The art historian Kristina Marek in her text Aesthetics as interactive concept tries to answer the questions referring artists’ need for direct impact in the sociopolitical domain. So an artist, who, in times of extensive economization and social indifference, now gets involved, intervenes and acts within the social infrastructure, and that not merely to demonstrate, reflect, or create something in the field of the aesthetic using aesthetic means, but to actually change an aspect of the social conditions of life. (Marek, 2011, p. 262)
Apart from the utopian undertone present in the collaboration between the artists and the communities, in many instances, it has resulted in successful transformation/improvement of the life quality of a group of individuals. The Austrian artist collective WochenKlausur perfectly illustrates how artists can contribute to the improvement of the actual sociopolitical circumstances by directly intervening in the social structures of everyday life. This collective has been actively working since 1993 and by now has completed more than various 30 projects- from recycling projects, home construction for vulnerable social groups, shelter centers, community kitchens, organizing medical care for homeless people to retirement homes for drug-addicted women in Zurich. According to them, Artists’ competence in finding creative solutions, traditionally utilized in shaping materials, can just as well be applied in all areas of society: in ecology, education and city planning. There are problems everywhere that cannot be solved using conventional approaches and are thus suitable subjects for artistic projects. (WochenKlausur, 2016) The WochenKlausur team counts eight artists, however, depending on the project, many other local artists take participation. Invited by an art institution that deals with a particular issue, these artists gather in the museum/institution and perform a thorough research in a certain time frame which lasts eight weeks regarding solution finding, while the realization emerges in a shorter time frame. The artists must inform themselves about the local sociopolitical context and assign the possible objectives. WochenKlausur point out the fact that many people are deprived of any choices concerning their current living circumstances, feeling powerless to fight for any better conditions, having neither a lobby group nor a voice that would be heard despite the public institutions that are authorized to provide such conditions but are not always capable of achieving that conventionally in this bureaurocratized world. Operating with un-Orthodox approaches, the artists project a long-term plan and simultaneously hand down the project to the local participants to continue the initiative while they just keep on following the improvement of the project. These artists have made numerous projects that had a direct impact on the living conditions and contributed to social changes including the project of a mobile clinic in Vienna that enabled medical care for more than 600 homeless people and the assistance for migrants during visa application procedures.
Socio-cultural interference with art practices
The alertness of the contemporary artists and their awareness of the sociopolitical contexts in which they act, enables them to recognize and detect the issues and later engage in their solving. This kind of art actions are not public only because they proceed in public spaces but for they are genuinely public, opened and social. According to Mouffe’s statement over the distinctive art activist interventions and practices, we need to see them as counter-hegemonic interventions whose objective is to occupy the public space to disrupt the smooth image that corporate capitalism is trying to spread, bringing to the fore its repressive character. (Mouffe, 2007)