Art is always what people want it to be. It is not a question of consensus; everyone does not have to share a single view on art. It is more that people who use the same definition for art find themselves in groups. They find themselves united on the basis of their common conception of art, as they do on the basis of their views on religion, morality or tulip cultivation. If under the heading art a group understands the academic conception of the nineteenth century, in other words the mastery of craftsmanship, a universal ideal of beauty, and the material art object, then it will get into disagreements with others who see art as the process instead of the tangible artwork. If a group wants diversions, spectacles, events and thrills to fatten up its free time, then it is in disagreement with another group that approaches art with respect, devotion and contemplation. Yet another understanding of art is the following: enough consumption and enough genuflection. This is a conception of art that feels responsible for the social, political and economic conditions under which we live.

Words change their meaning according to who is using them. Take the word common, which has acquired an additional pejorative meaning over the years. Originally associated with community, it has a social meaning. Various associations with the ordinary and average - in other words with that which people have in common, with that which is not unusual - have added a meaning to this adjective which implies coarse, asocial and even underhanded.

Changes of meaning don't necessarily have to occur unintentionally. The word tree has been understood to mean the same thing for a long time. But if a poet were to jokingly describe a telephone pole as a tree, the description would be accepted. If the readers were amused by this description and used it themselves wherever they found the opportunity, and if eventually Webster's added a corresponding entry ("slang for telephone pole"), then the tree would no longer be just what it once was.

The understanding of a word like art can be influenced. It is permanently being influenced and constantly being "negotiated" anew. With every change in the word's meaning, the functions of art also change. In view of the American philosopher Richard Rorty's claim that concepts are continually being implemented as means of achieving certain purposes, all that remains in the end is the question: What is the word art used for? Who achieves what with it?

If the word art is used to indicate something extraordinary, an exalted entity created by humans, then the stipulation is likely to be included that art should not have anything to do with everyday mundane situations, that it must remain untouched by reality, just as it leaves real circumstances untouched. By contrast, there have been efforts since the beginning of the twentieth century to develop another understanding of art. Since then actions, ideas or processes that involve themselves in the circumstances under which we live have also been considered art.

Just as traditional artworks, material objects, whether paintings or bottle drying racks, cannot initially be art per se, but rather are awarded this appellation through special sanctioning, perfectly normal actions or sociopolitical interventions can be given this appellation. Following their presentation within the context of art and after the acceptance of their petition to be recognized as art, these actions mutate and suddenly are art. When something like medical care for the homeless is made available, or when conditions in a deportation detention facility can be improved, then these are interventions that in no way differentiate themselves from similar activist measures taken outside of the realm of art. They first become art when this is demanded by the activists and confirmed by a community.

There of course instantly arises the question of who in society determines what is to be recognized as art and which criteria are used thereby. Is it the majority? Is it an elite group or a "mafia of experts" who make all decisions within a closed circle of insiders? Marcel Duchamp always pointed out that other paintings could just as well hang in the Louvre. Still there must be some determining forces at work, because although everything can be art, in the end everything is not really art after all. Clearly there are notions and criteria in the background, whose functioning is responsible for what is given recognition.

Powerful institutions like museums, schools and media are decisive for what becomes art. The economy has an influence as well as politics and scholarship. All of these factors establish the appellation art. WochenKlausur's work is thus not a priori art or non-art. It becomes art through its recognition, and that comes about within institutional mechanisms. Every art remains a fully harmless raw material until these mechanisms take this raw material and circulate an opinion about it.