Category Archives: Radical Participation

“Participation and Spectacle: Where Are We Now?”

In this lecture as part of Creative Time‘s Living as Form exhibition, Claire Bishop argues that social practice should not involve ethics, but rather foster (often uncomfortable) critical thought.

Is there a middle ground between the two?

How do you think participatory art should be judged?

While putting together the show, the DCCA curatorial team looked to, among others, writings by Claire Bishop and exhibitions by Creative Time for inspiration. As such, the following reading materials are included in the Radical Reading Room for reference purposes: Participation (edited by Claire Bishop), Artificial Hells by Claire Bishop, Living as Form and The Interventionists (both Creative Time exhibition catalogs). Stop by to tell us your thoughts about these projects!

“Utopia Is No Place: The Art and Politics of Impossible Futures”

The political problem of today is not a lack of rigorous analysis, or a necessity for the revelation of the “truth,” but instead the need for a radical imagination: a way to imagine a world different from the world we have today.” – Stephen Duncombe

In a 2010 talk at the Walker Art Center, NYU professor Stephen Duncombe argued that art that reveals controversial truths can no longer be considered radical. It is the contemplation of utopian ideas that is activist— by imagining a more perfect world, people must acknowledge that certain elements of their present society are flawed.


In this video, DCCA Curator Maiza Hixson introduces the concept of imPERFECT CITY:


Citizens Speak

The imPERFECT CITY Blog is a forum for everyone to talk about proposals for utopia. We rely upon your input to create a transparent and democratic curatorial process.

Would each of you kindly take ten minutes to leave a comment on this post reacting to the proposals and your developing aspirations for the exhibition?  

DCAD Utopian Mottos

 A sincere thank you to Catherine Drabkin’s class from the Delaware College of Art and Design for participating in imPERFECT CITY! Here are the utopian mottos the students submitted:
  • Where Life Is Enough
  • Strive To Be Your Best
  • Helping Each Other Succeed
  • Live With Presence
  • Unwanting
  • The City That Makes Dreams Happen
  • A City Everyone Can Be Proud Of
  • Just Keep Moving Forward
  • Where Money Never Matters
  • For The People, By The People
  • Come As You Are
  • A Concrete Eden

Introduction to IMPERFECT CITY

Under the theme of Radical Participation, multiple living exhibitions in 2013-14 will hinge upon visitor interactivity and institutional transparency, and broaden our scope with projects that call attention to the act of curating itself as an aesthetic medium and form of social practice.

Entertaining principles of engagement with such exhibitions as imPERFECT CITY: A Real-Time Exhibition; LITTLE WHITE CUBES; DRIFT: DCCA’s Moving Museum; and CUREAT (Curate + Create), the DCCA will draw upon the visitor as artist to complete exhibitions. Supported by significant publications, discussions and related activities, this programming will push the boundaries of the DCCA beyond the local definition of contemporary art while engaging new audiences and supporting new artists.

imPERFECT CITY: A Real-Time Exhibition is a conversation-based exhibition that will evolve into a bustling, museum-scale town within the DCCA.

The show “opens” during the planning phase to reveal the DCCA’s curatorial offices, which DCCA visitors can visit while participating in the curatorial conceptualization and implementation of this exhibition. A videographer-in-residence will document the daily conversations taking place within the galleries and develop a virtual audience for the show through social media channels. Artists with backgrounds in philosophy, curating, architecture, sculpture, and new media will work in tandem with the DCCA’s preparator and installation crew to help build an ersatz city featuring walk-in living, working, and recreational spaces. Guest critics and lecturers will be invited to create programming for and provide commentary on imPERFECT CITY, which, as an exhibition, functions as an experiment in curating diverse cultural practices. The DCCA will host a plethora of weekly events including music, performance, and symposia featuring artists, curators, activists, city officials, and others.

The exhibition endeavors to create the conditions for audience engagement while acknowledging the limits of its seemingly utopian goal to achieve full visitor participation.

The visitor is invited to become a citizen of imPERFECT CITY by attending the show, interfacing with the people involved, and helping to decide the nature and future of this community.