Productivity Without Productivity: Crip Theory, Interspecies Collaboration and Material Art Practice
Katie Jung, MA
Concordia University, 2019
My goal throughout this thesis process can be best described in Pat Schneider’s words, when she tasks writers to sound more and more like themselves, or said differently, to resist standard workflows. I extend Schneider’s call to include feeling more and more like myself and working to show what looks more and more like myself from a making perspective. I experiment with making in ways that are intrinsically connected to my embodiment and embodied knowledge. In this way, I extend what I think of as 'voice' in writing terms and transform it to other outputs. This practice gets to the core goal of my thesis project: to widen method and process to work and make from a place that doesn’t require assimilation into efficiency-driven disciplinary norms.
Frustrated by relying on disciplinary conventions in art and academia, I have been guided by the question: What would it look like to create other modes of working and collaboration? My work takes place in the ruptures where disciplinary conventions fail to contain me. These ruptures offer a place for transformation. To explore this, I aimed to develop an anti-assimilation approach and methods of collaboration. This allows me to resist grandfathered-in ways of working, and instead, to begin building and creating diverse practices of collaboration. Rather than relying on scripts of accommodations used in order to fit into existing structures and modes of working, I have been interested in creating and building scripts. I aim to develop decentralized ways of working.
Through ongoing reflection on Schneider’s call to sound, make, move, feel, and be more and more like myself, I came to realize that conversation is a foundational part of my voice and thinking. Putting theory into practice, this thesis consists of four experimental projects that engage relationships and modes of working with materials, animals, humans and myself: Tidelines/ Fieldguide, a print-based exploration of giving trace a mark and practices that are fixed-in-transformation; Spoons Dog, an ongoing collaboration and meshing between myself and my service dog; Flowers of outre-vie, a performance that explores ritual process; and Shifting Objects, a process-based ceramics project. Each project re-articulates and experiments with a conversational approach. Conversation connects these projects: conversation between beings, places (i.e., routines and movements through space and place), and objects (i.e., materials). A significant outcome of this thesis has been the development of my own working methods. Not thinking in monologue, but rather, a sort of back and forth with myself, other people, animals, materials, and places is an integral part of my process for thinking and making. Collected here are a series of discrete, interrelated projects that have taken shape throughout my thesis process. In each section, I present traces of the processes related to these projects including documentation, theoretical work and creative writing. I offer key results and articulations of my thinking through, and practicing of, this approach from my location as an artist-researcher. With this thesis, my hope is to create a precedent for practice and desires that recognize, is accountable to, and redesigns collaboration and collaboration opportunities.