and since i am on a school computer I thought it might be nice to have it here for reference.
Freire is a smart and compassionate Brazilian educator who “developed an educational approach that sought to teach critical conschousness, learn from students, redefine the power relations between teacher and student, promote diologue across the economic, political, and educatioal lines that divide society, and inspire action on the part of the underclass.”p 277 The extension of his writings to the public art world is valuable. He says that public art without respect for the participants just “uses them as a new medium and is cultural invasion.” This is very apparent in some of the projects in this book, like Serras. I think that is a valuable form of public art in some cases because shaping people’s interaction with each other or with a space can be eye-opening and achieve an aim, but it is always less developed and more egoic than art created via real collaboration.
Interview: Mierle Laderman Ukeles on Maintenance
Ukeles wants the sanitation department to be visible and appreciated by the New York popuation because the people are part of it when they produce garbage. She was an artist who, when she had a baby, shifted her work to maintaining whereas previously she had focused on creating. She says “the creating, the originating, that’s the easy part.” As a new mother she experienced people marginalizing her experience because it was so common and not centrally valued in our society in the 1960s (which is still very much a problem today, but some steps have been taken to give motherhood recognition. At present it seems that the work is not recognized, sanctioned, supported culturally or by government but there is a diologue and smaller support systems and writings available).
The maintenance grew out of that realization, and then expanded when she realized that the erasure of her work of mothering was also happening to maintenance workers in their supportive role. She had to become trusted by the Whitney maintenance workers because the workers thought she might report to their employers or work for the immigration service, so she worked two shifts every day so they could get used to her. She describes showing up every day as the cause for the acceptance but it seems that her supportive attitude caused it too. Then, her sanitation project seems to extend from there. “I liked the idea that sanitaton goes everywhere and they never, ever stop. That’s a great model for art. Art should go everywhere all the time.”
I like how brilliantly each layer of her work expands from the previous layer. She talks about the transition from being self focused to outward focused when she has a baby, but I think that transition really happened, or was completed, when she did her Maintenance show at the Whitney and looked outside of her own labor.
Interview: Krysztof Wodiczko on Alien Staff
Wodiczko does huge and ephemeral large scale projections. His alien staff uses a small monitor on a staff that invites viewers to see the multiple identities from framing the immigrant using the staff. I don’t think that is as interestubg as his projected work although it is a beautiful object and interactive on a small scale. He says it was developed for Europe because he saw a terrible immigration situation there, but when it was transposed to the US people think of ourselves as all made up of immigrants and don’t realize the relative disadvantages of new immigrants. I think he has a very good point “If there is a cliché, why not use it? But it has to be immediately transported to the contemporary world and infused with a new meaning.” Many artists work with this understanding but I had never heard it described so briefly and well.