Socially engaged art


This project begun with a great deal of uncertainty, an initial brainstorming exercise gave us a couple of ideas regarding surveillance cameras but the concepts felt a little flimsy. So we decided to hit the streets to see if we could find some inspiration. A twenty walk around the UOW campus and bus shelters failed to reveal anything worth pursuing in the way of concepts, so a second trip was planned to the Wollongong Gallery to see if that might help with some ideas. The trip went well and we enjoyed the exhibitions that were on display but still we came away empty handed with no concrete concept to work with. At this stage we turned to Bianca in desperation, she looked at our problem from a different angle, what if we could somehow turn our predicament into our solution, instead of trying to think up a concept of our own we could turn to the public for a solution. Feeling encouraged we decided to push ahead with the idea and made plans for a survey style questionnaire to put to the public. The concept was simple, explain to people that we were arts students on a quest to find a good idea for an assignment regarding social intersectionality and what would they do if they were in our predicament or what they thought would be a good idea for this assignment then record their answers on a voice recording device. We didn’t know it yet but we were about to embark on journey that would turn into a form of psychological derive with problems forcing us to alter course to get a satisfactory result. So now we had our concept it was time to plan how we would collect the information from the public, we decided that we should target three different locations. The first would be a site on the UOW campus, maybe outside the creative arts building so we could take advantage of the type of audience that would be passing by. The second site would be in the Crown street mall just near were the fountains are. And the third site would be just outside the Wollongong Gallery. It seemed straight forward enough now all we had to do was ask the questions. Allan Kaprow states in his article just doing that “the playground for experimental art is ordinary life”(Kaprow 1997 p.103). But does this statement ring true for our own predicament. The type of art project that we were attempting certainly felt like experimental art but are we using ordinary life to cultivate our ideas.



Kaprow, A 1997 ‘Just doing’, TDR, Vol .41, No. 3, pp. 101-106.

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