[-empyre-] May discussion of social practice wrap-up

kyle mckinley bicirider at gmail.com
Tue Jun 7 05:22:50 AEST 2016

hello everyone,

I’m writing to appreciate everyone who participated in the May discussion
about Social Practice and social reproduction. Though the conversation has
been somewhat muted — possibly due to it being such a busy time of year — I
believe that a number of important themes have surfaced. I know that for me
personally it has been extremely helpful to give sustained thought to the
ways that socially practiced art is implicated in processes of
gentrification and the expropriation of social reproduction by various
institutions.  And, at the same time, we have thrown a light on projects
and institutions which seek to undermine such dynamics through practices
which not only take participation as a creative medium, but also seek to be
accountable to communities and participants which appear as marginal or
tokenized within the broader world of contemporary art.

As struggles over who has access to the spaces of cultural production push
questions of whose activities are valorized as “work” or as “art” to the
fore, those of us involved with making, supporting, and thinking about
socially practiced art have important decisions to make about where our
solidarities lie. As Dont Rhine noted in his contribution beginning this
month’s discussion, “One is not in solidarity despite difference but
through it. The politicization of that difference in practice… affects how
one assigns meaning to the social practices of artists and to the social
practices of communities struggling for social reproduction and
transformation. Solidarity orients one’s attention to lived relations, to
crises, strategies, and tactics.” Such a notion of solidarity, both
rigorous and expansive, may function as a guide post for those of us
committed to creative practices which resist class, gender, and racial
oppression and which seek to model the social relations of the futures in
which we wish to live.

Many thanks to the moderators of the EMPYRE list, and to all of our
readers, for making possible the space for this important and emerging

in cahoots,

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