Context & Culture Homepage

Subject: CCE - Context & Culture - 2015

VUIT Digital Arts, Victoria University

Teacher Name: Lisa Cianci - email:
Education Manager: Adam Hutterer - email:

Class Website -

Class 08 - Contemporary Art Practices & Creativity - Artists as Agents for Change

Class Activities

1. On Artists as Agents for Change


There are many ways that artists contribute to culture and society. There are a plethora of academic texts on the topic of artists as agents for change - social & political change, environmental change, educational change, health issues, innovation in science and technology, etc. Today's class notes provide some links within some broad categories where artists are currently involved in changes that are not purely for artistic purposes.

One could link some of these areas to movements like the Situationist International and Fluxus, though it seems that the current zeitgeist is for artists to be working from within the area they wish to affect, rather than operating as outsiders railing against the status quo.


our global village

Uji Handoko Eko Saputro (aka Hahan), Indonesia b.1983 | The Journey 2011 | Synthetic polymer paint on canvas 


street art

street art
presentation slide by Martin Irvine found at this URL:


environmental art

Clemson clay nest by Nils-Udo (2005) via designboom


community-based art

trash installation by Vik Muniz

Wasteland - Vik Muniz (youtube URL: )


art activism

Image capture from computer game, Escape From Woomera


art/science collaboration & ethics

FEEL:CHAMELEON: An emotional algorithm video installation, Tina Gonsalves 2010


art therapy

art therapy
Image by unknown artist, taken from this website:



2. Review and reflection of the last three weeks

Today is an opportunity to think back on the last three classes and the themes that were explored:

  • Remix Art
  • Collaborative Art
  • Artists as agents for change

You might be interested in one or more of these areas from a personal, creative perspective, and you might also be leaning towards one of these areas to write your second review piece about.

Let us look at some questions to apply to your selected theme. These questions will help you to decide what you want to write about, why it's important or relevant to you personally and perhaps, how knowledge you have acquired for this theme might be explored in greater detail and how it might affect your creative practice.

These are the questions:

  • Identify one important concept, theory, practice, or idea that you learned from the last three class lectures.

  • Why do you believe that this concept, theory, practice, or idea is important?

  • Describe how you might apply what you have learned from the selected area to some aspect of your creative practice or life in general.

  • What question(s) has the content in your selected area raised for you? What are you still wondering about? How might you further explore this theme to find more information or to use the information in creative practice?

Class Activity:

In small groups, research one of the categories listed above and find one or two artists or a group that interests you, present your findings to the class.


Homework / Readings

Follow up on some of the references provided today and the research done in class - if you find something that interests you, you might want to make a blog post about it.

Begin thinking about the next writing task & doing some introductory research on your selected area.

Keep adding content to your blogs.