The Courtyard of Super-Daydreams exhibition. Photo via Les pas perdus
The Courtyard of Super-Daydreams exhibition. Photo via Les pas perdus

Reflecting on Collaborative and Participatory Art Projects

Tandem Fryslân participant Catherine Charlety has been working on Moddertij/Marée de boue with Willy Bergsma. Catherine recently joined the Practice and Power event in Dublin with the support of a Tandem mobility grant, now she reports back.

The Tandem mobility grant offered me the opportunity to participate in the Practice and Power of the European Programme – CAPP (Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme) that took place in Dublin last June.

These were high-quality exchanges that raised many questions about collaborative and participatory art projects, and socially engaged art (SEA).

Some of the questions:
  • SEA projects can produce well-being feelings for participants but they do not change living conditions and relations of power (between those who detain the power, such as decision-makers, politicians, etc., and those who do not).
  • They also raise the question of sustainability of these projects.
  • Can we presume that these kinds of projects serve mainly the attractiveness of the territory? (for example: European Cultural Capital in Marseille) – positive effects of such actions/projects are at the microscale (families, persons, children, and interaction between them, it allows cohesion in a neighbourhood for example), except if it goes along with a real social and urban policy.
  • What do the terms “creativity”, “innovation”, “social utility” really mean?
  • If we approach Culture from a functional perspective (social utility) we may measure and evaluate it: shall we do that? We can also consider that, for example, reading poetry is useless. And what is useless has no price and cannot be evaluated.

Lots of subjects indeed!

Les Pas Perdus artistic group, based in Marseille and which I currently work with, has been running collaborative contemporary art projects in France and abroad for twenty years. We are very keen on meeting and experimenting with other artists and researchers in this domain, as well as sharing documentation and resources.

You are all invited to the next exhibition in Public place in Marseilles: The Courtyard of Super-Daydreams (22 August – 16 September 2018)