BoCA Summer School
Workshop “Arte Útil”, by Miguel Amado

The expression ‘Arte Útil’, or ‘Useful Art’, suggests that art can be a tool or device. This concept has been proposed by the artist Tania Bruguera and a group of researchers, museum directors, curators and designers informally gathered in the Association of Useful Art to describe people who, ‘through self-organised groups, individual initiatives or user-generated content develop new methods and social formations to deal with issues that were once the domain of the state.’ For Bruguera and her fellows, these actions are not isolated examples, but part of a history of art as a mechanism of societal transformation that modernism subordinated, and which is urgent to both describe and update as a mode of intervention in the world. This course introduces the notion of Arte Útil through discussions of the following themes: artistic genealogy; criteria; artistic case studies; information sources; theoretical debates; critical terminology; examples of exhibitions; implementation in a museum context.

Tutor: Miguel Amado (curator, researcher and critic), in collaboration with Tania Bruguera and Alistair Hudson

Biography of the tutor

WHO IS IT FOR: +16, students, artists, researchers, curators, critics and other professionals of the artistic sector.
Those interested should send an email to, until August 23, with the following documentation: name, date of birth, telephone contact and a short biography.

Production: BoCA – Biennial of Contemporary Art (Lisbon & Porto)
Partnership: GDA Foundation
Support: Chiado National Museum of Contemporary Art, Lisbon City Hall, Millennium BCP Foundation

Next Performances

read more
  • O Barco / The Boat

    29 September 2022 — 19 October 2022
    Somerset House, London


    Grada Kilomba's first large-scale installation travels to London, at Somerset House. Consisting of 140 burnt wood blocks, it invites the audience to enter a garden of memory, in which poems rest on burnt wood blocks, recalling forgotten stories and identities. What stories are told? Where are they counted? How are they counted? And told by whom? These are questions that arise when entering this installation.

  • Workshop “Phenomena of society and critical and artistic distance”

    30 September 2022 — 02 October 2022
    MAAT - Museu de Arte, Arquitetura e Tecnologia


    She shocked the world in the 1990s when he performed “The Reincarnation of Santa ORLAN”, a series of nine plastic surgeries that were broadcast via satellite to several museums and art galleries in Europe. ORLAN is one of the most important French artists, author of the manifesto “Carnal Art”. She runs a three-day workshop for the first time in Portugal.

  • Coin Operated

    07 October 2022 — 08 October 2022
    Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris


    "Coin Operated" came from an invitation by BoCA to Jonas & Lander, to create a museum piece. The scenic device features two coin-operated motor horses, with both performers seated on it. For something to happen, the audience has to insert a coin into the horses. The performance addresses the economic and power relationship, the conquest of territory, slavery, the mounting of the more powerful social classes to the less fortunate.

  • Cattivo

    08 December 2022 — 21 December 2022
    La Villette - Grand Halle, Paris


    Installation commissioned by BoCA in 2019, CATTIVO is a large-scale installation made up of hundreds of music stands designed by Cape Verdean choreographer Marlene Monteiro Freitas. Through the use of a sensorial type of stage mechanism, these objects, usually at the service of the musician and the score, become subjects with their own feelings and desires. CATTIVO explores the borders of the animal, plant and imaginary worlds.

  • Trouble

    15 December 2022 — 18 December 2022
    La Villette, Paris


    Film director Gus Van Sant ventures into his first stage creation with a Portuguese team, a musical theater show inspired by Andy Warhol and his overwhelming talent to elevate images to an icon, while scaling as a persona and artist to world celebrity status. A BoCA production touring now to La Villette, in Paris.