,We need workshops that are based on mutual interest, collective development
collaboration and critique
Workshops of all kinds (art, writing, music, dance, architecture, etc) are founded on the development of certain skills. However, as art becomes intertwined with capitalism, workshops become commodified micropolitical structures, used for maintaining aesthetic-political/ ideological hegemony. What starts as a collection of artists working to improve each other’s writing becomes apparatuses of power, nodes of mobility that can be put like badges in one’s vest.
What happens next is the shriveling of the utopian dimension of art. A young writer may start writing ‘for the love of words’ but eventually learns that words are just goods in the literary supermarket. S/he can choose to go with the flow and try to change the system from within, or simply withdraw from this infrastructure and write on her own terms. Or, she can take an aggressive stance and create alternative venues which challenge the hegemony of these workshops while keeping in mind one’s political position within the system.
Thus, what we need are autonomous workshops. We need workshops without leaders, agenda or particular aesthetic orthodoxies, formed and dissolved according to genuine motivations and collective expectations of the participants. We need workshops which shall be held in street corners, sarisari stores, bookshops, ukay-ukay shops, tops of abandoned buildings, bedrooms, internet chatrooms. These workshops may comprise of two to a thousand participants, all working under the common goal, which is to share ideas and to let them clash beautifully.
These workshops shall exist all over, created spontaneously by the artists who are involved in their own communities. They shall be many and they shall be useless except for their own right. These workshops shall address the smallest to the biggest issues and concerns, freeing art from the weight of its own universe. They shall follow rules that the participants themselves have agreed upon, and these rules shall be broken if the group decides to.
These workshops shall not be called workshops, but simply be named as whatever they are, bubbles of collective activities we create as part of our common existence as humans who evolved with the capacity to create art and talk about it.
These workshops shall be the prelude to the disollution of art as commodity into a definition and practice of art by real humans.