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social practice: land, food, water, and energy

Posted: March 24 2012

Kickoff event: APRIL 21 at the Broad Art Museum at MSU

Taking place in the former Barnes and Nobles space on Grand River, this event is part symposium, part Town Hall discussion forum, and part community celebration.
The space:
The Barnes and Nobles building (formerly the Jacobson’s department store) is a major economic and development site in East Lansing. We will “activate” this now very raw space for a day as a model of the ways these kinds of projects and ideas can grab a moment in the history of place and change its meaning for a brief time.
 The events:
3pm-5pm: The Town Hall discussion will provide a forum for dialogue and learning between artists and thinkers. With short (20-30 minute) presentations, artists and academics will put each others work in new contexts and stimulate conversation about what the Social Practice commissioning program might look like at MSU.
3-5 pm: Possible children’s events
5-6:30: Screening of the Greenhorns Film
6:30-10: Food, drink, music! We will turn the Barnes and Nobles building into a community celebration, with local food and beverage producers selling their goods (an indoors farmers market of sorts) with a programmed series of bands and sound artists.

The best art has always taken up the most significant issues of the artist’s day and reframed vital ideas in ways that fundamentally shift people’s awareness and perceptions of their own world. Echoing some of the most major concerns facing a global world today, in recent years artists and architects have increasingly turned to food and land as a means of promoting social and political activism. “Social Practice” is the most common term for this kind of artistic output and demarcates creators whose work extends beyond the traditional boundaries of aesthetic/object based practice, but rather involves performance, community gathering, and ephemeral materials. Within a significant artistic framework, these projects educate participants and even instigate grass-roots remedies to major global crises—an artistic approach to thinking globally and acting locally.

Positioned against the great history of the Land Grant at Michigan State University and within the school’s strong commitment to education in food, land, water, and energy, the Broad Art Museum at MSU is poised to be a leader in this newly expanded genre of art and architecture working with and around these issues, both inside the confines of the museums walls and across the vibrant and fertile university campus.
We are delighted to announce the creation of Social Practice: Food, Land, Water, and Energy a commissioning program which will offer an extraordinary context for this kind of production. Throughout each year, artists, architects, or collectives will be invited to a residency on the MSU campus and will have the opportunity to delve into the rich academic history and current practice existing across the disciplines at the university. Working at The Broad Art Museum and through potential partnerships with the various schools and institutes both on campus and in the surrounding areas, the awardees will have access to a rare commodity in the art world: acres of land and a veritable think tank of leaders in the field.
This is a project about “In Between Spaces”:  conceptually these works exist in between art, architecture, urban development, agricultural studies, economics, political science and other disciplines; physically, these projects will fill and activate the interstitial spaces we move though everyday in the course of our lives.

red hook, new york


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