Thin Boundaries in Performance Creation

Whether in the arts, or in an office, the ability to collaborate is critical. True accomplishment is rarely a solitary pursuit. Within those bold/shy maxims, however, there are the real issues of who gets the credit, and who is in control. Participating in the Thin Boundaries project with the Picasso Extended performance art collective, I experienced this (again.)

There was no over-arching theme for this piece, but three core visual ideas. Gail had a clear vision for her installation on the wall. Andrea had a clear idea for her installation in the window. And then Franklin added the leaves to his vision of some bed play. As we wove those pieces together with additional performers (I, one of them) elements were added, including music by Rogelio. But the foundational vision was built with those three structures.

When we processed after it was clear that one person felt their vision had been hijacked by the group process. In really giving into the collaborative project they felt like their work was not seen – because it was contextualized by all of the other elements. As a non-visionary in Thin Boundaries I appreciate, and benefited from, what she gave (and I think the audience that night did, too.) Apropos of nothing, but there’s a necessary generosity involved in collaboration that is not always easy. Collaborations seem to only work over time if participants productively process about their difficulties, as well as their ideas.