||While certain artistic practices of the 1990s asked how and for whom art serves, the economies of the art worlds have since changed, with new implications. Nowadays the arts are arguably more embedded within society and culture at large than ever before—witness the rise of socially engaged art, political art, financialized art, and so forth—and thus exposed to a wider field of forces with divergent interests. Along with a growing number of participants, taxes, wages, and other standards are being introduced for better or worse. That the art worlds have, in any case, always been part of the life praxis of the “real” world, overlapping in economic, social, and political structures, attests that the intensification we observe has been gradually building over years. Today’s imperative, perhaps, directs our gaze ever outwards—toward arts’ entanglements with other fields in functionally differentiated societies; and equally, to follow their reverberations on the shifting terrain of the artistic field itself.
The PROVENCE REPORT AW 18/19 focal point is Art in the service of... We look at moments when artists use their practice and skills in the service of something or someone else. In the backdrop, we are confronted with an artistic field triggering “descriptions” and suggestions like the Content Industrial Complex’s false sublation of art into life or—on the other end of the spectrum— the self-abolition of all art and art workers. While the former is some sort of Kulturindustrie takeover, the latter is drafted as a left political practice. Paradoxically, with both comes the end of the art world. In this highly volatile period of criticism, how might a renewed interest in services comment on art’s relative autonomy? As thoughts without content are empty, primary research forms the basis for this issue of PROVENCE REPORT: where possible, we have elected for conversations held or reports written by practitioners in the field.
Contributions by Anke Dyes / Edgars Gluhovs / Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Philip Pilekjær / Raphael Gygax / Nina Hollensteiner with Nadine Fraczkowski / Tobias Kaspar, Inka Meißner, Karl Holmqvist and Rirkrit Tiravanija / Inga Lāce and Katerina Gregos / Matthew Linde Passageways / Adam Linder and Hannes Loichinger / llya Lipkin and Marc Asekhame / Tobi Maier and Jac Leirner / Emanuele Marcuccio / Isabel Mehl and Lynne Tillman Lynne Tillman's Critical Fictions/ Inka Meißner and LaKela Brown / Julia Moritz / Shahryar Nashat and Anne Dressen / Miss Needle / Cecilie Norgaard and Karsten Pflum / Silvia Simoncelli / Hisachika Takahashi by Yuki Okumura