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README.md
What Is a Participatory Practice.md
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README.md

Performing Participation

Class by Taeyoon Choi at NYU ITP, Fall 2015

Is there a script behind our participation in everyday events? What are the factors that are engineered into human experience? This class will explore the codes of participation embedded in technological spectacle of daily life by staging experimental happenings. Happening, a term coined by a performance artist Allan Kaprow in the 50s, transforms space as an interface for unconventional situations to occur and a site of confrontation and stimulation. Contemporary performance artists create work outside the division of staged and timed events, toward art work that seeks to establish sense of affect and presence. This class will explore participation as an artistic medium to create an unconventional performance art piece. The classes will be split between 40% lecture and 60% student participation through physical activities.

Learning outcome:

Become confident improvising in unexpected situation. Create series of happenings with instruction and documentation.

Objective:

Interpret the meaning of participation we perform in daily life, consumption and communication.

Perform participation in the public sphere, using technology as a medium to build commons between individuals.

#Class 1: September 14

Homework: Create a happening and program for the classroom.

Introduction to the class and topics.

Class activity: Happenings for 20 people in class Pictures

Lecture: Performance of everyday life Happenings, Fluxus, Situations

#Class 2: September 21

Reading and response assignment:

Write a short response to the readings, focusing on one of the topics (spectacle, site, ritual, community, institutional structure) on your blog. Please post it online and email me the link by 9.20 Sunday. You might be unfamiliar with many of the art works that Claire Bishop mentions. Please search for them through search engines. Art 21 is also a good resource, if you'd like to learn about contemporary art in general.

Reading:

Companion to the readings.

Assignment: Create a list of three movements and three speech, each instruction written in 140 characters or less. For example "crawl around like a crab, jump around to reach the moon, hide behind an object" and "say I'm very hungry very loudly, whisper I love you to someone to your right, call someone and tell them you are thinking about them" You don't need to print them, just bring them in a note to share with the class. We will use these as a material to create short performance pieces.

Response to the reading

Topic to continue focusing on

  • Spectacle
  • Site

Alternatives approaches in Antagonistic and Relational Art

Future readings

  • Pierre Hughye video
  • The Prospects of "Freed" Time link
  • Miwon Kwon, One place after another (excerpts on Suzanne Lacy)
  • Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency by Hal Foster review – what's new in the art world? Link

#Class 3: September 28

Readings:

Assignments:

Please write a response on the readings in 500 words or less. Possible topics to focus: Interface, Speech, Space, Community

Performance assignment:

To continue our discussion about openness, emancipation and democracy in art and performance, I'd like to ask you to create

Recipe for Utopia

  • A list of 10 prompts for your idea of Utopia.
  • Utopia in this recipe is a community in near perfect qualities.
  • Each prompt needs to be 140 characters or less.

We will use these recipe in class to create participatory piece in small groups.

Reading responses

Discussion topics

  • Space
  • Community
  • Interface
  • Speech

Visiting lecture

Recipe for Utopia

  • Read out recipes
  • Form a group of four or more
  • Build a Utopia together by next week
  • Present a Utopia or documentation of it during class next week

Reference

#Class 4: October 5

Class 4

Student responses

Performance for Utopia

  • Four groups presentation. Each group 10~15 minutes. Live happening or documentation.
  • Discussions about the performances, process and documentation.

Food for thoughts.

Lecture

On this lecture, we will continue to think about participation and relation in contemporary art by focusing on two symbolic artists. New topics for discussions include following themes.

  • Body
  • Documentation
  • Re-enactment
  • Myth, mystery and hope

Taeyoon's Slides

#Class 5: Tues, Oct.13

####Assignment

  • Create a re-enactment or recreation of a work by Joseph Beuys or Lygia Clark. Research about their work and find a piece that inspires you.
  • The piece needs to be presented in 10 minutes or shorter.
  • The piece needs to be a solo work that is participatory.
  • Make a blog posting about your re-enactment by Monday 6pm. You can complete the posting after the class with documentation. However, please send a posting with a plan by Monday for me to prepare to give feedback.

Required readings.

  • Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica Letters//1968–69 pg 110-116
  • Joseph Beuys and Dirk Schwarze Report on a Day’s Proceedings at the Bureau for Direct Democracy//1972 + Joseph Beuys, I am searching for field character pg 120-126

###Student responses

###Assignment for Class 5

  • Create a re-enactment or recreation of a work by Joseph Beuys or Lygia Clark. Research about their work and find a piece that inspires you.
  • The piece needs to be presented in 10 minutes or shorter.
  • The piece needs to be a solo work that is participatory.
  • Make a blog posting about your re-enactment by Monday 6pm. You can complete the posting after the class with documentation. However, please send a posting with a plan by Monday for me to prepare to give feedback.

###Required readings.

  • Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica Letters//1968–69 pg 110-116
  • Joseph Beuys and Dirk Schwarze Report on a Day’s Proceedings at the Bureau for Direct Democracy//1972 + Joseph Beuys, I am searching for field character pg 120-126

(from Participation edited by Claire Bishop, page numbers are from the book, not pdf)

Re-enactment of Lygiak Clark or Joseph Beuys

#Class 6: October 19

USER performance

###Final Letter

It was very helpful to meet with many of you on Friday. Since this is such as short class, I think it's a challenge to cover material in depth and give enough feedback. This is something I wrote as part of closing remarks I will share tomorrow. I thought it would be better to share this now, to give you more context for the readings and also tomorrow's event.

Performing participation, New User.

There is rarely anything more surprising than finding yourself in the middle of performance art that engage with you, without your acknowledgement. The surprise may come in delight or as a displeasure when you become vulnerable subject of unwanted attention.

Much like performance art, design has found ‘Participation’ to be an effective approach for creating engaging products. Design as well as the technology industry adopted the term User as a role of person engaging with the product. You might decide to 'check out' from the technological world and leave in peace. However, it’s quiet inconvenient to avoid using technological objects all together. Voluntarily or reluctantly, we perform the role of User in everyday life. User is more than a temporary role one must play to take advantage of a system. It’s also an identity and social class.

Social media, for example, operates by the voluntary participation of the users. It's a human nature to want to share the joy of private life, express taste and interest and communicate in whatever means possible. Social media amplifies our desire to share. The convenience and instant gratification of ‘Likes’, make it irresistible to resist. However, it’s not a comfortable feeling when the corporations take advantage of my personal data without acknowledgement (reading). Much like the performance art that doesn’t ask for permission of participation, the corporations are taking user’s participation. It proves that your participation has a value, your attention to a product, or mediation through a product is valuable to the corporations.

Don Norman questions (reading) “Artisan? Customer? Consumer? User? Wrangler? Biot? Each of these words is a way to degrade the people for whom we design, a way of labeling them as objects instead of personifying them as real living, breathing people.” I find it painfully ironic that Norman is criticizing the industry and the academic norm of using the word User, since he is responsible for the popularization of “User-centered design”. At any rate, the word User is in the mainstream consciousness and it won't go away for a while.

There is rarely anything more surprising than finding the museum empty of art works, but some museums are most beautiful without any art in it. Tino Sehgal's exhibtion at Guggenheim Museum was not devoid of art, rather it was full of art work. Other than human bodies in action, engaging with the visitors and telling stories, it was as object-less as possible. (reading) The scripted conversation and improvisational engagement center around the concept of Progress. Where are we progressing now?

In this class, we've looked at and read about contemporary performance art practices. Art has transformed from material to virtual, political to aesthetic, antagonistic to agreeable (or friendlier), and back again. It's not so much of linear progression, but more like a constant feedback loop of transforming multiplicities. It's not really one trend or style that matters, it's the coexistence of art in different situations. In the end, what matters the most is if we can have a wider perspective for appreciating and 'using' art. The user, in this case, is not the user Don Norman claims that the word has come to mean, the passive, consumer, an anonymous body apt to become complicit to the larger body. The User of art is an active protagonist of the modern world, the one who use technology against the technical determinism, art against the aestheticization of commodity obsessed culture. The use of art is not only the pragmatic use of art work, it's more of an invitation to engage with the world artistically. 'Artistic' is the productive power of the aesthetic imagination, much like how the poetics is the productive power of language. (reading) Art can be the new weapon (the new weapon Deleuze mentioned in the Postscript for society of Control and did not define) to create sustainable microtopia (maybe a dinner table with Bourriaud and Bishop cheerfully arguing over some hearty soup).

#Final letter

I mentioned this in the after party, but I will write it to share with everyone. I try very hard to teach only the classes that I can learn as much as I teach (or share). I believe reciprocal relationship is the best pedagogic approach. This class was a great learning experience for me. I tried out many ideas, shared what I'm most passionate about and got to know you. I believe what we are seeking might be unlearnable and this 6 meetings are just the beginning of our work together to demystify it.

Your blog postings were insightful, honest and critical. I apologize I couldn't respond to each posting, but I will try to give feedback to the final posting for sure. Writing is an exercise in thinking, a conversation with yourself past and future. Your postings are the traces of your growth in the program, in presence of other students.

I'm a firm believer in the transformative power of art. Open art begins with an invitation. Invitation leads to encounter. Encounter leads to conversations. Conversations leads to community. Community creates solidarity. Solidarity builds trust. Trust is generosity. And generosity is the medium of open art.

Coming up, don't miss performance art festival Performa in november and Creative Time Summit these two events will be a chance for you to experience first hand, some of the most cutting edge experiments in art and performance/ social practice.

###Work in progress notes and links

####Spectacle and Anti-spectacle

####Community

####Silence and noise

####Movement

####Documentation

  • Significance of documentation and its impact on the experience, and alternative ways of documenting happenings.
  • Assignment: Create a happening that exists only on documentation.
  • Pierre Hughes Met

####Programming participation

  • Human-Computer Interaction and the birth of User Experience.
  • War in the Age of Intelligent Machine by Manuel de Landa
  • Crowd control technology and strategy.