‘DO NOT TOUCH’ signs in museums and galleries are being replaced by contemporary artists’ invitations to participate, to interact and to become a part of the artwork itself - in 2015, artist Jeppe Hein even titled his public art exhibition in New York: 'Please Touch the Art'.
Participatory art is redefining the relationships between audience, artist and artwork, and creates a deeper sense of engagement through collaboration.
Having more inclusive and accessible encounters with art through participatory works of art reflects the evolution of the art museum from an elevated space of cultural sanctity in the twentieth century to a democratised site of public engagement.
The process of interaction allows the viewer to connect to the work’s themes - the artist invites the audience to step into the artwork and place a piece of their own identity into it, which brings a personal element of meaning into the experience.
Participatory art can include co-creation, artist-facilitated experience and physical interaction during the exhibition. Depending on the audiences that pass through the space, this dialogue allows malleable outcomes shaped by audience interaction.