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The Wellington Collaboratorium: An Imaginary Archive

How do you understand and interpret an artwork that is made by multiple people - when understandi


How do you understand and interpret an artwork that is made by multiple people - when understanding the intentions of one artist is challenging enough?

That is the question explored by a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Victoria University Dr Sondra Bacharach, who is researching the nature of collaborative art as part of her Marsden-funded research.

“I wanted to investigate how we think about collaborative art. One of the challenges in interpreting art is to know what the artist meant by it, and that is twice as complicated when you have multiple people working on it.”

Her project has brought acclaimed New York-based artist, writer and academic Gregory Sholette to Wellington. Sholette will be artist in residence at Enjoy Public Art Gallery where he will create an archive of imaginary—“what if”—novels, brochures, catalogues, pamphlets, newsletters, and similar publications.

“The Imaginary Archive will present an alternative vision of the realities our society might inhabit, had the world been shaped differently,” says Gregory Sholette.

The Imaginary Archive will contain work from more than 20 artists from New Zealand, the US and Europe with whom Sholette has collaborated with in the months leading up to the residency. It will eventually be displayed in a number of second-hand bookstores and other public places, including Wellington City Library and the Enjoy Public Art Gallery.

“The goal will be to imagine an alternative future in which various artists, groups and collaborations successfully changed the culture of Wellington, New Zealand, the region, and the world,” says Sholette.

Dr Bacharach says the project takes the notion of collaboration as a living, working material to be debated, explored and tested.

“Sholette’s artwork is a concrete exploration into the nature and fabric of collaborative, contemporary art practice and serves as the starting point for an investigation into the philosophical foundation of collaboration.”

The Wellington Collaboratorium will culminate in a weekend seminar, including a keynote lecture by Sholette, a public panel discussion on contemporary collaborative practice, and artist presentations.

What: The Wellington Collaboratorium: Imaginary Archive

When: 3 June 2010 - 26 June 2010 (Keynote lecture and panel discussion weekend of 25-27 June).

Where: Enjoy Public Art Gallery, Level 1/147 Cuba Street

Gregory Shollette will also be speaking on Thursday 10 June at Victoria University as part of the 2010 Lectures on Art History and Visual Culture hosted by the School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies.

What: Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture - Gregory Sholette
When: 6-7pm, Thursday 10 June

Where: Lecture Theatre HU 323, Level 3 Hunter Building, Kelburn Parade, Wellington

Gregory Sholette's residency is made possible through a partnership between Enjoy Public Art Gallery and Dr Sondra Bacharach, Senior Lecturer in the School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations, Victoria University of Wellington. The project is generously supported by Wellington City Council, the Marsden Fund, Victoria University of Wellington School of Design, Wellington City Library, Quilters Bookshop, Arty Bees Bookshop, and Radio Active.

For more information contact Dr Sondra Bacharach at Visit for more details on the Wellington Collaboratorium.

Written by

Victoria University of Wellington

8 Jun 2010

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