My Tutorials with Caroline and Angela were rich in discussion about finding an audience and their importance in a participatory project. I am aiming to expand on how to connect with an audience and thinking about how to bring/keep the audience with me over time.
By being clear and consistent about how an audience can find out about my work/what I am doing through social media and the website component of this project, I will be able to build an audience that can grow with me. Ideally, down the line, I could track their feedback or capture engagement in some way. This would be useful to find out who the audience really is and what demographics participate, and to pinpoint audiences that are harder to capture. This information will lead to the audience expand/evolve a non-arts audience, by finding external networks to tap into and work on special projects with already existing specific groups.
To grow this audience I think the advantage of participatory projects is that they can use fun and relatable everyday elements. By engaging and establishing an audience as a community I can begin to comment on larger social issues through playfulness.
The ephemera created can create a lasting effect for the project, and by connecting through a giveaway or memento a social bond can be established. This social bond can lead to trust and openness to consider more complex or uncomfortable art situations.
Rosa Cade provides a beautiful example of creating a social bond through appreciation and exchange of a gift. In her Walking:Holding project, “the performers, or ‘hand holders’ are a group of local people from a range of different sections of the community. The aim is to get people who are different ages, races, genders, sexuality and social backgrounds to participate, to create a diverse and rich experience for the audience member. This performance is about bringing very different people together to walk hand in hand in public. It’s about flesh to flesh experiences of difference. It hopes to encourage greater understanding and tolerance amongst people who experience it, and to open up new possibilities for ways of being in public space, and ways of being with each other.”
Working with the wide range of participants involved holding workshops, rehearsals and reflections sessions throughout the project’s development. Through this exchange of time, a real connection was made with the participants (https://rosanacadedotcom.wordpress.com/projects/current-projects/walkingholding/)
In terms of the take away as an artwork in itself I always think of Felix Gonzales-Torres’ candies. The take away creates a sense of ownership over the work, as well as a physical and psychological connection. Engaging the viewers a participants rather than passive viewers forcing a new paradigm in the relationship between artist, viewer and institution. Through this shared experience the roles are also broken down, re imagined and experimented with – which is always a good thing, especially in terms of removing power dynamics and reassigning power to underrepresented populations.
I also think there is value in the take away because of its ability to raise questions about preexisting hierarchical structures in the art world, especially in terms of consumerism in the art market. Making the work inherently anti-capitalist.
Projects like the MOMA’s exchange cafe, and the 1995 exhibition Take Me (I’m Yours), an exhibition idea originally conceived by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Christian Boltanski in 1995 have so carefully considered what the takeaway as an art object means in terms of social engagement. All the works and projects in these involve inviting active visitor participation and interaction or through touch and takeaways. The main goal to create a lasting impression with the audience that is not necessarily shocking.
I plan to exchange one of my Zenith views for every participant or Zenith view submitted to the archive. Thinking about what media will work for this, the take aways will be cyanotyped images, created in multiples. Using light and absence of pigment to represent light against nothingness seems like the right material fit to me. Each cyanotype will be of the same image, but the exposure and development process makes them unique.
The other take away is the original of the drawing they make. I will keep the carbon copy, or print as I have been thinking of them. I have decided to hand draw then and changed the “form” to a circle space for drawing to capture that more human view, mimicking the way our eyes see the world through a circle lense – getting away from the photo and more into an observational field.
Cade, Rosana. “Walking:Holding” (2013). Blogpost. https://rosanacadedotcom.wordpress.com/projects/current-projects/walkingholding/
McIntosh, Karly A., “Come Together: An Exploration of Contemporary Participatory Art Practices” (2014). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 2183. https://ir.lib.uwo.ca/etd/2183