Wednesday, February 27, 2008

“Failure Support Group" is Friday

Platform 2 offers a “Failure Support Group” at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 29, at the Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge. Cookies and bad coffee will be served. These are the same smart folks – iKatun, Andi Sutton and Jane D. Marsching – who have looked at “art and social engagement” by organizing intriguing public discussions of the “race, class, geography and art” and theme of the “commons” last year.

This time around the subject is failure. Some 20 people are expected to give brief presentations about their failures, followed by a group discussion. The organizers write:
Art projects fail a lot, particularly those that are participatory, public and/or social. They fail for different reasons and cause myriad revelations. Nevertheless, the structures that we use to talk about these works and contexts where they are presented often don't leave room for discussing the failures plainly and objectively.

We're interested in failure – in its relationship to creative production, artistic rhetoric and public presentation. So interested, in fact, that we want to share ours and hear about yours.

We invite you to join us for a Failure Support Group, an evening survey of failed processes and failed projects (yours and ours). Is there, actually, a recipe for failure? Are certain methodologies more prone to failure than others? How? What is at stake in acknowledging failure – in one's process, one's community, or one's career?
The fundamental nature of artists, of all creative types, is swings between grand confidence and deep doubt. Questions about whether what you’re doing is worthwhile, and if worthwhile any good, creep in from yourself, the people you know, your community. The grand confidence allows creative types to keep stumbling on ahead despite all this doubt.

The idea of “failure” zeros in on this. It also addresses the idea that we want artists to take risks, and with risk-taking there will be failures. As a critic, I wonder how do we take this into account? Can exhibitions and performances be experiments, and judged as such? Or should everything be in fine working order? How do we support good art as well as good risk-taking?

“Failure Support Group” Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge, 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 29, 2008.


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