Lebenskünstler

Ted Purves – Aesthetics – Social Practice – Personal Economies

Posted in Uncategorized by Randall Szott on 05/25/2012

Summer of Utopia: Interview with Ted Purves

We’ve been working from another starting point: the position of economies in people’s lives and how exchange functions.  Even though we tend to think of ourselves as living in this highly capitalist market economy, we actually live within several different economic systems all at the same time.  Getting paid and going shopping is participating in a larger capital economy, but giving a friend a lift to the store is a different, casual kind of economy.  Not all of our relationships are of cliency and payment.  We are interested in the way people are negotiating between competing or overlapping economies within their own lives, and creating a way to see that there are different ways to view your own personal economy.

I feel like a project is successful if we have had substantive encounters with people, if we have created spaces where a kind of exchange—whether it’s family history, or talking about why something should or shouldn’t be in an art museum, or sometimes it’s just swapping recipes—some form of animated or engaged dialogue comes out, or some sort of story emerges.  It means we learn something, a story can be brought forward from that, that’s when things are successful.  Another high-five moment comes when there is something compelling to look at.  A lot of times when you see a social practice show, it’s either a room full of crap to read, or it looks like a place where they had a party and you didn’t get to go.  I’ve been to a lot of those, and they’re not satisfying!  You either wish they had just printed a book you could take home and read in your own chair—because it’s not very comfortable to sit in a museum—or you wish that you’d been at the party [emphasis mine].  When we did Lemon Everlasting Backyard Battery we had hundreds of jars of lemons on this table, and it was beautiful.

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