The Role of Participatory Practice in Contemporary Arts

During my art historical and art critique research on the relationship of contemporary arts and the civil society in the 21st century, I studied projects in which artists strived to shape social processes. The active social participation shows that artists stepped out of the well controlled institutional world of art into the public sphere, and the projects motivating activist groups and subcultures appeared in the exhibition rooms. The initiatives involving their audience have received more and more possibilities in the last ten years. In my essay, at first I study the concepts of socially engaged and participatory art, then I present two different kinds of interpretations of new art forms, one of them is based on the artwork’s connection with public spaces, while the other one focuses on the relationship of the artist and its audience. Finally, I present the different kinds of effects the participatory art strategies can have on the participants, and whether this can support the social changes outside the art world as well.

Released: Replika 100, 151–165.