ZERO ONE FORUM ISSUE#13 - Summer 2004
the terms of of community engagement
Socially engaged media is an emerging field involving community/artist collaborations using communications media and new technologies. It's practioners are activists and artists from various backgrounds who hack into the closed system technology operates within to empower communities who have been misrepresented or underrepresented by this media. It brings resources to the grass roots so participants can become makers rather than consumers of technology.
Media art is difficult to pin down because it is in a constant state of flux. Here are a few interpretations of the many words used interchangeably to describe various forms of collaborative community media.
media art covers such a wide range of categories that a course of studies
could be designed around simply exploring its genealogy: experimental
film, expanded cinema (including film installations, multiple projections
and film performances), videotapes, video installations, closed-circuit
installations, video performances, computer art, computer graphics, computer
animations, CD-ROMs, Internet and web art, virtual reality, sound art,
multimedia installations and performances, which may or may not be interactive,
net radio and net TV, live broadcasting, VJ raves and phone and fax art
– all these may be categorised as media art."
"Our lives are continually
being recorded and shaped by mechanical devices. Through still photography
and moving image and sound, identities are created, memories are constructed
and culture is illuminated. At the birth of the new millennium access
to information is accelerating beyond conventional means of comprehension.
Media forms are evolving to keep pace and provide a context for meaning."
|Socially Engaged Media||
in extended collaborations with community, environmental or social agencies."
shifting social and political issues, or working as catalysts and activists"
Art is an arts process that involves the work of artists and community
members in a collaborative creative process resulting in collective expereince
and public expression. It provides a way for communities to express
themselves; enables artists, through financial or other supports, to engage
in creative activity with communities; and is collaborative - the creative
process is equally important as the artistic outcome.
|Community Cultural Development||
"Even though it is a mouthful, we prefer 'community cultural development' because it encapsulates the salient characteristics of the work:
Community, to distinguish it from one-to-many arts activity and to acknowledge its participatory nature, which emphasizes collaborations between artists and other community members;
Cultural, to indicate the generous concept of culture (rather than, more narrowly, art) and the broad range of tools and forms in the use in the field, from aspects of traditional visual- and performing - arts practise, to oral hisotry approaches usually associated with historical research and social studies, to use of high-tech communications media, to elements of activism and community organizing more commonly seem as part of non-arts social change campaigns;
to suggest the dynamic nature of cultural action, with its ambitions of
conscientization... and empowerment and to link it to other enlightened
community development practises, especially those incorporating principles
of self-development rather than development imposed from above.