Sylabs and the 220 Collective
Yesterday I was finally able to visit Sylabs, a collaborative co-working space that has opened in Algiers by Abdellah Mallek. A meeting space for the like-minded to discuss and debate ideas, a place for organisations to meet and to hold exhibitions, conferences, educational get-togethers. This list is endless. I’ve seen it all coming together on-line and it is currently hosting a photographic exhibition by the 220 Collective who are a group of Algerian visual photographers focused on exploring Algeria with a social, documentary and artistic eye consisting of Yassine Belahsene, Houari Bouchenak, Awel Haouati, Youcef Krache, Sonia Merabet, Fethi Sahraoui and Abdo Shanan. I have a great appreciation their work and encourage anyone interested in the visual arts and photography in Algeria to follow along closely.
The Power of Co-Working
In my last post, Learn Photography – how I made it happen, I spoke about the power of learning from a group and community guided by a common interest and how essential this is to learning. While many artists love to have our own ideas and be individuals the seed for most of us comes from following something great that we see in others and emulating it, building on it, eventually making it out own. Like when you are cooking, and you look up a traditional or basic recipe, try it over and over, adapting it to your own taste as you go along and ultimately ending up with something completely different to what you first intended. Every art movement in history has been based on co-working groups of creatives simply talking about their ideas, debating subjects, questioning the status quo and creating change for the many. That’s how we develop, and ideas morph, firstly as independent thinking, then to a group, a community, a town, a city, a country and eventually, the world. It’s rather mind-boggling to consider how a few people could have such an effect, but they can..
I would like to think of myself as an ideas person. Most of my greatest, believe it or not, come when I’m involved in some mundane task like cleaning the house, then they are built on even further by telling everyone I know about the ideas. After that, they are all held internally in my bank of ideas just waiting for the opportunity to burst into the world. If I wasn’t a stay at home mother of three this is the place I would be, bring all those ideas to fruition. The Sylabs space is just the right environment for ideas to flourish, and the work of the 220 Collective gives hope and inspiration. I encourage everyone in Algeria to support what is going on here.