In this month’s Create News, we invited Chicago-based curator Kate Zeller to write about A Lived Practice which she co-curated at the Sullivan Galleries with curator, writer, educator and Executive Director of Exhibitions Mary Jane Jacob. A Lived Practice was a series of exhibitions, programmes symposia and publications which explored the history and contemporary field of social practice in Chicago.
‘I am sitting at the airport, about to fly to Berlin. For the millionth time, I find myself in a contradictory position between knowledge and action; what it is that I know and what it is that I do. ‘I am flying again, an action that I intended to stop even though I currently what might be called a nomadic practitioner. More ironically still, I’m coming from a four-week residency dealing with sustainability and future viability and going to Berlin to participate in EU project to look at ways of enhancing transnational mobility for collaborative artists…’
“It’s one of the great joys of travel, and indeed life, to come across something so unexpected and mind-bendingly wonderful in the midst of what appears to be the bleakest of places, that one’s ideas of what’s possible change entirely.” Thinking about this piece on the spectrum of practice I believe is art and participation, I am indulging in ‘useful’ procrastination. Today it takes the form of flicking through a Lonely Planet Guide. Then I come across the statement above. It is indeed one of life’s unexpected ‘joys’, that what I go on to read is about a small town in Sicily called Favara. Previously known for two things, ‘some of the highest unemployment in Italy’ and its ‘many ugly buildings’, for the past four years lawyers Andrea Bartoli and Florinda Saieva have been transforming it, through participatory arts practice, to, ‘a better piece of the world, a small community committed to inventing new ways of thinking and living.’
In 2011, the Arts Council took a bold step in initiating a conversation with a number of festivals nationally around the observed interest and growing international trend towards the presentation of projects rooted in arts and health practice at festivals.
I was born by a river I grew up in London, within the sound of Big Ben, a short walk to the Houses of Parliament. It was a lively, crowded place of poor, largely immigrant families and bomb-damaged houses. Our first playgrounds were bomb sites. We were living on the ruins of a city our parents came to rebuild. We thought everyone was like us…
Create News 14: Grant Kester on Collaborative Practice and the limits of Criticism
With the exponential growth of collaborative and dialogical art practices over the past decade we begin to see something like a crisis in contemporary art criticism, as conventionally trained historians and critics struggle to come to terms with a form of artistic production which challenges many of their normative assumptions about the work of art.
Create News 13: Ruairí Ó Cuív on Collaborative Practice and Public Art
Public Art has been an evolving practice over many decades now, moving from the artwork (often sculptural) commissioned by architects or planners for the adornment of buildings or public spaces to much more complex and interesting practices embracing all art forms. That is not to say that on occasions a permanent artwork is not suitable or even brilliant. In this context, I think of commissions, such as, the iconic ‘Perpetual Motion’ by Remco de Fouw and Rachel Joynt for the Naas, bypass (N7),1995 commissioned by Kildare County Council or the highly nuanced sculpture ‘Misneach’ by John Byrne commissioned by Breaking Ground, Ballymun, installed in 2010. These two artworks espouse all that is excellent in such commissioning practice. But all too often this approach can be clumsy, simplistic, and populist (in the worst of ways) resulting in poor quality artwork, which is foisted on us permanently.
Artist and writer Joshua Sofaer introduces Create’s Collaborative Arts Theatre Pack. He writes here on the development and thinking behind the Live Art Pack which has inspired the making of Create’s Collaborative Arts Performance Pack. Like the original Pack developed by Joshua Sofaer, the Create Collaborative Arts Performance Pack is both an artwork and education resource.
The task set for this short text is to consider the role of art and artists in: (i) supporting a sense of possibility within civil society; and (ii) preventing the shutting down of social and community discourses now regarded as outmoded by various institutional and political interests. These are quite daunting themes to address. Indeed, simply communicating what is at stake in these themes is perhaps already a task that exceeds what is possible in a thousand words. However, fools rush in…
Create News 10: Michael Seaver on Artistic Excellence and Change
It’s been said many a time, but the story of dance in Ireland is the story of individuals. It’s a thin history, made up of individual threads of practice that has never been interwoven with schools of thought or aesthetics. The thin warp of personal ideals has never been joined by a weft of collective ideals.
Create News 9: Daniel Jewesbury on The Value of Mentoring
Dr Daniel Jewesbury is a visual artist based in Northern Ireland. All art-making proceeds by questions. And each attempt at an answer brings more questions: it’s a dialectical process, always unfinished, always leading to some other consideration, some new problem that can enrich the understanding of a situation, not necessarily by being ‘answered’ definitively, but by suggesting yet more questions, more problems and concerns and new approaches.
Faisal Abdu’Allah, Private Views, ed Judith Palmer (Serpents Tail) My practice is a visual auto-biography played out in text, image and space, each one a true testament to my uncompromising and critical analysis of the collective I live in. My work in the community is the perfect catalyst to summarise my work ethic and principles. We are informed about the gallery space but never comprehend it as being an extension of the artist studio, a haven that purifies emotions through the evocation of fear, stimulation of thought and interaction. Questions of class, ownership and rites of passage are consistently volleyed around this creative playground.