The Creative Time Summit 2011: Living as Form

When 23 Sep 2011 - 16 Oct 2011
Where Essex Street Market building
Lower East Side
New York, NY
United States

Living as Form is an unprecedented, international project exploring over twenty years of cultural works that blur the forms of art and everyday life, emphasizing participation, dialogue, and community engagement. Living as Form provides a broad look at a vast array of socially engaged practices that appear with increasing regularity in fields ranging from theater to activism, and urban planning to visual art. The project brings together twenty-five curators, documents over 100 artists’ projects in a large-scale survey exhibition inside the historic Essex Street Market building, features nine new commissions in the surrounding neighborhood, and provides a dynamic online archive of over 350 socially engaged projects.

The Exhibition

The 15,000 square-foot Essex Street Market building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan will serve as the base for Living as Form from September 23-October 16, 2011. It will house the archival exhibition—a vast collection of twenty years of socially engaged art projects and actions from around the globe—as well as play host to a series of events and performances, and offer dynamic areas for artists and collectives to work in residence for brief periods on installations and collaborations throughout the show. The Living as Form archival exhibition will feature 100 projects assembled in consultation with a wide array of curatorial advisors, including Caron Atlas, Negar Azimi, Ron Bechet, Claire Bishop, Brett Bloom, Rashida Bumbray, Carolina Caycedo, Ana Paula Cohen, Common Room, Teddy Cruz, Gridthiya Gaweewong, Hou Hanru, Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter, Shannon Jackson, Maria Lind, Chus Martínez, Sina Najafi, Marion von Osten, Ted Purves, Raqs Media Collective, Gregory Sholette, Superflex, Christine Tohme, Bik Vanderpol, and Sue Bell Yank. Collected over the course of a year, the materials will produce a complex chronology that spans geographic as well as interdisciplinary terrain. The exhibition will be on view September 23-October 16, 2011 at the historic Essex Street Market building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

The Commissions

Living as Form offers an opportunity to experience nine “living” commissioned artist projects, located in the Lower East Side. Bik Van der Pol, Carolina Caycedo, Surasi Kusolwong, MadeIn Company presented by the Long March Project, Megawords, OurGoods, Superflex, Temporary Services, and Time/Bank (Julieta Aranda and Anton Vidokle) will each produce a project embodying some of the key tenets of socially engaged art. Following a period of research for the artists, these commissions will operate out of multiple fixed locations and will run throughout the exhibition.

The Talks

A series of three public talks will offer an opportunity for artists and audiences to raise key questions and further discussion around this complex field of cultural production through a variety of programming and events, including three free public talks leading up to the exhibition. Featured speakers include Claire Bishop, Associate Professor in the Ph.D. Program in Art History at The Graduate Center, The City University of New York, on May 18th, art critic, cultural theorist and activist Brian Holmes on June 30th, and Living as FormCurator Nato Thompson on August 2nd. Each talk will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Mariam Ghani, artist and teacher at The Cooper Union School of Art, Yates McKee, critic, and Doug Ashford, artist, activist and Associate Professor at The Cooper Union School of Art, respectively. The talks will be held in the Rose Auditorium at The Cooper Union School of Art, and are free and open to the public.

The Creative Time Summit

Audiences are invited to engage with some of the international artists behind projects in theLiving as Form archive—as well as critics, writers, and curators—at the third annual Creative Time Summit: Living as Form, which kicks off the show’s opening weekend on September 23, at NYU Skirball Center. The conference brings together an evolving community concerned with the political implications of socially engaged art to discuss how their work addresses pressing issues affecting our world. Expected presenters include: Alternate ROOTS, Appalshop, Common Room, Cybermohalla Ensemble, Decolonizing Architecture, Jeremy Deller, Darren O’Donnell, Laura Flanders, Theaster Gates, Hou Hanru, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Shannon Jackson, Long March Project, Alan W. Moore, My Barbarian, Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK), Ted Purves, Gerald Raunig, Navin Rawanchaikul, Katerina Šedá, Chemi Rosado Seijo, Andreas Siekmann, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Ultra-red, United Indian Health Services, Urban Bush Women, Voina, Dan S. Wang, WochenKlausur, and Women on Waves.

For more information visit Tickets to the Creative Time Summitare available at

The Book

Living as Form will culminate with a book, published by Creative Time Books and distributed by MIT Press, that will highlight projects from the exhibition archive, as well as commissioned essays from noted critics and theorists in the field, including Carol Becker, Claire Bishop, Teddy Cruz, Brian Holmes, Maria Lind, and Shannon Jackson. Detailing some of the most important socially engaged projects from the last twenty years, this catalogue will provide key examples, allow insights into methodologies, contextualize the conditions of site, and broaden the range of what constitutes this form. Living as Form: Socially Engaged Art from 1991-2011 will be out in January 2012.

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