[-empyre-] week 3: social practice and other social constructions

kyle mckinley bicirider at gmail.com
Tue May 17 03:29:36 AEST 2016

Hi everyone,
I am writing to introduce this week’s guests in our ongoing discussion of
the politics of social practice. Last week’s contributions provided
excellent examples of different strategies deployed by artists and
organizers engaged in struggles against neoliberalism and gentrification.
My hope is that this week’s guests, Margaretha Haughwout and Margaret Rhee,
can extend the impulse of such strategies into different sorts of
struggles. I would be particularly interested in thinking about other
social forms which, like the discussion of participation and of the labor
of social reproduction, appear as externalities from the perspective of
capital and the state. Considering themes that have emerged in posts thus
far in conjunction with the research that Margaretha and Margaret bring to
the table, I am thinking about the social and legal construction of say,
“nature” as an economic resource and of surplus populations maintained as
free-labor by the prison-industrial complex. To reiterate last week’s
question in these other areas: how, on the one hand, are the social
practices of arts communities implicated in these processes of
exploitation; and how, on the other hand, do socially practiced art
projects present strategies for combating such exploitation?

And, of course, I welcome follow up thoughts from any of EMPYRE’s readers
on the discussion thus far.

Margaretha Haughwout's  personal and collaborative practice operates at the
intersections of technology and wilderness in the interest of imagining the
possibilities for human and ecological survival. Her “practice of survival”
works across many media, often complicating the division between the
technological and the natural. Margaretha engages and resists legacies
found in conceptual art, socially engaged art, and biological art to think
about work that connects to biological systems and that reaches beyond
scarcity models for existence. She works collaboratively with the Guerrilla
Grafters, the Coastal Reading Group and Hayes Valley Farm. She is a senior
lecturer at California College of the Arts and holds an MFA from the
University of California Santa Cruz.

Margaret Rhee is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Oregon
in the department of Women's and Gender Studies. She helped co-lead From
the Center, a participatory action digital arts project located in the SF
Jail from 2009 - present. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in ethnic
and new media studies.


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