Impossible Glossary ed.2 - Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme


Madrid, Spain

Impossible Glossary is an editorial project by hablarenarte that follows  the CAPP project until 2018. The compendium of this second and printed edition of 2018 is comprised of ten chapters. In June 2016, we presented a digital first edition with texts and interviews related to the terms agents, autonomy, authorship, context, collaboration, work, and return. This material constitutes the basis for the present print edition, in which some of the contents of the digital version have been modi ed and new keywords—trust, failure, and institution— have been added.

In 2015, when we began our research for the Impossible Glossary, we found that interest in this subject had grown in recent years, especially since the emergence in current politics of certain ideas associated with the 15-M Movement. It is now common, almost across the board, to speak of collaborative practices and participative mechanisms in all areas of our society. In the area of culture, institutions have begun to launch participative proposals, and there is a tendency to underwrite collaborative art projects that will have social repercussions. At the same time, cultural agents and the educational and pedagogical avant-garde, business leaders, and, of course, supporters of direct democracy—both populists and progressives—have lately been speaking of collaborative or peer-to-peer practices, cooperation, and participation as the preferred approach to solving a multitude of problems. This jargon draws fundamentally on social and activist practices and on an interest in the commons. The result of
this discursive interference is a surreptitious cacophony: while we may all appear to be talking about the same thing, it is not the case.

This is the consideration underlying the title of our publication. It is indeed a glossary, as at  first glance it follows the classical format of definitions or references to words that are all related to the same specific subject or discipline. But our publication also contributes an important processual component by characterizing itself as “impossible.” Our intention with this book is that the more than thirty voices contained herein, would faithfully reflect the discursive discrepancy surrounding this subject.

You can buy the Impossible Glossary here and at Unbound:



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Editorial concept and general coordination: hablarenarte (Ana Fernández Martínez, Sören Meschede, Georg Zolchow)
Graphic Design: Jaime Narváez
Translations (Spanish to English): Toni Crabb, Jonathan Fox, Wade Matthews, Douglas Prats, Nuria Rodríguez Riestra
Copyediting and proofreading (Spanish): Miriam Querol and Álvaro Villa
Copyediting (English):
Jonathan Fox
(cc) of this edition, hablarenarte, 2018
(cc) of the texts, their authors
(cc) of the translations, their translators
(cc) of the images, their authors
ISBN: 978-84-697-9220-9
creative commons


This publication has been realized thanks to the support of the EACEA, the Irish Arts Council of Arts and the Irish Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht.

CAPP is an ambitious transnational cultural programme focusing on the dynamic area of collaborative arts. The overall goal of CAPP is to improve and open up opportunities for artists who are working collaboratively across Europe, by enhancing mobility and exchange whilst at the same time engaging new publics and audiences for collaborative practices.

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