Matthias Borello November 17, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Dear Corinna Kirsch
Thank you for this article.

An immediate respons to both the confusion of the term and the art historical context:

We’ll keep the confusion within the term by addressing it as a problem that the field includes a great variety of practices dealing with social matters, so to say.

Relational (Bourriaud), dialogical (Kester), socially engaged (Thompson/Creative Time), site-specific (Kwon), participatory (Bishop) might confuse, but really, these practices in New York, Chicago or Copenhagen (where I’m engaged in this field) join together in proposing models (on a macro or micro, imaginative or practical level) of social action and thinking, where ideas of the politically, culturally and socially determined are challenged and used as the ground for new constructs both on a symbolical and practical level. Dialogue is the tool, participation is the administrative structure, site-specificity is the socially determing setting, relations are the premise, the social realm is the field and/or material. Why can’t these terms be productive in describing this field?

Our stereotypical notions of resource and potential is at the heart here and social practice gains relevance proportionally with the structural power’s representation and reproduction of these determinations as seen in everyday (lived) politics, conflicts, corporate business, pop music, fashion, commercials, social medias, urban development and so on… Social practice is one of the few fields where the questioning of these stigmatizing and regressive mechanisms is (still) re-thought and re-acted upon.

Let’s not complain, that social practice is complex and multifaceted, but celebrate it, not as a historical artefact but as an artistic practice addressing and challenging us all, right now, both in Chicago, New York and Copenhagen!

Corinna Kirsch November 18, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Thanks for your comment; it definitely helps further the dialogue. I think your way of describing the field is, as you put it, highly productive.

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