Culture is a Common Purpose

Vancouver is the most culturally diverse city in Canada. Akin to the words of our current Mayor, Gregor Robertson, during his inaugural speech at Vancouver’s city hall in 2008, “we come together to affirm our common purpose… not [by] leading a city of generic uniformity, but a city rich with artistic voices and the cultural wealth that flows from our diversity”. The Western Front couldn’t agree more, for nearly 40-years we have been developing artistic programmes and projects that explore and support this notion of a shared cultural ecology in our community.

In this tradition, the Western Front is working with the Columbian artist Francisco Camacho to begin the development of a new project by the artist, titled Culture is a Common Purpose.  The project will start with a series of events and talks that will take place throughout the month of October.  Together we will explore the position of culture within the public commons of our city, Vancouver. Camacho will use these events and conversations to feed his research towards a broader investigation on the buoyancy of culture’s position within the public sphere of many local contexts. He has identified Canada and indeed Vancouver, as a unique case to begin this project.

The first event in this series will take place at the Western Front on the afternoon of October 1st, featuring a conversation between Nicolas Bourriaud, the notable curator, writer and Directorate general for artistic creation at the French Ministry of Culture,  and the acclaimed Vancouver artist, professor and writer Ian Wallace.  On October 11th at Langara College, a public talk will take place in collaboration with Other Sights, betweenFrancisco Camacho and Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA Vancouver West-End and official opposition critic for Tourism, Culture and the Arts.  Francisco Camacho will host an artist talk at the Western Front, the following evening onOctober 12th, where he will frame the project Culture is a Common Purposewithin his own artistic practice and announce future developments with the project.  (Please see our website for more precise details on these events)

A blog is being run to track and share the developments of this participation and Camacho’s ongoing research

Biography: The Columbian artist Francisco Camacho, seeks ways in which his work can exist within official social channels. His projects are the results of investigations and collaborations with local-contexts.  Regular collaborators include politicians and lawyers, which allow his discourse to be examined by other structures of society, apart from the art scene.  Camacho’s projects often leave the art world to become significant in other fields and can be viewed as a form of political activism or social discourse.  His practice evolves around the possibility of art having practical effects on the broader culture and re-defines common concepts that can lead art to change the way in which we conceive society.  Francisco Camacho’s previous projects have taken place in New Mexico, where he investigated the reasons behind the inhabitants of a village deciding to change its name to Truth or Consequences; in the Netherlands with his project Group Marriage, he continues to petition the Dutch parliament to open civil marriage to groups of citizens who would marry each other, and more recently Entkustung de l’art was presented at the Casino of Luxembourg and it featured collaborations with the Luxembourg Military School, local politicians from the Senate, the Minister of Culture, a strong man and a hip hop band.