Sharing A.N.D. Social Practice with a great audience and in a great space

Sharing A.N.D. Social Practice with a great audience and in a great space

First of all, I am really falling in love with the ZERO1 Garage and the ZERO1 Fellowship program. I love the space; I love what it is used for and what it brings to the people who visit it, including myself.

I admit it, I was nervous before the talk started last Friday. But the outcome was unexpectedly positive for me. I presented my ZERO1 Fellowship project – the occasion was the monthly Art/Tech: In Conversation talk at the Garage. Results? It helped me gain more awareness both about the project and about what it is that I need to do going forward. (By the way, I hope you know a little bit already about my project from the ZERO1 site, and in case you don’t here it is.

So as I was saying, the talk gave me good insights and further opportunities to formulate ideas around A.N.D. Social Practice - a.k.a., my project. A key point emerging from the discussion was whether social practice artists are problem solvers or problem stirrers. Before I delve deeper into this aspect, I want to make sure you all know what a social practice artist or art practitioner (as they are also called) is. To help out, I am quoting a student of Gordon Knox at Arizona State University (Gordon, besides being a partner in this fellowship, is also teaching a course on Social Art Practice at ASU this semester). So here it is: "it is work that has meaning, purpose, or motivation, and calls attention to a fact about society or encourages change in perspective or behavior." And here, to give form to a concept, I want to add a link to one of my favorite Social Practice Art projects The Legend of El Bibliobandido.

Now that – I hope - you are getting closer to understanding what social practice artists do, maybe you can follow me in this thought: did the Bibliobandido project, from the video link above, solve the literacy problem in that small village in Honduras? My guess is, probably not. Did it encourage a change in perspective or behavior? I surely think so. And though Marisa Jahn, the creator of the project for REV, states that similar initiatives sprung up after this one in neighboring communities there, I prefer to think that these kind of art projects tend to shake the air and create possibilities for something more durable to happen, but they don’t necessarily guarantee these kinds of long lasting results. My fantasy is that a theater group financed by a foundation and in cooperation with local social activist will take on a long lasting project involving school children and grownups around drama and literacy there. And something like this is, in a few words, A.N.D. Social Practice’s goal.

Superflex Supergas Project in Thailand, 2002

One more thing I took home from the talk: one of the attendees asked, how can you work with foundations if they are famously still living in the 20th century vis-à-vis their funding practices? Good question, I thought, and I also told her that foundations need to be educated. But I don’t seem to be alone in this opinion. A few months ago I was able to attend online an event that holds promises for the future: Definitely worth pursuing connecting with this org and their affiliates.

And definitely worth developing A.N.D.! Every day that goes by I am encouraged by positive comments, our progress in building the web platform and the growing realization that social practice is not going unnoticed in the big world out there. Just in - thank you Jaime Austin for sending me this social practice link-it is an article from the New York Times.




Top Image:It is not just black and white, Gregory Sales 2013