I have been interested for some time in the idea of mass creative collaborations. By this I mean hundreds or thousands of people working together on a work of art, a book, a film or a piece of music.
Now I'm not talking about an artistic endeavor controlled by one or two individuals but involving many more. Rather I'm speaking of a much more egalitarian undertaking with no individual controlling the whole process and at least 50% the work the work of the 80% least prolific contributers.
I know of no good collaborative creative work (there's plenty of collaborative work outside of the arts though). I shall list a few reasons why I think this is:
1) The creative process often involves developing material which is not part of the finished work (like creative scaffolding). Existing collaborative projects do no seem to have space set aside for this sort of development.
2) The creative process often requires a great deal of time and effort getting yourself acquainted with your own work. Collaborative projects are often structured in a way that does not encourage more than a passing contribution. Most projects are not commercial and so contributors cannot expect financial reward (it is difficult to guess how rewards should be apportioned anyhow).
3) Any project needs some sort of filter as to who may contribute. Even assuming everyone contributing to a project is creative they may well have inconsistent ideas for a project. Projects need filters which effectively select people to work on specific projects.
4) Creative projects base themselves around traditional art forms when it may well be the case that there are new forms to be discovered which lend themselves to collaborative creation.
I suspect that interesting collaborations are not only possible but will end up producing stunning creative works. However, we still need to find the right ways to structure projects of this type.