Placement group and Four Corners, their production sought a “Social Functionalism.” The Hackney Flashers chose photography as the means of production with which to represent and document their community and to control the representation of work and behaviour, in a process based practice that was repeated with different groups of women throughout the life of the group. Documentation provided material for participants to reflect on their situation, life and identity and that process might support the other actions they were engaged in, or their potential acting power whether it was social, sexual, psychological, economic or thought. These documents might have intentions that were sometimes lived more self-consciously or discussed publicly. The process whilst acknowledging varying individual capacities and narratives emphasised participants as social beings.