Socially Engaged Art

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If you asked the common American citizen, “What is socially engaged art?” they would probably throw a puzzled glance coupled with an “I don’t know and I don’t care.” The average non-artist would most likely not have the chance to experience socially engaged art, but it is still a brand of art practice that deserves the consideration as it has the unique ability to change a group of people through provoking reflection and discernment. Even though its complexities could stir one away from this topic, it is worthwhile to differentiate what is SEA and what is not. Pablo Helguera, a visual and performance artist, has paved a clearer path unto which can lead to this answer. Through his book, Education for Socially Engaged Art, as well as four examples…show more content…
At the Creative Time Summit conference, Helguera designed and video-recorded a twelve-minute event consisting of three protest songs, three games, three slogans related to the games, and art related questions (Pablo Helguera Archive). All these sections centered on the idea of inequity aversion, a part of economics and sociology that articulates how “our awareness of inequality amongst each other can lead to feelings of guilt, mutual destruction, or mutual cooperation” (website). An important part to consider with Performance SEA is making sure that the goal is not simply to entertain, but to produce constructive experiences. Even though playing songs from Helguera’s made-up band seems to be similar to entertainment, the music they perform has lyrical depth by objecting to the set standards of inequity. The slogans, as well as the art questions, provide a many faceted inspection of inequity, which can be applied to allow a greater understanding of the purpose of the bias in The Dictator Game, and consequently the larger discrimination in society. The Dictator Game also purposefully incorporates participation and collaboration. During the game portion of the performance, ten voluntary participants by the incentive of money, form temporary groups among each other, as someone playing the role of the dictator and the other not. By willingly taking…show more content…
This letter directs its attention at Enrique Pena Nieto, the Mexican President, to try to incite him to act to save the country against a demoralizing law. If this letter did succeed in convincing Nieto to take action and the politician did step out of his comfort zone to take a stand against the perceived “wrong” law, maybe the betterment that the society experienced could be SEA. However, there is no way of knowing if this letter caused the change in the president or if Nieto even would read it, as Helguera mentions the chances of him reading it are close to zero (Pablo Helguera Archive). In addition, the content of the letter as well as the act of sending the letter would still be a symbolic act, not an actual practice. Yes, Helguera is actually sending the letter, but actual practice does not refer to only the representation of an idea; it refers to controlling a situation to result in a meaningful experience. So, this letter does not fit the qualifications to be

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