This conference, organized by Brack Singapore and IFIMA, gathered art practitioners, artists, art professors, critics and writers for a discussion on the dynamic field of community art/ participatory art/ socially-engaged art / a few other terms for this type of art. Several projects were presented that served as pivots for discussion, feed backing, consultation, and cross-checking. Among the points and questions that were raised were on flexibility. Flexibility, whether in the process of creation, in the modes of participation, or in the roles that each project player assumes.
“The artist and audience as learners”, Alicia Neo mentioned in her presentation, as a way of addressing the issue of power dynamics in projects under community art. Artists and art practitioners in the conference mentioned that over the course of their projects, the roles that they assume changes. And in some situations, the assumption of these roles has to be negotiated more often.
On flexibility in the process of creation, terms that came up in the discussions included the Aesthetic of Process, unplanned participation (The Cabinet exhibition in Hanoi) and the coincidental public (Wisesa’s Lebur-Dissolved). Community art is also of particular interest to art historians. Eileen Legaspi-Ramirez mentioned the idea of an “Interdisciplinary Art History” in her presentation.
The conference offered a critical look on the practice of this type of art today. Participants warned of the “illusion of participation”, of instrumentalization and, most of all, of a simplified perspective about art-making.
From the presentations of Best Piya and Dominique Lammli