There is a logical relation between persons and the rights of persons. Persons should be treated as persons and therefore as having rights. If we deny this assertion it goes wrong: here is a person, but this person should not be treated as a person, or: here is a person, who should be treated as a person, but not as having rights. Therefore we can only talk about persons in a way that makes sense if we know that persons have rights.
The above text is by the Danish art group N55. As you can tell from it, N55 deals with empowerment. Similar to art groups such as Superflex, Learning Group, but also Joost Conijn and Antonio Scarponi (contributor on this blog) they produce works that function as tools, vehicles (or conceptual devices as Antonio calls them, if I’m not mistaking, maybe Antonio would be interested in explaining more how he defines this idea!) that become meaningful and create content when they are being used. “To use” changes the art-audience into participants or users, and as a result the works directly engage into daily life as such.
N55 produced a huge amount of these tools/devices/vehicles: a home hydroponic unit which enables persons to produce their own food; a soil factory with which users can produce soil out of their garbage; all kinds of crazy modular living units that can be easily rebuild and transported and take up social life in public space as its locus (Public things, picture below).
The last years they have been creating ‘manuals’. In these projects they don’t create any physical objects but rather instructions for better use of leftover materials, space or practices. I love this idea of not producing anything, it’s very sustainable (there is enough trash in the world already) and it puts more focus on the using and the social dimensions of the works. Two ongoing works are particularly thought provoking: ROOMS and LAND (picture above). They both consist of a list of land and rooms that is free to use. In the words of N55:
LAND gives access to land. Any person can stay at land and use it.
Very simple, very effective and there are currently around 20 lots of LAND available, some at remote areas, some in the middle of big cities.
Ps. You can download a very extensive and beautiful catalogue of N55 here.