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The Conversational Code

Contemporary conversational art invites us to consider the other – to move outside our comfort zone – to question the dominant ideal – to make a case for things being more inclusive. Conversational artworks need to be a bit aggravating – like the grit in a pearl shell.

Step 1 – Invite viewers to consider an artwork that they are not immediately drawn to.

[While this is counterintuitive, it is not that complicated for them to do.]

Step 2 – Decide what method works best – Representation / Expression / Abstraction

[If any of these methods is satisfying there is no need to go any further. If not, the work may well be conversational and need further attention.]

Step 3 – Ask viewers to list what they actually see.

[The object is to notice as much as possible including seemingly insignificant details, as these can be the keys into the conversation of the work.]

[Making thinking visible is useful as it helps to hold all the observations and thoughts together.]

Step 4 – Decide if the words are either Dominant or Other.

[The Dominant is how we are told things “should” be. The Other is on the side of life as it is lived.]

Step 5 – Use the list as fuel for a conversation.

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