a second re : public?
NOVEMBER 2011 - Building on discussions in the summer of 2011 there will be an advance anouncement of "publiCities" - the second phase of the "re : public" initiative on 30/11/2011. Watch this space...
JULY 2011 - Meetings in Dublin and Belfast took place this summer to discuss the next iteration of the "re : public" project:
Dublin at GradCAM Johns Street West 14:30 Monday 18th July
Belfast at The Galley (on board the barge behind the Waterfront Hall) 10:00 Tuesday 19th July.
For more info contact mick.wilson(at)gradcam.ie
Fintan O'Toole speaking at the launch of 're : public' in Temple Bar Gallery [4/5/10].
The praxis seminar group's 'associate' seat and Denis McNulty's fax work, installation shot at 're : public'.
This exhibition is part of Arts Research: Publics and Purposes conference programme which brings together members of the European Art Research Network to consider a wide range of issues in contemporary arts research. This exhibition is also part of a series of projects that will take place at venues across Europe in 2010. See also Critique of Archival Reason.
At 're : public' in studio 6 at Temple Bar Gallery and Studios
Discussion with Sarah Glennie, Daniel Jewesbury, Maud Cotter, Val Balance, Jason Walsh, Mick Wilson and chaired by Martin McCabe. Tuesday 9/3/10 at re : public 18:00
Recent cuts in Arts Council funding to various organisations across the arts have given rise to debate and complaint. Typically, the issues tend to focus on the quantity of given cuts, and the nature of the decisions to make cuts: Who decided? Why this cut and not another? Yet there is no tendency to question the basic logic, structure and apparatus of state subsidy for the arts, rather a demand to make the funding flow.
There has also been some discussion of why the arts should be funded, mostly in terms of broad and familiar arguments that the arts are good for us, in one or other way; they are morally or socially improving; they contribute to social inclusion and/or add to the creative economy and tourism; and so forth.
There is, however, no interrogation of the 'public' aspects of the state's art subsidies (Arts Council Awards, public art programmes, OPW purchases, residency schemes, studio provisions, infrastructural and venue funding, and so on). Building on recent discussions on 'culture and citizenship', where fundamental questions of purpose around state intervention in the arts have begun to be raised, this 'public' discussion seeks to open up a new arena of debate, and to overcome the reduction of the idea of 'public' simply to audience numbers or the anonymous crowd.
What are the potentials, what are the dangers, in the state's subsidy of the arts? Where is the 'public' in public arts provision?
From Monday 8 March to Wednesday 10 March, the artist Peter Liversidge decommissions the structure in the gallery, markingthe closing stages of the 're : public' exhibition project.
2 pm Closing Discussion: On The Free University Discussing the legacy of the project with Nina Power (Roehampton University, author of One-Dimensional Woman (2009, Zero Books) and other participants including Tara Byrne, Glenn Loughran and Fergal Gaynor
NCAD's MA Art in the Contemporary world holding a seminar 're : public'.
Dan Shipsides intervention @ 're : public' - a star construction filling with smoke...
about the exhibition
Curated by Daniel Jewesbury, participants and exhibitors include:
Igor Grubić : Owen Hatherley : Peter Liversidge : Aisling O’Beirn :
Dennis McNulty : Robert Anderson : Mark Hackett : Sandra Johnston :
The Thamesmead Archive : Robert Porter : Leigh French : Conor McGarrigle :
Neil Gray : Dan Shipsides : Seamus Nolan : Dead Public : Amanda Ralph :
MA Art in the Contemporary World (NCAD) : MA Art in Public (Ulster) :
Fold : Variant : Tech.Know : Linda Doyle (CTVR-TCD): Experiential Aesthetics : Event.
[see schedule here.]
Igor Grubić video installation @ re : public - East Side Story Two-screen video installation (2006-08) East Side Story refers to the violent attacks by citizens against the first Gay Pride celebrations in Belgrade (2001) and Zagreb (2002). In response to the violence that followed attempts to 'liberate and clean public space' in both capitals, the artist has been building an archive of video documentation. He invited dancers and choreographers, some of whom took part in the Gay Pride celebrations, to reinterpret the documented events using public spaces in Zagreb, often the original locations. These unusual 'choreographies' alienate the seemingly peaceful streets, and the violence expressed against sexual minorities in the post‐war Yugoslavian context appears as a substitute for the seemingly suppressed hatred against ethnic minorities. The intolerance towards sexual minorities makes the everyday reality of transition questionable, and exposes stagnation and regression as the unavoidable results of equating the principles of liberal democratic public spacewith a neoliberal market economy.
Temple Bar Gallery & Studios is pleased to present re : public, an exhibition and series of events through which the crucial question will be asked – can anything happen in public again?
In collaboration with GradCAM, the Graduate School of Creative Arts & Media in Dublin, and guest curator Daniel Jewesbury, the gallery at TBG&S will become a forum where the public can meet with a range of artists and thinkers to reconsider the troubled relationship between art and society. The project aims to look again at preconceptions concerning ‘publicness’, and to debate whether there is even anything left that we can really call ‘public’. After the fiasco of the property crash, participants have been invited to look again at the role played by architecture and urban planning in the construction of physical public space. And in a world controlled by globalised markets, loyal to no nation, we ask if we still talk of meaningful democratic participation by ‘the public’? Even if we can, is there any room, or any need, for the contributions of artists?
In conjunction with the exhibition programme of 're : public' there will be a small series of occasional papers under theheading - "re : public-ation" - that provide material for discussion and consoderation in relation to key ideas explored or developed by works in the show. (Downloadable aspdfs here.)
- 00: Programme of Events 4/2/10 - 13/3/10
- 01: Dead Public #1. (Death Seminar Group)
- 02: Arts Research and the Public. (Conference Notes) [posted shortly]
- 03: Love in Public #1. (The Event Seminar Group)
- 04: "Public" Health. (Seminar Notes) [posted shortly]
- 05: Reading as Intervention. (Praxis Seminar Group)
- 06: The harnessing of creativity for urban growth agendas... or, doing differently. (with Variant Events)
call for participation
re : public is a collaboration between Temple Bar Gallery + Studios, the Graduate School of Creative Arts & Media (GradCAM), the artist-network Centrifugal and the European Art Research Network (EARN). It is a public provocation, a series of diverse events designed to help us think again about what we can do ‘in public’.
‘Publicness’ is now central to debates around contemporary art and curating, as well as to urbanist, architectural and planning discourses. The nature of ‘the public’ is also a recurrent concern in political and social theory. There is already a wealth of prior artistic experiment, publication and exhibition-making in this area: Bruno Latour’s Making Things Public (ZKM, 2005); Simon Sheikh’s reader In The Place of the Public Sphere?(B-Books, 2005); and Cork Caucus: On Art, Democracy and Possibility (NSF, 2005), to name only three recent examples. Arguably, then, the last thing we need now is any further encyclopaedic response to the complex retlationship between ‘art’ and ‘publics’…
Between the 19th and the 26th of January 2010 a specially-commissioned structure will be built in the gallery. The structure will serve both as a frame and a stage for various events – discussions, interventions, performances, radio broadcasts, screenings and so on – that will take place during the exhibition run. To this extent, the structure can aid, but may also obstruct discussion and participation. It will be an active element, then, in the events that populate it. From the 27th of January until the 3rd of February, another commissioned artist will intervene in the structure in any way that they choose – subverting, augmenting, adapting or undermining its functions prior to its habitation.
From the 4th of February until the 6th of March events responding to the two thematics of the exhibition will be held in the gallery. We have invited artists, architects, theorists, planners and activists to use the space to draw out the thematics and to formulate responses to some of the questions that they raise. Rather than ‘one-off’ events programmed in isolation of one another, we’re programming events of a longer duration that allow for more extended and fruitful participation. We also want to map the gallery as a social space by incorporating networked or dispersed events. During the run of the exhibition, the different events will be documented in a variety of ways, leaving their trace within the gallery which can then inform subsequent events, as well as creating a permanent record for future publication.
the decommissioning and final event
After the main exhibition period (from the 9th to the 12th of March), another commissioned artist will supervise the ‘decomissioning’ of the structure. Finally, on the 13th of March, a closing event will be held in the empty gallery, recapping on the event as a whole and drawing the process to a suitable conclusion.
The two themes of the exhibition are the guiding principles for all the actions that will take place in re : public. We’ve summed them up as follows.
1. architecture and humane planning won’t save us now!
The first point of engagement could be thought of as a counter-architectural gesture. For the last two hundred years, a central tenet of architecture and urban planning has been the influence that public space (the built environment) has on the nature of the broader public sphere. Can we really continue to imagine that ‘good’ architecture is still somehow going to produce good cities and ‘good citizens’? This idea has been criticised by urbanists of many different hues, and yet its functionalist logic persists in the schemes for perpetual regeneration to which our cities are subjected.
Can questions of publicness be meaningfully addressed without ever problematising relations around real estate, private development and the property market?
2. there can be no safe distance!
A second point of engagement will be the need to globalise our notion of the public – to place it firmly in a global context of capital, labour and production. The original theorists of the ‘public sphere’ premised their ideas on stable nationstates, within whose borders peoples with shared cultures strove to achieve common interests. These nation-states still exist in name but their functions are now assumed by global, mobile markets; meanwhile the peoples within them have a multiplicity of cultures and interests, and ‘citizenship’ is ever more jealously guarded and exclusionary.
The ‘public sphere’, inasmuch as it ever really existed, simply cannot ‘hold in check’ the global markets that dictate the texture of modern life.
Various recent approaches, describing multiple ‘counterpublics’ or making demands for greater inclusion, are still firmly rooted in obsolete notions of the nation-state and of the structure of the civic. Meanwhile capitalism has created – made fact – a homogeneous, globalised ‘mediascape’, which has in turn produced a kind of ‘pseudo-public sphere’, one that operates at a safe distance from its actors – whether that’s us, the first world bourgeoisie, or the mass proletariat of the third world, or the dispersed ‘precariat’ that problematises the old model of first, second and third worlds.
The ‘public sphere’ – as an idealised realm of commitment and engagement and discourse and ideology – is getting further away from us all the time, rather than, as the liberal theorists would have it, getting closer with each reform. Attempts to reconfigure our relationship to the public, if they’re only imagined at the local or regional or national level, are therefore largely superfluous. The scope for ‘democratic’ participation grows ever more restricted, as government itself comes to resemble merely the management of a franchise. Those ‘decisions’ to which we have access, whether through the sacred ritual of the ballot box or through some other discursive activity that we label as ‘political’, are just so much tinkering with the delivery systems of global markets which cannot be made accountable.
What function can a theory of the ‘public sphere’ really have any more for us in the consumer economies? Might we be better off trying to reconceptualise altogether our relationship with the demands of global markets?
contact: Daniel Jewesbury:: d.jewesbury(at)gmail.com