Projeto de Doutoramento - Patterns and Unpredictability: Towards an Aesthetics of Mass Participation

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Type: 
Master, Doctorate and Post-Doctorate
Main researcher: 
Luís Sarmento Ferreira (100%)
Team elements (%affectation): 
Orientação: Cristina Sá (10%)
Abstract: 

A work of art's openness to participation is traditionally a focus for thought and debate on the way the participants relate to the artistic process, A recent phenomenon - a formal definition of the work evoking a massive amount of participation - demands that the roles of the participants be reassessed and the effects of this change on the definition of a participation aesthetics in contemporary art be studied.

With the present PhD work we propose to contribute to the production of knowledge about the role of participation in Art. We propose to study the phenomenon of large scale participation through analysis, in a research context, of the formal consequences of artistic strategies based on the opening of the work of art to a large number of human contributors.

In parallel, we propose to develop artistic objects in which the resource to massive participation will be directed by our theoretical approach to the subject and simultaneously direct the process itself, departing from the scientific results pertaining to the developed objects.

Objectives: 

The study of the specific case of artistic processes based on mass participation, contributes decisively to the development of an aesthetic participation appropriate to contemporary and future art. This contribution is the general objective of this research.

We propose two lines of research to this end. A line grounded on an artistic practice-based research and another in theoretical work.

Thus, regarding the project component, the objectives are: i) the production of three pieces of art that will explore the main thematic links to the notions of emergence, network and democracy and the culture of "remix"; ii) the publication of the results of these projects, which will focus on formal and aesthetic benefits and consequences of each of these approaches to the issue of mass participation.

The objectives of the theoretical line of research are the development of a new theoretical framework for an aesthetics of participation and the sharing of strategies, techniques and results with the community.

In addition to these general objectives, the specific goals of this theoretical research are:

  • Survey of relevant projects in the area.
  • Definition of a taxonomy of mass participation.
  • Identification of contact points of definitions of interactivity, relational aesthetics and participation (Popper, Art of the Electronic Age, 1993) (Bourriaud, Relational Aesthetics, 1998) (Bishop, Participation, 2006) with the specific case of mass participation.
  • Creation of a critical framework focusing on mass participation that will allow other work on this phenomenon in the current digital culture.

The aim is to develop a comprehensive investigation on the formal implications of large-scale human action in artistic projects open to participation. This will be achieved by the production of art, by a critical analysis and by the systematization of technical, social and conceptual influences of notions associated the subject of study, as are emergence, network democracy and the "remix" culture.

Activities: 

Phase 1 - October 2011 to September 2012

  1. Literature review.
  2. Development of state of the art regarding the definition of an aesthetics of mass participation.
  3. Development of a theoretical framework and operationalization of concepts.
  4. Survey of projects relevant to the area.
  5. Production of a specific taxonomy.

Phase 2 - October 2012 to September 2014

  1. Construction of a critical view of the process developed.
  2. Review of the projects from the perspective of a case study methodology and using a phenomenological approach.
  3. Reassessment of the methodologies used.
  4. Final text revision of the draft PhD thesis.

 

State: 
Ongoing
Research group: 
Visual and Interactive Art
Summary: 

Projecto de Doutoramento - Patterns and Unpredictability: towards an aesthetics of mass participation A work of art's openness to participation is traditionally a focus for thought and debate on the way the participants relate to the artistic process, A recent phenomenon - a formal definition of the work evoking a massive amount of participation - demands that the roles of the participants be reassessed and the effects of this change on the definition of a participation aesthetics in contemporary art be studied.
10/2011 to 09/2014