The Aesthetics of Risk in Artistic Practice: What is at Stake?

Kunstlicht: ASSESSING RISK: ON STRATEGIES FOR HEALTH, SAFETY, AND WELFARE WITHIN ARTS PRACTICE 41 (4):44-53 (2020)
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Abstract

The notions of risk and hazard, concepts borrowed from the natural and social sciences by way of intersectionality, have found active usage in artistic practices that address creative work in its widest possible usage. This paper will philosophically reflect on the shifts in the meanings of risk when understood in the context of artistic work. Curatorial work, for instance, is conceptually rooted in a care-based ethic, while creative work can be argued to be conceptually rooted in transcendental action. This subtle tension between curating and creating is the threshold on which risk resides. What does this mean for the artist and the curator? Key to understanding implications of risk in art is to contextualize meanings of risk in various kinds of human action. If artistic practice is that kind of human action that aims to create new experiences or understandings of our condition, then institutional approaches to risk must be tuned to this understanding of practice. Thus, blanket superimpositions of general ethical norms employed in non-artistic frameworks such as educational, scientific, or/and sociological institutions may not do justice to artistic practice. First, institutional intervention in this regard must conceptually understand the affordances and the commitments of artistic practice in order to do justice to the ways in which risk is defined in the arts. In this essay, I argue that institutions must engage with a contextual understanding of the nature of the threshold between caring and creating in order to explore a justified incorporation or risk-oriented vocabulary in artistic institutional practices.

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Srajana Kaikini
Krea University

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