INTAC - International Art Collaborations - Fall 2011

Story: Mikael Kinanen
It's always nice working with people you have never even heard of before. Quite a bit doesn't go as planned, but fortunately it brings distance to what you have got used to in your little circle of acquaintances. With the technology at our very fingertips any problems of physical space and state borders can be dealt away with easily.

Skype meeting under way. Photo: Juha Suonpää

Around twenty students each from three different schools around the globe take part in collaborations within the INTAC framework. The emphasis is on photography and video art. We communicate with each other through a Tumblr blog and other electronic means: introduce ourselves, search for potential collaborations, ponder on projects, tune our concepts and hopefully bring them through. The results will be exhibited in spring 2012 in the 1<3 exhibition in Toronto.

The three schools taking part in INTAC are TAMK Tampere University of Applied Sciences, the OCAD University from Canada and new this year the Chung-Ang University from South Korea. The initiative for the collaboration originally came from Peter Sramek, the OCAD U chair of photography, and the Torontonian students Pat Navarro, Melissa Clark and Joanna Glezakos.

In late November, before getting on with the INTAC projects the students from Tampere and Toronto took part in Collective Body: another collaboration project involving six schools from five countries. The concept was simple: each created a profile of themselves on the web platform, seeks interesting people to collaborate with through the profiles and realizes a piece or work of art with them. We had two weeks. This was a shorter version of what INTAC too will be this winter.

Collective Body was an effort which came on top of everything else the participants were doing. For us Finns it was a bit of a surprise. Many did more than I, but even for me Collective Body was a success. Just trying to throw around ideas with a stranger is fruitful, even if problems with the platform made it a bit frustrating. For many the plans in INTAC were put on hold for the duration of the Collective Body.

Communication over the web has its own peculiarities, strengths and weaknesses, and these we are trying to learn. The social medias are indeed necessary tools and important for many artists as ways to communicate their ideas. Nevertheless most of the problems we have had thus far have had more to do with differences in how things are organized outside the digital environment rather than with any technical matters themselves.
INTAC international online Christmas meeting. Photo: Anna Knappe

My own experiences of the beginning have been more tiresome than I expected. The web platform didn't work in Collective Body as I had expected and getting used to INTAC's platform took its time. Yet it feels as if everything is starting to roll, and the knots are fast unravelling.

The collaborations are worth following. Personally I'm interested in quite a few projects other participants are doing, and my own collaboration doesn't look hopeless at all. This will be something fruitful.

The students from TAMK taking part in the projects are Kirsi Hellman, Mikael Kinanen, Anna Knappe, Tuomas Koskialho, Essi Laurila, Anne Lehtelä, Jaana Ristola, Ismo Torvinen and Elsa Trzaska.

In TAMK the collaboration is led and guided by our beloved teachers Juha Suonpää and Sari Tervaniemi.