a public research project on the cultural commons
Every ten years the US Census Bureau administers a public survey to count the people of the United States. This information about where and how we live helps officials determine the allocation of shared resources - everything from education infrastructure, to roads and bridges, to hospitals, to political representation. In this year of the census, it seems fitting that the Walker Art Center would consider the shared resources of our creative culture, experimenting in the Open Field to help define its parameters and participants - and to shed some light on the cultural commons.
If Open Field is an intellectual, recreational, social and creative platform - than Commons Census will attempt a creative investigation of the project's strategies and tactics, and more broadly, the proliferation of "open engagement" amongst artists and institutions. What role do individuals and institutions play in opening the field? How does Open Field and similar collectivist creative projects operate within the broader context of a Cultural Commons? How do artists, institutions and public participants engage in this participatory environment? What precedents came before? What's next?
From June until September Colin Kloecker & Shanai Matteson of Works Progress will research Open Field by administering a "commons census" - collecting information from, about and with Walker Art Center visitors, participating artists and staff. Several Census Tools will be designed and deployed to involve participants in the collection and exchange of ideas, information, resources and experience with Open Field. This hybrid research project / program will act as an alternative evaluation of the activities taking place throughout the summer. A parallel investigation of alternative open fields will ask a Think Tank of selected artists, cultural practitioners, researchers and community leaders to investigate six locations that represent the physical and conceptual metaphors of the Walker Art Center’s Open Field project: Street, Field, Lawn, Lot, Market, and Table.
The overall project will culminate in a report delivered to Walker education staff and disseminated publicly.