Prolonged Engagement is an exhibition that brings together artists who create aesthetic conditions
rather than discrete art objects. Finding beauty and ingenuity amidst human imperfection, the artists
in Prolonged Engagement allow the world to act upon them as they act upon it. As with tinkerers,
inventors, and other radical thinkers, they know that the ah-ha moment is not a singular event, but
rather one that absorbs information from the outside world, mixes and remixes it, and allows new
ideas and processes to gradually fade into view. Driven by productive antagonisms and
juxtapositions, they create complex environments for inquisitiveness and transformation that go
beyond simplistic notions of failure and success.
As outsourced labor continues to dominate art production and biennials, art fairs, and platforms like
Google Art Project expand into as-yet unexploited geographical and virtual territories, the artworld
becomes increasingly flat and fractured: design replaces art; the IPad replaces the studio; the medium
trumps the message. Curator Erin Sickler asks: In such a fast and mediated reality, how do we
establish any lasting criteria for art’s social or aesthetic value? Through an exhibition of diverse
artworks not tied to any particular medium, Prolonged Engagement suggests that we could remain
vulnerable, investigating complex punctums, multiple assemblies, engaged participation, and
recursive systems as alternate ways to encounter new aesthetic and social formations.