After 50 years of creative invention and achievement, participatory art does not need discovering.
It does not need the condescension of those comfortably settled at the table, or their leftovers. It does not need to be told its own history, or damned with faint praise. It does not need colonisation, exploitation or development. It does not need to be appropriated, polished or institutionalised. It does not need to wipe its shoes at the door. It does not need educating or relocating.
Participatory art does not need to hear that it is good for, or considering that, or would be better if… It does not need to be told what to do, when, for whom, how and why. It does not need to justify its ‘quality’ or prove its ‘impact’. It does not need help or permission. It does not need to serve anyone’s politics: it has politics of its own. It does not need to put a tiger in anyone’s tank. It does not need to wait.
Participatory art is here, now, live.
Participatory art has won, because it opens doors, empowers, challenges, delights and confronts. Because it values relationship and community. Because it is an open resource and a human right. Because the world is changing and it helps meet that change. Because it matters to so many.
- Click here to download A Restless Art as a PDF file
- Photo: Fun Palaces by Helen Murray