Collective inquiry can depart from a predetermined starting point or from an array of dots on a constellation. To commence the co-writing lab and to create a common framework for the exploration and reflection process, the group of participants generated – collectively – a set of key questions to address before, during, and after an artistic intervention in public space. The ideas recurrent in the questions – political valence, content versus form, audience engagement, security, surprise, and transformation – reflect the challenges and considerations unique to community art in public space in the Arab region and beyond.
How to make good space and time choices?
How to choose the form and content of the art to fit the space and audience?
Does the artistic content fit the space?
What is the correlation between the artistic content and the target audience?
What methodology shall we pursue in order to construct a language, a relationship, and a dynamic of trust with the local community, the time and the place in which we are planning our artistic intervention?
What is the intention and political drive behind the art?
How do I identify my target group, and the space and the language I’ll use?
What methodology do I use to identify the needs (of the artist and the people) and achieve the desired goal?
What is the history of the space?
What is my intention as the artist?
How can I be responsive to the space, its rhythm, and its life?
How to document the experience and evaluate it?
How to maintain audience engagement throughout the performance?
Do we have alternative security plans?
How can we build our capacity to improvise in order to address and deal with whatever that might arise during the performance?
How does the artistic content impact the process of intervention?
How do I deal with the unpredictable conditions (security, audience reactions, communication, technologies)?
What are the conditions that affect the nature of the intervention?
Is there a space for flexibility and spontaneity?
How to evaluate the intervention vis-à-vis artistic, social, and economic factors?
Is it the artistic content or the audience/community that is at the center of the evaluation process?
What is the impact of the artistic intervention?
Does the artistic intervention allow us to perform again in the same space?
What is the scope of personal and collective transformation that resulted from this work?
Should we transform the place of performance to a new platform for dialogue and political action?
What kind of audience attended, and does it correspond to the project’s targets?
What kind of relationship did I build with the space and its inhabitants?
What can be done to document the performance? And does the performance has an afterlife?
How do we gauge the impact and audience reactions?