In its original context, ‘wherefore art thou?’ is a plea from Juliet for Romeo to stand true and not subscribe to a tribe that sows artificial division. One has to decide who one wants to be. We live in a time of crisis; a point of inflection at which the development of society might pivot into utterly different realities. Imminent and growing threats to the environment, equality, diversity and freedom are evident around the world, and issues of racism, misogyny and discrimination remain pervasive. These are not isolated problems. Driven by ignorance, egotism and narcissism, they take a lasting toll on the wellbeing of everyone. Any solution to such issues therefore depends on both collective and individual behaviour. Inaction today is unacceptable. Everybody has a responsibility to act. Those in the creative professions need to define their role in this reality. Why are you? Who are you? What do you do? Why do you do it, and how?
In an intentional misreading of Shakespeare’s verse, one might ask ‘why art though?’ What can art do to tackle the enormous problems that humanity at large is facing? As the Covid-19 pandemic has limited the possibilities of physical performance and art, and endangers the economic security of many artists, it is especially important to underline the role art plays within a progressive society and demonstrate it through evidence. The work of the studio aims to empower initiatives around the world through activism, advocacy and art by utilising and expanding its existing networks, both virtual and real. Through events and performative architecture, participants build a common foundation from which to initiate debate and active collaboration. These activities will continue to have a lasting effect on the networks they connect with, both digital and physical, and create powerful synergies between them. Students are encouraged to develop projects that not only speak up against the concerns of our time and for ideas and ideals, but also to vividly and forcefully present them as a reason for art to exist.