DIWO (Do-It-With-Others): Artistic co-creation as a decentralized method of peer empowerment in today’s multitude

Coordinator:  Marc Garrett

Furtherfield originally created the term DIWO in 2006, to represent and reflect its own involvement in a series of grass root explorations between artists instigating critically attuned, mutual engagements, shifting curatorial and thematic power away from top-down initiations into co-produced, networked artistic activities; it has now become an international movement much bigger than we imagined.

The practice of DIWO allows space for an openness where a rich mixing of components from different sources crossover and build a hybrid experience. It challenges and renegotiates the power roles between artists and curators. It brings all actors to the fore, artists become co-curators alongside the curators, and the curators themselves can also be co-creators. The ‘source’ materials are open to all; to remix, re-edit and redistribute, either within a particular DIWO event or project, or elsewhere. The process is as important as the outcome and these mutually respective engagements work as forming relationally aware peer enactments. It is a living art, exploiting contemporary forms of digital and physical networks as a mode of open praxis, as in the Greek word for doing, and as in, doing it with others.

This study investigates why these critically engaged activities were (and are) thought of as essential nourishment not only for ‘individual’ artists, but also as an effective form of artistic collaboration with others, and to a wider culture. It critiques the differences between ‘collaborative’ trends initiated by established art and design institutions, the creative industries, corporations, and independent projects. It explores the grey areas of creative (idea) control, the nuances of power exchange and what this means for independent thinking artists and collectives working within collaborative contexts, socially, culturally and ethically. It also asks, whether new forms of DIWO can act as an inclusive commons. Whereby it consists of methods and values relating to ethical and ecological processes, as part of its artistic co-creation; whilst maintaining its original intentions as a decentralized method of peer empowerment in today’s multitude?