PACT 1 Week 9/10 - Social Sculpture

Social Sculpture- Situationists/Sublime

Andrea Fraser

Group Material

Artist Placement Group

Ai Wei Wei - also where does this work and fail, demographic he represents and fails to

Situationists late 50’s and 60’s

Everything that is everyday in life can be art, everyone can be an artist

The potential for art to bring about revolutionary change

The move away from ‘high art’ especially Sculpture and Painting

Making the social-political personal

Taking ideas and concepts out of the gallery and into the real world with the intention for change, against capitalism and the beginnings of neo-liberalism

The intent to transform society

Looking at human activity and how it shapes social structures and the environment

Languages, thoughts, actions, imaginations

The unique context of the 60’s and the situationist, and how its still current now

Divergent ideas around social structures and ideas

Questioning the limits of site specific space, role of the artist as ethnographer, with the intention to change/better. Which is also very problematic, with the idea of being a saviour that really doesn’t work/hit the mark (Jaye’s opinion)

Crucial role of the curator - situation specific art

Darren - doesn’t believe that art has the power to create social change

The views already exist, the artist as a vehicle to reflect the zeitgeist

“I am the one to bring about social change” - megalomaniac fantasy

Environmental issues

A lot of artists fall into that and a lot don’t

Leanne - echo chambers, preaching to the converted

Chelle - echos leanne white centric etc

Jaye - some artists succeed

Doug - ...

Melody Woodnut - Women against waves as an example of artists that make it work, also

Rik Lowe, Alex Kelly AU artist, crossover between art and life docu format,

Suzanne Lacy - the roof is on fire to give voice to youth

Raising awareness of societal and systemic issues

Artists can work to enhance outcomes for communities

Echo chambers are galleries etc…

Sustainable gardens/land etc

Art as a general term doesn’t nessacarily relate to politics/social change

Jaye - success? by who’s account?

The artist? or the participants?

Social sculpture - anyone can be an artist, artist or not aligned in a ‘sculptural’ process of change

Christina - artists can create a seed for change. Eg: living through a dictatorship from being young, non-existing viewing this from the other side, viewing from a narcissism perspective. Athenian/Greek born in a dictatorship

Oliver - Agrees with Melody

Lucy Lippard, a lot of institutions side line political art

Authorship - problems with this

Pedro Rays - shovel/guns, the

Olaf Oliasson - big name seems to stand out rather than the work

The Aerocene  - non authored

Leanne - echos oliver

Jaye - Authorship is a good point, another point is prescriptive art

Artists making artwork for the institution, labouring the point, making it for the wrong audience, that it ends at the social institution

Beuys - to move away from the institution

How do we move away from that and artworks being institutionalised

Darryn -Agrees with Melody

Ai Wei Wei - housing commissions, being a martyr for art

Refugee boat in Carriage works

Richard Moss - how received the general public are

Richard Moss

and Ben Frost

Where do you draw the line between being distasteful/inflicting own projections

Melody - 1. the point of view, the frame/western canonical view - profiteering etc

‘tarran vargue’

working within their neighbourhood

The relationship between the artist and their community

Bastardised by ‘relational aesthetics’

2. The voyeristic

Me -

Jaye - Ai Wei Wei, blockbuster early works were good, but for Jaye he is not the audience

Prescription -

Hannah Arendt -

Me - Educational contexts/ institutional

Doug Webb - Not all work is political, not making artwork,

Churches, political parties, parents, community, tendrils of legacy

Leanne - Art is expression through the lens of the person, political persuasion (mind wash)

Jaye - Insulting prescription/bored/suspicious/ a cover up?

Really political or social work i get suspicious - is it the artists job to be political??? When the ego is attached to big scale works

(Nila - on a mobile)

Emily - examining self and positionally

Jaye- Self examination and position, confessional art, doing it in a public space is a political act

Christina - education has a specific purpose for shaping, can just be more drawing in the sketchbook, artists are more sensitive

Chelle - education and art for education, different ways of looking at the world *** locating relevance, well intended, different ways of thinking

purpose of the artist - social sculpture/career/community involvement - artist as tradespersons

seeking and finding truth in the realm of reason - Neitzche


community/education/ivory towers

Nihilism- Absurdity - depression - meaning

Contemporary views


PD for teachers

enriching others

how is it measured?

Language of communication

Political shifts

Me: Edu/voices

The Sublime


Spectacle/Success blacken out the previous understandings of the Sublime - 1880’s landscape paintings, North America examples that champion colonialism

Recasting the sublime, transcendence, uncanny, altered state, states of terror, overcoming obstacles as a form of the sublime

Julian Bell text

Late capitalism, the sublime,

Contemporary Art and the Sublime

Mike Kelly

Emily - Ego as bad - that the artist can see something that others can’t, a hierarchy

Showing a better way


Jaye - Mike Kelly - Emotionality as site and surface

Zhaung Haung


Darryn - Kantian view





Ego - i think we really need to have an ego, better worse thinking is very either/or - but the artist succeeds if they remind the viewer of everything that brought them into the

Car crashes

The horror of reality TV

Rave culture


The complexity of social politics

Paul Yore



Melody: The sublime as it is spoken- that artists wouldn’t care one way or another if they were related to the sublime or not

Baroque Sublime

Travelling theme for a very long time

Ancient concepts

There is this something else -

The occult/the transient/transcendant/


“A mysterious searching through the fog” Icelandinc saying - Many things live in the fog



Julian Bell - Masc take on notions of the sublime

(Birthing - me coming out of a giant egg/talkback radio/)

The Bush, )

Part of the everyday

Jaye - Reacting to thoughts

Mind Sublime

Oliver -


Soyoun - the sublime is subjective

artists to define the subjective

Scripture/Cultural backgrounds/traditional

Playfulness and the sublime

Cut off from one another

(Me: Thats not sublime that’s SLIME!!!! SUB SLIME


Kia -  Sublimity,  ,

Kia - not getting the idea of the sublime

Jaye - transcendence, everyday, poets/puppets

Japanese poetry

Hiroshimo Moshumoto


Is the notion of the sublime merely a curatorial device???

Rebecca - why is the word sublime accepted, but beauty is rejected?

Jaye - because beauty is fixed?

Phenomenological / psychological grasps of what is sublime

Didactic may be another word for prescriptive?

Too narrow a message, no room for audience interpretation of their own subjectivity

‘Open Engagement’ is an annual conference for social practice/community engagement in art (USA)

To do: Come back and watch Hoda Asfar - the distorted lense of the other