The Giver, the Guest and the Ghost: The Presence of Art in Public Realms

The Giver, the Guest and the Ghost: The Presence of Art in Public Realms


Morten Wintervold, GATE RÅMELKAS BOUQUET, Oslo, 2016. © OSLO PILOT. Photo: Niklas Lello.
September 23, 2016
The Giver, the Guest and the Ghost: The Presence of Art in Public Realms

November 16–18, 2016

Registration deadline: November 9

Venue to be announced

A symposium by OSLO PILOT curated by Eva González-Sancho and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk, organized in collaboration with Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO)

OSLO PILOT and the Oslo National Academy of the Arts are pleased to announce a three-day symposium entitled The Giver, the Guest and the Ghost: The Presence of Art in Public Realms. Curated by Eva González-Sancho and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk, this symposium is organized by OSLO PILOT, a two-year project investigating the role of art in and for the public realm, and to lay ground for a future periodic art event in public space. OSLO PILOT’s research development revolves around four interconnected concepts: Reactivation, Periodicity, Disappearance, and Public. These concepts, each underpinned by a reflection on time, set out to examine the life cycle of the artwork in public space, and to generate ideas of “temporal-specificity” in a field that has otherwise privileged the examination of site. They serve as starting points for many of the works and projects produced by OSLO PILOT across different channels, which include publishing, commissioned artworks, public actions, talks, presentations, seminars and live events.

The three figures included in the title—the Giver, the Guest and the Ghost—announce a discussion about the changing conditions, positions and potentials of the work of art in public space. In the symposium, the same figures will act as guides in a discussion of the changing roles involved in public art practices.

The Giver reflects an idea of art as a form of contribution or opportunity offered to the public, questioning the roles of giver and receiver, and the role played by the artist in such a model. The Guest reflects the idea of the artwork as partially independent from the site and context it inhabits; what responsibility—if any—lies with the guest? The Ghost points to the unmanifested presences and shadows that surround the artwork. What follows in the footsteps of the artwork and what is left behind when the artwork disappears, either physically, or because it becomes obsolete, irrelevant, or normalized?

The symposium will be structured through a series of four case studies of singular artworks by Mette Edvardsen (Norway), Dora García (Spain), Thomas Hirschhorn (Switzerland) and Rahraw Omarzad (Afghanistan). Each of the four works will be discussed with the artists themselves via three different formulae: conference plenary sessions, workshops and one-to-one conversations. In the plenary sessions, the artists and several speakers from different backgrounds and fields of expertise will hold a broad-based debate. The workshops will be structured for smaller groups in unique formats that examine particular aspects of each case in depth. In the one-to-one meetings, attendees will have the opportunity to engage in conversations with the artists and speakers directly, and approach the works in a more personal way.

The Giver, the Guest and the Ghost aims to investigate the four works of art through qualitative analysis to produce findings specific to different time frames: how the works operate over a short period, in the long term, or as works in progress. From experience comes knowledge, and so the works will be approached via these different formulae so that the audience can take part in diverse experiences and exchanges of knowledge. As an interpretative form of research, the symposium intends to examine and consider the details of meaning and experience, rather than to postulate a series of hypotheses a priori. In this way, we hope to generate a range of pertinent and enriching insights through the detailed examination and contextualization of these four cases.

OSLO PILOT is a two-year research-based project investigating the role of art in and for the public realm. Developed by curators Eva González-Sancho and Per Gunnar Eeg-Tverbakk in order to lay the groundwork for a future art biennial. OSLO PILOT is initiated and financed by the City of Oslo, Agency for Cultural Affairs, Norway. Further funding is generously provided by Norsk kulturråd and KORO.

To register for the symposium and for further information please visit

For immediate enquiries please contact Jessica MacMillan at [email protected]


Symposium by OSLO PILOT in collaboration with Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO)

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