Art in the Service of ?

Earlier this week, PPEH took part in a conversation at Slought Foundation about “Art in the Service of Future Generations.” And we talked with a few pretty cool guys: Veit Stratmann, Ken Lum, Amze Emmons, and Aaron Levy.

It proved an interesting counterpoint to a convo 2 months ago (August 15) at Slought that we had been involved in featuring WetLand creator, our artist in residence, Mary Mattingly. Like in that conversation, we ranged over topics about culture, art, ethics, politics, and responsibility.

Veit’s such a GOOD SPORT, and he braved canoe and kayak transport–and got pretty wet–to come aboard ‪#‎WetLand‬. With program Fellow and co-designer of Pier 68, Kasey Toomey, we talked on film about the work of artists amidst dire social-natural conditions. 12049428_10153589031734435_331069340442385785_n

We had wrapped up shooting and high-tailed it to dry ground in the midst of a huge thunder storm. We found refuge and some refreshment.

As we cut the footage for the first short in a series of documentaries of conversations in the PPEHLab, we’re thinking about collective artistic action. And, what does it mean to be in service of, rather than in service to? And most importantly, as Veit wanted to know, is WetLand in service of something: the river? the people in its watershed? And, as he repeatedly asked, how can the closed space of a boat, a closed community, open out into society? Community can often signal such a small place.

While you wait for the short doc, check out what Veit has to say about related topics over here, in the context of the devastating earthquake that hit L’Aquila:

“L’Aquila is in an unacceptable state. And this status calls for real change. It appeals to the formulation of an objective—something that I feel should be avoided in an artistic posture. The necessity of identifying a goal runs the risk of transforming anything that I might accomplish in L’Aquila into “social work,” canalizing my thinking towards a univocal “solution” to purely non-art related problems.”

Univocality is definitely not our thing. ‪#‎welcomeaboard‬.