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'The question of collaboration is one that arguably can't be ignored in contemporary academia, creative fields, or current philosophical and critical landscapes. The word ‘collaboration’ at once brings to mind the conspiratorial nature of crime as well as the cooperative nature of teamwork and the harmonious meeting of minds and practices. It is, then, a slippery word, and for this reason serves as a fertile provocation for the inquiries unpacked and developed in this special issue of Axon.' (Introduction)
'This article examines how feminist performance has been, and continues to be, a key vehicle for the collaborative exploration of sexual difference and female subjectivity in Australia. It focuses specifically on the Lean Sisters and Generic Ghosts, whose collaborative performances occurred during the seventies and eighties, and their impact on subsequent feminist collaborative performance groups. As the article demonstrates, this counter-cultural tradition of performance typically deploys tactics of intertextuality, cross-media experimentation, humour, and détournement to critique gender oppression and its recurrence, while staging new possibilities of an embodied feminist politics.' (Publication abstract)
'The trope of the lone creator or individual ‘genius’ is a dominant one in current conceptions of artistic practice and creativity. However, in this paper we suggest that writing and art, and creative practice more generally, might be reimagined in terms of a collaborative sociability; and that this is a way of recognising art’s almost endless, protean permeability. The idea of collaborative sociability might also be a way of understanding how artists ‘labour together’ even when they may not be aware that they are doing so. Just as some forms of influence and intertextuality constitute a form of collaboration, so all texts may in a broad sense be intertextual and collaborative when understood in the context of the zeitgeist in which they are produced—even works by authors and artists who are largely understood to work outside of explicit collaborative frameworks. But if collaboration may be what many writers and artists are doing much of the time, collaboration remains potentially fraught and, to a significant extent, mysterious in its various expressions and outcomes. It demands flexibility and a willing embrace of its inherent unpredictability.' (Publication abstract)
'How do multiple poets speak at once, and what purpose can it serve? Poetry collaborations can involve sophisticated layerings of voice and impositions of meaning, depending on the intentions of the poets involved. In this article, a theory of ‘palimpsestuous’ poetic voices will be substantiated in the case of poetry collections where these voices fluctuate and come together to selectively promote certain ideas or issues. Two poetry collaborations—Speedfactory by Bernard Cohen, John Kinsella, McKenzie Wark, and Terri-ann White, and Speaking Geographies, an on-going poetry project by this article’s authors Siobhan Hodge and Rosalind McFarlane—will be examined in detail. In the case of these two collections, environmentalist concerns are particularly highlighted by their engagements with poetic voices. As this article will demonstrate, collaborations offer poets unique opportunities to set up contrasts between the personal and the communal, coming together with great effect to promote or condemn issues or values.' (Publication summary)
'This paper takes up the question of what might hinder the collaborative impulse among artists and specifically poets, and offers—as one possible answer—the complication posed by the urge of an artist for immortality, or for their (individual) name to live on. The paper begins by returning to a moment in Plato, namely that of the Symposium and its observations concerning the connection between poiesis (making) and a questing after immortality. Contrasting with what seems like Plato's broadly positive framing, the paper takes up a second reading of immortality (or the 'will-to-live') found in an early text of the Yogic canon, that of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. In this second text, written somewhat later than Plato's, the will-to-live is framed otherwise, as one of five afflictions that can be 'made thin' by practice. The paper's wager is that, viewed in this way, as an affliction, the will-to-live (or urge for immortality) deserves consideration as a hindrance to the impulse towards collaboration. Noting, however, that in the poiesis of writing poetry, where there is both the making of things and the action of making things, this creative constellation always contains the tempering solution to its own inherent lures. Writing, although providing fuel for immortal appetites (due to what it makes), also works to temper the worst of this same impulse via the contribution of practice—as dedication, craft and community-as-practice. The practice of writing, therefore, is already at play, and can be emphasised explicitly for any poet or maker who also wants to be able to want to collaborate. The practice of writing, then, and its turn away from investments in identity, works to thin out the more destructive face of an urge for a dubious eternity that can eclipse our ability to work together creatively with others in this life. ' (Publication abstract)