Co-organized with Creative Time, Living as Form (The Nomadic Version) is an unprecedented international project that explores over 20 years of cultural works that blur the forms of art and everyday life, emphasizing participation, dialogue and community engagement.
In collaboration with 25 curators from around the world, Nato Thompson has selected 48 socially engaged projects as the foundation of this exhibition, which will expand as it travels. Further increasing the diversity of practices that are represented in the show, each hosting institution selects additional works to add to the exhibition, which tours via hard drive. In addition to expanding the content of the exhibition, each collaborating venue organizes site-specific, socially engaged, commissioned projects or events that connect to the theme and “activate” the show. As the essence of the project is social engagement, each venue is also encouraged to provide participatory experiences that possess political or community-based content for visitors to encounter. Examples of events already held by presenting venues include a conversation between San Francisco-area artists and high school students at a screening of Suzanne Lacy’s The Roof is On Fire; an artists’ talk with Hong Kong-based video artist/activists; a mural project with the Juvenile Justice Center of Mahoning County in Ohio addressing themes of community, social justice, and individual rights; workshops connecting veterans with civilians with Warrior Writers, a Philadelphia-based arts organization; and presentations by Sahrawi artists during the Arts and Human Rights Festival in the Sharawi refugee camps of Tindouf, Western Sahara.
“Something historically unique is happening in cultural production that requires different rules for art than those of the 20th century,” says Thompson. “This culturally savvy method of civic production has manifested in everyday urban life and growing civil unrest. Living as Form is an opportunity to cast a wide net and ask: How do we make sense of this work, and in turn, how do make sense of the world in which we find ourselves?”
Living as Form (The Nomadic Version) is the flexible, expanding iteration of Living as Form, a site-specific project presented by Creative Time in the historic Essex Market in New York from September 24–October 16, 2011. More information about the original iteration of the exhibition can be found on Creative Time’s website here.