ARTWOLFE: What role does the Art Exhibition play in the PDC conference as a whole?
I would say the role is twofold. For one, it gives the conference participants, who come from different countries and disciplines, a platform for interaction. Through the art they can start engaging in conversation and find mutual grounds and interests. Secondly, interdisciplinary collaborations have often yielded surprising yet astonishing results, leading both research and knowledge to new heights.
ARTWOLFE: What challenges did you face by having a ‘participatory’ exhibition?
I think the process of creating participatory art is quite different from creating any other type of static art. The artist is not able to complete the art piece by him or herself and has to rely on the participants. This meant that most of the art that was setup was in a way incomplete. One of the challenges was ensuring that each installation was inviting and that not a single item was missing. Another challenge was to ensure that audiences engaged with the installations, instead of just viewing them.
Another challenge was mediating the combination between academic and artistic processes. A conference is an unusual setting for holding an art exhibition, which caused confusion from the very beginning when we sent out the call for submissions. Although we had quite a few artists who studied at university level, I think the process was quite novel for them (e.g. submitting a written proposal, writing an article for the proceedings, registering for the conference). Looking back I can say that I am really impressed with the way the artists so quickly adapted and seemed to enjoy this new experience
ARTWOLFE: Anything else you want to add?
I am really pleased with the way that everything turned out. I am happy to have had the pleasure of working with Beate (Zorn) and Heike (Winschiers-Theophilus) since the beginning. I am also so grateful and proud of all the artists who submitted such amazing articles and installations.