Vision and Reality
by Stephen Willats
“All art is a product of society, of relationships between people in which it is quite clear that the most important element in the network between the artist and society is the audience. For without two people there can be no work of art.”
This book presents a wide selection of interviews and photographs from the collaborations between Willats and residents in the many housing estate projects he makes. The first-hand observations and individual opinions, from the past four decades, record a variety of attitudes and perceptions towards the physical reality of their surroundings. Created outside of the norms and conventions of an object-based art world, the projects in this book, mainly on estates in and around London, but also in Bath, Leeds, Milton Keynes and Oxford, highlight the realities of everyday life in both tower blocks and low-rise planned housing. Willats’ work, based on open agreement, transforms peoples’ perceptions of a deterministic culture of objects and monuments, into the possibilities, and rich complexity, inherent in the community between people.
Over 500 black and white photographs.
Stephen Willats was born in London in 1943. Internationally recognised as a groundbreaking practice, his work includes a diverse range of disciplines from cybernetics and communications theory to computer technology and he is one of the first artists to take work out of galleries and into the world outside, pioneering socially interactive and community engaged art. Besides being known for his interactive artworks involving people living in a wide variety of urban contexts he exhibits widely throughout Europe and in North and South America—recent exhibitions have taken place in New York, Mexico City, Berlin and London. As well as his many exhibitions, Willats has continually used books and publications as a key element in his practice.