If you don't pay attention to me, I WON’T PAY ATTENTION TO YOU. On the role of the collective in an attention economy

facilitated by Sarah Margarita Lewis
September 1 – 30

If we think of scarcity as the driving force of an economic model then, given today’s incessant inundation of information, what is becoming increasingly scarce is the attention we are able to pay and command. The foundation of this economic model is contingent upon interpersonal relations.

How does the attention we transact affect our sense of worth? Can we engage each other and avoid the more incessant and individualistic tendencies of personality expression? How could the collective offer another possibility of accruing attention? How could we alternatively construct an ecology of attention? And how could this proposed ecology offer an emancipatory perspective on the way we think about the relationships we want to build with the things: be the gadgets, animals, plants and or people around us.

Throughout this month working with a group of diverse multi genre artists we will explore possibilities of artistic collaboration while dealing with the question of attention scarcity. Specifically how this scarcity affects, jeopardizes or enhances the experience of working as a collective. Utilizing a set methodology we will leverage imagination to more deeply engage with each other through an economy of attention. Where among other things we will switch roles, rotate authorship, view, observe, explore proposals put forth, and collectively edit and at the end present/perform our assembled findings.

Methodology Exploration: for a collaborative practice. We explore what it means to work together with a group of artists, from several different fields- in order to generate and curate content.

Week 1:

Switching Roles:

As a group of varying artistic genres there will be a process where we irreverently "steal" one another´s artistic identities. How will the work be impacted if we release ourselves from past notions of artistic identities?

Week 2:

Rotating Directorship:

While we will be primarily functioning as a collective, rotating directorship, will put executive power in the hands of one person for a specific period. The focus of the group will be on realizing the singular vision of the "director"; for that period of time.

Week 3:

Permissive Exploration:

Permissive exploration is a strategy for communicating in other ways besides discussion. We would improvise together to generate material. It is about playing and saying YES. It is not about editing, saying no, or casting judgment.

Week 3:

The Subject and the Scientist:

We would individually create mini-performances/presentations of materials. One person presents while the others observe and take note.

Week 4:

Editing Studio:

Editing studio is about creating a time and space to essentially curate our generated material. We would collect and assess documentation and critically discuss and make choices about what to further investigate.

About the facilitator
Sarah Margarita Lewis is a Dominican-American cultural producer and performing artist based in Berlin. She has created, curated and led a variety of different performing art projects in cities like Boston, Berlin, Chicago, NYC, Brussels, Santo Domingo, Paris, Riga, Basel and Sao Paulo working in an array of different cultural venues, from theaters to galleries, public spaces, schools and museums.
Combining her artistic practices Sarah has come to play the role of a host concentrating on knowledge dissemination through theatrical forms. Assembling materials and facilitating situations that provide a platform (or stage) that attempts to level out hierarchies of knowledge and focuses rather on knowledge interdependence– after all, we are all cultural producers. The structures she proposes provide room for reflection on the assumed roles people enact on a daily basis where the public is then invited to create their own collective script. Sarah has been working with Mobile Academy Berlin since 2013.



Presented on Friday 30 September 2016 from 19:55 to 23:55
Agora, Mittelweg 50, 12053 Berlin

Featuring participating artists of AFFECT Module V: An Ecology Of Attention
Facilitated by Sarah Margarita Lewis.
Coordinated by Paz Ponce

| Carlos Franco

| Yerin Kim

| Alex Knight

| Josephine Michel

| Kyungrim Jang

| Charlotte Draycott

| Anastasiya Korotkowa

| Deb Casey

It will have begun at dusk and they will have entered the space expecting some sort of tale or tales that hopefully will have touched them, made them more aware of something that maybe they had not entered the room thinking about or feeling.  They will have entered, willingly or perhaps unwillingly into a scenario where their suspension of disbelief will have led them to enter someone else’s/something else’s…skin… briefly yet intimately through the doorway of a story with:

Francisco: naps, nets, knits, knocks, nuts

Yerin: born and raised on earth to exist momentarily, confused and conflicted by the distinctions between mind and physicality, secretly dreams of being a stand up comedian

Lim: blah, blahblah, sometimes  doesn’t know what she is saying

Paz: Daughter of a spy and a legless sailor, from whom she inherited a white dromedary named Coco,  dreams with water

Anastasiya: follows materials and people, wonders if we don’t confuse subject and definition too often, is trying  to give to give up coffee

Carlos: Moving at a different tempo, is what some may considered late... but remember what Gandalf said

Deb: Voyeur, optimist with a penchant for dark matter

Charlotte: lives in a daydream, hoards rolls of film, sometimes gets confused as Bambi

Alex: has considered becoming a fox, totally turned on by plants, knows better than to wish to have been born at any other time, but still kinda wishes had finished life pre-or, post-internet, fairly regularly

Sarah: workhorse, with an addiction to chocolate

Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity- Simone Weil.

‘Can storytelling offer a portal to being more attentive and aware of our surroundings and fellow earthlings? The moral philosopher Martha Nussbaum argues, literature, is nourishing because it expands our empathy, developing our moral imagination. Empathy is something we practice, and literature can help us to flex this muscle. Throughout this module we explored how a collective could create an ecology of attention through examining, sharing and creating stories. We looked at how we could engage each other and how, through this proposed ecology, we could offer an emancipatory perspective on the way we think about the relationships we want to build with the things-be they gadgets, animals, plants and or people -around us’.

Facebook Invitation: www.facebook.com/events/1333298833382051/

Photo credits by Joana Dias.