Accepted paper:

Participate: for or against?


Ivana Rumanová (Charles University in Prague)

Paper short abstract:

Participation is now becoming a key word of the artistic and social sciences discourse as well as of the grant applicatons’ language. Which connotations does it take in a post-socialist country ? In which ways can it be mis/used ? Isn’t the « lure of the real » at the origin of the participatory turn ?

Paper long abstract:

The paper aims at discussing the two recent examples of the participatory projects realized in Slovakia with an idea to confront the (ethical, methodological, aesthetic) approaches they represent. One would be the development project of the participatory architecture in the Roma settlements in eastern Slovakia. The project is organized by the NGO Člověk v tísni, it consists of construction of the low-cost houses and presupposes the involvement of the inhabitants in terms of financing, house planning and construction. Another project would be the artistic untervention of Tomáš Rafa into the separating walls that have been built recently between the Roma and non-Roma parts of the villages in eastern Slovakia. Artist invited the Roma inhabitants to help him painting the walls with the sport motives as they had been officially approved by the local municipalities as the "walls of sport". These two examples of projects allow us to confront the two elementary attidudes toward participation that Claire Bishop names as "the constructive" and "the critical". With all the respect towards the participation and its merit, the paper will try to raise some rather critical points and questions related to it as it may be useful in the context of participation becoming a new paradigm (both in sciences and art). Where is the border of participation being forced? By which means? Does't the forced participation mask and reproduce the calssic paternalistic patterns of the development aid? Under which circumstances does the radical artistic gesture become a cosmetical surgery?

panel P062
pARTiCI[TY]pate! Collaborative place-making between art, qualitative research and politics