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The gestures of participatory art$
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Sruti Bala

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526100771

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526100771.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MANCHESTER SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.manchester.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Manchester University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSO for personal use.date: 01 August 2021

Gestures of institutional critique

Gestures of institutional critique

(p.26) 1 Gestures of institutional critique
The gestures of participatory art

Sruti Bala

Manchester University Press

Chapter I deals with the question of institutional critique in relation to participatory art. What is the place of institutional critique in relation to participatory performance? The chapter reflects on the conundrums of institutional critique, exploring the formation of participatory art forms as emergent from the critique of mainstream art institutions. It compares a number of approaches to institutional critique: the institutional affiliations of a community-based theatre project from Darfur, Sudan, a flash mob performance by an Israeli activist group protesting a Cape Town Opera production in Tel Aviv Opera House, a breaching experiment by visual artist Pilvi Takala, of trying to enter Disneyland dressed as Snow White, amongst others. Sometimes the gesture of critique consists in building counter-institutions, and sometimes in fleeing them. Institutional critique, understood as the explicit use of an artistic practice to interrogate, oppose or break out of art institutional frameworks has very asymmetrical trajectories across the world and across domains. The chapter argues that the changing institutional conditions of participation expose not just the norms of a certain institution, but also its specific traditions of institutional critique.

Keywords:   institutional critique, flash mob, boycott, breaching experiment, institutional transformation

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