When Marcel Duchamp took the urinal as an artwork he rendered the urinal useless similar to how the conceptualists in the sixties rendered anything they touch as useless. Just like Medusa’s curse.
Now, in Socially Engaged Art contemporary artists following this genre renders social engagement, which is an inherent element to human dynamics, as useless. This uselessness, however, capitalizes a value in Art that paradoxically undermines the supposed use value of social engagement itself. This use value is badly needed in a society that is languishing in a great expanse of alienation between human beings; for instance Racism and Hate, Etc.
Artists that uses social relations as medium define the artist position in society to its unimaginable peak since Kant’s declaration for a transcendental aesthetics. Artists have become the sovereign – a privilege position that generates a state of exclusion. This exclusivity prompts me to declare my pessimistic attitude towards Art. However, I am optimistic about creativity inherent to human beings.
This optimism is also expressed in Joseph Beuys‘s claim that everyone is an artist. The German artist simply saw the immanence of creative facility among us. Thus this claim also declares the privileged position of Art as completely useless.
Can we also ask the question: Is the social turn in Art absolutely useless too?