Project : The Artistic Intervention

  • Project Plan Due: Wed. Nov. 4 (Section 2) or Wed. Nov. 18 (Section 1) [send by email to Prof. Gill]
  • Project Documentation and Written Reflection Due: Fri. Dec. 4 [upload to your TEC OneDrive folder]


Art intervention is an interaction with a previously existing artwork, audience, venue/space or situation. It has the auspice of conceptual art and is commonly a form of performance art. It is associated with the Viennese Actionists, the Dada movement and Neo-Dadaists.

Intervention can also refer to art which enters a situation outside the art world in an attempt to change the existing conditions there. For example, intervention art may attempt to change economic or political situations or may attempt to make people aware of a condition that they previously had no knowledge of. Since these goals mean that intervention art necessarily addresses and engages with the public, some artists call their work “public interventions”.

Although intervention by its nature carries an implication of subversion, it is now accepted as a legitimate form of art and is often executed with the endorsement of those in positions of authority over the artwork, audience, or venue/space to be intervened in. However, unendorsed (i.e. illicit) interventions are common and lead to debate as to the distinction between art and vandalism. [1]

Adapted from: Wikipedia contributors. “Art intervention.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 Nov. 2020. Web. 6 Nov. 2020.

In this third unit of the course “Creativity and Social Context” we are looking at the ways in which society shapes creativity-for example in the rules and regulations that govern authorship and copyright, and the ways that creative work can shape society-for example by making architectural structures that provide a space for community or making a public artwork that is a social/political critique.

For this project you will plan, perform, and document a public artistic intervention of your own making. Consider the examples of artistic interventions we have discussed by Callie Curry (Swoon), Ai Weiwei, Allora & Calzadilla, Banksy, and Angela Davis Johnson. All of these artists work within a specific environment and their work is a response to an aspect of that environment. That is the best way to approach your plan for this intervention:

  1. Choose a public space in your community in which to work.
  2. Consider what statement you would like to make, what you would like to make people more aware of, or what kind of interaction(s) you would like to facilitate in that space.
  3. Will your intervention be “site-specific?” (will the concept be specific to its location?)
  4. Decide what materials you will make and install or use within that space.
  5. Decide whether or not your art intervention will be interactive- will the people in that space participate in some way? If so, how?
  6. Write a statement of intent/project plan.
  7. Carry out the project and document it with photographs, video, audio, etc.
  8. Submit all documentation and written reflection by Fri. Dec. 4.


Statement of Intent/Project Plan (2-3 paragraphs):

  • What location do you plan to use? Do you need to get permission in advance?
  • What is the concept, statement, commentary or critique that you want to make?
  • What materials will you be using?
  • Will there be a kind of performance?
  • Will it be interactive- will viewers participate?
  • How do you plan to document?


  • Consider all forms of documentation including photography, written, audio, video. Use the forms that will give the best possible representation of the intervention.
  • If you plan to submit video or audio files, make sure they are small enough for uploading. You can compress large video files so they are easier to upload.
  • If you are doing something performative during the intervention, you will need to recruit a friend to document it while it’s happening. *A short video is the most accurate way of documenting a performative piece, but photographs are a close second choice.

Written Reflection:

  • 2-3 pages (no cover page necessary), double spaced, 12 point Times New Roman, 1 inch margins.
  • Write in prose style (full sentences, paragraphs) with correct spelling and grammar.
  • Use the basic format for reflective writing: “What? So What? Now What?”
    1. Begin with a description of the project. (the What)
    2. Write about your goals for the intervention, the creative decisions you made and why they were important. (the So What/Why)
    3. Reflect on the project now that it is over, what was successful, what was unsuccessful, and what you learned from it. (the Now What)

Grading criteria (150 points)

  • Project Plan: Plan is turned in on time, 2-3 paragraphs long, and outlines the who, what, where, when, why of the project. (40 points)

  • Documentation: The project was thoroughly documented, primarily through photographs, to show all stages of the project from start to finish. Any secondary materials that were produced from the project are also submitted as documentation. (60 points)

  • Written Reflection: The reflection is 2-3 pages long, written in prose style, follows the suggested structure for a reflective essay, uses correct grammar and language, and follows all of the assignment specifications. (50 points)