The political and corporate world utilizes ethics as a manipulatory tool thereby turning it into something meaningless. French philosopher Alain Badiou points out that here is no truth and, therefore, no universal interpretation of the word “ethics” either. According to Nina Montmann who wrote “Scandalous”, the ethical character can also be quite fundamentally understood in its dialectical relationship between criticism and affirmation: antithesis of good and evil in relation to the choice of free will.
This essay uses Nina Montmann’s “Scandalous” and Claire Bishop's “Artificial Hells” books to examine how the artists use of participants cum public and presents who exactly do they chose as participatory public for their artworks, thereby relating both books to my own participatory art.
Bishop’s “Artificial Hells”, comprehensively scrutinized the claims for democracy as well as emancipation made by both artists and critics for the work alongside questioning the turn of the ethical rather than the artistic criteria discovered by the collaborative and participatory art thereby exposing the political and aesthetic limitations of the participator artwork (Bishop 42). It became the first historical and theoretical overview of socially engaged participatory art regarded in the United States as “social practice.” Bishop has followed the trajectory of the 20th century art and subsequently examined fundamental moments in the development of the participatory aesthetic.
Bishop has challenged the political as well as aesthetic ambitions of the participatory art by scrutinizing both the emancipatory claims advanced for these projects and providing alternatives to the ethical rather than artistic criteria resulting from these artworks. Bishop’s decision to lead her readers to the ”artificial hells” is helpful in setting out to unearth the uncritical as well as ahistorical axioms involved in the leftist rhetoric with the objective of identifying the real potential of participation to the left.
This is justified by Bishop’s ability to showcase that throughout the 20th century, artists in different ideological contexts managed to explore the opportunities that enabled them to act beyond the bounds of the gallery as they integrate audiences into their works. Accordingly, she has managed to point out that the contemporary discussions about the social art practices are entwined in the ethics of utilizing people as a material. For example, the audience are used to take videos together with the artist which are later produced and sold to them without recognizing that they were part of the product. Therefore, through this book, Bishop has redressed the critical oversight as well as advanced a set of criteria for judging the artistic and the social value of participatory art. For example, by emphasizing that audience who are included in the artistic works need to be ethically informed about the participation and their consents sought.
Bishop uses this book to rekindle the long-standing loggerhead reflected in Arforum to bring out her worry about other authors missing out that social importance of art while testifying to as well as establishing the shared values that even incorporate the ethical values. Accordingly, she sees the role of the artist as uncovering the social relations of tensions that are otherwise repressed through the upholding aesthetic oppositions between spectator/actor, participant/artist and art/life (Bishop 64).
Montmann ushers in the Scandalous by first establishing the platform for ethics in a global capitalist society trapped in neo-liberalism (Montmann al. 404). She positions the scandals as a flashpoint for examining and evaluating the plight of ethics in the modern art against the ethical principles that are co-opted to serve the suitable political interests of the zombie capitalism (Montmann et al. 404). She structures her book based on two symposia that are consequently augmented by reprinting and commissioning pieces that individually engage with the state of ethics as well as the role of scandals in the modern art. Nina, therefore, sought out to showcase a series of case studies as well as the theoretical interrogations suggesting the ethical dimensions of contemporary art.
This arises from the current meetings between real life and art based on the reflection violent images as well as visual culture degradation alongside the media. In addition, Montmann’s “Scandalous” seeks to explain the tenacity of contentious deliberations on community as well as the participatory art schemes that have elevated fundamental questions circumventing the significance of ethical decision in curating and art. According to Nina, the participatory art is characterized by provocation and this would become pessimistic and unmannerly unless effective interventions are designed.
There is a need for effective censorship alongside ethical decisions that are more urgent in participatory art. She has responded effectively to the incorporation of ethics in terms of a fortunate instrument of new liberalization by claiming the essential for an ethics that unsympathetically replicates the apparatuses of modern worldwide supremacy organizations. Through her rich discussion of models of both situational and subjective ethics that are pitted against a standard of undisputed ideologies as well as reversed notions of morals and human privileges, Montmann has explored participatory art efficiently.
Ethics remains a fundamental measuring tool for the relation between art, artist and public. It is used detects how the audience are used in the art works since the participants. It promotes the free will of the audience to participate without being forced to do so by the artist. Since 1990, both curators and critics have conventionally accepted the concept that participatory art remains the eventual political art. When audience are encouraged to participate, artists potentially promote new emancipatory social relations. The authors use audience as their participants and engage them in their works beyond merely being spectators. And the artists do so in very different ways…For example, according to Bishop, relationship between political commitment and artistic form remains fraught as the earlier case studies transformed in the subsequent decades of Dada and Surrealist (Bishop 74).
This participatory art leads to the social art phenomenon. In my view, this culminates in an absurdist side to my work. I believe that participatory art has become a tool for coming to terms with reality as audience need to be engaged to see the world in a different perspective. Subsequently, the audience gets insights of a reality. Accordingly, this makes the public to have an experience with reality that has an impact on the participants
My participatory art position or work involves miscommunication and futility. Here, I am the director who invites people to communicate with me and each other. I am hoping that new meaning will arise, but it remains a futile act. This is because I am experimenting right now, for the first time, with the 'art scandal' where I lead people astray, and already I am increasingly facing difficulties with the ethics without them realizing they are part of the art. Accordingly, I feel participatory art is becoming both manipulative and oppressive work to the unrecognized and uncompensated participants (audience). Engaging the audience in the participatory art may remain completely inefficient. However, the culture that has already been developed where the participants are not aware that they are of great importance to these works becomes the loop hole. The audience should be informed that they are integral part of the art.