Autumn Rizzio SP

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class wiki// Social_Practices_in_Art_Fall_13
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Week 1

Ted Purves, "Blows Against the Empire

Much of Purves essay explored the differences between gift transactions and capital transactions; with an emphasis on when gift transactions influence a bonded state versus a mediated state. Starting with the example of Josh Greene's 200 $1 bill experiment; Purves defines Greene's gesture not as gift-giving, but as a détournament: turning expressions of the capitalist system and media culture against itself. Because of the lack of accountability of the recipient, the new owner of the dollar bill did not have the same obligation of reciprocation as did the participants of the Diggers' free meals, Diana Mars' guests, or users of the community hot tub. These three actions in gift-giving promote a bonded state; and encourage a level of accountability towards their community and space because the participants are occupying a privileged-- not public space. This privileged space, outside of means of personal accountability, within all three actions was created by the use of a threshold to define the space of interaction. The Diggers, private owner of the community hot tub, and Diana Mars are not changing the world through their interactions but instead building a new one, void of a mediated experience.

Grant H. Kester, Conversation Pieces

Kester presents three examples of dialogical works; where the work itself is the conversation, the intervention opposed to manifesting in a physical object. The examples explored within this essay were dialogues by: WochenKlauser in Zurich on drug-addicted sex workers; "The Roof is on Fire", race dialogue between youth and police in Oakland, California, orchestrated by Suzanne Lacy, Annice Jacoby, and Chris Johnson; and the Route project, a collaboration between artists and bus drivers in Belfast. Each of these dialogical works emphasize the value of shared experience and resonance. Where as the roles between artist and audience are more segregated in object-oriented art-making; dialogical work allows these roles to be in flux and potentially empower a larger audience through, "the creative facilitation of dialogue and exchange".

Trebor Scholz, A History of the Social Web

Beginning with precursors to the internet, Scholz weaves a history beginning with humanity's innate desire to connect and share common experience. He illustrates this through examples including Allan Kaprow, John Chamberlain, and telegram operators. The idea of being able to connect without physical constraints existed before the technology to support it. Early web technology was extremely exclusive; allowing only those who were extremely tech-savvy and capable of affording such systems being the first to experience virtual connection. After a history spanning over 20 years, access to the web began to expand dramatically; with the launch of various niche-websites, one of the earliest mainstream examples of this was, "The Well", a virtual chatspace where Grateful Dead fans could connect (which Scholz mentions that many "Deadheads" went out an purchased computers for this very purpose). Niche forums and websites continued to launch exponentially; as well as other opportunities for users to connect, including shared-editing space and user-fed news. The internet represented a new form of freedom and way to expand personal boundaries; for groups to convene under a common goal or shared interest in hopes to forge friendships (networking), encourage self-promotion, promote political actions, or with the goal of providing information.

Week 2

Darren O'Donnell, "Social Acupuncture: A Guide to Suicide, Performance, and Utopia"

An analysis of social discomfort and experiments in social acupuncture, and social practice which, "generates situations that trigger extreme reactions in a safe, controlled, way," (O'Donnell 71). Throughout these experiments O'Donnell engaged in various communities to lead, participate, and receive these situations of social discomfort ranging from strangers asking to tour another stranger's home to playing various kissing games as ways of identifying and breaking down social stereotypes and constructs. Recounting his various experiments in social acupuncture, O'Donnell also revealed social discomfort and interaction within theater; a type of art which according to O'Donnell, has failed to transform on a grand scale and possess a "fourth wall" limiting the interaction between artist / actor and audience. This wall is something which O'Donnell seemed to activate throughout his social acupuncture exercises by encouraging participation, inclusion, and responsibility. Much of social discomfort is derived from one's ability to command participation, inclusion, and responsibility in social settings: the responsibility of refusal in moments of discomfort or the participation in moments which force us to step outside of our social comfort-zone.

Week 3

Joseph Beuys, "I Am Searching for Field Character" (1977)

Beuys article calls, "EVERY HUMAN BEING AN ARTIST" and the revolutionary power of art-making. Beuys calls art-making a practice in freedom, democracy, and socialism. The biggest take-away from this short article is Beuys emphasis on the active participation of every being, citing the Fluxus and Happening movements. Once active participation occurs can each individual achieve their "individual productive potency" and then art would have the capability of enacting political and social change.

RoseLee Goldberg, "Revolutionizing Human Thought" (1977)

Goldberg's essay is a brief overview of Joseph Beuys work and inquiries. The title of the essay references the drive behind Beuys' work and is a play on one of his quotes, "[w]e have to revolutionize human thought. First of all revolution takes place within man. When man is really free, a creative being who can produce something new and original, he can revolutionize time". This is what Beuys was trying to incite through his, "I Am Searching for Field Character" Essay. Goldberg also comments on the meditative quality of Beuys' work and recounts several works; one of which involved interacting with a dead hare and another with a feral coyote.

Vito Acconci, "Public Space in Private Time" (1990)

Vito Acconci's essay begins with the diminishing of time; how as a society we have traded public time for private time through the invention of wrist watches. Time has also become consolidated or skewed through efficiency, Acconci uses the example of airplane travel for this. Acconci then goes on to define public space, he shares how he has a difficult time in separating public space from architectural space, but goes on to define public space as much broader than an architectural space, calling public space a place where the public gathers or a place that has been made public by force. Public space serves as a reminder that we live in a world of vast private spaces. Acconci divides public space into two categories, public place one fosters solitude or individualism, and example of this is a park; public space two fosters interaction and possesses the capacity to be activated as a political or social space, and example of this being a street. Throughout his essay, Acconci has inserted various proposals for the building of various public spaces (both public space one and public space two). Acconci sees the potential within public space, and is concerned with the idea of a gathering point to direct the public within a space, citing that many of these spaces lack formal leadership to activate them as socially or politically active spaces.

Week 4

Bootcamp Bootleg

This resource / reading provided an overview and various exercises for human-centered designed revolving around enacting community change. Broken up into various steps, then later exercises Bootcamp Bootleg suggests various ways to build connections between teams and communities; all of this begins with empathy. Something that I found most useful in this reading in regards to our class, was the approach to empathy with strangers and the necessity to abandon previous assumptions and learned information in order to obtain new and insightful information. Using different approached to engaging in conversation without posing a direction based on the "interviewers" prior knowledge was very helpful in conducting this week's assignment / social experiment. Bootcamp Bootleg's examples on various ways to break-down and organize information into achievable projects was also a very insightful section; because of this idea that anything is really possible, it is just a matter of breaking it down, prioritizing, prototyping, enacting and repeating this structure.

Tim Brown, "Design Thinking"

Another reading on human design thinking, but more focused on the concept and theory of design thinking and examples of how human design thinking has been utilized to revamp various organizations. Some of the most useful information I was able to pull out from the reading are the two following "equations":
Design Thinking = designer sensibility + people's needs + what is technologically feasible + viable business strategies + customer value + market opportunity prototyping > testing > refinement > prototyping (repeat cycle)
Human design thinking provides new ways to think about a problem and solve it in a way that will promote both consumer benefit and business value. The real emphasis was on prototyping and the various ways of identifying strengths and weaknesses and creating new directions after the prototyping phase, therefor falling back into the prototyping > testing > refinement cycle demonstrated above.

Human Centered Design Toolkit

Perhaps the most creative approach of all three human design thinking readings this week, "Human Centered Design Toolkit" revealed new ways to enact design and redefined concepts defined in the other readings. The empathy approach explained in "Bootcamp Bootleg" is replaced by a "hear" approach, before a design team can then take the information learned from the "hear" phase and run it though the create and deliver phases (in multiple reincarnations). Also emphasized was the building of a team (also explored within the other two readings) with special significance put on the importance of having multidisciplinary teams and space (space as in having a dedicated place to brainstorm and create work as well as the importance of experiencing new spaces in order to receive new perspective (inspiration) to fuel ideas and solutions.

Week 5

Allan Kaprow, "Notes on the Elimination of the Audience" (1966)

For his Happenings, compared to activities, Kaprow was searching for a different kind of audience than the usual art or theater spectator. Kaprow considered Happenings to be an inclusive event and art form, "I think that it is a mark of mutual respect that all persons involved in a Happening be willing and committed participants who have a clear idea of what they are to do," (103). A more involved audience than just the spectator; thus eliminating the audience all together-- Kaprow did not want spectators for Happenings, he wanted participants. Since Happenings often did revolve around play or breaking down social situations of sorts, Happenings invited participation and the breakdown of barriers between performer and spectator established through art and theater over time.

Lucy R. Lippard, "Time Capsule"

The social and political art of the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's was considered a radical shift from the community of Abstract Expressionists of the 1950's. These new radical political and social art communities exploring ideas of gender, race, war, and media understood the benefit of numbers in getting an idea across to a wider audience (though later in the article Lippard notes that they still did not measure of to the media, in terms of the media's wide reach and the overall ignorance of some of our populace who is "kept in the dark"). These socio-political art groups (such as Carl Andre's AWC-- "we are all art workers"-- Carl Andre) not only advocated against war or various stigmas within gender and sexuality, but these groups also advocated for the rights of the artist; taking back some of the control from art dealers, galleries, and museums (removing art from bureaucracy); through means of boycotting, demonstrations, and legislation to protect the rights on the artist in re-selling works.

What I found really fascinating about this essay was the uphill battle that is organizing collaboration. The struggle of getting artists out of their own individual studios and into the studio of the street. What is demonstrated, though, is the success of communal work in the social realm, and how this work is often invisible as art and more-so recognized as political action.

Jay Rosen, "The People Formerly Known as the Audience"

In his article, Jay Rosen is calling for a shift from the independent individual experience to the shared communal experience. Through examples of technology shift from the printing press to blogs and from radio broadcasts to podcast, Rosen examines our opportunity for more communal experiences and our ability to voice our own ideas through these "First Amendment Machines". It is the idea of controlling the media instead of being controlled by it; and the only way to have a louder voice and further reach than the media is to participate in this communal experience Rosen is calling for.

Week 6

Robert Ransick and Blake Goble, "A Manifesto for the Present

Twelve re-contextualized statements on the necessity of being present. These statements explore themes of time, simplification, and relation through various lenses. The necessity to be present is an urgent matter within this compilation, as stated in bullet point 5. The human condition is sometimes stifled and stagnant; clinging too much to the past and on the already known. This compilations of statements is a call for us to be present; to be constantly adapting our ability to observe and draw connections. In being present we must constantly drive to be fresh in our perceptions of the constantly evolving space, culture, and society which we inhabit.

These statements and their organization really resonated with me; in my current practice I am trying to remain present and find the balance between being present in an experience and documenting an experience, and what is means to draw upon both of those memories. Often times when I am concerned with documentation I find myself going through practiced motions-- so it was exciting to read these statements, that as a group, encourage me to go beyond that-- and to strive for new experiences and new ways of perceiving experiences and just overall experience.

Erving Goffman, "(Relations in Public) Microstudies of the Public Order"

Interactions in public explored through motifs of foot traffic versus vehicular traffic with an emphasis on the individual (and why we develop this pattern of individualism through both methods of transport). In the first part, Goffman puts emphasis on the intention of traffic / transport (often to get from point A to point B), and the rules (both written and "unwritten") of each which promote the individual. There is emphasis on the freedom of foot traffic (the physical and personal boundaries are less defined-- i.e. walking on the curb or changing speed without the same ramifications one would have in a car). Something which Goffman poses which I have spent a lot a time contemplating myself is how the rules of the road appear within foot traffic (our natural tendency to keep to the right) and reminds me of my experience living in Chicago, and how often locals become upset with tourists who do not follow these rules we have designated for ourselves (i.e. people who meander and slow us down, walking in pairs and blocking the sidewalks, stopping in moving foot traffic to take a photo).

Goffman moves on to "externalization" and the utilization of gesture to reveal information about oneself. Thee gestures are how we read and engage in others who we share space with, this is our communication in those places which we do talk talk. Gestures are how we interpret strangers on the street and either develop trust or uncertainty about those around us and environments we encounter. He weaves this into the way we adapt in our walking, the paths and patterns we begin to follow, mimic of those around us (either consciously or subconsciously).

Week 7

Ben Davis, " What Occupy Wall Street Can Learn From the Situationists (A Cautionary Tale)

Davis begins his essay with the claim that Situationism did not have much of an influence on the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Using a brief history of SI as his guide, Davis reveals the flaws within the SI movement-- lack of leadership, lack of membership, exclusivity, lack of deep political meaning, advocacy or rebellion. Despite the fact that SI was created / lead by Guy Debord, the organization was rather leaderless, or rather there were no checks in place to promote balanced leadership (Occupy Wall Street had more people organizing the movement than SI had within it's entire movement in its 12 year history). This lack of leadership and organization is one of the reasons preventing SI from being effective.

Situationists International was a launch pad for other movements which may mirror OWS better than SI, such as the Enragés, who actually took action to call awareness to social and political issues. Groups such as the Enragés and the Second Situationist International were focused on being more productive and less-high art than, Debord's original movement.

Davis ultimately argues that OWS has more potential: it is more organized, has a more sturdy hierarchy of leadership in place, is more proactive; than the Situationists were. OWS movement is not an art movement; it is not avante-garde and intangible, it is a real movement enacted in real problems committed to finding real solutions, unlike Debords propagandistic endeavors.

So, clearly the Situationists were poorly organized, but also have made such a historical imprint. Maybe just because they pushed the boundaries? I'd love to learn more about the influence the Situationists have had on other groups. Their short term ripples were absurdly ineffective, but clearly their absurdity left a long term influence. --Maev Lowe 20:23, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Week 8

Elizabeth Ellsworth, "The Materiality of Pedagogy

This reading is a combination of examples of work and concepts by artists and teachers in how pedagogy emerges within their work. This culminating moment; or what pedagogic work strives for is this sensation of learning and understanding-- the awe which was alluded to at the beginning and at the end of this article. The focus of Ellsworth's essay is on the experience of learning; and the learning self as a sensation. She breaks this up into several sections; first focusing on who the learner is and what this sensation of learning looks like, feels like, is like. She then touches of space briefly; and artists who engage in pedagogic work on memories; making visiting a memorial i.e.: Vietnam Memorial or Holocaust Museum a learning experience; where there are choices to make as a viewer/student interacting with the space. She then moves on to the body of the student; and the physical act of learning, our bodies, as learners, are "in service of cognition and cognitive goals". She expands this idea by bringing up the fact that we are not brains, we are bodies, and that bodies must be engaged in the experience of learning. Finally, Ellsworth ends her essay with harnessing various space and time in pedagogic endeavors; and different ways to utilize both. Ellsworth connects ideas of body, space, and time with the practice of phenomenology; the experience of awareness.

All of these various ways to harness learning through experience, time, space, the body, etc; are limited in a sense; or rather, as Ellsworth brings up, pedagogy must be approached with awareness and intentionality in order to ignite what pre-exists for those being taught. The practice of pedagogy is embedded in interfering and resonating desires.

Christopher Lee Kennedy, "Latent Learning Curriculums"

A collections of excepts, essays, and responses, Kennedy's essay is a response to various styles of experiential teaching / learning and why this mode is effective. Beginning with various arts groups practicing pedagogy such as WochenKlauser, Kennedy explores the impact of experiential learning. What it means to explore and develop creative and effective solutions in an interdisciplinary community atmosphere through experience. Further examples within this text cite the common art school approach to work: how to make something opposed to the interdisciplinary approach to why we are making something.

Both of these readings were very interesting to me, as I attended a rigorous 5,000+ person high school before Bennington; the focus was always on the right answer-- not the getting there; projects and assignments were focused on the product versus the experience of generating the final product or why were were even doing this assignment at all. Bennington has entirely turned the tables for me; encouraging me to deeply consider the process of all I am doing. This often generates a lot of personal anxiety for me; as I am so attached to creating a final project (probably because of my high school educational experience), that I often have to remind myself to observe and be aware of the process and intention of whatever I am making or doing.

Week 9

Elizabeth Ellsworth, "Pedagogy's Hinge

As Ellsworth articulates half-way through the reading various designers, architects, artists, and makers recognize pedagogy as a pivot point, and are seeking to engage participants through diverse environments, events, and experiences. The goal of these creators is to put the viewer in relation to other things through experience. Within the reading, this engagement of the viewer through experience is approached in a variety of ways by various artists: physical space (The U.S. Holocaust Museum in DC), artworks, monuments, social engagement (the works of Suzanne Lacy), town meetings, etc. A large focus of this reading is on the use of design to engage in pedagogy. This physical pedagogical engagement is often focused on putting the inside and outside in relation; one access point for this as discussed in the reading is the utilization of thresholds and entrances.


On Sunday, September 8th, I wandered for awhile. Void of a camera, or phone, my two possessions that enable me to be comfortable within an unfamiliar space (because of their ability to enable me to escape this new space into a realm which I am much more familiar with). I did more watching than interacting (I was hoping for a reversal of this). The trees are turning earlier this year, or so it seems. I spent a significant amount of time contemplating childhood within the Bennington area-- how was the experience of growing up Bennington different than my own small lower middle-class illinois town? A saw a little boy using soap from a bucket to blow bubbles; and after awhile his amusement shifted and he began to put the soap into his mouth and blow bubbles. A part of me wanted to intervene and say "no, you're not supposed to do it like that!". But I realized he would hear enough of that the rest of his life, so I kept on wandering.

I saw an old lady in a cozy sweater with kitschy fall adornments. Her french bulldog and pug approached me (the woman told me that these two dogs like to think they are the bus). I exchanged some much-needed puppy love with these dogs and talked about dog back-problems and quirky gaits with the elderly woman. She wished me a happy new year as we parted ways, I've never seen her at the synagogue; and I do not look particularly Jewish, I wondered if she recognized me because my affiliation with Congregation Beth El anyways.

After over an hour of wandering, mostly down Main Street, much much further than I usually go, I found my way back to South Street Cafe, and on my way passed many congregants and took note of all of the vintage cars occupying the streets on this clear afternoon.

Raise $20

When first assigned to raise $20, I was rolling with ideas. As the deadline grew closer, I realized that having all these ideas were swell, but that I would ideally like to do something that had the most efficient use of my time and initial investment. Since I am off the meal plan but still live on campus, I make myself a pretty swell breakfast each morning. A lot of people always comment on how delicious my breakfast looks and how they "wish they had the time to do that". So I figured since I am an early bird and buy all this stuff anyways, that for $5 I would bring people breakfast in bed which included: eggs, coffee, toast, and a smoothie to go. Requests quickly filed in (and they still do since), and I quickly made up my $20. Having this experience was valuable in helping me determine what are some skills I possess that others could benefit from. In this case, it was my ability to cook and the fact that I am an early riser.

Student Presentation

Suzanne Lacy

Suzanne Lacy is an internationally known artist whose work includes installations, video, and large-scale performances on social themes and urban issues. One of her best-known works to date is The Crystal Quilt (Minneapolis, 1987) a performance with 430 older women, broadcast live on Public Television. During the nineties she worked with teams of artists and youth to create an ambitious series of performances, workshops, and installations on youth and public policy, documented by videos, local and national news broadcasts, and an NBC program. Her work has been funded through numerous local and national foundations, including the National Endowment for the Arts and The Guggenheim, Rockefeller, Surdna, and Nathan Cummings Foundations.

Also known for her writing, Lacy edited the influential Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art, published in 1995 by Bay Press, a book that prefigures current writing on politically relevant performance art. She has published over 60 articles on public art. via Suzanne Lacy website

Notable Works

The Violence Series (1972-1979) A collaboration with Leslie Labowitz exposing violence against women in mainstream media.

Ariadne (1978-1980) Born out of her collaboration with Leslie Labowitz exposing violence against women, Lacy & Labowitz formed "Ariadne": a coalition of artists, activists, media reporters, and politicians. Members participated in Lacy and Labowitz's performances in various capacities.

Three Weeks in May (1977) A three-week long performance in Los Angeles exposing the extent of reported rapes. The performance included speeches by politicians, radio interviews with hotline activists, news releases, and self-defense demonstrations. For the duration of the performance, Lacy activated the mass media to reach a larger audience. Lacy's work in long-durational performance was influenced by her mentor Allan Kaprow.

Take Back the Night (1978)

Whisper, the Waves, the Wind (1983-1984) In the 1980's, Lacy collaborated with older women (over the age of 60) to engage in work exploring media and social stereotypes of older women. Lacy engaged in various performances to activate the capacity of old women. Whisper, the Waves, the Wind included an ocean-front performance of women over the age of 65 sitting at round tables covered in white table clothes discussing their experiences and lives; as women left their seats the audience was invited to take the empty seats and continue the conversation at each table. This work by Lacy explored the roles of artist and spectator in art.

The Crystal Quilt Project (1985-1987) Collaborating with older women in Minnesota, Lacy engaged in various dialogues, media presentations, and workshops with women within the community. The climactic performance for this project included several hundred women conversing over an audio-track of recording of other older women describing their experiences in aging, all choreographed so that these women at tables formed a sort of quilt to the 3000 spectators within the audience. This project heavily engaged the media to raise awareness on aging.

Oakland Projects (1991-2000) Lacy formed a collaborative group for these projects known as TEAM (Teens + Educators + Artists + Media Makers) to engage in dialogue, seminars, and performances on youth racial struggles between youth and police in the Oakland area. Projects included collaboration between teens and police to create more effective systems of police officers to negate racial profiling of Oakland youth.

Evoking History The Borough Project (2001-present)

Beneath Land and Water a Project for Elkhorn City (2001-present)

Selected Images

Suzanne Lacy at Creative Time Summit 2009


Frances Cape

Frances Cape, Utopian Benches,
"Utopian Benches is about communalism as opposed to individualism. A bench is a seat that we share; it is also non-hierarchical, we sit at the same level. For the project I remade benches that were, for the most part, made for and/or used by communal societies. There are twenty benches in the gathering in its current state. During the exhibition the benches are used to hold meetings on apposite subjects."