Phase 1: Exploring

As I write, I can hear the rain dripping, splishing, splashing.

My attention is on the water, as a result of reading other artists’ posts on this blog so far.

If there is water connecting us, absorbing the vibration of all the sounds and movements of our thoughts and actions, then Group 3’s square which will appear in the gallery is like an island.

An island abutting an ocean, land rising up out of the water to kiss the air.

It is, a place to stand.

If dissent involves making a stand for something; if dissent is a personal stance within a collective experience, we need to find a place to stand. In the uncertainty and not-knowing until we get there… in the impossibility of planning for the sake of control (and when attempting to do so would disrupt the integrity of our experiments) …

I explore and respond.

I am exploring the environments, dynamics, and ideas that are emerging.

I am trusting that each response will build toward the formation of something yet to be defined.

Even our group name, which came out of conversation, is not necessarily an agreed consensus. We have buffeted words around the concepts of silence and spoken expression; we have named our blog and our group chat… but:

Are we three content with the naming of our group?

  • Julia suggested The Listeners
  • Karen from group 2 said I prefer BLOCK, block 2. (Karen took-part in the CAS digital residency Block_Chain > The Power of Two last year).
  • And I prefer CELL, a word I snuck in there without consultation, as a nod to our origins.

The CAS Associate Artists collective was founded on the principle of a self-organising system.

David introduced the founding members to this concept in 2014 through an activity called A.M. (Autopoetic Morphogenesis). David said:

These descriptive terms of biological systems provide the model we’re going to be starting with, and a framework to begin hanging discussions on. For the duration of an a.m session the walls of CAS become a membrane, and we are the biological process that ensures the cell grows, mutates and evolves in unpredictable ways.

Further Reading: A.M. Notes on Collaborative Practice (2017)
Preparing to surprise Cell Group Two, 1.A.M at Chapel Arts Studios (2014)

‘David described the activity (A.M.) as a self-organising natural organism. This may give the impression of a harmonious being, however, the elements of chance and unpredictability were central.’ (Excerpt from Yonat Nitzan-Green’s introduction to ‘Dissent: A Creative Practice‘ 2018)

I mention this because I think CAS’ ethos of collaboration is central to the development of Dissent as a methodology for collective co-creativity.

It allows space for

  • Challenge (from outside and within)
  • Individuality (of expression and meaning creation)
  • Forming/ re-forming through deviation, conversation, and inspired action
  • Experiential learning and self-reflective practice
Having said that, there is no fixed consensus on what Dissent is within our group and nor should their be.

It is an open conversation.
An exploration.
An emerging body of shared art-research.

But that in itself has it’s challenges.

New Beginnings

Joining me in Group 3, The Whisper Cell are Julia Keenan and Kimvi Nguyen who will be participating in The Laboratory of Dissent for the first time.

What experiences will inform their personal understanding of dissent as a practice and a possible action? Those experiences are yet to come. I can’t wait to find out from these two, new answers to what is dissent?

Kimvi Nguyen, Silent | Action | Sound | Drawing, 2018

Published by Maija Liepins

Australian born, mixed-media artist, Maija Liepins focuses on the sensory and emotional experience in her visual dreamscapes. Repetitive actions such as dream journals or collecting visual impressions with her mobile phone generates material with which to reveal the subtle, ‘underneath’. Maija’s drawings and films allude to a symbolic mythology as if the intangible substance of dream is a material as real as ink and clay. Her practice is driven by a pursuit of freedom - to express, to create, and to collaborate without inculturated inhibition.