2015/16 Warwick Stafford Fellow:
Stuart Tait

The praxis of ‘molecular collaboration’ has been developed and tested within my main collaboration with the art group AAS and connected/overlapping ‘satellite’ collaborations since 2002. Even the very first event was an immanent collaboration with the curator and audience/participants. As the group has grown, it has explored a number of different forms of collaborative and participatory practice, most recently a number of improvised and molecular performances that “emphasise molecular over collaboration” in immanent, experimental, forms.

Molecular collaboration is an open, nomadic, practice in which each project bleeds into others, including with collaborations external to AAS, including into the past. AAS deliberately avoids structure and adds ever more modes of communication, all operating at different speeds: emails, collaboratively edited google docs and wikis, whatsapp, etc. There is no central communication. Exchanges occur up to limits, then there is a kind of venting, where someone expresses dissatisfaction but this will only modify interactions briefly: we agree to a structure for doing things but then this breaks down again into molecular interactions.

AAS has been using the notion of Apocalypse as a way of understanding the transition between states or positions. Apocalypse is an event, a threshold at which shift occurs. Importantly the event is never solitary. Just as AAS is a multiplicity, the apocalyptic shift is comprised of myriad events.

Broader than this, AAS is interested in what happens when things break. When self is lost. When abjection occurs. When emotional flooding results in catastrophe. When another organ takes control of the body. When another system takes over logistics. When a quantity of sensation is categorically different from all the quantities before. When you play too loud, too long or too hard. When your world ends.

During the fellowship, I have participated in a series of smaller collaborations that have fed back into the development of the work for the final show by AAS at Gallery North:

-Two separate experiments based on the Cold War CIA practice of ‘coordinate remote viewing’, conducted with Rob Smith, AAS and several Northumbria University PhD students. Rob presented a paper on the project to a conference at the university.

-A one-off improvised performance ‘conversation’ with fellow studio holder and Woon Fellow, Kayt Hughes, in the Woon Tai Ji Studio.

-A one-off collaborative sculptural installation with Juliet Fleming at the Newbridge Project, PH Space.

-An AAS collaboration with Philip Cornett, Diana Policarpo, and Bea Turner for a Mark Jackson curated show at IMT gallery, in London.

-There are also three other Newcastle collaborations in development, with recent undergraduates Rebecca Gavigan (Northumbria University) and Sorcha McCole (Newcastle University), and with Newbridge studio-holder Luke Mullen.

Elements from each of these collaborations has had a developmental impact on each of the subsequent works and their influence can be seen in the final collaborative work at Gallery North, which opens 1st November 2016.