As with many other projects that we produce, Networking is a critical response to a 'call' for submissions to an online exhibition. (Networking International Online Exhibition &@ Watershed Gallery, Bristol, UK, 20-20th November 2001).
From various vantage points, the piece explores and critiques contemporary notions of networking. Without political or social contexts, the meanings of the concepts most closely associated with networking - collaborative, cooperative, supportive, enriched, human - are meaningless.
In this project, we suggest that without significant social change, 'networking' will be possible only for a limited number of individuals networking only with others who reflect the same values and beliefs.
In version 1 we suggest that networking is yet another form of incorporation, the reduction of human potential to directed and controlled interaction.
In version 2 we explore the idea of networking as metaphor for the hidden meanings contained within a seemingly neutral list of concepts, and version 3 is life outside the network.
Through exploring elements of inclusion and exclusion implicit in notions of networking, we investigate the structures of explanation inherent in categories. Networking marks the first step in our attempts to abstract out categories using a critical methodology.
If one of the roles of the contemporary artist is to 'curate' others' works without imposing values of quality, then the definition of categories, and their relationships to other categories becomes central.