Ethics and Pragmatism Technology, Context and Collaboration in Public Art


Session Title:

  • Orai and Architectual Space

Presentation Title:

  • Ethics and Pragmatism Technology, Context and Collaboration in Public Art



  • As social systems evolve through networks of exchange and economies of relation the relevance of Art is increasingly dependent upon divesting its traditions of authorship. Artists concerned with the social and political function of art practice, those, who wish to ethically engage the complexity of social life, are developing new methodologies. These include, re-inventing ethnographic practices, employing models of complex systems, and exploiting information technologies. Information space is public space. Advanced communications technologies required to enter and act in that space can be made accessible and empowering to individuals who currently have no access or power through public art practice. Interface design in art practice, consumer media, and information culture position the subject on a sliding scale of political power between consumerism and collaboration. The one-way vector of communication between artist and audience can give way to “context-dependent” practices in which the artist generates a framework for collaboration with an “audience,” that is meaningful relative to the audience’s social environment. This approach to public art avoids representation and appropriation, and provide material contexts for direct political action. Its goal is to open dialogue within and between communities, facilitate productive self-expression, increase political awareness, and challenge social codes. This paper will examine the potential of ‘context-dependent’ public art practices through a discussion of projects which use social strategies for the deployment of technology in an attempt to change the conditions of disenfranchised or marginalized communities.

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