Becoming multiple: collaboration in contemporary art practice

Tait, Stuart (2009) Becoming multiple: collaboration in contemporary art practice. Doctoral thesis, Birmingham City University.


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This thesis begins with the question of whether a collaborative art practice inspired by, or drawing upon, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's concept of 'the rhizome', and the notions of movement and change it implies, is possible within the structure required of doctoral study. The study is a vital contribution to the knowledge and understanding of contemporary collaborative art practice, with reference to more than half a dozen contemporary collaborative art groups, as well as The Situationist International, Zurich Dada and Fluxus, the thesis explores the composition and maintenance of collaborative practices. The study's art-practice-as-research has focused on the production of unexpected events or 'glitches' and the problems of hierarchy and control where roles such as 'collaborator' and 'participant' come into contact. The relations in and between collaborative groups are considered in terms of what Deleuze and Guattari call 'molarising' and 'molecularising' forces, and the research included the discovery of new forms of what I have termed 'Molecular collaboration'.

The study seeks to address perceived weaknesses in certain (dominant) Marxist forms of critical/dialectical practice in relation to art by exploring alternative, more anarchist approaches to relations, roles and types of group organisation. The work of Manuel DeLanda on 'assemblage theory' and Erving Goffman's concept of 'role adjustments' are combined with Deleuze and Guattari's 'diagrammatics' to develop the new concept of 'Molecular collaboration'.

Molecular collaboration is an important concept because it frees collaborative working from the burden of individual and group identity by allowing creativity to be expressed immanently within a network of relations rather than in relation to any specific ideal or structure.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
November 2009Completed
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-02 - art
CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-01 - creative arts and design > CAH25-01-05 - others in creative arts and design
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham Institute of Creative Arts > Birmingham School of Art
Doctoral Research College > Doctoral Theses Collection
Depositing User: Richard Birley
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 15:40
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 17:20

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