mima Arte Útil Summit

From 22 to 25th July  the Association of Arte Útil Summit took place at mima. Amongst the speakers over the weekend were Stephen Wright, Tania Bruguera, Charles Esche, Núria Güell, Kuba Szreder, Sebastian Cichocki, Gemma Medina, Alessandra Saviotti, Annie Fletcher, Michael Simon (Granby 4 Streets Community Land Trust) and myself. The Summit opened up a very broad range of debates and allowed everybody present to begin opening up ideas and new pathways forward for the Association of Arte Util. On Monday 25th July a final, and open, Association of Arte Útil Board meeting was held and a range of ideas and proposals for the development of the AAU were discussed.

Principal amongst these were the proposal to develop the next years of the AAU around the three areas of people (constituencies), Places (discussions of real and virtual exchange including those of ‘Museum 3.0’) and Methods (the development of a rigorous critical and theoretical framework for the practices developed by the AAU which could ‘beyond’ the current museological methodologies of neo-Kantian aesthetics. One of the key proposals was to develop an Office of Useful Art in Granby, Liverpool, as the first example of a ‘ground-up’ and constituency led Office of Useful Art which would, in turn, use the AAU archive in new, productive and useful ways.

The other key motion was for ‘Broadcasting the Archive’ to contact the artists and projects that are currently ‘live’ on the archive and to ask whether or not (and to what degree) they would be happy for other constituencies to take their ideas and develop them as independent projects. This, in turn, will lead to a rigorous debate around an alternative ‘creative commons’ of ownership and rights for the AAU which may begin to point to ways in which forms of adequate remuneration can be provided to artists and constituencies outside of the usual ‘object ownership’ of the current art market.

It was also agreed that the next AAU Summit will happen in the Summer of 2017 in San Francisco, at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts  and will form part of a developing Syllabus for an AAU Summer School that will take place during this time as part of a broader Tania Bruguera show/retrospective. It is also hoped that LJMU and Granby 4 Streets Office of Useful Art will be able to collaborate on developing deliverable material for this Summer School as part of their collaboration around the development of ground-up forms of constituent education and the uses of art. In addition to this, and after an incredibly helpful conversation with Tania Bruguera, I committed the next five years of my research to thinking through issues of use, use-value and the work or labour of art via my involvement the Association of Arte Útil network.

Mima have kindly recorded the proceedings of the Summit discussions from and I will post a link when they are finalized and up online.

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