Explorations in Concept and Media III: Community Art/Collaboration/Public Art

Home/ Explorations in Concept and Media III: Community Art/Collaboration/Public Art
Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSCC2VA1134

Semester and Year Offered: Monsoon

Course Coordinator and Team: Santhosh S.

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: The course is only open to the MA Visual Art students who have completed the three core Visual Art courses, namely Explorations in Concept and Media I and II

Course Objectives/Description:

This course will help the students to choose and explore diversified mediums of art practices such as installation, photography, performance, painting, sculpture, video making, etc., and will range from archive-based projects, creating collaborative art-making, community art, and site-specific works of art. The main component of teaching will be based on a workshop model of learning and creating, conducted by three significant visiting faculty/artists of repute that will involve studio practices. These would also involve lectures/slide shows/discussions and field/studio visits.

The studio practice in the second semester was mostly geared towards evolving an art project based on archival investigation and the third semester would enable them to further these directions. Keeping in view modules such as collaborative and community-based art practices, site-specific art practices etc., visiting faculty will be invited to interact and guide the students to devise project/s and execute them. A history of the concerned areas of art practice as well as the analysis of their contemporary relevance and questions of the efficacy of various strategies and methodologies regarding each of these practices will also be part of the discussions in this course. Discussions will further involve the modalities of making a choice of a mode/approach over others in terms of processes and execution of the work of art. Apart from conceptually discerning the thematic of their concerns, the students will be initiated to undertake critical reviews of their works as well as the concepts and works of their classmates.

Having begun the process of developing their individual concepts and concerns in the first two semesters, students are expected to be now equipped to begin exploring the appropriate means/media which suit their purposes. The course will familiarize students with diversified art practices through workshop based teaching programme. Interaction with experts will help the students to choose their preferred mode of expression and they will be expected to gather sufficient understanding of the particular mode of practice they choose to work with through these workshop/project based modules. The emphasis of the course will be on providing students with tools to engage with their own practice on broader discursive, critical and intellectual levels. The modules will not concentrate on providing skills but will instead focus on developing a critical understanding of various kinds of art practice and their social, political, and cultural implications. Since the invited artists and researchers have considerable amount of intellectual and political investment in their respective fields, the students will benefit from the sharing of the concerns and questions that these practitioners have been grappling with.

Course Outcomes:

Upon the successful completion of the course the students will be able to:

  • understand, internalise and implement the relevant aspects of the ethical questions involved in community-based/participatory art practices.
  • critically engage with various theoretical and historical undercurrents of public sphere in general and community-based practices in particular.
  • understand the discourses around public art, functionality of art and acquire practical abilities to develop tools to engage with art, society and political interfaces.
  • acquire managerial skills in terms of budgeting, preparation of proposals for a public art project, negotiation with various stakeholders, and so on, required for community-based and public art making.
  • effectively engage with the questions of dissemination of art and develop strategies for implementing the interventionist potentials of creative practices.
  • critically understand the instrumental nature of many public art projects and develop a demonstrable new vocabulary for engaged art practices and artistic knowledge.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

The course attempts to explore five disciplines that can elicit public participation in order to address civic/environmental/infrastructural issues and change or challenge the prevalent status quo. The geographic focus will be India and select countries from the South Asia region. 1. Art and Activism, 2. Design and Activism, 3. Performance and Activism, 4. Architecture/ Urban design and Activism, 5. Technology and Activism

1. Lectures/Seminars (week 1-6): This module introduces important historical and conceptual problematics regarding collaborative/participatory/public art practices. Through a series of lectures and presentations, it engages with the ethical and aesthetical dimensions of collaborative arts.

2. Fieldwork and Research (week 7-12): This course is primarily designed as a practice-based research initiated and guided by the instructor. Since it involves material execution of an art project, the fieldwork and research constitute a major component of it. Fieldwork and allied research processes will equip students in terms of selecting a visual/cultural repertoire, contextualize their projects in terms of local specificity, and historicize them in terms of a larger network of socio-cultural practices. Primary research includes first hand interviews that the students are required to conduct with practitioners depending on their choice of medium and location. This also includes field research and collection of ground level data. Secondary research includes references to books, journals, online resources, etc. Students are also required to build their own canon of understanding the contemporary history and implications of socially engaged practices.

3. Workshops (week 7-12): Another major component of this course is a series of workshops which will enable the students to conceptualize their project as well as open up a wide variety of possibilities in terms of material execution of their projects. Workshops will be conducted by practitioners of various forms of ‘collaborative’ art.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • essay on collaborative art practices and the ethical implications by the (2000 words) (6th week) 20%
  • Classroom and Project Participation (overall semester) 20%
  • proposals and research (10th week) 20%
  • of (final) collaborative/public art projects (with a reflective writing) 40%

Reading List:

  • Kester, Grant H. Collaboration, Art, And Subcultures, Notebook Videobrasil 02-Art Mobility Sustainability (2006): 10-35.2.
  • Kwon, Miwon., Public art as publicity; In the place of the public sphere (2005): 22-33.
  • Kwon, Miwon. One Place after Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity. Massachusetts, MA: MIT Press, (2002).
  • da Costa, Beatriz and Kavita Philip, Tactical Biopolitics: Art, Activism and Technoscience. Massachusetts, MA: MIT Press, (2008).
  • Weiss, Peter. The Aesthetics of Resistance. Vol.1. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, (2005).
  • Bishop, Claire. The social turn: Collaboration and its Discontents, Artforum44.6 (2005): 178.
  • Bishop, Claire. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. London and New York: Verso, (2012).
  • Bishop, Claire eds. Participation. Documents of Contemporary Art series. Massachusetts, MA: Whitechapel and MIT Press, (2006).