Participation session with Jonathan

2 weeks ago I had to miss the session on Participation because of a meeting… which involved ironically talking about participation of a different sort…my community based work which doesn’t directly involve my own practice at all… but of course both inform each other…

I watched the video about Blast Theory and the I’ll Hide you Game and  also the lecture by Matt Adams.It made me think of the huge range of ways in which artists make participative work and what that means.

In my own case I work with people and ask them for their co operation, Friends, colleagues sometimes other artists, members of the public, in a relationship where I rely on them for the making of the work.

They become part of the the work as they help me to film and document it .

The actions I make , whether as part of my own practice or in the context of leading workshops for others, in simple water-colour or drawing technique, are only a small part of the equation .

The others make the work happen also..

My community workshop work of course would not exist without the participants!

In my own work, sometimes this is not the case.

I can do something with no-one watching or documenting ( if I do not need physical help to carry it out) but the final document is often made by them, the witnesses of the event .

This document becomes the evidence of the work.

rather than my memory of the event

This often / usually shows a completely different interpretation of the action from the one experienced by me.

I hope to take this apart a bit more when I post the Salt Way ‘final’ videos and hope that there will be a conversation of sorts between Helen ( who helped me to make the work by holding the projector) and my self and maybe others through Comments.

Also, the lecture refers to external funding  and how that may change the work.

This is an area I have thought about long and hard wrt vulnerable groups and who funds, what they want, what the artists want, what the participants want… if they are supposed to be involved in this choice… the artist’s role as agent and what sort of agent…Claire Bishop’s ideas around the nature of the work produced… whether the process is the work or the final documentation/ exhibit/ wall hanging/ video…

Big Big questions about participation and control…. I’ve thought about these and written about them a fair bit… here.

Depends on the individual context I guess is the easy answer.. but still something which makes me feel very very uncomfortable if i don’t feel it is ‘right’ in  some circumstances… Particularly art delivered in the context of care and ‘therapy’.

I could rant and rant about uncomfortable experiences from well intentioned projects and people but I won’t now.

Just that last weeks meeting and the session I missed all bought up the same internal discussions for me…political and personal

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