Stephen Willats. A Socially Interactive Model of Art Practice. 1970
I came across this work in a book I was reading at work and in its simplicity it kept me raptured for a good proportion of my shift. Alongside this diagram Willats reiterates,
‘A pre-requisite for an art work that manifests a counter-consciousness is that the separation which existed between the artist and the audience is closed that they become mutually engaged, to the point where the audience become the rationale in both the making and reception of the work.’
I agree with Willats for his articulation of the reasoning behind relational, dialogical and collaborative works. Yet I still feel somewhat stuck on the success rate of such works. I get the sense there is a charged moment of communal understanding, a satisfactory ‘I get what you’re saying ‘ or a ‘yeah I feel that too’ that is occurring between artists and audiences in works, but so what after that? I still feel the arrow going back from audience to artwork needs to be dotted rather than solid.
For example I read Anna’s posts from the other side of the world and feel a conviviality; a successfully shared aesthetic or sensorial experience. Yet how do I reciprocate/ respond/ feedback into the experience Anna is creating? And does my action challenge Anna’s presuppositions and /or the form of the work itself? And do ‘nutting-out’ posts such as this sit within the work, making more sense of previous posts, or should they be excluded?
Being currently grounded with responsibilities, no funds and no real place to escape to I spend my days mulling over these thoughts. That and tending to the veggie patch. I’m getting a little obsessive. I wonder if there is a correlation.