Accepted paper:

Collective imaginations and collaborative art practice: introduction


Fiona Siegenthaler (University of Basel/University of Johannesburg)
Till Förster (University of Basel )

Paper short abstract:

This paper introduces to the panel topic and looks at key aspects and problems with collaborative art projects in diverse cultural settings, by considering notions of 'community', collaboration, and power relations as well as social imaginaries.

Paper long abstract:

In cities all over the world and particularly in what is called the Global South, we can observe an increase of socially and politically interested art practices that address audiences beyond the art world while adopting media and methods widely accepted in international art discourse. They mostly are labeled collaborative art, dialogical art, or participative art and often are event-like, performative, and processual rather than object-based. They are mostly directed towards social change and exchange, often in protest against political authorities and social realities. Artists working in this genre mostly seek interaction with socially and economically marginalized 'communities' or 'groups', and they emphasize the integrative purpose and function of such art practices. Sometimes, they also involve political engagement such as public protest against social injustice, against failure in service delivery, police arbitrariness, unemployment, etc. Often, the artists also collaborate with, or at least are funded by, NGOs, social organizations or other networked groups that also speak to a much broader, trans- and international public. The paper introduces to the panel that aims to reflect the notions of social empowerment, collaboration, and community critically on the basis of case examples of engaged art projects in cities all over the world.

panel P087
Collective imaginations and collaborative art practice