2019-02-22T03:48:23Z (GMT) by
STUDIO CONDITIONS is a site-driven art project that explores how institutional structures and subjective identities mutually constitute each other. The project involves two types of sites: the artist’s studio in a university art department; and four fieldwork sites––a friend’s lounge-room, parent’s backyard, a student common room and an urban foreshore area. The work explores the roles artists play within the institution of art and academia. These concerns are explored in a material form via the production of sculptural furniture, related sited installations and performances. The artist’s fieldwork draws upon various community frameworks both within its understanding of site and its enactment of collaborative processes. The fieldwork highlights both local social narratives and the project’s institutional boundaries. The artistic activity in each respective site results in a ‘propositional artwork.’ These propositions involve publication of a sited idea rather than an actual sited intervention. As a result, the work is ‘site specific’ but only in the sense that it offers a discursive exploration of the idea of site. The exegetic text that accompanies STUDIO CONDITIONS explores the social aspects of the work. It argues that art is always, already, social, as the conditions of its production, exchange, and reception are products of society. The exegesis first contextualises STUDIO CONDITIONS within the tradition of Institutional Critique and draws on Andrea Fraser’s framing of this methodology as ‘critically reflexive site specificity.’ This strategy of interrogating the role of the co-opted artist within the institutional siting of art draws on a range of artistic, social and political considerations. The artwork is interpreted via a range of concerns that include: the historical lineage of identity politics; the psychological dimension of artistic failure within the progress-driven paradigm of the university; the complex community dynamics that surround any site of artistic process or presentation. Next the exegesis assesses how social relations within art are valued, give value and are evaluated within both heteronomous and autonomous conceptions of art. The discussion of sociability, art, and site includes an examination of Nicolas Bourriaud’s notion of ‘relational aesthetics’ and argues that this reading needs to be supplemented by a richer understanding of the ways in which sociability is embedded in art objects, in processes of production, in audience reception, and is embodied within the formal languages of objects and representation.