Mark Wilsher on the Cultural Olympiad and the politics of participatory public art projects
An increasingly popular new model of public art has now become entrenched through the official commissions for the Cultural Olympiad. This model sees artists choose iconic images to be constructed from myriad objects offered up en masse by the public, who then become participants in the artworks – or stakeholders, in the political jargon. But doesn't this limited notion of participation obscure more radical approaches to participatory art?
'Does it matter if artists build a boat or a bus? A nest or a table? It only matters that something is built. Looking at the project websites and associated social platforms it is clear that what counts is the process of participation itself.'
Marcus Verhagen takes a nuanced view of art and tourism in a globalised economy
The tourist has a bad rap and is an easy target for cultural critique. Tourism is the world's largest service-sector industry and its global reach is still expanding. Art tourism contributes to this expansion, while artists themselves are continually on the move, 'shadowing' the tourist and relying on the infrastructure of the tourist industry to do so. A number of artists, including Francis Alys and Fischli & Weiss, have begun to address this dilemma in their work.
'Of the many artists who have reflected on their travels, some, like Darren Almond, have distanced themselves from the tourist, but others have adopted more nuanced and sympathetic positions.'
As cultural institutions face ever-greater pressure to efficiently manage resources, so space-hungry old-media archives are increasingly being dumped after digitisation. But when many digital compression formats are described technically as 'lossy', shouldn't this be a clue that a database without a physical archive is a bad bet on fleeting technologies?
'Art departments in universities up and down the country are busy disposing of books, slides, analogue photographic and printmaking equipment and various other so-called redundant technologies. They are doing this partly to make space, under the pressure of numbers and competing departments, but mostly because of a headlong rush to invest in new, "clean", space-saving digital technology that will look good in their shiny new glass and steel buildings – though as any IT-aware student knows, new technology is out of date the moment it is installed.'
The Precarious Workers Brigade clarifies its position in relation to the 'Untitled (Labour)' symposium at Tate Britain (Reports AM356).
Protest group Bread and Circuses (motto: 'spectacle in the time of austerity') takes over a derelict building owned by Anish Kapoor in central London as an alternative arts venue; Creative Scotland remodels its grant schemes and, broadly speaking, workshops win out over galleries; ACE gives out more money to kick start endowments; a permanent publicly funded arts TV channel may be on its way; intern culture is examined; another art magazine moves online just as the oldest online art magazine shuts down; all the latest news on galleries, events, commissions, prizes and more.
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Peter Suchin on the Iranian filmmaker
Nooshin Farhid, who fled to the UK from Iran in 1987, makes collaged films that fragment our sense of place, utilising a variety of filming techniques in order to reveal the constructed nature of realism.
'The result is a sharpening of perception, a reinvigoration of the media through which we try to understand contemporary culture and, indeed, the received – and sometimes already repackaged – past.'
various venues, Kassel
various venues, Manchester
various venues, Genk
various venues, Limerick
Haunch of Venison, London
SPACE and Studio Voltaire, London
Peckham Space, London
The City Art Centre, Edinburgh
Alex Coles finds public artworks sited in time rather than place
'The editors' state their aims for the book thus: to graft theories of human geography and contemporary archaeology and use them to align the recent theorisation of the curator as producer with art that is simultaneously site and time sensitive.'
Patricia Bickers corrals some recent publications
'The real purpose of Will Gompertz's book is not to inform the reader but the writer. In a nutshell, what this book represents is the outcome of a four-year – on-off – crash course in art history that is the equivalent of the three-month "media training" he undertook at the BBC.'
Cherry Smyth on an immersive film installation at Wapping Project
'In his moving sound and film installation, Mikhail Karikis abandons certain cinematic conventions, such as sync sound, narration and subtitles, to free up our interaction with his subjects and leave much of their world unknown.'
Maria Walsh watches online as a Tate event is performed live to webcam
'Logging on at the streaming time of 8pm, I found myself facing a large group of people, mostly women, mostly young, looking up at the camera.'
John Douglas Millar catches the sound-archive's events at Tate Modern
'What was so heartening about this event was the way it allowed different strains of feminist discourse to mingle, coalesce and antagonise, and the way the symposia framed the discourse around sound and music within a broader socio-economic and human rights-based agenda. Lina Dzuverovic finished her talk on the Saturday with a call for solidarity with the Russian Riot Grrrl group Pussy Riot whose members currently languish in a Moscow jail.'
Kathy Battista visits an art scene that is drawing global attention
'From commercial galleries to museums and smaller non-profits, the city has a thriving contemporary art community, which is increasingly drawing expats – both practitioners and galleries – into its fold.'
Colin Perry feels the tension in a locally focused international art colloqium
'Rich in contradiction, the Convention was as generous as it was exclusive, at once intellectually probing and awkwardly constrained by its art discourse.'
Henry Lydiate examines the value of a wall drawing without its authenticity certificate
'Roderic Steinkamp owns Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing #448 and authenticity certificate, which he consigned to the Rhona Hoffman Gallery in 2008. In 2011 the gallery notified Steinkamp that the certificate had become "lost and irretrievable".'
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