This month’s focus on the CCA website will be conversation and its different forms and permutations. Conversation is defined as:

‘an interchange of thoughts and words; familiar discourse or talk’, and as ‘occupation or engagement with things, in the way of business or study; the resulting condition of acquaintance or intimacy with a matter’.[1]

It is this notion of intimacy (both between individuals and within the content of the exchange) that shall be explored in the following month’s exchanges and writing. Although conversation is largely recognised as a verbal pursuit, it is conversation in its broadest sense that shall be explored, thus embracing technologically-enabled conversation taking place over vast distances and even without uttering a word.

We have collated several exchanges such as Houghton Kinsman’s upcoming Arranged Encounters conversation series (read below) and the start of an ongoing online exchange Finding Common Ground Over Great DistanceThe first of these will be a conversation between Gayle Meikle, an artist and curator from Scotland and Alexandra Ross (postdoc at the CCA).

More on the Arranged Encounters series:

As a part of the CCA’s month of online Conversation, we put together a series of arranged ‘encounters’. These encounters brought together members of the CCA  team and external faculty, and were designed to explore the art of conversation, in line with CCA post doctoral fellow Alexandra Ross’s notion of “critical conviviality(for more information please visit her website Continuous Curatorial Conversations here).

Having taken place in an online Facebook or Gmail chat forum guided by a loosely defined theme, each encounter took place at a predetermined time, with each participant in a location of their choice and for the duration of 30 minutes. With an emphasis on little to no preparation, it was hoped that the conversation would naturally oscillate between all participants and develop organically. Hence, the resulting texts have been edited to a minimum, in order to preserve the conversations’ nuances, fragility and to emphasise their character.

Much like the Minimalists did with the dialogue interview, these conversations have given the CCA a platform to discuss projects, aspects of research or general interests in a public space. Looking back, we can see that these encounters have grown in different, both expected and unexpected, directions. And, ultimately it has demonstrated how conversation can operate as a laboratory of exchange between both un/familiar practitioners of ideas, knowledge and/or questions.