The theme for this session was ‘Relationship between art and society’ and it was our last bursary supported session. It was led by Catherine Harrington and myself.
We started by looking at images of artworks that have a focus on making social change – one that has inspired and may have influenced our art practice. Those artworks were selected by each of us in advance.
The list of the art works
Jimena: “Hartford Wash: Washing, Tracks, Maintenance – Outside and Inside“ (1973) by artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles.
Bettina: “Not This Future“(2020) by Youngsook Choi
Mirei : An improvised Butoh dance (2009) by Atsushi Takenouchi at London Goldsmiths College
Karen: “Wheatfield – A Confrontation” (performed at Lat image it recreated in Milan, 2015) by Agnes Denes
Candy: A drone flew abortion pills into Northern Ireland by Women on Web
Colleen: “The long table!”(Since 2003) by Lois Weaver.
Catherine: an untitled installation (2020) by an anonymous artist created during black history month in London (see pictures below)
Ghost and John: “Tarzan (2019)”by God’s Entertainment (EU)”
Those works were very different and interesting!!
“Hartford Wash: Washing, Tracks, Maintenance – Outside and Inside“ made me feel that this work presented a sort of pure, clever fine-art approach to bring attention to the workings of the gallery. “Not This Future“ seems interesting and possibly using Youtube as a platform effectively but the video is 2 hours 38minutes and I have not watched everything yet. “Wheatfield – A Confrontation” seemed really successful work with the community. ‘Women on Web’ is really a special action by a doctor. I was curious about the reason that would people talk about this in a fine-art context. “The long table!” is a really good platform for all sorts of discussion about society. It really reminds me of body movement or music improvisation. The untitled installation was such a beautiful and proper way of treating its subject matter. ”God’s Entertainment (EU)” is an interesting performance that I wish I could have seen.
Through this section, we were able to see different approaches and their impact on society and also learn what each of us in the group are interested in and to understand each other more deeply.
On Being Incidental – Talks from Sarah Andrew and Anne Bean
Next, I introduced the concept of the ‘Incidental Person’ that was coined by John Latham in the 60’s. This was followed by the guest artist Sara Andrew talking about her approach in her art practice as an incidental person, an artist and a lawyer.
Sara suggested this concept of the ‘incidental person’ to me before and during the session. I think it is helpful.
- If we want to make change as an incidental person, we have to know which part of society and what kind of change we want to make.
- We have to be able to speak the language of the organisation that you are working with and trying to impact to.
The group ‘Space Hijackers‘ that she was involved in seems like poetic activism. It made me remember T.A.Z.
Then Anne Bean (our next guest artists) showed us images from her projects, one of which was ‘Redress (Decade)’ that has strong artistic vocabularies on social issues. Humans have emotions and thoughts that are waiting to be expressed by artistic works. I think that Anne’s work did it. She introduced her current project ‘African incidentalism with people in Zambia.
Regarding the performance series ‘Come Hell or HighWater’, it was interesting to activate the space of unknown supervision.
Then this was followed by a discussion on how we work with communities.
– We discussed the space for art activity.
A reference: ‘Is this a Waste Land? (2017)’
– What can artists do to strengthen the social fabrics of communities?
A reference: Luke Ching: Artist-Citizen
– We discussed issues around ethics and whether the artist should take funding from organisations that supports something they are against.
Take the money and run? – an event about ethics, funding and art
The Artists’ Lottery Syndicate
– The problem of not paying proper wages to artists.
We referenced: The artist’s bond
– Where is our community?
Our form of community has been shifted after covid-19. We recognise local communities more and on the other hand found online communities with people who are physically distant.
An Experiment for Radio Neighbourhood by Ghost and John
https://discord.com/ (artists starting to use discord to build online communities)
This session left us with some thoughts and questions as follows:
– How to find funding? How to gain trust as a professional artist when you are starting out?
– How to find a space for art activity? We are losing empty space that we can use year by year. Also, how to contact the person who owns the empty space?
– We would like to know what a day of today’s “bread winning artist” is like, maybe we could invite someone to our future session.
– We should possibly find out more from each other about where we come from and are going as an artist.
I tend to talk about big academic issues and concepts such as capitalism or democracy. It was really good that we really questioned practical issues such as funding, art space and time allocation for production, admin, etc. We were able to exchange some information about it but we needed more time. We have to find out what we can do in the future.
*We had a plan to do some reading from 21 lessons and Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis, an exercise on padlet and google draw and to visit an online exhibition but did not have time for that. I think it was very good that we held the discussion instead.
Photographs: An untitled installation (2020) by an anonymous artist created during black history month in London