Collaborative Art

I’m a fan of collaborative art. As the general consciousness of humanity has shifted into a global awareness, the art world notably reflects, shapes, and waxes philosophical on the reality of our new global existence. Collaborative art is the result of this movement in the art world, and it exists in many forms; some suggest all art is collaborative in that the artist, and thereby the art work, is dependent upon the work of others for existence: for example, the other who creates the painter’s paints. It is also widely suggested that art does not exist until it has been created by the artist and interpreted by an observer, that artist and observer co-create. In other words, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, the crash makes no sound.

This renewed vision for collaborative art also seems to hold the potential to resurrect folk art in the modern (Western) art world. This vein of the collaborative art movement strives against the Western tendency toward professionalism satirized by 20th-century novelist GK Chesterton: “Once men sang together round a table in chorus; now one man sings alone, for the absurd reason that he can sing better. If scientific civilization goes on (which is most improbable) only one man will laugh, because he can laugh better than the rest.”

Orly Aviv’s project “SeaofSeas” is one such collaborative effort where anyone with a videocamera is invited to participate. The guidelines are few and simple: participants are to capture and share their experience of the sea through a “simple frame” because the instillation for the piece’s first exhibition in London occurred within the boundaries of the video painting genre: in this case, “one projector and five LCD screens positioned in a circle in a semi dark room, simultaneously screening videos/audio selected from an internet database, created by artists worldwide.”

The project’s title, “SeaofSeas” expresses the concept explored in the piece that each unique sea (and human being) flows into the next. The title also is an expression of the technological age which drives the project. Names are expressed this way on social network sites: TheWomensMuseum on Twitter, for example. Websites are referred to in written communication in this way as well to help website names be more readable.

Aviv’s aim for this project is to deepen the connection between artist and observer, creation and interpretation, as well as the connection between humanity and nature (the sea in this case). “SeaofSeas” celebrates our connectedness and our uniqueness by bringing a sea of people together through a shared but unique experience. We see a sea and recognize it immediately, and we feel its associative affects. All seas are the same in this way, and yet unique: beautiful for different reasons, disturbing for different reasons; one sea is calming another is cold.

“SeaofSeas” upcoming exhibition expresses this aim by adding yet another layer of meaning and expression and connection. The project is to be permanently installed on the coast of Old Jaffa, Tel-Aviv, Israel. “Just think of that,” Aviv states, “walking by one Sea and see seas from all over the world beside you.”

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