NET/TEN Shareback: ARTEL - A Practical Guide for Emergent Structure Exchanges

2015 Spring Travel Grant Recipient

ARTEL (Los Angeles, CA) will begin planning a collaboratively created performance entitled, The Black Hen with Animal Cracker Conspiracy (San Diego, CA). Together they shared practices and discussed shared performance experiences.


This Shareback is a series of provocations for how to organize an exchange from the heart of the creative process: from what emerges in the moment of sharing space and time. We hope it inspires readers to continue to take risks and celebrate all aspects of artistic production: from the first starting points to the ever-finishing product.


A Practical Guide for Emergent Structure Exchanges

Click HERE to download the full guidebook.



A Retreat not a Workshop

Think of your exchange as a retreat and make it one.

Don’t let other pressures (day jobs, admin, socializing, community outings) take precedence. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Be sure in planning that you can actually “retreat” for the time you have planned. Of course, be open to the possibility that a “pressure” might be an emergent opportunity for the exchange to develop in a surprising direction. Perhaps a community building event suddenly happens (a performance, art show, etc) during your planned exchange that provides an opportunity for you to see other work and discuss your experiences. This can then lead to a deeper shared understanding of aesthetics and dramaturgical necessities for your own collaboration.

Give yourself a set number of days rather than a clearly delineated number of hours.

In so doing, we worked longer and more fluidly than if we had set a certain number of hours aside for the “exchange”, a certain number for “meals”, a certain number for “entertainment or personal time”, etc.

Have a Flexible Space.

Whenever possible, hold the exchange in a space or spaces where you can be extremely flexible with hours. We were very lucky to have Paloma Street Studios offer us almost unlimited access to one of their rooms which meant we could work in the studio whenever we chose. Equally we had access to a space nearer our housing that allowed for some less-intensive studio work as well when the commute to Paloma Street seemed counterproductive. This is of course a luxury in the real estate market today, but one that only occurred because of years of hard entrepreneurship, cultivation of relationships and remaining open to seizing the emergent when it appeared.

Trust What Works

Shared Space works.

Try to all be in the same space for as much of the exchange as possible. House each other in the same building(s) so that travel times and distance don’t impede.

Meals work.

You can discover a lot of what you need around preparing and sharing a meal. How we make meals is a collaboration of taste, activity, and spirit. Is it a joyous and easy process or one rife with tension and decision? Equally, the moments of sharing a meal allow for broad ranging associative discussion that can be guided to swirl around the deeper reason of the exchange.

Rest works.

The pressure of running artistic companies means that when you finally allow a moment of retreat you often need a healthy decompression. Allowing for that can greatly increase the depth of the exchange. Similar to “set number of days rather than set number of hours”, if you are intent to get to the studio by 10am you might not have as clear-headed and revelatory exchange as you could if you decided that studio-time can be scrapped for a hearty meal and strong carafe of coffee.

Want to read more? Click HERE to download the full guidebook.


Animal Cracker Conspiracy
Paloma Street Studio




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Monday, April 4, 2016

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