The impossible participant

Andrew Hewitt, Dave Beech, Mel Jordan, Kathryn Brown (Editor)

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


The chapter critiques the rise of participation in art since the 1990s – a development that sees artists and curators searching continually for new and increased levels of audience inclusion. While there has been much discussion about what might be gained by participating in an artwork, we ask what might be lost by this act. We also question the extent to which participation is a useful social or aesthetic strategy in circumstances where it remains bound by the institutional structures of the artworld. For this reason, our work is an attempt to transform the broader ‘apparatus of art’ and to create works in which the roles assigned to individuals and groups remain fluid and subject to continuous negotiation. As a means of an attempt at resisting absorption into the institutional structures of the artworld, we privilege a form of participation that remains immanent in the work, but that never crystallizes into a single or definable role.
Kathryn Brown , art historian and editor of Interactive Contemporary Art, says,
‘It is, perhaps, a fitting end to the discussions of the present volume that the most interesting and valuable form of participation envisaged by Freee is one that must remain impossible.’
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInteractive Contemporary Art: Participation in Practice
EditorsKathryn Brown
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Print)9781780765518
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2014


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