On 02/22/2018 02:06 AM, Prem Chandavarkar wrote:

I feel we need a redefinition of practice: one that transcends both creative 
personality and business organisation, to explore the practice as a place.

This is a great short essay. Definitely many artists have taken the place-based approach to practice, for example the Prison Neighborhood Art Project, a teaching-art-behind-bars initiative that measures its successes or failures by the content and qualities of interaction between two places: Stateville Prison and the Chicago neighborhoods from which so many of its inhabitants come (p-nap.org). Work like this receives prizes and grants, and the artists get some professional rewards (ie, advancement in the university) However, what you don't have are professional organizations that can make socially engaged, or if you prefer, eco-socially engaged art into an ethical standard. There is a large conference that attempts to do so (Open Engagement), but they have to struggle against the standards, not only of the international gallery business that promotes extravagant superstars, but also of the mostly national disciplinary context of universities where pathetically antiquted modernist conceptions of creative individuality still count for a lot.

Of course the example I bring is a minor one: a field that moves nowhere near the amount of money and exerts nowhere near the influence on daily life that architecture does, let alone computer engineering that creates integrated global systems. If one is to believe history books, deontology was an issue in such fields in the early 20th century. Today, a lot less.

My sense is that practices responsive to place, and the educational resources that come out of such practices, only stand a chance of being incorporated into the mainstream *after* the predictable breakdowns and disasters of social and ecological balances that we now see in their nascent phases. The position that puts you in today is a complicated one: you have to make your experiments happen in the current prosperous and jaded environment, while at the same time realizing they could only have their real meaning and value in a much more violent and desperate world whose contours are hard to imagine, and whose very existence as a viable context depends on upsurges and social-justice struggles that may never come to pass. What are your thoughts on this Prem?

all the best, Brian

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