In its production, as in its circulation, print relies on a web of institutional and personal interactions. Writing in Company aims to demonstrate the essentially collaborative nature of print and call into question the commonly perceived equation, "one work = one author." Shaped by the contexts of sociability in which it takes place, collaboration factors into a wide array of practices, from simple parlour games to institutional protocol. As the expression of a community of thought, collaboration is inherent to scientific undertakings that surpass the competence of an individual, or of artistic visions that transcend disciplinary boundaries.
Whether concealed in anonymity or institutional patronage, or, on the contrary, revealing the signatures of all participants, collaboration invites us into a fascinating exploration of its innerworkings. Collective creativity occurs in delicate balance between unity and diversity, partnership and competition, equality and power. A more or less explicit reflection of interpersonal cooperation, collaborative work often contains, within the laboratory of its production, references to other works and themes. In this way, the complexity of collaborative projects is often increased through intertextual and intermedial dialogue, fostering the production of new works.
"Writing in Company" features examples of collaboration among writers associated with the rise of popular literature (novel and theatre), among writers and illustrators or composers, among creators and interpreters, as well as among members of a salon, an artistic movement, a religious order, an academic institution or a scientific expedition.
The exhibition is curated by graduate students Stéphanie Favreau (UQAM) and Adina Ruiu (Université de Montréal), under the direction of Marie-Claude Felton, Banting Postdoctoral Fellow (McGill) and Prof. Nikola von Merveldt (Interacting with Print and Université de Montréal), with the collaboration of Ann Marie Holland (Rare Books and Special Collections, McGill Library).
This exhibition was on display on the McGill Special Collections and Rare Books lobby from April 2014 to August 2014 within the framework of exploring the collaborative nature of print.