Cover Image: Background of cover image: Paweł Althamer, Draftsmen’s Congress, 2014 (detail). Installation view: “Paweł Althamer: The Neighbors,” New Museum, 2014
“Whose Terms?” was conceived as a dual-form project the Department of Education and Public Engagement started in late Spring to look at some of the conditions, agendas, and priorities that operate in social practice art. Part 1 of the project took place as an experimental symposium in which nine participants were invited to speak on a specific term (mutually decided upon) as if they were contributing to a glossary founded on the premise of position-taking, specificity, associative engagement, and dissensus. Participants themselves were selected on account of their engagements and specialties in other non-art disciplines, or in areas of art not often considered as part of the social practice lineage or discourse. The individual presentations included Julia Robinson on MATERIAL, Marc Herbst on CRITICALITY, Christoph Cox on ETHICS, JEQU on CAPITAL, Sally Szwed on EMPATHY, Alexander Dumbadze on PRIVACY, Laurel Ptak on CLASS, Chelsea Knight on PERFORMANCE, and Jonas Staal on REAL.
The series of texts to be posted successively over the coming days are similarly conceived as short-form “glossary entries” on terms associated with social practice. These texts were initiated via an open call for contributors, (although, in the spirit of transparency, this democratic intention was also helped along by a few solicited texts). What follows are entries that collectively sketch out a field for the current state of social practice discourse, but more importantly they diverge into several often personalized responses to aspects of art’s engagement with the social world that are of concern and warrant further examination. Contributors to this second and final part of the glossary development are Wendy Vogel on CONSCIOUSNESS, Hakan Topal on RESEARCH, Andrea Liu on PARTICIPATION, Nova Benway and Jenny Perlin on RESPONSIBILITY, Megan Heuer on ENGAGEMENT, Emily Zimmerman on TRUST, and Emily Baierl on OUTCOME.