What Should I Do? An Ethics For Artists in Twelve Simple Rules - Kristina Leko, 2004

RULE 1 Through your art activity/work you should initiate, increase, moderate, and shape a
public discussion i.e. communication among the people around you, which has a public interest
to it and which would not happen otherwise. (A social definition of a fine and free art.)
RULE 2 The issues brought up by your artwork/activity should be of public interest, be
relevant and useful for the site/community where work/activity takes place. (A negation of
abstract art. ‘Yes’ to documentarism.) RULE 3 You will enrich the public polylogue if you
add new standpoints to a common perception of your chosen issue/s. If the common perception
of an issue is influenced, reality related to it will change as well. The place/community
will never be the same after taking part in a documentary endeavor/project of quality. (On a
critical/independent attitude being obligatory. On perception and pluralism.) RULE 4 Keep
your work/activity/events accessible for everybody. Include those who are usually excluded.
(For a cultural democracy. Unlimited general right of use for public venues.) RULE 5
Include people who are from the location in your creative process as much as you possibly
can. Let them take control over the way they are represented. Let them decide how they should
look like, what they should state. Explain as much as you can about the context you are
working in and with. Do not show material that people are not happy with or that they are
indifferent to. The right to present people's images and documents is to be earned through
their involvement and by having personal relationships with them. (For democracy and for
cultural democracy. Also for authentic documents/artifacts.) RULE 6 Always give presents
away. Create artifacts that relate in a personal way to people around you and give these as
presents to them. Create happenings in order to increase the feeling of brotherhood and
equality in the group you are working with. (Another social definition of an artwork. Also on
cultural democracy.) RULE 7 Create your artwork in an environment where artworks are
usually not created. Distribute it in an environment that usually does not witness such
things. (Same as previous.) RULE 8 Make friends during and through your artistic work/
activity. (On the final criteria in judging the quality of an artwork/activity.) RULE 9
Never use public money towards a private profit or possessions. Use public money for an
artwork/activity as described above, i.e. for an artwork that takes place in public sphere,
formulates a public interest through addressing and involving a local community with relevant
issues, that is open and accessible to all, easily reproducible, and that will never be
applicable to exclusive private ownership. (The ontological implications of public funds for
an artwork.) RULE 10 Fully respect people that your work is about and that you are working
with, always state their names and credits, and treat them equally to yourself in every
aspect. (For true cultural democracy.) RULE 11 Fully respect the aesthetic preferences of
people you are working with. The artifacts created by them are valuable in the same way as
the ones that you/an artist might produce. (Negation of masterworks.) RULE 12 Your activity
has to have real / concrete consequences, and lasting effects. Create pragmatic, useful, and
socially interactive, people friendly artifacts and events collaboratively on site and for
the community, with clearly stated aims that correspond to real/concrete needs, which you
have previously systematically researched. (Another functional definition of artworks. On
activism.) (Kristina Leko, 2004)