conNECKtedTOO, an EXPERIMENT

 In Blog

By: Jean-Marie MAUCLET

As soon as artists choose to seek funding to pursue their work, they are faced with strange processes: they are required to assign a cost to each of their creative steps.

cTOO is an experiment.

We have a vision, we have a mission, we have a timeline, we have a budget. But as an experiment cTOO should not neglect any of the steps, exchanges, anecdotes, events which unroll along the way. They are as many open-ended “in kind” contributions, added on the plus side of the ledger to assure that we will not run out of energy, feedback and inspiration.

cTOO is paid partly in Reciprocity then, this most urgent social currency in our days of viral individualism and self-aggrandizing. Making sure that when we engage in an art and culture in/with community project or any form of exchange, we will give as much as we receive, listen as much as we talk, reciprocate.

An other trait of cTOO is a consequence of Reciprocity: tacking!

Tacking: “Changing course by turning into and through” the events of the moment. cTOO is very sensitive to the moment, the context. That may be what makes us less incisive but makes room for the grassroots dimension of the work. The booklets we ask our partners to fill out are a tool for tacking. The questions asked may seem unpredictable or out of place but we dive into and through their unregulated responses and adjust course. Experimenting is as much searching as it is adjusting.

Of course, at one point, the arts must bloom and show their shapes, movements and colors. Here, in order to detour the dangers of design by committee, cTOO prefers autonomy over consensus: within budget and timeline, each cTOO participant shall remain experimental; as long as it is in collaboration with other folks, partners or participants, artists or not. And as long as sources remain open, accessible.

The last aspect of cTOO-the-experiment is that cTOO itself will open shop as a TINY business. This way, the contacts, the programs, the products, the Web App, developed over the two years become its assets. cTOO will hopefully be sustainable and continue organizing support for TINY businesses, for Art and the spirit of the arts in/with communities in Charleston, for the sake of entrepreneurship, equity, open neighborhoods. To mark the points of intersection found on the social and economic justice map, inter-generational and interracial.

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