Studio 1: Public Acts
The Public Acts studio is a cross-course initiative aiming to cheerfully address the social responsibility of art and question the laypersons’ idea that public art is a lump of bronze in a park. Its aim was to develop initiatives that invite people to enjoy, feel part of and comfortable within the ideas the art world inhabits, engaging the chance passer-by as much as the determined gallery-goer. Public Acts studio has been determinedly progressive and cross-disciplinary, with participants setting their own agenda and working in a variety of media – from the plein air painter to the psychogeographer, from the polemicist printmaker to the socially-engaged sound or performance artist. Public Acts' aim has been find the art student's voice by identifying the issues she wishes to tackle and finding ways to incite curiosity and action in her audience. Essentially altruistic, joyful and outward looking, with the aim of developing the art student's individual vision to stand out among and lead the crowd.
One of the inspirations for Public Acts is the work of German political theorist Hannah Arendt who thought democracy was best protected by free association, participation and performance. She believed human beings have a responsibility to act to maintain a public realm, a free space. All art is part of exercising your freedoms but the Public Acts studio has sought actively to respond to Arendt’s legacy. What do I have to offer? How will I get others interested in what I do? How can I contribute to the debate? What nugget of new research can I place on the top of the pile? Is my art all about me? Can I turn the personal into the political? The Public Acts studio gets to the bottom of all this.