Living as Form



Living as Form is an unprecedented, international project exploring over twenty years of cultural works that blur the forms of art and everyday life, emphasizing participation, dialogue, and community engagement.Living as Form provides a broad look at a vast array of socially engaged practices that appear with increasing regularity in fields ranging from theater to activism, and urban planning to visual art. The project brings together twenty-five curators, documents over 100 artists' projects in a large-scale survey exhibition inside the historic Essex Street Market building, features nine new commissions in the surrounding neighborhood, and provides a dynamic online archive of over 350 socially engaged projects.

Projects and pieces included in the exhibition range from the speculative to the reflective to the immediately practical. One piece turns part of the exhibition space into a temporary market place, inviting small businesses and organizations from the neighborhood to operate freely out of small stalls, highlighting the utility of public spaces for bringing goods and services and ideas to the public. Another installation is a temporary restaurant that operates on the time bank model, where visitors spend time working for or helping others in the time banking community in order to earn credits to spend on food.





Nato Thompson, chief curator for presenter Creative Time, contends that social engagement in the arts is on the rise. But he argues it’s not specifically an “art movement”; the culture of participation exemplified by these works is evident in fields ranging from visual arts to architecture to community organizing to urban planning.
“DIY aesthetics have become a way in which people navigate the world,” Thompson says. From urban gardening to new forms of education to alternative economies, projects led by “artists” actually have real-world implications. Thompson says it’s a result of thinking more creatively about the simple but challenging question of how to make the world a better place. His exhibition aims to show some ways that question is being answered.
Living as a Form ran from Sep 24- Oct 16 2012 in the Essex Street Market of NYC.
More at http://www.creativetime.org/programs/archive/2011/livingasform/index.htm