What we wanted to do was to operate as artists in the world of design, which wasn’t expecting that approach. We’d say we were artists, but we had shifted our world of action or expertise outside of museum and gallery exhibitions. Our practice was a bit surprising at the beginning.”
“We have been saying this since we started, because it was part of our obsession: ‘Our work is an ongoing conversation’. This is our relationship to people we’ve been collaborating with, and I say collaborating because it is a lot more than just working, even if we are working in a hardcore, industrial context. We shift it so it becomes a conversation, or we try to, it is never: ‘We have been told to do this,’or, ‘We are telling you to do that,’” says Mathias. “Some people understood us right away, because they could see a connection, while others, they liked what we were doing, but they didn’t understand that to arrive at that point, there was a necessary process. We’ve tried to work with people who want to escape that process, but it produces something that looks like our work, but without the gravity of it. One of the successes of the exhibition, is that it has truly been a conversation between people of good manner and conscience. Another, is it’s optimism. The exhibition goes beyond objects that can be sold, and rather, focusses on producing a moment. A generous moment, where you can access history and be part of a culture that produced an amazing set of materials. I think this ought to be the mission of a museum, to produce exhibitions that nourish the cultural surroundings.”
One of the ways I'm trying to get "better" at using Are.na is being more conscientious about titling and/or adding descriptions to my blocks and channels. It's easy to not do this because I've become used to privileging speed over long-term use (i.e. it's easy to add things, but harder/more time-consuming to label them, particularly if it means having to actually research the content). Also, I might have a pretty good idea of where I've put everything, but no one else will. This, to me, is key to making Are.na a more communal project than an individualistic one. Labeling helps make what you've added more useful to others (and yourself in the long term!). By creating a culture around "tending to" / "taking care" of the things we add, Are.na becomes more useful for everyone, like a community garden :^). I should note that I would not want Are.na to go the direction of Pinterest where users are required to add titles/descriptions because forcing it down your throat doesn't actually engender care (this is a key distinction for me). I imagine it might be possible to encourage this behavior more through UI/UX, but I think the desire and behavior should ultimately come from the users themselves.
One of my beliefs is that Are.na has potential not just as a researching platform for other projects (blogging, presentation decks, web design, gallery exhibits) but as a publishing platform in its own right, where users are able to present ideas to an audience. One way to do this is to build sort of playlists for ideas, where by assembling text and media documents you're actually making a sort of argument, or presenting a sort of worldview. Another way is by using the container system as a format to stack and structure original fragments of ideas.
I'm tempted to use the word "postmodern" to describe this publishing platform, because there's a way in which things are deconstructed into blocks, but that's actually missing the fundamental mechanism of how Are.na works. What's actually happening is reconstruction, where a bunch of scattered blocks are built into a new structure all of their own.