belonging

…art is—or should be—generous. But when working with place, artists can only give if they are receiving as well. The greatest challenges for artists lured by the local are to balance between making the information accessible and making it visually provocative as well; to innovate not just for innovation’s sake, not just for style’s sake, nor to enhance their reputation or ego, but to bring a new degree of coherence and beauty to the lure of the local. The goal of this kind of work would be to turn more people on to where they are, where they came from, where they’re going, to help people see their places with new eyes. Land and people—their presence and absence—makes place and its arts come alive. Believing as I do that connection to place is a necessary component of feeling close to people, and to the earth, I wonder what will make it possible for artists to “give” places back to people who can no longer see them, and be given places in turn, by those who are still looking around.

Lucy Lippard, “The Lure of the Local” (New Press, 1997)

Points of Reference: Lucy Lippard on “The Lure of the Local”

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Thought Experiments in Agency

“members and allies of this ‘field’ must leverage what power we are given within the commercial and academic (and also increasingly civic) spheres as ‘cultural workers’ to position ourselves outside, and in resistance to, these hegemonic power structures. As artist-centric institutions, this means using radical forms of participation to forefront self-organized, inclusive and equitable structures – this means creating new social imaginaries.

If our failing institutions are based on market capitalist economy, authoritarian republics and eurocentricity – then our ‘alternative’ institutions by necessity must be based on decentralized cooperative economics, participatory democracy, equality and ecology.”

Sarrita Hunn, “Artists for Artists’ Sake,” Temporary Art Review, October 19, 2015

Sarrita Hunn on Artists for Artists’ Sake

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Values

“Someone who is highly self-aware knows where he is headed and why; so, for example, he will be able to be firm in turning down a job offer that is tempting financially but does not fit with his principles or long-term goals. A person who lacks self-awareness is apt to make decisions that bring on inner turmoil by treading on buried values.”

Daniel Goleman, “What Makes a Leader,” Harvard Business Review, January 2004.

Daniel Goleman on values coherence

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Meta-Practice

The simple answer is that you should get paid when someone is profiting from your labor.

…However, providing content or services to a friend without being compensated does not mean that one is being exploited. If the terms of the exchange are mutually agreed upon, and if one person isn’t immediately monetarily profiting from the labor of the other, then it may well be a fair exchange, and one that is part of how solidarity and community are built within the field. W.A.G.E. advocates for equitable compensation, not for the total monetization and commodification of every aspect of our lives; we leave that to neoliberalism.

—W.A.G.E. as quoted by Bean Gilsdorf, Help Desk: Support for Artists, Daily Serving, May 25, 2015

 

 

How will I know if I am taking artists’ energy in exchange for an exploitative promise of “exposure”?

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Meta-Practice, Research

many artists who are commissioned by producers are already successful gallery based artists, being brought into the public realm with a support team in place.
The speakers acknowledge the need to change institutional structure in order to allow new forms of public art to emerge, and the need for artists, producers and curators to gain skills to make public art work in reality. Another change that might be interesting to explore is how public art could shift hierarchies, and allow artists at different stages of their career to develop projects they have already initiated.

Katy Bienart, “Lighting the touchpaper: Public art as situation or spectacle,” Public Art (Now) blog, April 27, 2015

Katy Bienart on Public Art (Now)

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