• Politicizing Publics: A social framework for public artworks

Jordan, Mel and Hewitt, Andy, 2016, Book Section, Politicizing Publics: A social framework for public artworks In: Cartiere, C. and Zebracki, M., (eds.) The Everyday Practice of Public Art: Art, Space, and Social Inclusion. Routledge, Oxford, UK, pp. 27-44. ISBN 978-1138829213

Abstract or Description:

The chapter proposes the use of a public sphere theory framework to emphasise the social and political interactions within the term ‘public’. Although our previous research relies heavily on the work of Jurgan Habermas this chapter attempts to connect Habermas theory of the public sphere with Doreen Massey’s idea that space is too often understood as formal, physical and static. Thus the two theories (Habermas and Massey) are considered together through this arrangement we can move away from the original physical description of both ‘public’ and ‘space’ within the discourse of public art.

Furthermore by taking into account that the social turn in art practices is allied with the public realm, the public domain and public space, and is understood to include temporary artworks that engage people in their production, we identify a parallel set of concerns between Massey’s explanation of space and Habermas’ articulation of the public sphere. Hence we propose that the notion of the ‘social’ in the term ‘social art practice’ and the term ‘public’ in ‘public art’ should be understood as discursive constructs: the ‘social’, understood as in the ‘social production of being’ as opposed to a set of sociable interactions or chance meetings; the ‘public’ recognized as a contingent body of citizens with a degree of shared purpose or common experience rather than a placid community of abstractly equal individuals (ibid.).

By bringing these two theories together, we can better understand participatory art practice. By distinguishing which artworks rely on a limited understanding of the concepts of ‘space’ and ‘public’, and which ones operate with an expanded engagement with ‘space’ and ‘public’, we can begin to articulate the different social relations of production within specific artworks. Appreciating this, we argue, enables us to better analyse in what ways artworks are public.

Official URL: https://www.routledge.com/products/9781138829213
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W100 Fine Art
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Date Deposited: 11 Apr 2016 14:49
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:45
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1749
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