This assumption of the intrinsically repressive nature of collective experience and redemptive power of individuation is a staple of contemporary art theory and criticism. I would argue that a closer analysis of collaborative and collective art practices can reveal a more complex model of social change and identity, one in which the binary oppositions of divided vs. coherent subjectivity, desiring singularity vs. totalizing collective, liberating distanciation vs. stultifying interdependence, are challenged and complicated.
If the surprise outcome of the recent UK referendum – on whether to leave or remain in the European Union – teaches us anything, it is that supposedly worthy displays of democracy in action can actually do more harm than good. Witness a nation now more divided; an intergenerational schism in the making; both a governing and opposition party torn to shreds from the inside; infinitely more complex issues raised than satisfactory solutions provided. It begs the question ‘Was it really all worth it’ ?