The first area of exploration has been the ‘why’- why do artistic practices need to be socially engaged, what affect can these practices have? Our work has helped us understand that when artists engage actively in society we can create a space for underrepresented narratives and in the process, change the existing narratives. We can also catalyze new interactions that shift existing hierarchies. We can change how people see their position and role in society. And enact possibilities of alternate futures.
Forming relationships, being conscious of power dynamics and sharing the power of representation are essential to a collaborative process. The role of the artist often becomes more about creating unusual encounters, unfamiliar interactions, and creating room for challenging and questioning the status quo.
We start by creating a framework that can then be owned and occupied in different ways by their collaborators. We find that different local collaborators want to play different roles- not everyone wants to participate in art making, so our projects create spaces for these different roles. We also create space for iterations and feedback, and distribute authorship, so collaborators can then perhaps take the projects forward in their own ways.