Theaster Gates, Shoe Shine for Bank Executive, 2013, part of an perfomative installation he used to shine shoes at art fairs. 

"I sometimes am challenged to imagine where the timbre of art should be. Should it be about objects that point to this current moment, or how objects are related to ideas of this current moment? I want to spend my time between the creation of ideas and the creation of things." (via Conversation With Theaster Gates: On Finding the Sweetest Fodder for His Imagination | Kisa Lala)

Theaster Gates, Shoe Shine for Bank Executive, 2013, part of an perfomative installation he used to shine shoes at art fairs.

"I sometimes am challenged to imagine where the timbre of art should be. Should it be about objects that point to this current moment, or how objects are related to ideas of this current moment? I want to spend my time between the creation of ideas and the creation of things." (via Conversation With Theaster Gates: On Finding the Sweetest Fodder for His Imagination | Kisa Lala)

In their introduction to the book, Begg and de Souza identify one of the main challenges with seeking to ‘bridge art, social issues and community activism’ as ending up somewhere in between ‘overly aestheticised activism and under aestheticised art.’ But whether we were moving furniture around a room, sitting in spectator seats watching the demolition of a slum, going on a walking tour or responding to the public sculpture opinion poll, There Goes The Neighbourhood was more than a stroll through a static exhibition space as distanced, inactive viewers. Rather than being self-congratulatory art that allowed viewers to stand back and disconnect from the politics, There Goes The Neighbourhood was a successful project that compelled us to ask questions about the way things are, and what part we will choose to play in the future of our urban existence.
But then, in the final pages, Le Guin brings you into the dark secret that seems to hold this utopia together. In a dark cellar there is a child - an “it” stripped of its name. But why? Le Guin writes; “They all know it is there, all the people of Omelas. Some of them have come to see it, others are content merely to know it is there. They all know that it has to be there. Some of them understand why, and some do not, but they all understand that their happiness, the beauty of their city, the tenderness of their friendships, the health of their children, the wisdom of their scholars, the skill of their makers, even the abundance of their harvest and the kindly weathers of their skies, depend wholly on this child’s abominable misery.” As Rene Girard puts it, “All the rancours scattered at random among the divergent individuals, all the differing antagonisms, now converge on an isolated and unique figure, the surrogate victim.” Australia’s dark secret is that there are offshore cellars with over 1,000 children locked up. But even though we know this, to talk about it or do anything about it would threaten our utopia
The Red Road flats have been sentenced to a gaudy, voyeuristic death. No amount of choreographed fireworks or musical pageantry can mask that this is little more than a public hanging, and there is no honour in summoning the world to our gallows. The Commonwealth Games stand as a symbol of humanity; of togetherness. Where does a spectacle at the expense of Glasgow’s people fit in to this vision? Just one of the 30-storey blocks, Petershill Court, will survive to provide refuge to asylum seekers; though they’ll have all the fun of glimpsing what’s in story for their homes in 2017. What message does it send, to temporarily evacuate them while we make a “bold statement” to the world? Glasgow: explosively abandoning the past – and you with it. Red Road’s not fit for us – but it’ll do for you. Is this the rhetoric of a progressive, outward-looking Scotland? I find it hard to imagine those in countries where housing is the Holy Grail, will see the celebration in its shameless destruction.
To Mr. Chin, art is not essentially visual nor about the selling of an idea. “It’s about delivering a reality that affects the future of individuals,” he said in a recent interview.
We see this not just in the way police treat protesters, or the way in which the courts regularly throw public order offences such as “affray” and “violent disorder” at the most minor of street transgressions, but also in the way cities are zones of privatised and patrolled space, where the people who actually live there have less and less sense of “belonging” there as security firms, fences, dogs and cameras make it very clear that “shared space” is a utopian fantasy, up there with free water and housing for all.
The most common form through the festival was one-on-one conversation. I participated in five of these altogether, and pleasant though they were, they hardly rocked my world. I most enjoyed James Berlyn’s two encounters - Tawdy Heartburn’s Manic Cures and the Silent Drag Photo Booth of Berlyn - both of which, by genuinely transforming an encounter into an exchange, and engaging both performer and audience member in a task, were mysteriously joyous. The difference between these two acts and the others was that Berlyn presumes nothing about the audience member. Underneath too much of the other work was an assumption that most people never think about or truly experience their day-to-day world, and that they need art to take them by the hand and liberate them into consciousness of their lives and themselves.
Rancière does not consider dissensus at all simply as an opposition or deviation in content, but rather specifically as disobedience towards the distribution of the sensible and the socially striated space, the revolt against the form of police, the usurpation of equality: “Dissensus is the introduction of a fact into a sphere of sensible experience that is incompatible with it, contradicts it.”
Art & Encounter at Festival of Live Art
Footscray Community Art Centre
Saturday 15 March 2014

A new annual symposium, Art & Encounter aims to generate lively public discussion and rigorous debate on key issues in socially-engaged, participatory and live art today. In 2014 the symposium launches with the idea of what happens ‘beyond audience development’, and asks the question: ‘Why do artists engage the public in participation?’ Amy Spiers and James Oliver invite artists and artist researchers working in the expanded field of participatory art to join them in exploring these concerns. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect on the cultural, social and political dimensions of participatory art in the public realm. 
(via Art & Encounter | Festival of Live Art)

Art & Encounter at Festival of Live Art
Footscray Community Art Centre
Saturday 15 March 2014

A new annual symposium, Art & Encounter aims to generate lively public discussion and rigorous debate on key issues in socially-engaged, participatory and live art today. In 2014 the symposium launches with the idea of what happens ‘beyond audience development’, and asks the question: ‘Why do artists engage the public in participation?’ Amy Spiers and James Oliver invite artists and artist researchers working in the expanded field of participatory art to join them in exploring these concerns. Participants will have an opportunity to reflect on the cultural, social and political dimensions of participatory art in the public realm.
(via Art & Encounter | Festival of Live Art)

Nothing To See Here (Dispersal) at the Festival of Live Art
Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall and Meat market
Sunday 23 March 2014

Around the world, protests and public gatherings are often broken up by police. Nothing To See Here (Dispersal) is a choreography of crowd dispersal, created in consultation with people who have real-life experience of the techniques police use to break up protests. Arts House patrons will be circulated away from areas in and around the Meat Market and North Melbourne Town Hall, leaving behind cleared-out spaces in which there is ‘nothing to see’. 

Lead Artists Amy Spiers & Catherine Ryan
Consulting Choreographer & Dramaturge Ashley Dyer 
(via Nothing To See Here (Dispersal) | Festival of Live Art)

Nothing To See Here (Dispersal) at the Festival of Live Art
Arts House, North Melbourne Town Hall and Meat market
Sunday 23 March 2014

Around the world, protests and public gatherings are often broken up by police. Nothing To See Here (Dispersal) is a choreography of crowd dispersal, created in consultation with people who have real-life experience of the techniques police use to break up protests. Arts House patrons will be circulated away from areas in and around the Meat Market and North Melbourne Town Hall, leaving behind cleared-out spaces in which there is ‘nothing to see’.

Lead Artists Amy Spiers & Catherine Ryan
Consulting Choreographer & Dramaturge Ashley Dyer
(via Nothing To See Here (Dispersal) | Festival of Live Art)