Chapter Published in “Art as Social Practice” (Routledge 2022)

The newly published book Art as Social Practice: Technologies for Change (Routledge, March 2022) features a chapter by Rebekah Modrak. With a focus on socially engaged art practices in the twenty-first century, Art as Social Practice, edited by xtine burrough and Judy Walgren, explores how artists use their creative practices to raise consciousness, form communities, create change, and bring forth social impact through new technologies and digital practices.

Modrak’s chapter, Can This Be a Community When You’re Trying To Sell Me A Luxury Watch?, proposes that if companies are going to claim to create “community,” artists should bring them into the fold of community-engaged practices and trouble their claims.

Art as Social Practice features a foreword by artist Suzanne Lacy. Section introductions by authors/​artists Anne Balsamo, Harrell Fletcher, Natalie Loveless, Karen Moss, and Stephanie Rothenberg present chapters that feature in-depth case studies by established and emerging contemporary artists including Kim Abeles, Christopher Blay, Joseph DeLappe, Mary Beth Heffernan, Chris Johnson, Rebekah Modrak, Praba Pilar, Tabita Rezaire, and Sylvain Souklaye.

Artists offer firsthand insight into how they activate methods used in socially engaged art projects from the twentieth century and incorporate new technologies to create twenty-first century, socially engaged, digital art practices. Works highlighted in this book span collaborative image-making, immersive experiences, telematic art, time machines, artificial intelligence, and physical computing. These reflective case studies reveal how the artists collaborate with participants and communities, and have found ways to expand, transform, reimagine, and create new platforms for meaningful exchange in both physical and virtual spaces.