Yesterday in our weekly class, Roxane showed us Stephen Willats’ ‘Socially Interactive Model of Art Practice’, which is a triangular diagram (from page 92 of Grant H. Kester’s Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art), with Artist, Audience and Context forming the points of the triangle and Artwork in the centre of the triangle. There are arrows in both directions between the points, representing the mutual interaction between Artist and Audience, Artist and Context, Audience and Context, and between the Artwork and the Artist, the Artwork and the Audience, and the Artwork and the Context. It’s reproduced on this web page.
We discussed whether ‘context’ is wider than it appears from this diagram, more encompassing of both artist and audience. We had talked the previous week about many contexts such as environmental, domestic, technological, economic, generational, religious, historical, cultural, health. We mentioned that ‘situation’ and ‘context’ are related but different. You can create a context by creating a situation. We didn’t discuss examples but I think in this sense a situation may be a more particular happening or series of happenings. For example, a kitchen and what happens there could be a situation, within a domestic context. I am thinking that the triangular model might also work with Situation in place of Context. A kitchen and a cook and some people who are eating would be the three points of the triangle with the (social) meal at the centre. But the context of such a situation could be domestic or hospitality or refuge or some other abstraction and would be like a container that informed but was also beyond the specific interactions within the model.
Anyway, Roxane suggested we made our own models, which sounded interesting, so here’s mine.
One of the things I’m becoming more sure of through doing the course is that ‘social making’ is an essential element of the kind of community practice I enjoy. By which I mean activities where people are engaging creatively with materials that are at the heart of their interactions with me and each other. I think this is towards or at the edge, or even off the edge, of art as social practice – both because it’s very craft based, and because the ‘making’ aspect is at least as important as the ‘social’ aspect. I’m thinking about this a lot at the moment – but that’s another blog post.