Analysis of the role of the artist, designer and architect as facilitator of inclusive social processes

Stefanie Bourne
2003 On the W@terfront  
The public involvement in a visual art practice has different meaning on an artist practice to being involved as an artist in education, architecture or cultural activities. The artist or individual engagement responds to sharing skills and abilities. This assignation forces the artist to detach himself from his/her practice and its impact and consequences lay the individual status. The artist becomes an educator, a designer, a social worker or a civil servant responding to a demand for the
more » ... demand for the duration of a project. Contrasting, a practice socially involved is composed of partnerships and is defined by a multidisciplinary nature. It challenges the notion of authorship and consequently also challenges the current institutional mode of dissemination (based on the author) that make a work of art. Is a socially based practice produce work of art or the work of an artist? These are two different approaches of the role of the artist in socially based practices that are often merged, and the artist role resumed to a skill sharer rather than a practice sharer. The potential of the role of the art practice itself is rarely considered. This paper addresses the analysis of the role of the artist practice in socially based practices. Based on two visual art practices I would like to argue that • Artists manages an inclusive creative method and protocol • These inclusive protocols have authorship status • An authored method doesn't respond to a demand therefore doesn't facilitate. SECTION 1: AN INCLUSIVE PROCESS For the last ten years, I have gradually involved communities and public at large in the creative process and the production of artworks. My practice has developed into a hybrid status between technical challenge, administration/negotiation and reflection, inspired by both a studio practice (having been trained as an environmental artist) and an administration practice (having worked as a fundraiser and public art co-ordinator for five years for the Bristol base engineer Charity, Sustrans). I got involved in multidisciplinary practice very much through intuition and the experience of practising as an artist and administrator. It always has been totally impossible for me to make artwork without the involvement of an audience or having a consultative approach. Although my practice is fully based on social exchange to develop and implement projects, I would not define my role as a facilitator of inclusive social process. The visual practice case studies 1 I will describe are defined by their intrinsic relationship with social process. Their creative process is based on the negotiations and the proceedings that will be necessary in order to inform and get involve with a community. This process is seeking for partnership and its production will be based on a multiplicity of professions, individual, facts, places and mediums. Although a timescale can be given at the beginning of a project, the two practices objective isn't about achieving finality. The projects aim at improving a creative method that has no finality, but the one of communicating within the partnership. The method is amended and refined from a project to another. The public and professional involved are contributing to this objective providing the artist with new approach and their own professional expertise. It's not about using the other as an instrument but rather improving a technique in-vivo, a mutual exchange between art and non-art context. One can say that in return the artist provides an opportunity for the participants to explore their creativity, to empower themselves and to carry other work they would not have considered prior to the project. It's an inclusive process totally lead by artistic freedom. The practice does respond to a need but rather creates a demand by providing a unique product that has not been thought of previously by the 1 Building Underwood (2000)(2001)(2002) is co-ordinated by three artists, in the French Pyrenees, intending to gather an audience/participants in a natural setting aiming to build from scratch buildings, circulatory systems, community tasks, all structures necessary to create in two months, analysing and studying a living environment. Vernacular (1999Vernacular ( -2002: Is a vehicle and acts as a source of database in my Ph.D., originally the title of an audience specific touring practice. The word 'vernacular' indicates 'language', 'communication', and the nonobject, at a local level. These notions are the core structure of this touring project in that they constitute the groundwork and the base for the development of each project. The dialogue initiates and develops each artwork in response to places. The touring structure is intrinsic to the content (vernacular dialogues) of the project. The concept -a series of vernacular dialogues in a nomadic structure-challenges the notion that site specificity does not only relate to the physicality of the location and therefore can be applicable to a nomadic concept. The interventions as dialogue, and myself, are facilitating opportunities, so that the audience can see the potential of dialogue on a specific issue that relates to their locality and way of life.
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