How did you decide to work in the art field?
How did you decide to work in the art field? (Art as methodology)
workshop and presentation in the frame of the CuMMA (Curating and Mediating Art) seminar of Nora Sternfeld, Aalto University, Helsinki.
“How did you decide to work in the art field?” has its starting point in a series of workshops and discussions titled till now “How did you decide to become an artist?”, an ongoing project that we developed in different contexts (together with art students and artists from Romania and from abroad). We consider that this sort of simple and banal questions can function as pretexts to create a discussion format that would tackle topics such as the art education system, the conditions of the art production, the role and responsibility of the artist and cultural worker, the possibilities and limitations of art, etc. We consider that this sort of questions, which can be in the same time very general and very personal, this act of reflecting on the initial decision to work in the art field (which can be a clearly recalled moment, or just a diffuse memory) can be used to point to problematic such as standpoint, locality and the possibilities of diminishing the gaps between theory and practice.
Art is a field with an intricate relationship between the personal, between emotions, idiosyncrasies and everyday issues and a highly professionalized language and code of behavior. In our practice as h.arta group, we are very much interested in analyzing what are the real political possibilities of critique and change that this field contains. We consider questions such as the following to be relevant in the understanding of the limits of the art field and in the formulations of possibilities to bypass these limits. How can language be used not only to depict but to enact possibilities of change? How can be overcome the fact that often cultural critical projects can be only vents that are sustaining the status quo, they can be sometimes only “proofs” that the system is democratic enough to sustain “plural” views, views that are condemned to remain sterile in their beautiful, intellectual clarity? How can we go beyond the merely theoretical field of our ideas, concepts and words and try to enact them in our daily lives? What should art be in times when the financial crisis is the engine that accelerates sexism, racism, nationalism and gives even more visibility and legitimacy to neoconservative discourses about religion and traditional family? How can art become a methodology for learning, a type of learning that clearly distances itself from the neo-liberal “lifetime learning” and “creativity”, and which instead of being an individual practice is achieved collectively?