What you see below is a massive 186 post-it note collage. It was created thanks to web technology via a well known image/photo sharing community called Flickr. This is where Adrian Wallett requested individual art in the form of post-it notes from the participants in this virtual community.
Art today takes many non traditional forms. Postmodern versions of art have opened up the possibilities such as conceptual, installation and performance art styles, while technology is multiplying the ways in which art is thought of, created, participated in and ‘consumed’. Nicolas Bourriaud’ theory of relational aesthetics promotes social interactivity as a modern art practice. Moreover it includes the context of our ‘constructed’ world made up of tools, technologies, material spaces, inhabited by objects and people. Relational art is where social interactivity becomes the art form with or without the inclusion of more traditional art forms. In the example above the art is as much the ‘ballet of image exchange’ between the participants, the virtual performance of clicking and viewing the results online, than the actual juxtaposed finished content of the actual collage. It is an ongoing performance of sorts, where textual dialogue is included via comments/dialogue, the annotations by the viewers and makers part and parcel of the art form. On some level it is akin to mail art and ATCs (artist trading cards) where art is exchanged through the postal system (snail-mail). In this example, the exchange is a digital exchange via email or a posting on a designated web page.
Web based arts in therapy
In the field of art therapy there are no examples of collective digital art practices to my knowledge. However there are a host of web based crafty-arts self-help blogs and egroups that are therapeutic forms of art making and sharing for the participants. Though outside the parameters of what is usually considered art therapy* Lani Gerity PhD a Nova Scotia based art therapist who specializes in art dolls, puppets and alternative art forms is making new digital inroads on this front. Other digital examples include a Canadian telehealth effort that provides individual art therapy at a distance to people living in rural areas. This approach was pioneered by another art therapy colleague and Vancouver resident Kate Collie MFA, PhD. Back to the post-it art that inspired my thinking.
Using post it notes in group art therapy
Post it notes in group art therapy can be used a number of ways. They provide a means of bringing individual expression into the range of the collective without having individuals either stand out or negotiate the shared space of a group project (if used) too early in the process. The art theme is the rallying voice, the art work done individually but viewed as a collective. It is a good way of beginning a group, where individuals can share their colors, while at the same time work on being a group through the symbolic post-it collage form. Post it notes can be reorganised, categorized, grouped according to similarities, played with. The social interactivity helps participants get to know each other in a creative way and may at times be the most prominent therapeutic aspect depending on what is being worked on. There are many other dimensions here, which I will take up in later postings.
*Note to myself: must write an overview of art therapy practices some time soon.
11 avr 2008