19/11/12

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Tentative Title

(Anti)participation

General Introduction

In my graduation project I would like to reflect on the participatory (art) practice by using it not only as a form of the project, but also as its subject. I will be concentrating on author's motivation and audience's willingnes and reasons for collaboration/participation and how the used media influences it, but also its effect and efficacy when it comes to destructive and constructive kinds of participation.

The project will try to investigate the relationship between the author and its audience and in which way the presence of the author and the location context of the participation infuences the participation. I would like to challenge the notion of the author and try to question and communicate the (im)possibility of singular authorship through some sort of collaborative/participatory engagement on the spot.

I would like to conceive the piece as a site- and situation-specific project that deals with the contemporary art exhibition system and breaks down/deconstructs some proccesses behind it (the 'symbiosis' between the curators, artists, critics and audience). Mostly I would like to concentrate on how this system encourages "closed work" and antiparticipation as opposed to "open work" of participatory practice.

Previous practice

Inventura (www.inventura.ws)

Project 'Inventory' has combined two issues - forgotten topics and forgotten spaces. Forgotten topics are referring to manipulated, ignored or neglected issues in Croatian mainstream media, while forgotten spaces are referring to abandoned and empty spaces around the city of Zagreb, with an emphasis on once active newspaper kiosks. The project provides an alternative media through a proposal of revitalization of media issues and places where they used to be publish(now empty kiosks), through a combination of two media - the public space in virtual and physical form. Project is divided in three parts, it starts with an online form - an interactive web site, goes through a transformation of the content from online to offline media, and ends in offline media - a printed publication.

The particular kiosk is chosen for its central location (Savska 11, Zagreb), its owner - the Croatian Ministry of Culture, and the fact that it's been empty for years.

The project starts with a website (www.inventura.ws) where every month a new guest editor is invited to administrate the website and curate the topic. The guest editor is an expert in social, political or cultural field and he/she gets to choose a topic from his/her domain that he/she finds forgotten and want's to get it revived. He/she invites and encourages the users (experts, students, bloggers, forum participants and all other citizens) to upload their articles, thoughts or questions on the topic (but also images and new topic proposals), which are then collected in the website's database and edited and commented by the guest editor.

The collected articles are then transflated into a print publication and distributed through the chosen kiosk, which is used as a promotion and an announcement of the ongoing topic.


You Tube comments (http://petramilicki.com/shoutbox/index.php)

A completely apolitical and impartial online project that seeks to highlight the danger and absurdity of the inevitable verbal conflict and hate speech between the peoples of the former Yugoslavia. Without going into the content of comments and without choosing sides, the project also condemns any activity that involves such, place and time, inappropriate content.

By addressing and linking people involved in such activities from Youtube, the project aims to provide an alternative place for "this" content, but the main aim is to point out the very serious problems of this area.

(The contents in the background is a collage of different comments on the Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian-Herzegovinian pop and rock songs from the time of the former Yugoslavia, or after its dissolution.)


Collaborative Setting (http://pzwart3.wdka.hro.nl/wiki/Collaborative_Setup)

Collaborative Setting is a system of remote exhibition setup made specifically for "D Day", a 3 day festival of design for young designers that takes place at an abandoned factory in Zagreb every year. A setup is created through a collaboration between the visitors, organizers, volunteers and other participants of the festival (in Zagreb) and me, the author (in Rotterdam). The exhibition setup (3 panels, 1 desk and 2 chairs) and the description 'posters' were also created and assembled on the spot through the instructions given to one of the volunteers. Instead of using only the 3 by 3 meters of exhibition space given to each participant, the entire space of the festival becomes potential exhibition space. In 3 days I chatted with more than 40 people, and successfully exhibited around 30 pieces.

Since this year I couldn't be present in Zagreb I decided to design an exhibition that I could manage and handle from Rotterdam. Since I didn't want to exhibit my work in a traditional manner I decided to make a site and situation specific project. The idea was to make a DIY chat program that would enable me (us) to produce the exhibit while talking about it and in this way make pieces that would be self-explanatory - the form becomes its own explanation. The exhibition was reduced to the process of making the exhibition itself.

The communication takes place through a chat program where the setup and location of each exhibit are being discussed. While the content of each chat discussion (i.e. its printouts) becomes the actual exhibit, each piece of the exhibition is actually its own explanation. After the completion of each chat, the content is being printed out and set on the agreed spot. After that a picture is taken for the exhibition catalog requirements.


Exhibition Factory (http://pzwart3.wdka.hro.nl/wiki/Petra_Mili%C4%8Dki,_Trimester_3,_2012)

Since March 2012 I had been collecting and photocopying papers tossed in the recycling bin at the PZI's Karel Doormanhof building. I decided to display them in WORM in a form of a parallel or pre-exhibition in the period of PZI's final shows and exhibitions. The exhibition in WORM showed the opposite of well prepared work that is willingly exhibited, trash papers from the recycling bin show a direct or indirect process segments that were not meant to be shown. The exhibition also included exhibition catalogues that were printed out on demand.


Relation to previous practice

One could say that most of my previous work requires some sort of participatory engagement since it is mostly taking a form of a platform or is serving as a tool, where I'm merely a facilitator/mediator while the authorship is less relevant. The proposal for my graduation project is keeping some of the characteristics of my previous practice (methodology and form), but is taking a step forward by selfreflecting on those characteristics by making them a subject of my research, thesis and the project itself. The methodology I will be using is a methodology present in most of my previous work - a reaction to a certain situation/problem/task which is, this time, the context of a gallery in which the final piece is going to be presented/exhibited.


Relation to a larger context

  • Free Software and Open Source movements (the technical aspect/representation of the free cultural theory, and movements that inspired the Freedom and Openness as a state of mind and a way of thinking about every other aspect of our culture). Even though it started from a technical point a view has soon been applied to a part of our tradition that is much more fundamental and important, the culture in general.
  • Participatory practices in another fields:

- Participation (decision making), a notion in theory of management, economics and politics
- Participation (ownership), sharing something in common with others
- Participation (philosophy)
- Participation (Finance), getting some benefit from the performance of a certain underlying asset
- e-participation, refers to participation in e-government, and is related to the involvement of the citizen in the democratic process

  • Participatory culture ("a neologism in reference of, but opposite to a Consumer culture in other words a culture in which private persons (the public) do not act as consumers only, but also as contributors or producers (prosumers). The term is most often applied to the production or creation of some type of published media.) (Wikipedia)
  • Psychological and sociological aspect of participation


Practical steps

  • going through the listed literature, getting to know the body of work in this field and its development through time and media, positioning my opinion within the participatory art critique, finding a space for manipulation/intervention
  • looking into different kind of participatory practices (non-art related)
  • field research of galleries and museums (mostly TENT), their promotional systems, interior and exterior spaces, exhibition policies, interviewing the employees
  • experiments with the relations of the piece exhibited and the leaflet for audience that is explaining it
  • experiments with non-art related ways of participation ("Honk for ...") and the ways in which it can be presented and manifasted in the gallery space at the same time (in front of TENT, around Rotterdam)


Thesis trajectory

I would like to start my research by mapping the already well analyzed practice of participation in art history and theory, including the futurists, dada movement, 60's happenings and the 90's participatory art and the early Internet.

After the overview of its development I would like to include the most recent developments in the field of participatory practice (not necessarily participatory art) after the web 2.0. and see how the new technologies changed/are changing the notion of participation and how we approach it.

Also, I would like introduce notions of remix culture and free culture, a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of free content by using the Internet and other forms of media.

I am expecting to find an interesting intersection between the notions of participation and the social dimension of creativity and how our culture gets made, the process of how creative work builds on the past and how society encourages or inhibits that building with laws and technologies. At this point I am also expecting interesting questions about singular and multiple authorship and a path towards the thesis formation.


References

  • Free Culture (Lawrence Lessing)
  • Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship (Claire Bishop)
  • Relational Aesthetics (Nicolas Bourriaud)
  • Participation (Claire Bishop)
  • The Art of Participation: 1950 to Now (Boris Groys)
  • Multiple Authorship (Boris Groys)