Sunday, August 16, 2009

The struggle

Sunday, August 16, 2009
Thank you Britta for beginning the conversation.

The Xerox piece is:
Kwon, Miwon. One Place After another : Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2002.
Read Chaper 4: From Site to Community in New Genre Public Art: The Case of “Culture in Action”
Read Chapter 5: The (Un)Sitings of Community

I read Participation and the Xerox piece. Actually, I read the Xeroxed piece first due to the topic, New Genre Public Art. From what I understand NGPA is the all important community component missing from Public Art. The book Participate focuses on the multiple strategies used to engage the community in projects that are socially grounded.

The question posed in the previous communication was “How do we as individual artists feel about making art that involves the audience in the works?”

My immediate response is how can art be created without involvement of the audience? The audiences reception of our art is their basic involvement. This lead me to ask What is the purpose of the arts in the 21st century? ?r Are we to invite the audience into the frame of our work…. Are we to step out of the frame into the audience and unframe our art? What is our purpose since there is now the option to create in the open versus in isolation?

Participation brought up way too many questions.

In the late 20th century and into the 21st century the expansion and outreach of technology has changed the foundation of communication. Art is a communication tool and it too must evolve. The Introduction to Participation states, “In recent decades artists have progressively expanded the boundaries of art as they have sought to engage with an increasingly pluralistic environment.” Walter Benjamin believed that the work of art should actively intervene in and provide a model for allowing viewers to be involved in the processes of production….. the more consumers it is able to turn into producers – the more readers and spectators into collaborators. Joseph Beuys took this concept totally to the left with his core belief that Every Human Being Is An Artist. Most of his works were socially-collaborative pieces. Jacques Ranciere sums it up best when he wrote that art no longer wants to respond to the excess of commodities and signs but to a lack of connections.

To create connections with the audience do we as artist have a responsibility to stretch our practice even when it is terribly uncomfortable? Can we afford to create in isolation, when the need is so great on this planet for connection and communication? Can’t we do both? The author of Participation wrote that the lost of social bond and the duty incumbent on artists to work to repair it are the words on the agenda. I don’t know the answers, but I am spiritually, intellectually, and artistically moved by artists who make the attempt to utilize their art in this manner.

As an artist who creates in the public eye with public interests at heart, my struggle is continually keeping my own voice while incorporating (is that the politically correct word) the community voice in the projects. My other struggle is how to document public community work, now termed New Genre Public Art. I too want to know how do artists feel about making art that involves the audience in the works. The book Participation explored how artists have handle these issues and did provided some answers for me but as you have read the book brought up many questions.

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