The Social Contract anticipates what we can discover or express by not-speaking about something. It creates the possibility for viewers to find relief from the responsibility of having to discuss what they experience, to not-say if they don’t yet know or maybe will never fully understand about the art work. The absence created by the agreement enables us to consider how we can be together without knowing and without saying. The Social Contract also implies that audience members make some awareness of their own production and to see if it is possible as a group to change the relation between the subject and speech.

The Social Contract is not produced until the viewer completes the artwork; it is the act of signing that creates the piece with each viewer, combining strands of performance, community art and the conceptual. The intention is to challenge the creation and consumption of contemporary art and raise audience awareness.

Spring Workshop and Witte de With invited five respondents -Betti-Sue Hertz (Director of visual arts at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco), Mia Jankowicz (Writer and independent curator, Cairo and London), Ruba Katrib (Curator at SculptureCenter, New York), Alana Kushnir (Indipendent curator, London), and Venus Lau (Curator and art writer, Hong Kong)- to reflect upon The Social Contract. You can download and read their contributions below.

The title of the artwork solicits fundamental questions about human society itself, raising questions that have been debated by Western philosophers for millennia. However, the value of the project lies in its ability to generate critical thought on issues relevant to our society – integrity, transparency, responsibility, and the consequences of transgressing accepted conventions – notions particularly relevant to the socio-political scandals of late. A Constructed World state: “It is up to each member of the audience to decide and measure his or her own honesty and authenticity with regard to this event and exhibition. The real work will continue on, even in indecision, and is performed by those who came to look.”

A Constructed World installed the work during their three-week residence at Spring Workshop in Hong Kong. The exhibition opens 1 November 2013 and runs until 15 December 2013.