This call for submissions recently came to my attention. Though I am not sure about how this conference will coalesce into the social artwork it proposes to be, I do think the issues it raises beg discussion. I only hope the forum will encourage serious dialogue with a clarity of language and context. I’ll be there, give me a shout-out if you will be too.
Open Engagement is a three-day conference that is an initiative of the Portland State University Art and Social Practice concentration and co-sponsored by Pacific Northwest College of Art and Portland Community College. Directed by Jen Delos Reyes and Harrell Fletcher and planned in conjunction with the Portland State University MFA Monday Night Lecture Series, this conference features three nationally and internationally renowned artists: Mark Dion, Amy Franceschini and Nils Norman. The conference will showcase work by Temporary Services, InCUBATE, and a new project by Mark Dion created in collaboration with the PSU Art and Social Practice concentration.
The artists involved in Open Engagement: Making Things, Making Things Better, Making Things Worse, challenge our traditional ideas of what art is and does. These artist’s projects mediate the contemporary frameworks of art as service, as social space, as activism, as interactions, and as relationships, and tackle subject matter ranging from urban planning, alternative pedagogy, play, fiction, sustainability, political conflict and the social role of the artist.
Can socially engaged art do more harm than good? Are there ethical responsibilities for social art? Does socially engaged art have to do civic or public good? Can there be transdisciplinary approaches to contemporary art making that would contribute to issues such as urban planning and sustainability? As both urban planning and contemporary art imagine new worlds, how can art projects be seen as potential models for living?
This conference is an intensive, immersive, around the clock experience. Open Engagement is approached as a social art work in itself. Artists will create housing, food, transportation, exhibitions, partnerships, exhibitions, tours, special events and include of multiple audiences from their own interests and practices, building on the ideas explored throughout the conference.
Open Engagement is a free conference that will happen May 14-17, 2010, in Portland, Oregon. Contributors are not asked to pay a registration fee and the public will not be charged to attend. Contributors to the event will be supported in the following ways: A variety of transportation will be provided that draws on Portland’s bike culture and takes advantage of its excellent public transportation. Contributors will be housed in Portland homes, paired with a host based on common interests. Several meals during the conference will be provided that emphasize slow food, community cooking and underground cafes. Other meals will highlight Portland’s food cart culture. Nightlife and social activities will be integrated into local businesses, using local pubs and cafes as conference hubs. Open Engagement is a conference, an exhibition/performance venue, a mini-residency and workshops. Participants will partake in experiences that connect them with each other: artists, art institutions, audiences, and communities.
You are invited to contribute to Open Engagement: Making Things, Making Things Better, Making Things Worse by submitting your projects, performances, tours, presentations, or panel ideas. Other formats are also welcomed. You are encouraged to think of ways to connect peers and colleagues at this conference, connect and engage a greater community and work across disciplines.
All interested individuals are encouraged to submit proposals. This conference is not exclusive to artists.
Part 1: Propose a project, paper, performance, discussion, intervention panel (or other format) that relates to the theme of the conference (500 word max).
Part 2: Write a short bio (100 words or less).
Part 3: Fill out the brief questionnaire and application form (www.openengagement.info). We want to help you make interesting connections at this conference, and this will help us facilitate that.
Email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org
January 15, 11:59pm 2010 (Pacific Standard Time)