5/27/2017

While eating BBQ at a flea market we found on the side of the road on our way back to Boulder, a few of us had a conversation about our place as tourists within these communities we had been visiting. Not everyone in these small communities are happy with the presence of visitors, especially when these visitors are describing themselves within the frame of “art” or “artist”. Throughout the trip we were confronted with the fact that the word art and its discussion can offend, It can create a dynamic of suspicion and cultural hierarchy that puts people on the defensive. The words one uses to communicate has powerful cultural meaning. So how do we engage people honestly without falsely appropriating their culture or alienating them? What does it mean to be a tourist? How do we approach this relationship ethically and genuinely? Our main goal is to promote connection and understanding, without attracting so much attention as to other ourselves and those we are there to engage with. One has to frame a discussion in order to relate, as well as keep a cool head when there are moments of miscommunication and insult. Now thinking of creating a project based on our experiences the last two weeks, how can we make work that is open to the people we have met rather than closed to them, how do we open up this idea of art rather than perpetuate a sentiment of exclusivity that makes people feel uncomfortable and misrepresented?