Thursday, March 18, 2010

Past Open Engagement Conference Catalog

Attached is a link to the post-conference catalog of the Open Engagement Conference from 2007. The catalog is 110 pages, but includes many interesting photos, handwritten notes, and writings about art and social engagement. The first essay on page 1, "Right On Canada: Some Thoughts in Regard to the Open Engagement Experience", by Harrell Fletcher, has some very interesting observations on "art" and "social practice". Here are two short quotes from the essay:

"Social Practice in regards to art can be looked at as anything that isnʼt studio practice. By studio practice I mean the dominate way of making art—spending time in a studio working out personal interests into the form of paintings, or objects, or photos, or videos, or some other pretty easily commodifiable form. The often unspoken intention for this studio work is that it will go off to a desirable commercial gallery, be reproduced in art magazines, and eventually wind up in museum collections, while making the artist into a celebrity of sorts, and paying all of the bills. That is the carrot on the stick that keeps this dominate approach alive and kicking, even though very few of these studio practice artists ever get their work shown at all, and most just give up and find some other way to pay off their student loans."

"I donʼt think that artists have any greater social responsibility than anyone else, even so called Social Practice artists. Everyone regardless of their career has the ability to try to help out in life, or to be selfish, or apathetic, or any combination of those things. Iʼve found that my life is more interesting the more I try to engage with the world and learn from other people and experiences. The more experiences I have the greater empathy I have and the more likely Iʼm going to care about things that are not directly related to my own life (partly because through the connections I make more people do become directly related to my life.)"

To access the catalog, go to the following link and click on the "Open Engagement: Art After Aesthetic Distance Post-Conference Catalogue" link under 2007.

And without further ado, here's the link:

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