Engaging public, participatory or interactive methods in an art practice invites risk. Practices that interact with socialities and systems are open to unpredictability, and potentiality, and are sensitive to the behaviour of others. Porous to the world, these works are agentially entangled; formed by the commingled actions of artist, participant, material and institution. These emergent aspects of contemporary practice and form important trajectories in tertiary studio research. Students making works that incorporate different agencies (and by extension, risk) pose a challenge for art schools in how they are assessed and supervised. We consider the degrees of adversity that foster productive risk in studio research, as weighed against the need to shield students, staff and institutions from danger and liability.
The first discussion is centred on (and co-authored) through an undergraduate supervision example. Sasha Grbich and Ash Tower discuss the development of Tower’s work undertaken during his final year (under Grbich’s supervision), Postcards from the Bibliopolis (2013). The second example details a current student, Alycia Bennett and her work Announcement (2015) made during the second year sculpture elective Installation as part of the BVA program. The examples activates questions of distributed authorship, students collaborating with outside institutions and the performance of works within public systems.