There is an image in my Instagram profile of some Queen Anne's Lace. It was taken mid- afternoon on a bright, hot, July afternoon last summer the next street over as we helped with some garden upkeep in the neighborhood. The image's posting was a casual valentine directed towards Ferncroft as her recent work had supported and made argument for the virtues of the plant more often referred to as "weed." Trying to introduce through this blog my now ongoing formal work with Ginny I looked back over my Instagram and recognized how thick my collaboration with Ferncroft has been in the past eleven months. I can recognize in nearly every image a dialogue and critique I was having with her world and network. The highest of intensities and yet I don't think I ever thought to write once about our collaboration.
I have been held up (blocked) introducing Ginny and I's work together, slowed by a need to address this word "collaboration." And so, I just kept scrolling my 'Gram, over and over, rolling through the Buffalo Horticulture feed as it acts as an archive of the places, phases, and thinking we've engaged. There was a point where Ginny started seeping in which I mark as June 9th, 2016, a posted series of peony images taken in the first morning light coming through the caffe's windows. This is followed by an image of tools in my warehouse fueled with light from an open garage door; my kid neighbor standing in the sprinkler, a cat perched in the driveway; all certainly recognizable objects, but not till yesterday did I see my past ten(ish) images as a collection - each working with "in between" light of the early morning or late evening.
Again, my delay has been around this word "collaboration" which I feel is loosely thrown about (commodified:cliche). In my experience (which is as much based in traditions of ethnographic methodology), anytime I see the word "collaboration" used, there is a focus on the work made or artifact produced but no focus on the actual stimulations that occur in the work itself - How new ideas come to be and transformations made subjectively in the co-laborators. And so will be my focus in the project, continuing my critical ethnographic work on process, methodology, and production.
After two months of dialogue* about "what we are making" we finally have begun with a goal to produce nothing specific only to spend time working together and making exchanges. Maybe we'll have a show this autumn. Maybe not. Just affect me. Please.
***Note on dialogue and collaboration (citing my Thesis work): "Tedlock and Mannheim in the "Dialogic Emergance of Culture" (1995) write of dialogue as having its root in "logos" - to talk - and "dia" - back and forth - and that culture and language emerge from dialogue, opposite the idea that language itself is the priority in the production of culture. Culture is always in continuous development because of the back and forth in interaction and the constant colorings of interpretation. 'Ethnography [or art] itself is revealed as an emergent cultural (or intercultural) phenomenon, produced, reproduced, and revised in dialogues between fieldworkers and natives."
Landscape designer and Proprietor of Buffalo Horticulture