[ISEA2011] Panel: Anita McK­e­own – To­wards (Co-au­thor­ing) Com­mu­ni­tas: The fa­cil­i­ta­tion of be­com­ing through par­tic­i­pa­tory art/tech pro­jects and the prac­tice of place-mak­ing

Panel Statement

Panel: Travels Through Hyper-Liminality: Exploring the space where digital meets the real

In ARIS­TOTELIAN PHI­LOS­O­PHY, the process of change from a lower level of po­ten­tial­ity to the higher level of ac­tu­al­ity is known as be­com­ing. Maslow refers to this process as self-ac­tu­al­i­sa­tion, or to be­come more and more of what one is, or ca­pa­ble of be­com­ing. In order for the process of be­com­ing to take place the dis­so­lu­tion of the nor­ma­tive val­ues or un­der­stand­ing of one’s self and con­text is nec­es­sary (Turner 2008). This dis­so­lu­tion, a lim­i­nal phase, al­though ini­tially desta­bil­is­ing, can cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment con­ducive to the in­di­vid­ual’s val­ues and nor­mal modes of be­hav­iour being re­flected upon and trans­formed. Dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy, par­tic­u­larly the in­ter­net, ‘ a nat­ural en­vi­ron­ment for lim­i­nal­ity’ (Waskul 2004,40) in con­junc­tion with open source soft­ware/cul­ture and their in­her­ent lim­i­nal qual­i­ties are con­sid­ered as tools for the cre­ation and pro­duc­tion of lim­i­nal phases / lim­i­noid spaces. The paper in­tro­duces the role of lim­i­nal phases/lim­i­noid spaces for the process of be­com­ing, draw­ing from an­thro­po­log­i­cal the­o­ries of Van Gen­nap and Turner, and the con­cept of in­di­vid­u­a­tion as ar­gued through Maslow’s con­cept of self-ac­tu­al­i­sa­tion and Jun­gian psy­chol­ogy. In­formed by these the­o­ries, the con­tri­bu­tion of par­tic­i­pa­tory art/tech pro­jects for the prac­tice of place-mak­ing is con­sid­ered as a process of be­com­ing, both for par­tic­i­pat­ing in­di­vid­u­als and their wider con­text. (Place-mak­ing sim­ply put is the process of peo­ple com­ing to­gether in space to ‘make’ place). Through ex­am­ples of par­tic­i­pa­tory art/tech pro­jects and the lim­i­nal phases/lim­i­noid spaces they pro­duce, the paper ar­gues how the un­do­ing of given un­der­stand­ings of place can occur, af­ford­ing new un­der­stand­ings of place and the in­di­vid­ual’s place within that con­text. To con­clude, the paper ex­plores the po­ten­tial of this process to pro­duce com­mu­ni­tas (so­cial struc­ture based on com­mon hu­man­ity and equal­ity rather than rec­og­nized hi­er­ar­chy the par­tic­i­pants and place in­volved) through the con­tri­bu­tion of par­tic­i­pa­tory art/tech pro­jects within the prac­tice of place-mak­ing, po­ten­tially a process of ‘be­com­ing’ both for the par­tic­i­pants and place in­volved.

  1. Witt, C. Ways of Being: Po­ten­tial­ity and Ac­tu­al­ity in Aris­to­tle’s Meta­physics. Ithaca: Cor­nell Univ. Press, 2003.
  2. Turner, V.  Lim­i­nal­ity and Com­mu­ni­tas, in The Rit­ual Process: Struc­ture and Anti-Struc­ture. New Brunswick: Al­dine Trans­ac­tion Press, 2008.
  3. Waskul, D. D. Net.?seXXX: Read­ings on Sex, Pornog­ra­phy, and the In­ter­net. New York: P. Lang, 2004.
  • Anita McK­e­own is an in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary artist, pro­ducer, cu­ra­tor and re­searcher work­ing in the pub­lic do­main, with a focus on the po­ten­tial of open-source soft­ware / cul­ture to trans­form space to place. She is cur­rently un­der­tak­ing a PhD within the SMART­lab Re­search In­sti­tute, Uni­ver­sity Col­lege Dublin (IR), where she is also Artist-in Res­i­dence. She has worked as Cre­ative Di­rec­tor of Arts Ser­vices Un-in­cor­po­rated (ASU) a not-for-profit arts or­gan­i­sa­tion based in South East Lon­don, which she co-founded (2006). She was elected by in­vi­ta­tion to the Royal So­ci­ety of Arts (2008) and was the re­cip­i­ent of a pres­ti­gious Bravo Award (2005), the only non-U.S. cit­i­zen to do so to date for a dig­i­tal pub­lic art pro­ject in Mem­phis TN, US.  Her ex­pe­ri­ence of pro­ject de­vel­op­ment and man­age­ment as well as cross arts ex­pe­ri­ence within a range of con­texts has evolved through her work with a num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions within the arts e.g. ART.e @ the art of change, Lewisham Youth the­atre, Music in Pris­ons, Razor Edge The­atre Com­pany and Heart N Soul The­atre Com­pany. Her work con­tin­ues to be ex­hib­ited and per­formed na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, re­cently com­plet­ing a 3 month res­i­dency in Taos, New Mex­ico, re­sult­ing in nacfr.?org, a col­lab­o­ra­tive, on and of­fline net­work pro­ject.

Full text (PDF) p. 1691-1695  [Title slightly different]