CREATIVE TIME: Ashley Ferro-Murray

On October 12, the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley and the Curatorial Practice at the California College of the Arts are partnering to host a live-streaming of the Creative Time Summit, an annual conference in New York that brings together cultural producers–including artists, critics, writers, and curators–to discuss how their work engages pressing issues affecting our world. To jump-start the conversation in advance of the event, attendees have been asked to submit a paragraph on a keyword associated with one of the summit themes: Inequities, Occupations, Making, or Tactics. This posting is by Ashley Ferro-Murray, PhD student in Theater, Dance and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley.
Keywords: Making, Tactics
For me, tactics consist of making. Tactics take one thing and make it into something new. Tactics make things available in a different way. Michel De Certeau is interested in identifying tactics as the poetic “making” that works within systems of production such as “television, urban development, commerce, etc.” where consumers are otherwise left unable to “indicate what they make or do with the products in these systems”.* Here, the tactical is precisely the practice and process of making. Tactics reveal the making of an object or a system. One question that I have is about the importance of the intentionality of a tactic. Can an artist’s work be tactical if even if that artist doesn’t have tactical intentions? There is something to be said for the specificity that clear intention seems to bring to a tactical art event. However lately, I find myself seeing tactics in the most unexpected places. An artist whose project is far from intentionally tactical might present a practice in a way that opens my thinking about a static system or commodified object, or that disrupts my understanding of the way things are. I am most interested in these artistic practices where an artist focuses so deeply on creative making that there is a seemingly accidental tactical outcome. But maybe I am loosening the definition of tactics too much and conflating it with making. Nonetheless, I am interested in thinking between and around these two terms and their relationship to one another.
* Certeau, Michel de. The Practice of Everyday Life. 1st ed. California: University of California Press, 2002.