10 / 10 / 2016


The Question: How (from your experience and perspective) do artistic practices create public sphere?

What allows me to answer this question is partly related to my experience as an instructor in the Fine Arts faculty. But, although my references proceed from this field, this question can be answered from many other points of view. What is at stake is how we define the public sphere. What type of discourses, subjects, forms of expression and times are allowed within it. I am supposing that we are referring to a public sphere that allows space to different voices, to subjects who do not usually have a place in the hegemonic frameworks.

Artistic practices can contribute to building this public debate in very different ways. Most immediatelyand obviously, one way could be the work itself (to give it some kind of name). An artistic production can contribute to debates or even generate them. However, this might be beyond the artist’s intentions. There are artistic productions that have meaning in debates far removed from the original debate in which the author took part. When one intervenes in the public sphere, the debate that arises and the person who takes it up are often not under the control of the person who emitted that statement.

On the other hand, the part that most interests me about the possibility of producing the public sphere from artistic practices is above all the ways of making, how we operate in the field of art. The fundamental thing is the question of how we constitute ourselves as professionals in the field of artistic production, who we work with, in what ways, under what conditions, to produce what narratives, within which discursive frameworks…Although anything related to the symbolic and discursive production of discussion is important, what is of greater importance is how we work, in what structures, relations, economic modes and regimens and how we struggle from there. There can be artistic productions that are generating a very interesting thematic debate but which in their modus operandi are totally corrosive for a sustainable, deliberative culture of debate. Artistic practices are always involved in debates that are already public, and in which there must be a commitment to participate in the discussions that are held about the role of culture in contemporary society and the social role played by art, since any artistic practice has social and/or economic effects.

In the training of artists, above all in the first years, the students arrive with idea that art is a form of personal expression (no one can deny that this is so to come extent), but there is usually a total cancellation of the dimension of production and its conditions. This is usually considered to be something prosaic, an evil that must be accepted to be able to express yourself. Understanding that it is the core of your work requires an apprenticeship that takes place over the years. That is why I would above all like to assert work conditions and operating modes, because these are what tend to be forgotten in this mystification of art as a space of aesthetics and expression.