Well the group has began meeting and I must say we have more differences than commonalities. I think it is the Vancouver team that has the most conflicts, due in part to the conceptual differences of our work and the fact that we just don't seem to want to collaborate. We spend more time trying to figure out ways to work together without actually working together.
This morning, over breakfast, I discovered that we are not alone and that some of the other groups are struggling with ways to make individual projects work together. About 20 artists all sat in the great dining hall, glumly eating the same rye bread with the same Edam cheese, wondering how we are going to work together.
Yesterday, as part of a day off, 3 of our group and another Vancouverite went to visit Ceske Kumlov an amazing medieval castle fortress town. At first I was a little hohum "not another medieval castle fortress town. Aren't we living in one now?" But I decided to go anyway. After a rather gruesome 2 hour busride, which I determined was south, we ended up in this fairytale town. It was amazing and I am glad I went. I turned into an unashamed tourist - as opposed to the ashamed one I usually am.
The town was just gorgeous and touristy but Czech touristy not American touristy. Their were no McDonalds or other awful things. Even at highly overpriced rates a steak dinner (thank goodness) with all the works: soup, steak , potato and honey cake and beer - it only cost about 10 dollars. I feel not rich here but certainly well off. This is the only time in my entire life that I have felt like this.
We decided to take the train back to our slightly drabber medieval town. It was supposed to cost more than the bus but we had a group rate and so then it cost less. The best part was sitting in a little bar waiting for the train to come.
Czeske Kumlov is in the heart of the Bohemian forest and both the bus or train ride is pretty amazing. You ride through birch, hemlock, linden and other familiar trees. There is not much in the way of wild life except for the captive bears in the castle or the taxidermied animals in the windows of restaurants and stores. Everywhere you look you see land that has been cultivated for centuries.
Oh yes, about the project. I don't really know what is going to happen. I think this collaboration is about building an idea together. It's funny but on the visit yesterday, I think we could have come up with our group collaborative project. It would have been both collaborative and fun. It started when Lesley began taking pictures of Kevin in his green hoody. All of us started taking pictures of him and we really enjoyed just riffing on photos of Kevin.
So I get an idea of what collaboration is and how you have to just let go of your self and just allow the moment or the idea to seize you. Now to try and tell this to the other half of the group....