Saturday, October 27, 2007

We Paint! Beginnings

"The artists involved in Open Engagement challenge our traditional ideas of what art is and does. These artist’s projects mediate the contemporary frameworks of art as service, as social space, as activism, as interactions, and as relationships. This conference is situated in the space between theory and practice, where participants and audiences will also engage in artworks. The topics explored include: What would new relational models of artwork, theory, and writing look like? What is the social role of the artist? What happens when people really connect with each other or with art? What could we do in our daily lives to form meaningful connections and build communities? What should art do? Can art provide an alternative? Can art provide an answer? The conference focused on relational art practices...striving for art that desires for something real to happen–not just the imitation of something real. The goal of Open Engagement is to bring together like-minded individuals (artists and audience) to confer on socially engaged art and forge lasting connections."

Open Engagement,: Art After Aesthetic Distance, was a a conference that brought together artists who share varying concerns regarding the possibilities of socially engaging art forms. As members of the conference, Brette and I met through a project that she proposed. Brette's Open Engagement project was a call for submissions for a tattoo design. She chose my design, entitled "One A Day", which is where our friendship and our work together begins. This original work has been a catalyst for a longer lasting connection than anyone might have expected.

Whether it is in the moment of tasting an apple or while embracing a loved one, it is necessary for each of us to be present in the moments of our days rather than lingering on past or future if we want to participate fully in all that life has to offer.
In creating this collection of work, it is important to us that "One A Day"s act as a moment in each day when we are fully conscious, acting with purpose. If we practice perhaps all of our moments can be lived in the now, with full awareness.

In this project, we have decided to elaborate on the theme of "One A Day". For the week of October 28- November 3, 2007 we will each conduct a project and share a fact about ourselves that we think a new friend should know. At the end of each day, the work and the posts will be exhibited in a Toronto gallery. Brette's embroidery is inspired by conversations she has during the day, while the communal paintings that I will orchestrate are expressions of collaborative work by people who may or may not experience this type of event in their every day lives.

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