The Passive Collective

by HRM on February 28, 2012

"Become an inactivist today (or whenever you feel so inclined)"

I first met Lendl Barcelos by the fountain in the Place Saint Sulpice. This is the same square that Perec exhausts in his book Tentative d’épuisement d’un lieu Parisien, but this is not important. Lendl is one of the team behind the Passive Collective, launching its second issue tomorrow, on the leap day (“for esoteric reasons,” he tells me), at the Polyhaus in Toronto.

– Harriet Alida Lye

What/who is the Passive Collective?

The Passive Collective is a way of organizing. It has no members.

How did it form, what was the seed that germinated the idea?

There was a cork-board where an activist roommate would pin various forms of activist propaganda. One day a poster was produced in the same vein bearing the slogan “Become an inactivist today (or whenever
you feel so inclined).” Months passed and the concept began to ferment; The Passive Collective wished to be self-actualized. Broadsides were posted in Milan and in Brooklyn. During the the same period, a great deal of art (text, visual, and other) was being produced, begging dissemination. Incidentally, much of it was being created at very low visibility (a dusty sketchbook in someone’s room, ideas yet to be penned but spoken, etc.). The idea of a group with nothing to gather around seemed an effective principle for the wider broadcast of these disparate expressions, so a book (and now, a subsequent book) was created.

Why do you think it’s important or interesting to publish book-magazines?

Physical books are important because they have a scent and they register the traces of their readers (dust, stains, marginalia, pressed leaves, old receipts, etc.). Producing books is not only a way of sharing an object and the creators of that object with others, it is a way of defining an experience/experiment with the reader.

What, if any, is the significance of “collectivity” in art?

Collectivity is one of the most important aspects of art. Even an art-object that is hermetically made, buried, and left to rot without another person being involved in its production (however that is possible) can be discussed as a counter-example of collectivity and become, at least conceptually, a node to collect around. It is a clichéd notion, but many of the greatest artists and art came about through some sort of collective experience.

What are you inspired by right now?

Pierre Mac Orlan, Islamic design, conversations with intractable tangents, Toronto (especially Alexandra Mackenzie and L CON), boredom, and complex ideas put simply.

Previous post:

Next post:

ISSN: 2116 34X