On the 20th and 21st of August 2022 I took part in two Association of Arte Útil Seminars which were held as part of the INSTAR (Instituto de Artivismo Hannah Arendt)
contribution to Documenta 15. Both Seminars took place in the INSTAR Square in the Documenta Halle. https://documenta-fifteen.de/en/
On Saturday 20th August the Seminar ‘Is There Such a Thing as a Usological Turn’, chaired by The Van Abbemuseum’s Nick Aikens, looked at the concept of usership as a means of practicing by artists who set out to make work that is to be activated rather than looked at. Seminar participants, including Muhannad Al Ulaby; Tania Bruguera; Fernando Garcia Dory (who attended online), Annie Fletcher and Stephen Wright were asked to consider how such practices welcome use, misuse, transformation and repurposing and, also, how such practice might challenge old categories such as ownership, authorship, spectatorship, and intellectual property rights.
The link to the INSTAR YouTube recording of this session can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPXg13RGHVs
On Sunday 21st August I chaired the second session ‘Towards an Archaeology of Art Útil’ which allowed Tania Bruguera, Alistair Hudson, Alessandra Saviotti and myself to unpack how the online archive of the Association of Arte Útil has become an expanding and collective resource, or tool – one that can be freely used and activated by anybody who is interested in the increasingly complex intersections that are opening up between and across art and social change.
As such the Seminar also offered a space to discuss and consider how the Archive of the Association of Arte Útil (which now numbers more than 300 case studies) might provide tactics, historical perspectives – and way of rethinking relationships between theory and practice – for those who might wish to use art as a means of counter-neoliberal change. The Seminar also considered how this archive functions as a means to connect/reconnect diverse geographical and transdisciplinary ‘users’ in ways that might help the process of re-mapping our uses of art as a tool for social change.
The link to the INSTAR YouTube recording of this session can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ase5kRz1tQk&t=244s
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