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MMUN – Defining Social Practice – Green Mountain Fury

Posted in Uncategorized by Randall Szott on 02/21/2013

Model Model UN: Issues in Practice

The California College of the Arts Social Practice Workshop announces Model Model UN: Issues in Practice, a participatory event followed by a public Oxford-style debate. The goal of Model Model UN (MMUN) is to appropriate the form of Model United Nations to examine contemporary art, specifically in the field of Social Practice. Participants draft a resolution that defines this emerging field. If passed, the resulting resolution holds authority over the definition of Social Practice Art for a period of one year (or until the next MMUN).

I sent the following salvo to Jacob Wick in response:

I Randall Szott, as official spokesman for Social Practice in the great state of Vermont, do hereby declare a procedural objection to any definition of social practice drafted by this body without the consultation and consent of the Green Mountain State.

It is clear that, to echo Erskine Childers, “…Western [social practice] powers behave in the Council, like a private club of hereditary elite-members who secretly come to decisions and then emerge to tell the grubby elected members that they may now rubber-stamp those decisions.”

There will be no rubber stamp. The veneer of inclusion belies the fact that this entire process is crafted by, and for the self interest of, the California College of the Arts and its Social Practice Workshop. This so-called “participatory event” offers mere crumbs (Thai curry) of democratic participation. Here in the land of town meeting, we see this event for what it is – an attempt to shore up institutional power by using proceduralism, empty rhetoric, and a cherry picked body politic.

The “four Focal Regions” might as well be called the “four Fuck You regions.” In the end, any light they might shed is snuffed out in the name of an insidious foregone conclusion. There is no suspense in the declaration “Social Practice is…” as the event announcement makes perfectly clear – social practice is art. The “debate” then is a mere rehearsal of old saws and art theoretical platitudes and social practice condemned thereby to be an art historical corpse.

Again, the birthplace of John Dewey, sanctuary of Murray Bookchin, starting ground of Helen and Scott Nearing, and a litany of other freethinkers, back to landers, and true democrats will voice its objection to this, not only on procedural grounds, but on moral ones as well. Long live social practice! Vermont will not consent to this funeral!

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