Artful generosity that trancends the Everyday.
In my art practice I seek the collaboration with the public. This means that people can enter my work, make use of it, and complete it — ideally from the beginning to the end.
Here you find some noteworthy material that caught my attention including an incomplete Glossary, a listing of possibly useful Resources and some great Reading that is cluttering my bedstand.
I try to direct (rather than to restrict) this engagement by creating a situation that becomes the form of the work, be it a Mobile Tea Ceremony, a Payphone Memorial, or a Guided tour in the City Canal. I believe that the art experience isn't located in the finished product but in the creation of an opportunity for personal exchange. Often we are distanced from direct experience in our present lives, which is in particular true for the design and art world. The growing success of virtual worlds like Second Life for example, point to one's removal from the "first life". Hence, I pay particular attention to what happens when our very presence becomes the catalyst for a work of art. It is this immediate presence that leads to an experience we can possibly take back with us, and integrate into our lives. For this reason I increasingly employ food in my experiments to create shared, social spaces. My work is successful when it leads to an aesthetic experience that reflects a way of being in the world that departs from a sense of abundance and generosity.
Derived from everyday routine, I seek to instill this experience of abundance in the participants of my projects. It is not necessarily the venue that makes art public. It is not the subject matter that makes work public. It is not the inclusion of certain demographics or specific qualities of otherness among my participants that constitutes a public. The publicness of the art experience is created when the situation allows us to give ourselves into the work, and to lift the boundary of art and life. The art of giving brings acts of generosity into a structure that helps me and others to learn more about the nature of our relationships — with family or strangers on the street. In addition it can foster insights that potentially further these relationships.
The true intention behind my practice of generosity is to create a situation, which generates and opens possibilities. It is a way to activate and renew a shared consciousness — the knowledge of emotions embodying belonging, bonding, befriending, etc. — that we all possess but often neglect. In my practice, I feel that the challenge is to offer these kinds of transitional mental and social spaces that exist in a state of becoming, like events that take advantage of the undetermined outcome and the path leading up to it. I believe that here is where creation and true engagement happens: in spaces that are empty, yet full of possibility and that engage participants with an experience that can be absorbed and evaluated on one's own terms. Precisely here resides the crucial question that I find myself confronted with in my ongoing work: What determines if an intervention is a mere gesture of generosity or a generator for critical engagement on multiple levels?
At this point in my (what I consider, still immature) art practice, I intend to pursue my work in the art of giving and want to add more meaning and relevance. To this end I want to work towards situations that build not so much on good intentions but on intelligent participation strategies that can evoke subtle shifts, disruptions and contradictions in the everyday context of my own and others. I am intrigued by social interventions that bring out the more complicated and ambiguous considerations of our existence. I am interested in exploring situations that fuse everyday life and social reality with carefully calculated artifice and therefore want to focus on the two essential human needs for eating and networking in my practical work. Continuing my preliminary research, I seek to deal in creative ways with food in order to address the decline of mystery and sacredness in things ordinary and existential. Instead of staging spectacular events I am seeking ways to reveal and potentially transcend the everyday. Utilizing processes of growing, cooking, and preserving of food I hope to establish platforms not only for conjoint action and ritual but also for subtle shifts of perception and meaning. It is this artistic affinity for construction and surprise within the interpersonal sphere that I want to grow more confident with.
— Markuz Wernli Saitô (March 2009)
Momentarium creates situations where our very presence becomes the catalyst for shifting experiences we can integrate into our lives by fusing reality with co-created artifice.