‘One of the most fundamental rights is to have your understanding of the world recognised and valued’.
Participatory art is a rich and diverse practice. Much of its energy comes from the creative tensions between different theories and visions, as may be seen from some of the reaction to the Turner Prize jury’s choice. But art is not only intellectual and rational. It is felt, perceived, practiced and experienced. Some of the most creative discussions happen within projects, between artists and participants (or, as I’d prefer to say, between professional and non-professional artists). That is why I think of it as a restless art.
And so this project, in its conception and unfolding, is a space for discussion, reflection and development. Other voices are not just welcome: they are intrinsic to what it is trying to do. They are being heard in the meetings and conversations I’m having, which are gradually being documented here. But there are other ways to participate and today, I’m delighted to share the first ‘invited text’ by Chris Fremantle. Chris has been working for many years where art, people and environment meet and his piece considers the parallels between participatory art and ecoarts.
In discussions between artists whose work is focused by environment and ecology, there is a general recognition of a commonality with artists who engage in social and community practices. The work often operates in both realms, sometimes seamlessly. Both are interested in different forms of relationality, particularly in sharing and negotiating authorship with communities and creating stories that serve interests beyond their own.
Many thanks to Chris for his rich contribution to the project.