Institutions vs collectives

Public Action notice outside the Student Gallery

When I saw the notice for the event Public Action at the end of the second week of June, I thought this was something I just had to go to. What more can I ask for? A studio space with equipment to boot (and very possibly mentoring—something I have been dying to get), and it’s about publication even. It felt perfect, except that it was the end of what’s been posted already.

On my way to the Main Building I happened to actually bump into Shannon, the professor who got this whole thing started, and she told me there was actually still two weeks left. Except that, at the end, I still never got a chance to use the studio space. (Would have happened on Thursday, except that a computer breakdown got into the way. Studio fees would have been a problem too, but I guess that was something I was prepared to pay.)

Anyway, there were two discussion sessions in week 4 that I actually managed to go to. So on the Wednesday (June 26) discussion there was an interesting point about the tension between institutions and collectives, and in particular collectives that nominally belong to an institution but are rather independent. The thing is that the institution would want to subsume the collective and own it, even if the collective had been running independently and even if it was large.

Which was a rather strange thing to see being discussed, because I had recently just witnessed this very scenario. (The institution and collective involved, for the benefit of those involved, shall remain nameless.)

So getting back to the discussion and tying it back into what I had witnessed: Would some sort of archive, or archived records, have helped in the collective claiming its rights? I don’t really know.