Concept / coordination: Doris Koch
Workshop: 4 to 6 July
Cooperation: Sandra Schwarzer
Exhibition: 10 to 12 July
Participants: Susanne Ahner, Sofia Bempeza, MÃ³nica Castillo, Stefan Endewardt, Katharina Heilein, Inge Lechner, Annette Leeb, Christin Niehoff, Nadin Reschke, Anja Schoeller, Julia Vitalis, Seçil Yaylali, Anna Zosik
The term partizipation has not only been used in political and architectural discourses but also in art context. Here it has often caused confusion as art has mainly been considered to be the outcome of subjective expression and not the result of different social groups impacting on the progress of an artistic work. Within such a process, tensions are embedded in so far as partizipatory art often deals with ambigious social issues. It is often the case that artists work in this field under unfamiliar circumstances. They can not rely on the support that they would experience in an established art context. How do artists cope with the demands of a partizipatory work, what are its key elements and ambivalent areas? During one and a half days in June, a workshop called 'Spannungsfelder (conflict areas) – Focusing on Aspects of Participatory Art Practice' took place which offered a chance to artists and art recipients alike to reflect on the subject.
Thirteen people took part and engaged in an exciting conversation about their experiences and researching fields. Shared ideas and general thoughts were collected and written down on sticky pads to be exhibited alongside with objects and documentations of the work by some of the artists after the workshop. A selection of notes taken during the discussions was also made accessible to the visitor. The show gathered from this material lasted for two weeks.The first day was dedicated to the introduction to participatory art practice. Doris Koch introduced several concepts of participation from different areas like politics, planning and education. She pointed out the range of participatory art practice and also emphasized the different conditions and aims that set such art practices apart from the above mentioned areas.
Her lecture triggered a lively exchange of questions, ideas and experiences. In an attempt to grasp the essence of the discussions, the participants of the workshop began to write down their thoughts and began to organise the notes into topics that would be considered in greater detail later on. The seven themes that emerged were the following: basic principles (terminology, publicity, space), participatory art as a fine art practice, methods and proceedings, operators (artists, administrative workers, motivations, role play), areas of conflict (controlling the process, expectations, interests), conditions and circumstances (time frame, finances), quality (criteria).
On the second day, eight of the participants presented their work in relation to one of the topics that had been established the previous day. It was very interesting to see the various ways of inhabiting a practise that calls itself participatory. Since it was quite time-consuming to understand each artist's approach. Some of the key questions arising from the presentations remained unanswered. Therefore it was agreed to continue the discourse beyond the workshop. The intention is to organise further meetings in order to continue with the dialogue that had started to flourish in the open atmosphere of the workshop. The participants gained an overview about topics related to participatory art practise. It will be interesting to see how the discourse develops in the future.
text: Doris Koch
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