In Defense of Useful Art




  • Both of these theories challenge that artwork can be productive, as well as provocative. As an artist and researcher, my work intersects across a variety of points of human rights, social justice, art, design and research and is inspired by critical design and Arte Útil. My artistic output can take the shape of a white paper, a civil society action, a design to solve a solution, a social justice workshop, an article, or an artwork artifact. However, I consider all of these outputs to be a form of my artistic practice and my research practice. Much like the work of Arte Útil, artwork can be functional and useful, if made by an artist. A white paper can be a legible part of an artistic practice, even with no clear artistic artifact object tied to it. (View Highlight)
  • The works aren’t just to bear witness, though that alone would be worthwhile; they question, provocate and offer a solution to a problem. This should not be viewed as a form of techno-solutionism however; the ‘solutions’ the artists provide are not meant to create an end to all other potential solutions, but serve to offer rather, temporary or open-source fixes for gaps in equity and violence created by society and are poetic witnesses of those gaps. This kind of ‘band aid’ is in a similar space where I pursue my own practice. Bandaids exist as necessary provocations or patches while with participatory design and deconstruction, artists, human rights researchers, activists, technologists, and communities can overhaul the system or destroy systems together. (View Highlight)