CHRIS FREMANTLE

Audiences and… pt1

Posted in Audiences and, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on December 10, 2018

I had an interesting conversation recently. Someone said to me. “I get irritated when I ask an artist how they think the viewer of the work will respond to something they are working on. They often say that they are making the work for themselves. When I ask them whether they want people to see the work, they say Of course. When I ask them who, they say People.” We are here talking about studio based work, work that is made and then shown, but this brings up larger issues.

And there is a truth that anyone making work in a studio in the end is making something to a personal agenda. And neither of us were thinking that making art was a form of marketing where a clear sense of the intended audience, segmented and analysed, was central to the process. Working in public places is almost always a negotiation.

So I’m going to be exploring this question, drawing attention to writing that I think helps address the question, “What is the relationship between the artist and the audience, participant, collaborator, co-creator, etc?” There will be a series of posts and they’ll all have the Title “Artists and…” Some may just be links to other pieces of writing – where relevant I’ll provide pdfs too.

The first is from Anne Douglas’ forthcoming publication in the Connected Communities Series for Policy Press.

Anne recently wrote, speaking of Allan Kaprow and John Cage,

…they shared the question of where creativity begins and ends – with the composer, with the performer and/or with the audience? This shift in the power of creative agency is poignantly evidenced at this early stage in Cage’s 4’33” (1952). The performer sits at the grand piano but does not play it. Instead the ritual of a classical performance frames ambient sound creating an environment that is sensory and, importantly, draws the audience, performer and composition together in a shared space connected through listening. The conventional hierarchy in which the (active) composer generates material that the performer (as mediator) realises to a (passive) audience gives way to new configuration. The listener, who could be composer or performer or a member of the audience, becomes the creator of his/her own singular experience of sound.

Douglas, A. 2019 Redistributing Power? A Poetics of Participation in Contemporary Arts. Bristol: Polity Press.

You can download the book from the Connected Communities website

(pdf Douglas Redistributing Power)

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What art have I seen?

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on April 25, 2013
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