Eric John Olson

Do I already know the answers to the questions this work asks?

Who is this work for? Me, other artists, an institution, or a broader community?

How is the work useful?

How can the work be instrumentalized by its participants, collaborators, or audience?

Where is paradise?

Does this work embody the change I want to see in the world?

Is it radical enough?

How can the work hold many viewpoints together?

If the change that matters is the one that occurs in the imagination first, how does the work inspire or make use of collective imagination?

Does the work challenge me to dream or re-imagine what feels possible?

Where is sustainability in the practice?

What is the work’s relationship to power? How can the work shift power in an equitable way?

How can the work be subversive?

What’s my value-added proposition?

What can I do better? What felt awkward, laborious, excessive, or tenuous? How can every part of the project strengthen the core concept?

Does the project still sound interesting when described in only a couple sentences?

Where does my joy live in the work?

How does the work help us talk about difficult things, or things we don’t want to examine?

If seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees, how can the work help me see?

Where is the light in the dark?


For more about Eric’s work, click here.

The Social Forms of Art (SoFA) Journal is a bi-annual publication dedicated to supporting, documenting, and contextualizing socially engaged art and its related fields and disciplines. Each issue of the Journal focuses on a different theme in order to take a deep look at the ways in which artists are engaging with communities, institutions, and the public. The Journal seeks to support writing and web based projects that offer documentation, critique, commentary and context for a field that is active and expanding.

The SoFA Journal is published in print and PDF form twice a year, in June and December by the PSU Art & Social Practice Program. In addition to the print publication, the Journal hosts an online platform for ongoing projects.

SoFA Journal
c/o PSU Art & Social Practice
PO Box 751
Portland, OR 97207