The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Hermione Spriggs & Sam Kronick: Slab City

Hermione Spriggs and Sam Kronick (UC San Diego): $2,000.00 for Slab City

Where do anthropology, design, and contemporary art practice collide? We enter Slab City, mythologized and self-organizing “free place” in the Californian desert, to explore and activate potentials for a new interdisciplinary research paradigm. As a collaborative duo we intersect methodologies of reflexive anthropology and critical design/ engineering. We initially engage The Field as ethnographers, with the hope of recursively incorporating spatial and social readymades into the genesis of new sense-making tools. Our motivation exists in confronting the problematics of all-too-often oversimplified participatory art practice: the default reduction of relationships to aesthetics; short-term invasion of exoticized “communities;” and temporal and infrastructural conditioning of institutional research environments into spaces of isolation, competition, and linear authorship. We propose an alternative method of litoral exploration, entanglement and sustained intervention. Driven by the desire to experience and curate radical forms of interaction, our modes of entry and production in Slab City will consist of import, modification, and export of new meta/ physical “tools” to work with and think through the hyper-local conditions of this and related sites.

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