Social sculpture

Joseph Beuys art-making model called social sculpture puts forward the idea that everyone is an artist and that everything from thinking through to social arrangements can be thought of as forms or sculpture.

What is useful about this proposition is that if everything is simply rendered sculpture (i.e. existing as relationships between materials in space and time), then suddenly everything is no longer fixed, and instead becomes a form that can be renegotiated. The world around us becomes a malleable thing that we can transform for the better.

The social sculpture website declares that social sculpture is a model that insists another world view is possible. “Our territory and practices are wide and varied because social sculpture has to do with exploring new values, forms of thinking and new ways of being in the world.”

Our thoughts and feelings can simmer in the imagination, re-emerging in actual space in ways that begin to shape and affect reality.

Here a compelling picture imagined in one mind, that is then carefully and powerfully shared, is then reformed as other pictures in the imagination of many. This sharing of pictures between imaginations is an essential ingredient of the potential for transformation in actual spaces as we cannot heal a world we cannot imagined healed. But more powerful and transformative is when the picture, now held in the imagination of the commons, spills over into a series of actions. They are able to play out in our communities where they create forms that become evidence of our ability to create something together.