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regarding the On Colaboration reblog on the Rhiz front page


I just have to say, since this is what greeted me on Rhizome this evening, that I personally have never been convinced of the benefits of the artist + engineer/programmer/scientist collaboration idea. I'm sure that something like '9 evenings' was a remarkable event way back when but I'm not convinced that it was a significant ART event. I'm going to try to explain what I think is wrong with such collaborations (not that they ARE wrong, just what I think goes wrong).

The main thing is the language barrier. I don't believe that it's possible for an artist and an engineer to talk the same language. Both of these areas have their own terms and vocabularies which makes the seemingly simple task of conveying ideas, difficult. Try going into a Macdonalds and ordering "a double cheeseburger with secret sauce". Possibly, they might deduce that you want a Big Mac, but I'll bet that in most cases, they won't have any idea what your asking for. I used to go into Starbucks and ask for a large coffee and I found it strange that sometimes I would get a rather large coffee and sometimes I would get a huge coffee. Then I discovered that I wasn't using the appropriate Starbuck-ese and was, from that point on, able to control the size I got by asking for either a "grande" or a "venti". But it could have caused the same kind of confusion the other way around. The coffee slinger could have asked me, "Do you mean a grande or a venti?" I, not know the difference between a grande and a venti, would have put my brain to work for a second and thought, "well, I can deduce that 'grande' is something big but I have no idea what 'venti' means." And then picked the grande thinking that was the bigger of the two and then ended up NOT getting what I had intended on getting.

I don't know, maybe in the case of artist + engineer/programmer/scientist collaboration, that's one of those 'magical' places where 'new' ideas emerge. You know, playing off the misunderstandings instead of trying to avoid or correct them but I see it as a fault.

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