The Usefulness of Art​​

In the second episode, we invite our guest from a famous city, Liverpool, and take our time to have a conversation about the notion of the “usefulness of art”. It is something unusual, right? Especially nowadays, the word “art” is only associated with particular objects and ideas. John, however, would like to seek another meaning of this by doing some projects that try to bring back the useful function in art. He shared several projects that he did since 2014 with several collaborators like Tania Bruguera and Charles Esche (Van Abbemuseum) in various locations including in the university, which disrupted the modern concept of ‘art’. One of the important projects that started this all is the Autonomy Project, where he tried to complexify the idea of being “autonomus” in the art scene. To whom do we make our art? Is art can be useful in our life? Or is it just another concept that we brought to the table now?

John Byrne

リバプールジョンムーア大学の「 The Uses of Art」学研究員(Reader)。同大学のリバプール・スクール・オブ・アート・アンド・デザインのインスティテュート・オブ・アート・アンド・テクノロジーの「The City Lab」ラボ・リーダー。現在、ウィットワース美術館(英国マンチェスター市)のレジデンス・リサーチャー/ライターとして、「Association of Arte Útil」と「The City Lab」のウィットワース美術館とのコラボレーション「Decentralising Political Economies Project/Platform 」(のリード・リサーチャー兼リード・エディターを務める。
テート・リバプールの「Art Turning Left」展(2013/2014)の会期中に一時的な「Office of Useful Art」を「The Association of Arte Útil (AAU) 」、「 Grizedale Arts」、テート・リバプールとのコラボレーションとして設置、運営して以来、2013年からAAUの活動メンバーとして、リバプールスクール・オブ・アート・アンド・デザイン、リバプール市トクステス地区の The Granby 4 Streets、フローリーインスティテュートにポップアップ形式のシリーズ「Office of Useful Art」をコーディネートした。「The City Lab」では、地に足をつけて自分たちのあり様を想像するためのツールとしてアートを用いることを探求するアーティスト、デザイナー、アクティビスト、クリエーターによる主体的構成員(constituency)の世界的ネットワークとして、AAUを構築し発展させることに力を注いでいる。
John Byrne is a Reader in The Uses of Art at Liverpool John Moores University, where he is also the Lab Leader of The City Lab (which forms part of Liverpool School of Art and Design’s Institute of Art and Technology). Byrne is also currently Researcher and Writer in Residence at the Whitworth Art Gallery (Manchester, UK) where he is Lead Researcher and Research editor for the Decentralising Political Economies Project/Platform ( which he developed on behalf of The Whitworth Art Gallery in collaboration with the Association of Arte Útil and the City Lab.
As well as this, Byrne has been an active member of The Association of Arte Útil (AAU) since 2013 when he collaborated with The AAU, Grizedale Arts, and Tate Liverpool to install and run a temporary ‘Office of Useful Art’ during Tate Liverpool’s ‘Art Turning Left’ show in 2013/2014. Since then, Byrne has also coordinated a series of pop-up Offices of Useful Art at Liverpool School of Art and Design, The Granby 4 Streets area of Toxteth in Liverpool, and the Florrie Institute in Liverpool. Via The City Lab, Byrne is committed to helping grow and develop the Association of Arte Útil network as a worldwide constituency of artists, designers, activists, and makers who wish to explore ways to use art as a ground-up tool for imagining ourselves otherwise.