New Social Art School - STATEMENT + UNITS

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Nuno Sacramento and Andy Dobson, Beach Boulevard, Aberdeen 2006


It all started with a group of skateboarders and an artist interrogating political decision-making behind some barriers erected on a favourite skate spot in the city-centre of Aberdeen. The group, which became known as Aberdeen Street Skaters, made action, artwork and PR, communicated and associated with the city council, and effectively made changes. It was an example of successful collaborative arts practice rooted in the reality of a local community. This cooperation with non-professional artists presented a broad but meaningful method of collaborative arts practice. It made great sense to continue working with a variety of people in an open environment for collective, informal learning in various artistic projects.

New Social Art School is obviously not a typical art school; we have got no specific location, no teachers in the traditional sense, no curriculum and no money. What we have is a small group of collaborators with diverse cultural and professional backgrounds. With individual skills, knowledge and ideas people contribute on various levels, and the collaborations are strengthened through the relationships which develop in the process. Projects are inspired and informed by local politics, often social issues, that we have something to say about. The work progresses naturally through research, discussion and dialogue with people rather than being preconceived by artistic notions or job arrangements.

New Social Art School should be seen as a ‘movement’, striving against the standardisation of the art world and its restrictive models for understanding, producing, circulating and consuming art. We intend to communicate issues of common interest directly to the public, and through collective creativity we hope we can encourage others to take part in the social and political debate and thus renew participation in and understanding of the arts. The specialised arts audience can always see the work later, and theorists enclose it in a contemporary art context - or not. New Social Art School should, in time, be defined by the work through which it manifests itself. It's about people, places and politics...

Merz / Rodriguez-Remedi / Vykoukal, 2007

It is the citizens who create and develop culture in the community.
This culture should be supported, not obstructed by the authorities.
Always remember - never forget!

from Aberdeen Street Skaters Manifesto, 2004

New Social Art School UNITS

(or, ideally, how we could work if we had more time and money)

The Political Unit is concerned about social, cultural and economic issues. At all times it is up to date with local as well as global politics and picks up issues to be dealt with. This unit develops ideas and strategies for New Social Art School projects.

The Investigation Unit specialises in research and surveillance as well as anthropologic studies and provides other units with documentation and factual information. All documents are kept in archives available for members of New Social Art School.

The Action Unit is practically responsible for planning and preparing all New Social Art School events and exhibitions. It specialises in public actions and makes it a point to raise attention to projects. If necessary the Action Unit will upset in order to provoke public discussion. No violence is tolerated...

The Media Unit
is responsible of initiating public debate in the media and takes care of advertising, press releases, articles etc. – is also responsible for the public image of New Social Art School, edits all publications and updates the web site. The Media Unit keeps an archive of all published material, press cuttings and books. This archive is available for the public.

The Original Unit
is the heart of New Social Art School. It brings all the members together in meetings and social events. This is where concepts, ideas for projects and works of art are discussed and important decisions made. This unit is responsible for close contact between all other units and does not tolerate misunderstandings caused by lack of communication.

The Target Unit. To emphasize the importance of focus, and for the hell of it, this unit practises target shooting. This is a frequent session and should be attended by all members of New Social Art School in order to train their concentration and physical stability. Target shooting is practised with air guns...

New Social Art School was founded in Aberdeen, Scotland, 2004