Socially Engaged Art, Ephemerality and the Art Institution with Dr Kim Charnley (Open University)
Works of Socially Engaged Art are typically durational, sometimes in existence for years, but they are also ephemeral. This talk examines the politics of this ephemerality, and its relationship to the art institution and its institutional success that raises special problems, since it initially depended on a reworked conception of ‘relational’ or ‘dialogic’ aesthetics. In this influential framing, ‘art’ is normally posited as an ephemeral collective immediacy: the democratic energies found in spaces of encounter, collaboration and dialogue, and so on. This immediacy is profoundly enigmatic. It can be experienced, but it is not easily represented. It is collective but typically anti-institutional, although it is theorised using a term, ‘aesthetics’, which was once redolent of conservative tradition.
This talk explores the politics of ephemerality in relation to the project Gresham Wooden Horse, created by artist Isabel Lima with community stakeholders and residents of the neighbourhood of Gresham, Middlesbrough.
Kim Charnley is author of Sociopolitical Aesthetics: Art, Crisis and Neoliberalism (Bloomsbury, 2021) and lecturer at the Open University. He is a theorist and art historian who researches socially-engaged art, social practice, art activism and institutional critique. He is also a member of ‘Beyond the Now’, a platform that explores the role of socially-engaged art in a post-pandemic world.
The event will take place online.