Curated by Amy Spiers and Pip Stafford
25 – 29 January, 2012
Inflight ARI, Hobart, Tasmania
Touchy Feely is five days in January packed full of artist-led talks, workshops and presentations held at Inflight ARI, Hobart, Tasmania on 25 – 29 January, 2012. Bringing together a number of interstate and Tasmanian artists – including Lara Thoms, Liz Dunn, Nancy Mauro-Flude, Sally Rees and Elizabeth Woods – it aims to be a rigorous and lively discussion on central issues facing socially engaged, participatory and relational artists today. The questions we hope to address include:
- Should the “skill set” of art be instrumentalised to make a better world?
- Is there a role for hope, compassion and optimism in art, without having to take an evangelical or moralistic position?
- In our current situation, is it actually politically irresponsible to creatively express despair, unease and tension?
- Is contemporary art marked by a facile cynicism, heartlessness and nihilism?
- Or is relational and socially engaged art in Australia too sentimental, ethical and uncritical?
In recent decades there has been a “social turn” in contemporary art, here in Australia and internationally. This turn is characterised by art projects that emphasise participation, dialogue and community engagement to activate the public. It has given rise to an optimistic notion that art can be marshaled to tackle wider social issues and create emancipatory social relations. These relational and socially engaged practices take a variety of forms, some more politically overt than others, however what they all have in common is that they are artistic attempts to offer new social models of being and living together.
In an effort to re-humanise and re-connect a society rendered atomized and alienated by capitalism, increasingly artists adopt socially ameliorative strategies. But has this resulted in a sentimental and convivial artistic impulse, that is at the expense of complexity and criticality?
For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org