Situated Practices Workshop

De erg

Teachers: Didier Demorcy, Kobe Matthys

Linked course : Artifacts studies, Situated Practices Seminar

CONTEXT: Activist collectives, user associations, resident coordinations, critical scientists' positions... have multiplied in recent years. If their objects of struggle are multiple (poverty, ecology, discrimination, mental health, migration, urbanism, climate, etc.), all of them are confronted with technical and administrative norms, trade agreements and regulations imposed by States, international institutions and/or multinationals.

So many political decisions are based on recommendations formulated by experts - oscillating between the academic world and lobbies. So much so-called objective knowledge that nevertheless governs more and more intimately our lives and weakens our ways of being. Some of the oldest political and social rights acquired are being called into question. New modes of production and consumption that the current climatic upheavals call for are subordinated to the imperatives of growth and extractivist logics.

Faced with such threats, such failures, these citizen collectives organize, debate, oppose and act from their own dynamics, contexts, environments and ways of living. These struggles are based on the collective production of "situated knowledge"... that is to say, knowledge that, in particular, refuses the so-called neutrality of scientific knowledge and engages in participatory research and local practices that attempt to take into account all the actors concerned - human and non-human. Other ways of making worlds are being risked; new types of Commons are being experimented with. New ecologies of knowledge and practices are emerging.

More specifically, APS seeks to question and experiment in what and how artists can relate to / get involved with / accompany / participate in / collaborate with / document / archive / represent / map / question / criticize / investigate / inspire / support / contribute to / extend / ... these different "struggles in the present" - and this from their own experiences and their specific artistic practices.


1°: APS proposes public meetings throughout the year with different people, different groups involved in struggles, controversies and research - as mentioned above. These guests are encouraged to think about their intervention in terms of the specific framework of an art school. These encounters are prepared and debriefed during the workshops, according to specific devices for speaking and sharing knowledge. Students are invited to participate in the elaboration and critique of these mechanisms.

2°: APS supervises and supports the singular journey of a work, an artistic adventure (individual or collective) which the students take the initiative in an autonomous way - while organizing times of mutual and collective exchanges.

-Throughout the two years of the Master's program, the students, members of the workshop, take the time to experiment and formulate a concrete exhibition proposal. They gradually develop the methodology that corresponds to their proposal. Objectives, criteria, stakes, referential framework, artistic, political and historical contexts are specified as they go along.

-This progression, this path, foresees in a first time a period of experimentation quite free and extended. This initial research is followed by a period of analysis, of intimate understanding, of formulating hypotheses, of pooling (which allows for the possible setting up of collective practices).

-At the end of this time of reflection, the experimentation progressively takes on a more and more precise form: each student develops his or her own research method, which he or she invents according to his or her needs, protocols and abilities to think about processes.

-The resulting proposals are then put to the test - situated, contextualized - during "test hangings" organized periodically in conjunction with the option and internship teachers.

-The final result is a material work presented to the external jury at the end of the studies.

3° This process is the subject of regular discussions and meetings set at a more or less frequent rhythm and according to the needs of each student. These meetings take place either during individual interviews or in small groups of three or four people in order to encourage and facilitate discussion, exchange and mutual aid.

4° The students' practices can be introspective - even intimate - as well as community and societal; they can adopt a documentary or fictional point of view; they can use empirical or theoretical methods. All practices in the fields of art, narrative, and communication are welcome. The workshop activities may also be connected to the more "theoretical" research undertaken during the writing of the final thesis.

5° APS supervises the writing of an evolving and phased dossier. This file, whose writing is evolving, extends throughout the two years of the Master's program and allows the students to progressively build up, in four phases: an archive of their work and research; an argued outline of their final project; a jury project - layout, presentation, budget, etc.; a presentation file of their approaches and work to be used during future contacts and professional and/or militant meetings.

EVALUATION: it is continuous. It takes into account the students' involvement and regular participation in meetings organized by APS with invited groups and individuals. It also favours collegial meetings to which the teachers of the options and internships followed by the students are invited. The evaluation criteria used are developed jointly with the students.