Open Engagement: Making Things, Making Things Better, Making Things Worse

May 2010 /
I will have two projects at the Open Engagement conference in Portland, Oregon. The dates of the conference are May 14-17, 2010. Here is information from the conference website:

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, tours, special events and include of multiple audiences from their own interests and practices, building on the ideas explored throughout the conference.