Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


School of Art

First Advisor

Melissa Johnson


My thesis is concerned with the analysis of two long-term community-based socially engaged art projects of German artist Michal Kurzwelly: “Słubfurt” (1999-2018) and “Nowa Amerika” (2010-2018). The research methodology for the analysis is drawn from the fields of art theory and criticism, and sociology. More specifically, in order to evaluate the social impact of long-term social art practices on the local community I borrow the criteria from the sociological discourse of bottom-up community development, while simultaneously, combining it with the insights from art criticism to discuss aesthetic dimensions of the work. I am arguing that Michael Kurzwelly’s projects are good examples of a successful long-term socially engaged project as they reconciles the antagonism between ethics and aesthetics, keeping both artistic and social critic in tension. I contend that the powerful imaginative component in combination with dedicated community work has led to the tangible social transformation of the local community, enabling its sustainable development through infrastructures of grassroots civil society and engagement in critical self-reflective dialogue. These social changes became possible due to the emancipatory potential of the mediated collective aesthetic experience that enabled the release of social imagination: the capacity to imagine better worlds, manifested in real action.


Imported from ProQuest Kostyrko_ilstu_0092N_11352.pdf


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