A proposal by Maayan Sheleff
Bringing small solutions to big problems.
The Art Agency is an online consulting agency which will provide consultation for communities and individuals in conflict or crises. The agents will be visual artists of different backgrounds and styles, who will be recruited to the agency based on their talents and interest in using the tools of art to provide assistance to others. The Art Agency offers to create temporary bridges of communication by putting the knowledge and methods of artists out in the world. We are not sure if we have authority and skills to consult, and we don’t know who would want to be consulted by us. But we would like to explore this idea of art consultation in real-life situations.
There are existing agencies that try to solve crisis by mediation and consult:
Psychologists, psychiatrists and social workers, couple therapists, bridging lawyers, gurus of self improvement, tutors, moderators and mediators. Other agencies try to eliminate the crisis by overseeing, governing, separating and controlling. However, what all these agencies usually create are dichotomies of right and wrong, good and bad, normal and deviant.
Art has a different methodology and language. It is often poetic, at times absurd, and rarely states something as fact. It is full of doubt, and raises more questions then answers. This hesitant state of being will make the art agents capable of creating an alternative dispute resolution and crisis management system:
We will not try to eliminate the crisis but to dissect and disassemble it. We will allow the conflict to perform. We might sometimes say that we just don’t know.
The Agency will work through an internet site that will provide the platform from which representatives of a community in conflict could approach the agents. The internet provides a relatively free public space that forms a major platform for dialogues and consultants of all kinds. The clients will be able to choose which agent to approach based on an online profile that will specify a short bio, his artistic medium, areas of interest and other useful information. The agent who has been approached will then choose whether to accept the call and commence the process of consulting. The agent will guide the client through the process in any way he or she chooses. The agent might ask the client for research materials such as photographs, recorded conversations etc. The client will then become a sort of agent himself, within his own community. Every stage of the process will be documented and archived. The client and the agent will be able to communicate through the site via emails, video conversations, chats etc. The consulting process will end when one or both sides will decide that a suitable solution has been found or that the dialogue has reached a dead end. When a consulting process will end, the Agency may show the project on the website.
At times few of the agents might work together on one case. Special situations might require that agents will travel to an area of conflict and put up a physical temporary headquarters.
Are you in crisis or conflict? Need some advice? Call the Art Agency!
The Curatorial Intensive is ICI’s short-term, low-cost training program that offers emerging curators the chance to develop their exhibition ideas and make connections to leaders in the field, providing the opportunity to forge new international networks through peer-group education. The Curatorial Intensive takes place twice annually in New York, and in other locations in conjunction with institutional partners worldwide.
Maayan Sheleff is a Curator at the Center for Contemporary Art (CCA), Tel Aviv, and an independent curator. She is the Assistant Director and a faculty member at the Curatorial Studies Program of the Kibbutzim College of Education and the CCA. In addition she teaches a practical curating course in The Sam Spiegel Film and Television school, Jerusalem, and lectures in various other programs. She has been the Director and curator of Line 16, community Gallery for contemporary art in Tel Aviv, for 4 years. She has initiated and curated many exhibitions in various spaces and in the public sphere, and has been the co-curator of ARTLV09, the 1st Tel Aviv-Yafo Biennial. Maayan participated in the Fall 2011 Curatorial Intensive, Curating in the Public Realm.