Collaboration and Creation

Creative scenes, artistic duos, and creation myths


In a few weeks I will be hosting a Zoom salon on the history and future of collaboration with Isabela Granic. The discussion will take place on 28 April 2021 at 9pm (London). Details and tickets here.

We’ll be discussing the most brilliant periods of artistic and intellectual creativity throughout history, with a specific focus on creative duos. What can we learn from artistic scenes or philosophical schools? From the best partnerships? How does the slow correspondence of writing letters compare to today’s instantaneous communication?

What can we learn from successful digital collaborations like Wikipedia, Github, or the Linux kernel? How do they differ in culture, tools, or norms from less fruitful and constructive online spaces? How might multiple minds work together to exceed the sum of their parts? How could new digital projects assist in the meeting of such minds?

In short, during the salon we’ll think together about how best to think together.

And we would love to have you there for the discussion. If you’re interested in this topic but can’t make the date, please do get in touch with me — depending on interest, this may become a series. 🥰

A cinematographic example

Between 1953 and 1982, the Swedish director Ingmar Bergman and cinematographer Sven Nykvist collaborated on seventeen films.

Bergman won academy awards for The Virgin Spring (1959), Through a Glass Darkly, (1960), and Fanny and Alexander (1982), all of which Nykvist shot. Nykvist won an academy award for the cinematography of Fanny and Alexander, and also for Cries and Whispers (1972), which Bergman directed.

The two artists developed such an affinity that they needed only the briefest of conversations about the desired mood on the day before shooting to capture some of the most powerful and intensely beautiful scenes in film history.

How did such a close rapport develop? Why did a single relationship result in so many masterpieces?

These are the kinds of questions I’m asking, and that we’ll be discussing in the above salon.

Speaking of Bergman

Since 2018 I have been running a discussion group called Through a Glass Darkly, named after the Bergman film. This year we have been discussing creation myths. These conversations also happen on Zoom, and meet every other week on Monday evenings. The next one will be on 26 April 2021 at 7pm London time, and we will be discussing the Mayan creation story from the Popol Vuh. Details and signup here.

And as a teaser: How might the creative duos and the creation stories relate to the theory that consciousness itself first arose in interpersonal space, before it could exist in any single mind? I am planning to write more on this topic, so stay tuned!

I would also love to hear how you’ve been doing this year. I will respond to any responses you send, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 😊