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Impostering: Complicating Power in Social Practice


Impostering: Complicating Power in Social Practice

Evering, Danica (2017) Impostering: Complicating Power in Social Practice. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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How can we complicate the dynamics between insider and outsider in socially engaged art? Through ficto-criticism, this thesis explores the intricacy of power and position and place and practice in crossing boundaries. Socially engaged art is by nature an imposter practice, reaching out into communities, institutions, and other disciplines. This act is not currently always done intentionally in a way that fully owns up to power (particularly funding), identity, and context. As a result, we as social practice artists and arts organizations often sometimes do work we are inexperienced to handle, labour for projects misaligns with available resources, thinking can be co-opted by boosterist social innovation frameworks, and other problematic engagements. Social practice writing is currently divided between those who dismiss it as anti-aesthetic and overly utopian and those who are uncritically hopeful about its liberatory potential. With this work I instead seek a self-reflexive operator working intentionally within shifting hierarchies and contexts to pursue complexity. I use ficto-critical writing as a methodology for implicating myself in the work and gaining a nuanced perspective—both critical and generous—after four years of work in the field. I weave in three coherent conversations with artists—Cristóbal Martinez, Orev Katz, and cheyanne turions—as a way of articulating difficulties and possibilities. I conclude by determining that making boundaries and crossing them are parallel impulses each with a multitude of motives, and propose a process of owning up both inwardly in relation to subject position and externally in relation to context as a way of acting with intention. I articulate this as impostering, an intentional crossing of boundaries, leveraging or ceding power from within, or interfering in relation to difficulty and complexity.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Communication Studies
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Evering, Danica
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Media Studies
Date:8 December 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Kin Gagnon, Monika
ID Code:983331
Deposited By: Danica Evering
Deposited On:11 Jun 2018 01:58
Last Modified:17 Sep 2018 20:44
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