Social Art or Exchange Art ; maybe Communication Art?

As a reaction to my Blog post with title: “Mail-Art in the digital World” I found on facebook a share with the reaction:

“If an activity is named after a medium and the medium changes but the activity continues then maybe it’s a mistake to continue labeling it by the medium. “Mail art” was a bad name to begin with and is even more inaccurate now. “Social art” or “exchange art” would be a lot more accurate and “cooler.” ” (Allen Bukoff)

Ok. I seem to have hit a nerve there. The name Mail-Art is in the 70-90’s connected to the postal medium with postcards, envelopes and packages. The digital possibilities to communicate came in, and I call this direction of changes ‘The Digital World”, and actually make a lot of drawing on the subjects involved. Text is always difiicult. People have their own perception of the words, and Dictionairies tell us what it should be. But still, we see the words in our own views.

Social Art for me is connected to social behaviour. Exchange Art for me is too strict and when you send, you must send something back? We only echange mail and messages and views? We interact.


For me the digital world means that the number of contacts increased. Also the many ways of cummunication and the inter-connections between the different networks is what is so fascinating. I know my brain works with inter-connections on a high level. A world always triggers another word that is connected even when there is no visible connection.

But Social Art could fit. Social behavious and the creative aspects are a beautiful and fascinating combination.  When I ‘Google” the term Social Art I get this:

Schermafdruk 2017-04-08 08.47.43Schermafdruk 2017-04-08 08.47.54

Two sides of it: The text side and the visual side.

Or in Wikipedia terms:

Social Artistry is the attempt to address or recognize a particular social issue using art and creativity.[1] Social artists are people who use creative skills to work with people or organizations in their community to affect change.[2] While a traditional artist uses their creative skills to express their take on the world, a social artist puts their skills to use to help promote and improve communities. Thus, the main aim of a social artist is to improve society as a whole and to help other people find their own means of creative expression.[3]

Social artists may address issues such as youth alienation [4] or the breakdown of communities.[5] Most commonly, the social artist will address these problems by helping people to express themselves and find their voice, or by bringing people together and using art to help them to foster an understanding of each other.[6]

Social artistry can incorporate several different art forms including theatre, poetry, music and visual art.

Recently published (2013) findings confirm this shift from individual expression to community engagement, or “from autonomous to socially engaged.”[7] Lingo and Tepper cite several examples:

  1. contemporary artists “see themselves as educators, social workers, policy actors, and health providers (Lena & Cornfield, 2008; Simonds, 2013; Throsby & Zednik, 2011)
  2. Nick Rabkin writes “more arts graduates end up in education than in any other occupation” (2013)
  3. social practice artists “freely blur the lines among object making, performance, political activism, community organizing, environmentalism and investigative journalism, creating a deeply participatory art that often flourishes outside the gallery and museum system”[8]


But besides research on these two alternatives. I have introduced also a term some years ago. Lets call it Communication Art.



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