On November 8th at Art in General, Pascal Gielen: “Community Art and Pastoral Power.”
“In recent years there has been increased attention to so-called ‘socially engaged art practices’. Equipped with a sense of urgency and intent, artists and curators develop work with the support of communities or groups to tackle political and social issues. While the success of these projects are not easily measurable, they often reiterate the role of artist/curator as protagonists of specific forms of social change, which posits a direct contrast to recent activism which carefully distances itself from any leader-based political organizational categories.
“Pascal Gielen, co-editor of the recently published volume Community Art, will draw out a critical cartography of community art and will speak about the power and impotencies of this phenomenon. Since modernity, art and community, artist and social work have had an ambivalent relationship. Can art have a role in building communities? What is the political potency of forms of art that strive to integrate individuals and social groups.
“In the book Community Art: The Politics of Trespassing the Italian philosopher Antonio Negri states ‘Every kind of change belongs to a form of community art’. This is the inverse of the premise that community art can be an integral component of desired social changes. Negri confronts community art, its supporters and critics with a challenging responsibility, and extends this to include everyone who wants to bring about change in social, political, economic, technological or ecological arenas. Communal and artistic go hand in hand.”