Tag Archives : City Arts and Public Spaces

City, Arts and Public Spaces: Margaret Crawford

In the early 1990s, I started working with scholars, urban designers, photographers, and writers on a project exploring everyday urban life in Los Angeles. In 1999, we published Everyday Urbanismas a guide to investigating the “as-found” character of the city. We identified everyday urban space as a rich and complex public realm created by the multiplicities of daily experience– trips to supermarkets, the commute to work, journeys that included wide boulevards and mini-malls, luxurious stores and street vendors, manicured lawns and dilapidated public parks.

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City, Arts and Public Spaces: Gavin Kroeber, Part 2

In an attempt to attend to the particular urban and cultural ecosystem of the Bay Area I’d like to contribute a second term – innovation – and loosely suggest its relevance to the discussion.

As the national discourse around innovation expands, we see hundreds of thousands of square feet of urban space mobilized and repurposed under the term: municipal innovation districts, public and private innovation incubators for entrepreneurial ventures, etc.

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City, Arts and Public Spaces: Gavin Kroeber

The arts and the city are mutually recomposing one another – conceptually, physically, operationally.

It is often noted that capitalism in the west has turned from the production of goods as a towards more ephemeral products. This turn – a turn in which municipalities have abandoned outdated ‘smokestack chasing’ strategies for economic growth and, spurred on by lobbyists and promotional campaigns, have instead engaged in an inter-urban competition to attract the mobile audiences of both tourism and business – has in forty years produced a corresponding landscape: what we might call the event landscape.

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City, Arts and Public Spaces: Irene Chien

In mainstream US media, “urban” is a pervasive euphemism for black, a way to register but not directly point at African-American culture within the post-racial political paradigm of colorblindness. “Urban music,” “urban fiction,” “urban comedy,” and “urban entertainment” are all ways to identify media made by, featuring, and marketed primarily to African-Americans without directly naming them. “Urban” in this sense gives value to at the same time it disavows the authenticity of black bodies, voices, and “street” experiences that now circulate globally in the form of hip-hop identity and aesthetics.

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City, Arts and Public Spaces: Mélanie Perrier and Barbara Formis

The homeless people are very present in the public spaces of the city of San Francisco. Mélanie and myself have been noticing this presence as a certain way to occupying the public space by way of performance art and methods of exhibition. Above all, we have been noticing a split between the American homeless and the French S.DF. A certain number of differences can be drawn. Above all, the terminology.

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City, Arts and Public Spaces: Jennifer Wolch

Cities are centers of consumption, and especially in the west, their ecological footprints however measured are enormous. Buildings energy use and the fuel use of transportation systems are typically the focus of urban sustainability studies, along with urban form and the conservation of habitat within and beyond urban limits. Far less attention is paid to ‘stuff’ and the cultural detritus of modern life, and even less attention is paid to the role of food in the carbon economy.

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City, Arts and Public Spaces: Dominic Willsdon

Recently, I have become involved in devising contemporary art biennials, at a time when the debate about these events has slowed. Like so many of the dozens of biennials around the world, the two I am now working on – the Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre and the Liverpool Biennial – date from the 1990s. Istanbul (1987) and Havana (1984) are among the older contemporary biennials (excluding Venice and São Paulo, which belong to a different time). Before it is anything else, a biennial is an ongoing series of temporary exhibitions supported by a city.

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City, Arts and Public Spaces: Anthony Cascardi

In the early stages of thought about what we have come to call “global urban humanities,” the term mega-city was suggested to us as the type of site where an exploration of the potential connections between the humanities and fields including environmental design, architecture, and urban planning might be especially fruitful. The suggestion, implicit or explicit, was that the mega-city was especially representative of contemporary conditions and that it presented a unique set of problems, ones that had yet to be thoroughly explored by any of the fields in question. While the term no longer plays a key role in the GUH project, we should not let the questions it might raise fall entirely by the wayside.

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City, Arts and Public Spaces: Nick Kaye

Contemporary notions of site and place emphasize experiences of instability, displacement and multiplicity. In the context of anthropological and performance theory addressing the performance of place and site, including Marc Auge’s influential Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity (1995), Miwon Kwon’s One Place After Another: Site-Specific Art and Locational Identity (2004), and linked concepts of “theatre/archaeology,” the stability and continuity of site is called into question. In this work, a site is approached firstly as a construct that is a function of multiple aspects: sites are palimpsestual and simultaneous, embracing diverse material, historical, cultural, spatial, and personal aspects, for different visitors or occupants at different times.

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City, Arts and Public Spaces: Andrew Weiner

I’d like to start by echoing the questions that Shannon and others have already begun framing in prior posts. Part of the excitement in joining a cross-disciplinary group like this lies in seeing the precision and inventiveness with which scholars from other fields are able to engage concepts that sometimes seem to lose their edge through overuse. I wonder though about the ways in which the concept of public space might be overdetermined; the same goes for related ideas like publicity, the public sector, and the public sphere (and this is only considering one of our keywords!). I worry a bit that the extreme generativity of these concepts could also prove to be disabling, allowing people from different fields to unwittingly talk past each other even while using the same language.

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