Practicable MIT Press

From Participation to Interaction in Contemporary Art

Samuel Bianchini and Erik Verhagen, editors
with the collaboration of Nathalie Delbard and Larisa Dryansky.
Published by MIT Press, Leonardo Book Series.
904 pp. | 7 x 9 in | 164 b&w illus. | October 2016
Hardcover | $50.00 | £41.95 | ISBN: 9780262034753
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How are we to understand works of art that are realized with viewers’ physical involvement? How are we to analyze a relationship between a work of art and its audience that is rooted in an experience both aesthetic and physical when “user experience” is a central concern of a society held in the grip of omnipresent interactivity? Between two seemingly opposed modes, contemplation and use, this book offers a third option: that of “practicable” works, made for and of audience action. Today, these works often use digital technologies, but artists have created participatory works since the mid-twentieth century. In this volume, critics, writers, and artists provide diverse perspectives on this kind of “practicable” art, discussing and documenting a wide variety of works from recent decades. Practicable returns to the mainstays of contemporary art from the 1950s to the present, examining artistic practices that integrate the most forward-looking technologies, disregarding the false division between artworks that are technologically mediated and those that are not. Practicable proposes a historical framework to examine art movements and tendencies that incorporate participatory strategies, drawing on the perspectives of the humanities and sciences. It investigates performance and exhibition, as well as key works by artists including Marina Abramović, Janet Cardiff, Lygia Clark, Piotr Kowalski, Robert Morris, David Rokeby, and Krzysztof Wodiczko, and features interviews with such leading artists and theoreticians as Matt Adams of Blast Theory, Claire Bishop, Nicolas Bourriaud, Thomas Hirschhorn, Bruno Latour, Seiko Mikami, and Franz Erhard Walther.


Matt Adams (Blast Theory), Jean-Christophe Bailly, Samuel Bianchini, Claire Bishop, Jean-Louis Boissier, Nicolas Bourriaud, Christophe Charles, Valérie Châtelet, Jean-Pierre Cometti, Sarah Cook, Jordan Crandall, Dominique Cunin, Nathalie Delbard, Anna Dezeuze, Diedrich Diederichsen, Christophe Domino, Larisa Dryansky, Glória Ferreira, Jean-Paul Fourmentraux, Gilles Froger, Masaki Fujihata, Jean Gagnon, Katrin Gattinger, Jochen Gerz, Piero Gilardi, Véronique Goudinoux, Usman Haque, Helen Evans and Heiko Hansen (HeHe), Jeppe Hein, Thomas Hirschhorn, Marion Hohlfeldt, Pierre-Damien Huyghe, Judith Ickowicz, Eric Kluitenberg, Janet Kraynak, Bruno Latour, Christophe Leclercq, Frédérik Lesage, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Peter Lunenfeld, Lawrence Malstaf, Julie Martin, Seiko Mikami, Dominique Moulon, Hiroko Myokam, Ernesto Neto, Mayumi Okura, Eddie Panier, Françoise Parfait, Simon Penny, Daniel Pinkas, Chantal Pontbriand, Emanuele Quinz, Margit Rosen, Alberto Sánchez Balmisa, Frederik Schikowski, Arnd Schneider, Madeline Schwartzman, Luke Skrebowski, Vanessa Theodoropoulou, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Andrea Urlberger, Erik Verhagen, Franz Erhard Walther, Peter Weibel, Renate Wiehager, Catherine Wood, Giovanna Zapperi, Anne Zeitz, David Zerbib.