Modernity was “the age of the creative individual” — heyday of idolism; if only as a reaction, it also incubated the beginnings of the “new old” collaborativity — coauthorships, creative circles in science, music, drama — that would fully flourish after sparsening. Now all of art, science, lifemaking, knowledge are predominantly collaborative: culture is whats secreted out by the bubbling foam of collectives — from one-gig to lifetime, from authorial (a retinue of bandsters behind a central creative figure) to strictly egalitarian, from parallel (write independent chapters) to sequential (brainstorm, then write together, then play critics, arrangers, copyeditors on each other), from anonymous textuals to familial live-ins. All you need to do for collaboration is share your work; in fact, too much talk may stifle (“committee syndrome”) — the best communication is the unverbalizable creative act itself: “why critique when you can branch.” ■    With work no longer a condition of bare survival, we task each other to fight procrastination — thats the most cited reason for the rise of collaborativity. Other explanations point to the psychic and somatic shifts of Change, waves of social restructuring (moleculization, evolution of collectives), lifemaking advances in communication and soulmatching, educational focus on artistry; last not least, collaborative theatricals, lived art, cooking, wizardry highlight the principal eclecticism of modern creativity, its dreamlike entanglement, its unmanageable for a single mind universality: “do worlds, not books.” Perhaps the basest reason is the sheer joy of working adverbially — the thrill of seeing someone outgive you; members of a collaboration often sag in creativity after it disbands: “what a letdown to return to your work tomorrow and find it exactly as you left it.”  ■    Art from the past is increasingly treated as something to copyedit, remix, restage, retranslate (how far from the “poetry is untranslatable” of old! its now a cooking staple, translators the worker bees of linguistic cross-pollination): true collaboration may develop with a historic figure, both scholarly and dialogically, leading into a full-blown relife — studying, annotating, continuing the legacy line by line, bit by bit; dissolving into your subject, eviscerating any trace of your here-and-now, forgetting all you knew about “the future,” slowly realizing what could — so tauntingly close to should — have been created.

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