I sent a brief outline of where I’m at to the tutor this week. They had requested it because unlike the rest of the students who did this module last term they didn’t really know what I was thinking. Here is what I sent.
Beyond the White CubeArt as Activator, Social Sculpture, and Community Engagement.
The Arte Povera movement which began in Italy in the 1960’s rejected the consumerism of the White Cube and the conventional materials associated with fine Art. Marisa Merz the only woman associated with the movement made work exploring life as art and vice versa, elevating knitting as a process and using her home as both studio and gallery (Grenier, 1994) (Christov-Bakargiev, 1999). Also associated with Arte Povera was Joseph Beuys who created ‘the concept of “Social Sculpture” which avowed that everyday actions imbued with creativity could re-shape society ( (Gyorody, 2017) This movement radically changed the Art world and created the environment where today groups like Assemble collective from Liverpool can win the prestigious Turner prize for their regenerative community project Granby Workshop in Toxteth.
Moving away from the Artist making work in isolation for an elite to commodify I am looking at Art as Activator and Artist as communicator. Can Art, more precisely art-based participatory interventions start conversations that encourage people to change their habits and strengthen communities for example Diedre Nelsons knitting project “Bird Yarns”(Burke, 2018). I want to develop an activity which will engage the rural community that I live in. I want to start a conversation about materials and processes and how the community deals with waste, specifically plastic silage wrap and how we can learn from the past in order to make our futures more sustainable. By weaving on a peg loom with silage wrap and bailing twines well as the more traditional raw wool and cotton, working with Radnor wildlife trust and local Arts charities I hope to introduce these conversations and potentially find solutions. The delivery and evaluation of this project will be the focus of my research and therefore my dissertation.
Another example of work of this kind is Bridgette Juracks “Best done in Winter” project which was part of her exhibition at Home in Manchester Nov. 2022 – Jan 2023.
“The project calls into question the impact of industrial-scale agri-chemical farming on biodiversity and interdependency of species, pollination and the importance of crop rotation in food production, through a reengagement with this craft..”
BibliographyBurke, M. O. D. W. L., 2018. Participatory Arts and affective engagement with climate change.., London/Cardiff: Elsevier Ltd.
Christov-Bakargiev, C., 1999. Arte Povera. 3rd ed. London/New York: Phaidon press ltd.
Grenier, C., 1994. Marisa Merz, The Thread of Time. 1 ed. Paris: Edition du Pompidou.
Gyorody, A., 2017. 'Object into Action and Action into Object': Joseph Beuys and the Political work of Social Sculpture, California: eScholarship, University of California.
I am also reading Gablick’s The Re-enchantment of Art, which examines an alternative vision of Arts place within society. I will be reading Bourriaud’s Relational Aesthetics and Kester’s Conversation pieces as well as Leaving Art by Suzanne Lacy.
Lucy has shown me how to use the referencing functions on WORD which is exciting. It means I’m not so scared about that now, as you can see from the above. I still haven’t finished that damn book. I have to be in the right head space for it and then I have to mull over the content after a few pages. It is great but there is a lot to think about. I read one paragraph four time the other day before I took in one word, my head was somewhere else. The fourth time was a revelation, mind blown, what had I been doing the last three times?? Mind wandering somewhere else, ffs! FOCUS!! Lots of stuff going on and glad to say work coming in. The full moon has been strong and I haven’t been sleeping well. Projects going round in my head. But I’ve got this years calendar up so spreading things out and getting perspective. So glad I’m not doing this full time.
The seminar this week was by Julian Green and he talked about music and we watched clips of films. He talked about combinations of media/genre and different ways of communicating ideas. He also said that if we can bring in a different art form to relate to our topic of research it will be beneficial to our final outcomes.
I am enjoying spending the afternoon at Uni with no space and everyone else busy because I end up in the library. I read about Suzanne Lacy this week and although I had come across her before I didn’t know much about her. She is really interesting and very much related to my research so I got another book to read.
Sean Edwards gave a talk about his work. Sean is lovely. He is so down to earth but his work is really complex and deep. He considers the relevance of every detail and his work is so incredibly personal. Jenny was there and I had the chance to have an informal chat with her which was nice. She told me about working in a deconsecrated chapel when she was at Uni and how her and her friends would work through the night. Once she had fallen asleep and woke in the chapel thinking she had died. That’s dedication for you, working through the night. Dedication and passion for her work. We had an on line meeting about essays on Wednesday and the issue of strikes inevitably came up. Another reason I’m glad I’m doing this part time is that there is going to be so much disruption for the full-time students because of the strikes. Of course I totally support the Tutors in striking but the students won’t get this chance again and they aren’t going to get the support they would do normally.
Ok, That’s enough from me for this week. I need to get on with sewing my banner for the "Land of our Mothers" exhibition. And the sun is shining, so I should probably wash some more silage wrap.