The Festive Tribe WordPress blog is a place for me to collect and share art projects, works, artists, festivals, events and concepts that inform my practice. It is a visual exploration of the possibilities and practicalities of creating participatory work presented in public spaces. It explores art experiences in public and festival spaces, interactive pieces and art for young audiences.
This selection is guided by works of art that I personally respond to, pieces or projects I would love to experience, and works that I have often experienced in person.
Festive Tribe engages in a practice where art meets community. Works are installed at public and ticketed events where families and individuals are invited to engage in open-ended play or participation in large scale play scapes. Participation is critical. Without an audience the work could not exist. Participants interact and affect the visual, aesthetic and theoretical language of the work. The physical landscape of the work is ever evolving. The works and artists gathered here share these qualities.
Works require audience engagement and collaboration. Works can be explored, touched, climbed on over or through. They require more than just thought and consideration. They require robust participation, a bodily response, movement, action, physical exertion and presence.
The art-audience relationship is tactile. It is physical. The works are activated by this participation, given meaning, they come to life.
This eschewing of the art object in favour of the art experience is important. Under the framework of New-Materialism the art here all utilise a huge variety of materials, methods and processes. Some works are painstakingly hand-made, sewn, woven or knitted, calling upon a history of craft, of women’s work, tribal practices of basket weaving, fish trap and net making, the making of vessels and containers out of raw, organic materials- utilising and transforming historically lowly materials- rope or sticks, into something other worldly. In contrast, others drawn up on a material history that is aligned with fields of scientific research and new technologies in digital art; digital materialism. These pieces are designed by the artist then manufactured or created from prefabricated materials in a factory utilising plastic moulding, LED lighting technology, coding and programming. Digital art practice offers new opportunities for viewers to participate in the work. Artists have the opportunity to play with the real-virtual boundary between the viewer and the digital dimension.
Other projects are framed by a history of social practice and the art of participation. Works seek processes of community involvement and social engagement rather than end results or aesthetics. Works are open ended. There is often no fixed idea, conclusion or outcome which the artist seeks.
Utilising non- traditional locations, such as music festivals or other public events, street or wilderness locations, these artists push boundaries of what and where art can be. They also challenge the traditional view of the ‘preciousness’ of an art object. These pieces experience wear and tear, they may need repair or replacement or duplication in time. Or they have an ‘end’ life post the exhibit and they cease to exist at all except for in documentation.
These works often respond to their site in some way. They are a different work in each new location they are installed in. Some are site-specific, some are readily adaptable. Each has a pre-designed context in which to insert the viewer. The work explored here also helps me examine the practical aspects of installing interactive art in public spaces. There are key considerations as to how the art will be interacted with and used, especially by children. Safety, physical integrity, stability, longevity of materials are all considerations. Looking at how other artists tackle and resolve these issues, this blog allows me to see what is possible in my own art practice.
Examining the theoretical frameworks and communities of practice in which my work fits inspires new possibilities and thematic exploration. I am seeking ways to create a dialogue between art and participant that extends beyond play. Ways to enable participant to become co-creator and co-conspirator. By creating opportunity to transcend traditional art audiences and places of engagement, through nontraditional settings, the work has broader reach, wider audience, a longevity that supersedes the ephemeral nature of festival or event art, or the temporary nature of an exhibition.
Art that moves into the spaces we inhabit in everyday life.