In "What We Made," Tom Finkelperl examines the activist, participatory, co-authored aesthetic experiences being created in contemporary art. Through a series of fifteen conversations with artists, art historians, and participant collaborators, Finkepearl suggests social cooperation as a meaningful way to recognize this work and provides a political, artistic, and theoretical framework for understanding its emergence and acceptance. Artists comment on their experiences working cooperatively, joined at times by colleagues from related fields--including social policy, urban planning, and new media. Issues discussed include the experience of working in public, working with museums and libraries, opportunities for social change, the lines between education and art, spirituality, and collaborative opportunities available with new media. Finkelpearl engages Grant Kester and Claire Bishop in conversations about their writing on participatory and dialogic art and also includes interviews with individuals who worked on projects with Mark Dion and Harrell Fletcher. In his conclusion, Finkelpearl argues that pragmatism offers a deeper understanding of the experiential nature of social cooperation and applies this to a discussion of Houston's "Project Row Houses."
Interviewees: Naomi Beckwith, Claire Bishop, Tania Bruguera, Brett Cook, Teddy Cruz, Jay Dykeman, Wendy Ewald, Sondra Farganis, Harrell Fletcher, David Henry, Gregg Horowitz, Grant Kester, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Pedro Lasch, Rick Lowe, Daniel Martinez, Lee Mingwei, Jonah Peretti, Ernesto Pujol, Evan Roth, Ethan Seltzer, and Mark Stern.