Caveat Reading Room #11: Ecotones of Collaboration & Caveat website launch

Caveat presents a double programme hosted by OSP. The evening starts with a Reading Room where we’ll collectively read and discuss parts of Ecotones of Collaboration, OSP’s reseach into good practices in graphic design. This is followed by the festive public presentation of Caveat’s website, developed and designed by OSP, a discussion and drinks.
13/11/2019, 18-20:30h

Ecotones of Collaboration questions the triangular relationship between graphic designers, artists and institutions through the format of long and short interviews. More specifically, the research tries to highlight the methods or “positive experiences”, where the parties involved try to escape from the common mechanics of commodification.

An ecotone is a transition area between two biomes where two communities meet and integrate. River beds are a common example.

Through its radical practice, Open Source Publishing (OSP) questions the modes of collaboration between graphic designers and artists, or between graphic designers and cultural institutions. In an effort to clarify the frame of the specific collaborations initiated by OSP the collective produced a collaboration agreement in 2014, a document which has regularly been reviewed since. In November 2018, a workshop at Beurschouwburg gathered around 15 people with various backgrounds (designers, artists, curators, legal experts, etc.). While bringing to light the necessity to modify this document to be able to question it and its sometimes rigid proposals, it also showed that there is a common will to talk about these topics, which are often left undiscussed.

Assuming we must all have had some bad experiences with collaborations along the way, some more truculent than others, we have decided to focus on the positive experiences which are less often discussed. What are the methods or examples that allow to escape the common commodification? What are the documents that help shaping a stable and fertile relationship? Through which means can we sort issues calmly, doing justice to the collaboration from the its very beginning? Which skills and sensibilities allow us to shape the relationship with collaborators? What are the preferred environments for and ways of communication?

OSP has contacted about 20 graphic designers, artists and partners established under various statutes in Brussels and elsewhere. In our selection we have embraced our bias and have not necessarily aimed at a statistical representation. We have tried to bring together a collection of situations represented by a variation of different media, but most importantly, we have aimed for a narration created around various axes, articulating a diverse range of collaborations.

While some preferred to decline our invitation, the majority accepted. Most of the interviews were conducted in the spring of 2019. The interviews, conducted by different members of OSP, often resulted in long conversations, some in-depth and freestyle, some trying to define the contours of the ‘pieces’ of collaboration. The results, of varying length, are published in text form and in the language that was used during the conversations.

Ecotones of collaboration is a project by OSP in the framework of Caveat.
All texts are published under CC BY-ND license.

For questions and more information about this research, contact:
or read more on the Caveat website

Caveat is supported by Innoviris.