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 Christina Linden, freelance curator and contributor to Art Practical.
Where does the art cut into the possibility for engagement? And where does engagement lose its art? At the core is another question about art and activism, whether we will consider them as commensurate. And when we talk about tactics- about employing available means towards and end, we do ultimately have to ask what the end is, how far towards it a particular project should take us, and who the “us” at stake is. Beyond the oft-cited assertion that efficacy is impossible to measure for artworks, we are left with questions about whether we are using the ability to bring about change as a criteria for judgment in the first place. And what, then, does the art element of a project that could also be called many things besides art add to its efficacy, to its potential as a model, a mode of commentary or critique, or as a means of direct action?