Therme Art Program

Wellbeing Culture Forum | The Impact of Social Practice

In partnership with the British Council, and with essential contribution from the Serpentine, this conversation will focus on the impact of social practice within communities, featuring Sonia Boyce’s installation Feeling her way at La Biennale di Venezia 2022 as a point of departure.

Overview Video | Wellbeing Culture Forum: The Impact of Social Practice

In partnership with the British Council, and with essential contribution from the Serpentine, this conversation will explore the social components of Sonia Boyce’s process and installation, highlighting its historical context and political significance, as well as the practices of other artists who involve community in their work in order to provoke change. Socially engaged practice, also referred to as social practice or socially engaged art, uses the synergies between people, communities, and environments as a catalyst to spur conversation, collaboration, and social change. The need for socially engaged work comes at a time when the world feels incredibly divided. How can social practice create a space for dialogue between different communities? How can the ruptures and confusion often present within these exchanges become a material that shapes the work’s aesthetic, political, and educational framework?

Boyce’s multi-media installation Feeling her way for the British Pavilion is a poignant example of the wondrous possibilities that can arise from the power of creative collaboration. The Impact of Social Practice will open up a space to further meditate on the reverberations of social practice within the art context and beyond, highlighting the importance of mutability and collaboration as we resist an increasingly fractured world.

Sonia Boyce, Artist of the British Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia 2022

“I’m also on that journey of the space between the known and the unknown. And that’s what play’s all about, because play, particularly playing with others, is about trying to get to a place of innovation. What is the edge of this? What is the edge of our possibilities between me and you? And of course, within that, when one is able to overcome that moment of anxiety and that sense of vulnerability and go on that journey, extraordinary things can happen.”

Emma Dexter, Commissioner of the British Pavilion:

“Emma Dexter, Commissioner of the British Pavilion“When you’re in a situation where are not given roles, given certainty, you then have to navigate and negotiate that, and that’s a big aspect of Sonia’s work that is undeclared, really, with inviting people to come together.”

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Curator and Artistic Director of Serpentine:

“…the idea of a social collage, and the idea that things kind of emerge, this emergence in a social collage that is also beautifully described in your catalogue, the idea that you intuitively juxtapose material from life, and then discover what emerges, I think is what is incredible about this Pavilion.”

Monilola Ilupeju, Artist and Curator at Therme Art:

“I think that oftentimes in political discourse, we don’t really talk about play too often, or we see it as distraction or juvenile fun. But I think that play can actually be a way to relocate our humanity and our connection to ourselves and to our bodies.”

Precious Okomoyon, Artist:

“I wanted to make something that (felt) that I hadn’t seen. I wanted to make a space that I felt didn’t exist. So I made a portal of its own world, made of sugarcane and kudzu, which I’ve had this ongoing relationship with for a while now. We’re in a sort of entanglement of mystery with each other. I have been working for about a year slowly growing all of these things and just trying to figure out how this world could be.”

Emma Ridgway, Shane Akeryod Associate Curator of the British Pavilion & Chief Curator, Museum of Modern Art, Oxford:

“When you’re in a situation where are not given roles, given certainty, you then have to navigate and negotiate that, and that’s a big aspect of Sonia’s work that is undeclared, really, with inviting people to come together – that there’s an uneasiness when everybody is coming in, being told that they can be free and then have to navigate, without direction, how they interact.”

Opening remarks
Emma Dexter, Commissioner of the British Pavilion
Mikolaj Sekutowicz, Curator and CEO of Therme Art

Panellists
Sonia Boyce, Artist and Educator
Precious Okoyomon, Artist, Poet, and Chef
Emma Ridgway, The Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator of the British Pavilion

Moderators
Hans Ulrich Obrist, Curator and Artistic Director of Serpentine Galleries
Monilola Ilupeju, Artist and Curator at Therme Art

 

Wellbeing Culture Forum panellists in conversation at the British Pavilion during the Biennale Arte 2022, 21 April 2022

 

Sonia Boyce, Artist of the 2022 British Pavilion exhibition, Feeling her way

 

Precious Okoyomon, Artist, Poet, and Chef (left), Monilola Ilupeju, Artist and Curator at Therme Art (right)

 

Hans Ulrich Obrist, Curator and Artistic Director of Serpentine Galleries (left) Emma Dexter, Commissioner of the British Pavilion (right)

 

Co-moderator Hans Ulrich Obrist, Curator and Artistic Director of Serpentine Galleries

The Wellbeing Culture Forum was founded in 2020 in response to the pandemic, as a framework for interdisciplinary exchange. Co-created and curated by Mikolaj Sekutowicz, each panel discussion is moderated in collaboration with various partners and partner institutions from the private and public sector.

 


 

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