REFLEXIONS ON ARTE ÚTIL
For Arte Útil, failure is not a possibility. If the project fails, it is not Arte Útil. Artists have the challenge of finding forms in which their proposal may actually work; this is not impossible to achieve. So, the means through which art is made do not depend on a capricious ideal of the artist, but on the limits imposed by what can really be achieved and up to what point the reality of what has been dreamed can be pushed. Therefore, the limits of a Arte Útil project are determined by the relationship with the people for whom it is made and the transformations in the conditions within which the work is made. The perfect moment appears when the project is already in movement, when the people for whom it was made understand it, when they expropriate it from the artist and make it theirs. Arte Útil is involved in the life of people and it is to be expected that it becomes part of it.
Arte Útil has no relationship with a view falsely seeing what is good in everything; it rather believes in the possibility of the people to grow. Artists doing social art are not shamans, magicians, healers, saints or mommies. They are nearer to teachers, negotiators, behavior builders and social structures. Arte Útil functions directly with/in reality. Arte Útil has a different society in mind.
Arte Útil is a form of practicing social art. It is a socially consistent (artistic) material which functions as an entry point for the audience. With excessive frequency we hear about the barrier existing between the work of art and the non-informed audience for which access to the work is impossible. The usefulness of the work for the audience is, from my point of view, the key to solve this barrier of communication and interest by the non-informed/non-initiated audience in contemporary art. It is a displacement of the use of resources as metaphors, allegories, and others; it is an entry to understand the idea of the work by using usefulness as a system to interpret and appreciate the work.
If you work in Arte Útil, what can be more gratifying than to see your idea incorporated to the daily life of the people? Or to the social program of a city? Or to nuances in the vocabulary of the individuals? I believe this is the natural place for the works of Arte Útil which reach the higher level of popularity and effectiveness. Just as images based on visual art at times live like part of shower curtains, tea cups or tee shirts, for socially committed art, popular distribution should be society itself, civic institutions, civic behavior, the daily life of the people. Arte Útil should be part of everyday life; it should be a daily exercise in creativity.