MEETING NOTES & MEDIATION WRAP-UP
August 3, 2015
Operating Instructions - this document is two things: our notes our meeting with Jon on 8/3 and our opinions and conclusions having now spoken with both Jon and Moshe. They are intermingled because they follow a shared path. We are pretty embedded in these issues, now, so if there are sections that require more
FIRST, an IMMEDIATE NEED: Get contents out of building. Jon is working on securing limited climate-controlled storage, pieces will need to be prioritized for that--all other artifacts brought to HQ space Moshe has secured. Jon & Moshe to talk with MoH building owner when he returns from vacation on Thursday.
Jon talked about his relationship to physics, imaging, and holography, the connections heÕs made with artists, and institutions.
There was a brief discussion about what brought us to the need for mediation, the Soho House show issue(s). It seems to stem from a fundamental disagreement on the purpose of the show. Possibly poorly communicated, or scope creeped during process. Jon believed it was to highlight holography and generate interest in holography using the Chicago collection and other landmark pieces. Moshe believed it was to feature the rescue and revitalization effort of Loren BillingsÕ Museum of Holography. Collapse came over disagreement on what would be shown - only LorenÕs collection, or other pieces from the HoloCenter in NY to show the ŌbestĶ of what holography has to offer. All conflicts around this show stemmed from this misalignment, or tensions after fall-out.
OUR OPINION: The decision to remove Jon from Slack runs counter to the mission and should be reversed immediately.
Jon is committed to launching an institution dedicated to holography to have the holograms on display and engage artists, host residencies, create new art, build upon the collection in Chicago. At this juncture
Jon related his story of knowing the museum, learning of the HoloRescue 1.0 project, getting in touch with Moshe.
Jon discussed the history of the building from the bankÕs repossession and sale following LorenÕs financial collapse through current ownershipÕs purchase of the building - including whatÕs known about two groups of the collection taken/sold by LorenÕs family before we became involved
Jon discussed the state of relationship between Moshe/HoloRescue and the building owner at the time (Hayden Connor); discussed his negotiation and acquisition of building contents
Learned of Agreed-upon Mission: Ōto keep the collection intact and on public display in ChicagoĶ
Learned of Agreed-upon Tasks: Regain control of MoH contents from Hayden Connor, relocate the contents, curate a gallery including open lab where preservation efforts can occur, begin development of hololab with objective of creating self-sustaining business, and honor Loren & Bob Billings as part of this effort.
OUR CONCLUSION: both parties believe they had an understanding of the plan on how to proceed after acquisition of building contents. Jon thought he was acquiring and then partnering with or forming an organization. Moshe thought Jon was acquiring on behalf of that organization, though that organization didnÕt exist at the time (still doesnÕt)
ŌRealityĶ in a legal sense: The contents of the MoH building belong to a private individual. Per above, that individual is committed to creating a place for holograms in Chicago.
That said, Jon does not feel that ownership has to work this way forever - all options are on the table in the future for discussion.
OUR OPINION: Pressure exerted on Jon to commit to a particular ownership structure or hand-over before we proceed is not productive and does not support the mission.
OUR CONCLUSION: We do not see evidence of a two-sided agreement to put the pieces in a public trust or donate after death. The confusion/disagreement over what would happen to pieces is somewhat moot--they were legally purchased (Bill of Sale exists) by an individual (Jon), not a co-op or entity.
We discussed the idea that some volunteers will likely not want to support an entity based around what is, right now, a private collection.
OUR OPINION: In our opinion the volunteer corps were not properly briefed on the collectionÕs private ownership status. It is plausible that this is the result of MosheÕs belief in the co-op arrangement.
We discussed potential scenarios for the future of the collection and a HoloCenter, such as Jon showing the pieces, even potentially granting license to, an entity that Moshe establishes around Holography in Chicago, or a scenario where Jon pursues that sort of facility himself.
OUR OVERALL CONCLUSION: The relationship between Moshe and Jon is highly strained. If the disagreements outlined above cannot be reconciled, progress toward the mission is unlikely. We believe it must be acknowledged that the collection is private by both parties and plot a course through to continue support of the mission.
NEXT STEPS: We stand ready to facilitate a sit-down between the parties, but we do not believe arguing the past points, disagreements, or conflicts will result in anything worthwhile. Success will hinge on an unwavering focus forward based on todayÕs reality.
Meeting Attendees: Jon, Tom Fennell, Cate Brady, Tamara Biggs, Heather Robbins