The Social Turn: Collaboration and Its Discontents Claire Bishop

The Social Turn: Collaboration and Its Discontents Claire Bishop

ARTFORUM February, 2006

이 글에서 현재의 socially engaged artwork가 어떻게 성격이 변화하고 있는지 지적한다. 주된 반론의 근거로 Kester를 든다. Kester의 경우, public collaboration을 위해서 artist’s authorship을 포기해야 한다고 주장하는데, Bishop은 그럴 필요가 없다는 것이 주된 주장이다. Ethic + aesthetic이 되어야 진정 art라고 보는 시각 : 나도 동감 –> residency에 쓸 수 있는 부분이 있다. 

a sample of the recent surge of artistic interest in collectivity, collaboration, and direct engagement with specific social constituencies. they nevertheless occupy an increasingly conspicuous presence in the public sector. (178)

In her critical history One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity (2002), Miwon Kwon argues that community-specific work takes critiques of “heavy metal” public art as its point of departure to address the site as a social rather than formal or phenomenological framework. The intersubjective space created through these projects becomes the focus—and medium—of artistic investigation.(179)

This expanded field of relational practices currently goes by a variety of names: socially engaged art, community-based art, experimental communities, dialogic art, littoral art, participatory, interventionist, research-based, or collaborative art. These practices are less interested in a relational aesthetic than in the creative rewards of collaborative activity. (179)

Many artists now make no distinction between their work inside and outside the gallery, and even highly established and commercially successful figures like Francis Alÿs, Pierre Huyghe, Matthew Barney, and Thomas Hirschhorn have all turned to social collaboration as an extension of their conceptual or sculptural practice. Although the objectives and output of these various artists and groups vary enormously, all are linked by a belief in the empowering creativity of collective action and shared ideas. (179)

This mixed panorama of socially collaborative work arguably forms what avant-garde we have today: artists using social situations to produce dematerialized, antimarket, politically engaged projects that carry on the modernist call to blur art and life. For Nicolas Bourriaud in Relational Aesthetics (1998), the defining text of relational practice, “art is the place that produces a specific sociability,” precisely because “it tightens the space of relations, unlike TV.” For Grant H. Kester, in another key text, Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art (2004), art is uniquely placed to counter a world in which “we are reduced to an atomized pseudocommunity of consumers, our sensibilities dulled by spectacle and repetition.” For these and other supporters of socially engaged art, the creative energy of participatory practices rehumanizes—or at least de-alienates—a society rendered numb and fragmented by the repressive instrumentality of capitalism. But the urgency of this political task has led to a situation in which such collaborative practices are automatically perceived to be equally important artistic gestures of resistance: There can be no failed, unsuccessful, unresolved, or boring works of collaborative art because all are equally essential to the task of strengthening the social bond.(진심 말도 안 됌 Kester에게 동의할 수 없음) While I am broadly sympathetic to that ambition, I would argue that it is also crucial to discuss, analyze, and compare such work critically as art. This critical task is particularly pressing in Britain, where New Labour uses a rhetoric almost identical to that of socially engaged art to steer culture toward policies of social inclusion. Reducing art to statistical information about target audiences and “performance indicators,” the government prioritizes social effect over considerations of artistic quality.(179-180)

WHAT SERIOUS CRITICISM

동시에 자본주의하고 계속 연결해서 framing하기는 한다. 인용할거면, 여기에 대한 내 입장으 clear하게 밝혀야 할 듯.

This emphasis on process over product (i.e., means over ends) is justified as oppositional to capitalism’s predilection for the contrary. (180)

Oda Projesi argue that they wish to open up a context for the possibility of interchange and dialogue, motivated by a desire to integrate with their surroundings. Because much of Oda Projesi’s work exists on the level of art education and community events, we can see them as dynamic members of the community bringing art to a wider audience. It is important that they are opening up the space for non-object-based practice in Turkey, a country whose art academies and art market are still largely oriented toward painting and sculpture.

there is little to distinguish their projects from other socially engaged practices that revolve around the predictable formulas of workshops, discussions, meals, film screenings, and walks.: 그렇다면 어떻게 이것이 art가 되는가?(180)

Oda Projesi’s ethical approach is adopted by the Swedish curator Maria Lind in a recent essay on their work. Lind is one of the most articulate supporters of political and relational practices, and she undertakes her curatorial work with a trenchant commitment to the social. In her essay on Oda Projesi, published in Claire Doherty’s From Studio to Situations: Contemporary Art and the Question of Context (2004), she notes that the group is not interested in showing or exhibiting art but in “using art as a means for creating and recreating new relations between people.” : 난 여기에 반대하는 입장. (180-181)

Lind observes that Oda Projesi, contrary to Hirschhorn, are the better artists because of the equal status they give to their collaborators: “[Hirschhorn’s] aim is to create art. For the Bataille Monument he had already prepared, and in part also executed, a plan on which he needed help to implement. His participants were paid for their work and their role was that of the ‘executor’ and not ‘co-creator.’” Lind goes on to argue that Hirschhorn’s work, by using participants to critique the art genre of the monument, was rightly criticized for “‘exhibiting’ and making exotic marginalized groups and thereby contributing to a form of social pornography.” By contrast, she writes, Oda Projesi “work with groups of people in their immediate environments and allow them to wield great influence on the project.” 즉, 작가의 authorship을 collabortaion을 위해서 희생하고, self-sacrifice를 실현해내야 한다고 Lind는 주장하는데,나는, 그리고 Bishop은 여기에 대해서 반대한다. 

The conceptual density and artistic significance of the respective projects are sidelined in favor of an appraisal of the artists’ relationship with their collaborators. Hirschhorn’s (purportedly) exploitative relationship is compared negatively to Oda Projesi’s inclusive generosity. In other words, Lind downplays what might be interesting in Oda Projesi’s work as art—the possible achievement of making dialogue a medium or the significance of dematerializing a project into social process. Instead, her criticism is dominated by ethical judgments on working procedure and intentionality.(181)

The curator and critic Lucy R. Lippard, concluding her book The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society (1997), a discussion of site-specific art from an ecological/postcolonial perspective, presents an eight-point “place ethic” for artists who work with communities. Kester’s Conversation Pieces, while lucidly articulating many of the problems associated with such practices, nevertheless advocates an art of concrete interventions in which the artist does not occupy a position of pedagogical or creative mastery. In Good Intentions: Judging the Art of Encounter (2005), the Dutch critic Erik Hagoort argues that we must not shy away from making moral judgments on this art but must weigh the presentation and representation of an artist’s good intentions. In each of these examples, authorial intentionality (or a humble lack thereof) is privileged over a discussion of the work’s conceptual significance as a social and aesthetic form. Paradoxically, this leads to a situation in which not only collectives but also individual artists are praised for their authorial renunciation. And this may explain, to some degree, why socially engaged art has been largely exempt from art criticism. Emphasis is shifted away from the disruptive specificity of a given work and onto a generalized set of moral precepts.(181)

Rather than positioning themselves within an activist lineage, in which art is marshaled to effect social change, these artists have a closer relationship to avant-garde theater, performance, or architectural theory. As a consequence, perhaps, they attempt to think the aesthetic and the social/political together, rather than subsuming both within the ethical. (181-182) : 이런 입장에 나는 공감한다.

Deller, Collins, Zmijewski, and Höller do not make the “correct” ethical choice, they do not embrace the Christian ideal of self-sacrifice; instead, they act on their desire without the incapacitating restrictions of guilt. In so doing, their work joins a tradition of highly authored situations that fuse social reality with carefully calculated artifice. (183)

THE DISCURSIVE CRITERIA of socially engaged art are, at present, drawn from a tacit analogy between anticapitalism and the Christian “good soul.” In this schema, self-sacrifice is triumphant: The artist should renounce authorial presence in favor of allowing participants to speak through him or her. (절대 동의할 수 없음)

This self-sacrifice is accompanied by the idea that art should extract itself from the “useless” domain of the aesthetic and be fused with social praxis. As the French philosopher Jacques Rancière has observed, this denigration of the aesthetic ignores the fact that the system of art as we understand it in the West—the “aesthetic regime of art” inaugurated by Friedrich Schiller and the Romantics and still operative to this day—is predicated precisely on a confusion between art’s autonomy (its position at one remove from instrumental rationality) and heteronomy (its blurring of art and life). Untangling this knot—or ignoring it by seeking more concrete ends for art—is slightly to miss the point, since the aesthetic is, according to Rancière, the ability to think contradiction: the productive contradiction of art’s relationship to social change, characterized precisely by that tension between faith in art’s autonomy and belief in art as inextricably bound to the promise of a better world to come. For Rancière the aesthetic doesn’t need to be sacrificed at the altar of social change, as it already inherently contains this ameliorative promise. (183)

The best collaborative practices of the past ten years address this contradictory pull between autonomy and social intervention, and reflect on this antinomy both in the structure of the work and in the conditions of its reception. It is to this art—however uncomfortable, exploitative, or confusing it may first appear—that we must turn for an alternative to the well-intentioned homilies that today pass for critical discourse on social collaboration. These homilies unwittingly push us toward a Platonic regime in which art is valued for its truthfulness and educational efficacy rather than for inviting us—as Dogville did—to confront darker, more painfully complicated considerations of our predicament. (183)

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