Curating Arts on the Edge of an Unstable Society

Oh, Sun Young 2021. Curating Arts on the Edge of an Unstable Society. PhD thesis University of Westminster Westminster School of Arts

TitleCurating Arts on the Edge of an Unstable Society
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsOh, Sun Young

The curatorial practice and research of Project 7½ in Korea and Indonesia, from 2014 to 2019, aimed to consider the value of art in humanistic and existential terms, with the exhibitions and events seeking to positively impact the lives of local communities. In this respect, the commentary reflects how Project 7½ has been received and understood by audiences unfamiliar with contemporary artworks, exhibitions, and art institutions and on what kinds of projects can foster new dialogues and understandings between different social groups. Project 7½’s strategy of taking art outside the institution has sought to explore the role of socially collaborative art projects; it also underpinned its methodology of bringing artists, audiences, and other stakeholders into a dialogic or a ‘Third Space’ (Kester, 2004, 2011; Bhabha, 2004) to encourage all to openly discuss their different perspectives, including their understandings of art and its function/s. However, the forms of relational social engagement and their cooperative structures have followed different trajectories in the separate contexts of Korea and Indonesia. Project 7½’s approach to socially engaged art and collaboration aims to redress what the art world neglects when it operates in socially exclusive ways. Therefore, recognising ‘the collaborative turn’ and ‘collaborative identities’ of contemporary art, along with its inherent complications and potential agency, the commentary also emphasises the need to discuss the purpose of collaboration (Lind, 1999; 2005; 2007; 2009, Kester, 2006; 2011). The processes and outcomes of the projects demonstrate that socially engaged art activities intersect with other, non-artistic forms of cultural production, and along a scale from curatorial practice to social activism to radical pedagogy (Kester, 2006; 2015). The commentary argues that the development of dialogical situations, as part of collaborative processes involving targeted groups of people who do not usually attend art events, can make a significant methodological contribution to the success of a socially collaborative art project and its social value, particularly in Korea and Indonesia.

File Access Level
Open (open metadata and files)
PublisherUniversity of Westminster
Publication dates
PublishedDec 2021
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

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