PACTO x Sandwich x Hutt @ CAS
/croydon, uk/



In January 2019 PACTO was invited by the Croydon Arts Store to work with two other collectives on a piece of collaborative research. In tandem with Sandwich Collective and Hutt Collective, PACTO was tasked with responding to one of the CAS’ central research questions,‘Can social and community benefits be uniquely delivered by an artist led platform?’

Each collective led a day of workshops where there diverse collective artistic approach and practices were utilised to unpick the questions put to them by the CAS. This body of collaborative research was brought together into a publication, which is available in both digital and physical formats.

PACTO member Allesandro Moroni wrote this in response to the how PACTO approached the project and some of our collective response to the task set by the Croydon Arts Store;

“When we, as PACTO, were trying to figure out what activities we should propose for the first day of workshop at the CAS, we decided that first of all we could have a walk around the Whitgift Centre to have a better understanding of the place and situation where we were supposed to activate something.

With the same mindset, we then moved to the question asking ourselves “what is this question?”. We started by breaking it down, trying to analyze it keyword by keyword: “social & community”; “benefit”; “uniquely”; “artist led platform”. This, predictably, didn’t bring us even close to a better understanding of said question, it just led us to more questions.

“Social & community” sounds like something you would drop while writing an application to give the idea of an “engaged” practice; but what does it really mean, and how does that influence an artistic act? Why does “benefit” sound like something you could evaluate? And “uniquely delivered”: is there some hierarchy at work here? Last but not least: starting from the supposition that we are being asked this very question as “artist led platform(s)”,

can we define what that actually means? “Being an artist” doesn’t really stand for anything precise by itself, nowadays: it doesn’t identify any specific activity, professional level or how someone spends their time. So what happens when this unidentifiable group of people leads platforms? Sandwich made a

really good point: have you ever heard someone calling out for an artist as they would for a doctor, for example? How could society and community need or even benefit from what we do when we couldn’t even define clearly what it is that we do? Layer upon layer of the same question brought us to the point where we were arguing if language could be conceived as a medium or if it is what makes all other media possible, and that’s when we all agreed that we could have gone for lunch.

Whenever I find myself in this kind of dialogue I’ve got a feeling that I have been having this exact conversation over and over, for the past four years or so. It’s not like it’s repeating the same conversation, it’s more like one ever-lasting conversation that began more or less after my graduation, when I found myself facing the real world and trying to figure out what my position towards that could be. People walk in, people walk out, the setting changes, there have been breaks, some were longer, some were just about the time to have lunch and get back to the conversation. Somehow, I feel like I always end up sitting in a room with other people around me, more or less all defined by the same undefinable label, discussing: what is it that we do?

I think the very fact that we all know we will never reach an answer is what keeps us going. Maybe our practice really is about trying to answer this question, or about the struggle itself of knowing we’ll never reach the answer. Maybe it’s time for lunch, again.”