Dialog in Common

Claudia Eipeldauer: On Collaboration

Member of WochenKlausur, Vienna.
pressEmail interview with Claudia Eipeldauer [CE] by Markuz Wernli Saitô on March 26, 2006.

Shelter for drug-addicted women

Shelter for drug-addicted women (1994): Gallery Shedhalle and WochenKlausur use art to shape political reality.

What meaning has co-operation in the context of your projects?
What's the role of the participants during this process?

CE: Group collaboration and its dynamics are substantial for the success of our projects. The rapid conversion and implementation from ideas and suggestions within the given timeframe depends heavily on the concentration of the participating artists. It's the synergy from the specific experiences and backgrounds of each participant, which create a unique, situation-based process and working sphere which creates an unconventional but prosperous working athmosphere.

On what levels take co-operation place in your practice and how does it affect your projects?
CE: Co-operation must be present on all levels, both outward and inward. The projects are directly affected by it. A WochenKlausur project only evolves through the collective discussion of all problems and tasks.

Where you see to possibilities and limitations of co-operation in the everyday life context?
CE: Relevant is the conversion from ideas to reality. Therefore the group has to overcome mental and institutional boundaries again and again. Rapid and unconventional strategies are often necessarily to get over resistance - exactly here lie the possibilities but by the same token the limitations of every project.

Can life-like art have continuous effects on learning and experience or knowledge exchange?
CE: Experience or knowledge exchange as well as learning are inherent to art that sees its function in the transformation of living conditions. Every encounter, every new experience is already the continuation or the effect of an idea and ideally a step toward implementation. If you want, you can say that every social-political attempt of translating proposals into action is learning, is making new experiences and is sharing knowledge with others. For example, learning that things do not automatically have to be the way they are or to raise awareness to a specific problem.

What is needed for transforming collaborations and what ignites this? Are there are forms or examples of collaboration which you look up to?
CE: A co-operation is initiated through the readiness of the individual participant to be fully dedicated to a problem over a given time and under certain conditions. Until now over 20 WochenKlausur projects have been successfully conducted by alternating teams. The team is always transforming as not every member has time, energy or will do participate in every project. While on the one hand the group has established some kind of experience over the years the alteration of the group on the other, always challenges every kind of routine. This vivid exchange and the possibility to work within an open team that is still never arbitrary makes it possible to work in a tranforming collaboration.

Relationships are crucial for flourishing collaboration. How do you approach your participants and groups involved near and can establish a positive feedback system?
CE: Relationships are established on a personal level. We don't have feedback systems. Substantial are friendship and the joy of collaborating with each other. In such a climate it's so much easier to tackle and resolve problems right off the bat. Everything else won't work.

Since 1993 and on invitation from different art institutions, the artist group WochenKlausur* develops concrete proposals aimed at small, but nevertheless effective improvements to socio-political deficiencies. Proceeding even further and invariably translating these proposals into action, artistic creativity is no longer seen as a formal act but as an intervention into society.

*) The name WochenKlausur could be translated as "weeks of closure". The German word 'Klausur' is related to the English words enclosure, seclusion and cloister.