Can I call it a collaboration if I am sent things and I respond? Simon Warren and Rebecca Guyver's 'Wonderful as only home' book.

Simon Warren has been sending me copious shirt card-boards of writing - memories of Tring, trains, England, himself all in his characteristic handwriting, looping prose. I've labeled Simon's words 'experimental writing' as I tagged the posts.  I have been posting this wonderful gift on my blog and gathering the pages for upcoming exhibitions for 25 years of IUOMA (Memories are Made of This).

I've been interested to see what constitutes a memory as they've come in. I've only sent one in myself (to my daughter in Edinburgh - I can't bring myself to mail myself something) and it was both abstract and literal. 

I have never met Simon and I guess I realise I can't be sure at all of what is real and what is play and what is symbolic in mail art in general and with Simon in particular. It challenges my idea of reality and realism. Interesting!

Since being a member of IUOMA the only 'pure' collaborations I have taken part in have been through Cheryl Penn- A Vispo book  (orchestrated jointly with De Villo Sloan) and I've sent and received her zines and books.  But I also feel responding is collaborating on some level. I respond when I send things into MinXus Lynxus, but I guess that is more a dialogue in the same way we receive and blog and send out work at IUOMA everyday. Sarah Churchill sent me a great pub book about what they do in Welsh pubs in response to a card I sent her, etc...That was fun and great, but again it was a response more than a collab, I guess.

So I guess I have answered my own question... this isn't a collab either because I have simply illustrated/responded to Simon's writing by making some 'automatic collages' sparked by his words.  It was a satisfying process and I'd like to do more but what does a 'real collaboration' between two artists look like? What are the steps? Is it managed, agreed on?

I have uploaded the book to google docs and you can see it here: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3g5q7Qjx55QaXZrbFBoMnpHekU/edit?us...

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Comment by Pamela Gerard on April 22, 2013 at 6:00pm

Wonderful! Really enjoyed seeing/reading this. Looks great.

Comment by Rebecca Guyver on April 22, 2013 at 3:50pm

All this positive feedback is making me smile! Huge thanks to you all!

Comment by vizma bruns on April 22, 2013 at 10:49am

Rebecca, this is just wonderful!

I think Simon (I don't actually know him, nor have we exchanged mail) would be honoured to be a part of this work. I'd call it a (real) collab for sure... but I really like your questions. "Is it agreed on" ? So much to think about here.

Comment by Theresa Ann Aleshire Williams on April 21, 2013 at 10:12pm

I just clicked on your link and...just wow. What a powerful thing. Kudos to you and Simon.

Comment by Theresa Ann Aleshire Williams on April 21, 2013 at 10:07pm

Rebecca, thanks for posting this. I'm always interested to know what Simon Warren is up to. I've received over 100 mailings from him, and I've sent him nearly 70. I consider what we are doing a collaboration because my works would never have existed without his letters and art.  In fact, I consider all of my mailart to be collaborative, since it would not exist without another person being on the receiving end. I am quite sure that Simon is going to be delighted with your little book.  I have new mail going out to Simon for tomorrow myself!

Comment by Rebecca Guyver on April 21, 2013 at 9:39pm

Thanks DVS, typical of me to over-think things! Delighted that you (s) think I haven't sabotaged his work!

Comment by De Villo Sloan on April 21, 2013 at 6:53pm

Great book with a very thoughtful write up, Rebecca. I'm with Amy that I think the present condition is a RG/SW collab similar in process to Kerri 's & Guido's recent effort. I don't think you have to worry so much about how to classify it, though.

Comment by Rebecca Guyver on April 21, 2013 at 6:37pm

Amy, thanks for your kind words! This arrived from Simon yesterday.  I've scanned it and am just about to layer (draw) something on top of the scan.  I realise that when you don't really know someone, meaning is a confusing thing and misrepresentation more than a little possible!

Comment by Amy Irwen on April 21, 2013 at 4:49pm

Rebecca...this is definately a collaboration! and very beautiful!!!

Cheers to you and Simon....

hugs *!*

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