12. Collaborative Projects

(five paragraphs)

CL: So you thought of using DoWhatDo as a collaborative model to make art?
SLAYTON: I appropriated this DoWhatDo theory and applied it to the process of doing a community-based performance work. I would literally get all the participants engaged in this DoWhatDo-ing with me with their full knowledge that that's what they were doing...

CL: Were the conversations prior to the performance itself?
SLAYTON: A year leading up to the actual show called "DoWhatDo." The show itself was important only in the context of everything that happened up to the show. I'd have to have the right people with the right topics at the right table at the right time and out of that would come a determination of what to do next. And then you roll that over, forwarding the conversation to the next level. I used it to write grants, I used it to interact with the community, I used it to interact with the artists, I used it on every level with no knowledge whatsoever of how the final outcome would be shaped. Whatever it ended up being is what it ended up doing and that was an informed thing.

CL: Did you limit the conversations to performance and community?
SLAYTON: Right. At a table I would have someone representing the legal interests of the city, I'd have another person from the arts commission representing the arts and where they should take place, and myself, with the objective of identifying the site for the performance. And they'd say, "Well, where do you want to do it?" and I'd say "Well, where do you want me to do it?"

CL: Or 'where can we do it?'
SLAYTON: Do what? It would cycle around so that one person would say something, the next would subtract something, and so on. I would apply principles from DoWhatDo theory to the conversation and get rid of extraneous and useless information. Certain operations described in the theory apply to this process. It resulted in -- the first time out -- a kind of weird, collaborative thing that was fun.

CL: So you're satisfied with the DoWhatDo collaborative model?
SLAYTON: Yes. It works great. For me. It puts different roles and different spins on the collaborators, and its a way for them to gel around a process. You know generally what's going to happen but as the event unfolds it has no choice but to do what it does and that's the beauty of it. It goes its own direction, it becomes its own conversation -- and to me that's the amazing part of it. But, I'm a novice at this, I'm just figuring it out.