This is the first of three videos from a project that I am working on called With In Practice.
The project focuses on the bridges we can forge across the design/build divide when we look outside of predominant modes of professional interaction and exchange of commerce, through a lens of generosity. On the hands on side of this divide are craftspeople, fabricators, technicians and facilitators, on the other side, more conceptually based artists, authors and designers.
The With In Practice Project supports the creation of a new artwork or functional object designed by others and made by me, Michael Berens. The objects will be exhibited alongside documentation of the collaborative process, between myself as fabricator, and the
participant as artist, designer and/or author.
Participants will guide me through the production of the work without engaging in any physical labor. Ideally, designs will be described to me only through writing and speaking. Participants will not be permitted to explain directions with drawings, models, or other visual examples (although I will do so throughout the process to insure I am fulfilling the participant's vision).
Participants may consider this a collaborative project or an artist/artisan relationship. Whatever the case my sole focus will be the physical manifestation of their vision. I will carry through with his or her idea until I have created a visible form that is to their liking.
All intervening steps --conversations, emails, scribbles, sketches, failed works, models, studies, and thoughts -- are of interest and have potential to be displayed along with the finished product.
For some aspects of the project, I will enlist the help of specialized professionals who posses skills that I don't, like filmmakers, writers, photographers and curators. The video with Emily Shepard, a Graphic Facilitator, is one such example. These conversations will be formatted in the same way as when I help others, but the artist/artisan dynamic will be inverted as I assume the role of the armless author, using only my spoken and written words to guide the process of display. Like myself, these skilled professionals will enter into an alternative mode of exchange, one whose compensation is found solely with in practice.