THIS troublesome, uncomfortable and questionable RELEVANCE of Art in Public Space

THIS troublesome, uncomfortable and questionable RELEVANCE of Art in Public Space

Centre for Contemporary Art Laznia

November 4, 2012

Symposium: THIS troublesome, uncomfortable and questionable RELEVANCE of Art in Public Space
23–24 November 2012 

Event location:
Fabryka Batycki
Kamienna Grobla 28/29
Gdańsk, Poland

In the seven years of its existence, The Outdoor Gallery of the City of Gdansk has invited thirty-one artists to propose interventions in the public realm, has judged eight projects worth to be realized and has produced five of them. Adam Budak, Jacek Dominiczak, Julia Draganović, Enrico Lunghi, Bettina Steinbrügge and Norbert Weber are the curators and architects invited by Laznia CCA and its Director Jadwiga Charzyńską to be involved in the long term development of the Lower Town area of Gdansk. They felt the need to present the first results of their activities to a broader national and international audience and to  bring together debates from varied perspectives and practices in an attempt to evaluate which roles artists, curators, designers and architects can actually play in revitalizing and regenerating urban space. On behalf of Laznia Centre for Contemporary Arts Adam Budak and Julia Draganović have called international artists, critics and curators to discuss THIS troublesome, uncomfortable and questionable RELEVANCE of Art in Public Space at Fabryka Batycki in Gdansk on 23–24 November 2012.

Art beneath its protected context of the exhibition space is uncomfortable for almost everybody. So, why bother? Why don’t we just stay inside our protected compound of the gallery? Or at least in a place that is clearly marked as an exhibition space? Why do time-based, immaterial interventions have to happen in public space, why do we have to challenge the public? Artists, curators and institutions have answered this question in very heterogeneous ways over the last decades: Public art was and is seen as non-commercial, as anti-elitist, as the attempt to embellish even poorly designed living environments, as an opportunity for a broader audience, which does not have the means to frequent museums or galleries, to access contemporary art, and many believe that public art has the power to change urban and social systems. 

These are ambitious goals for such a doubtlessly difficult enterprise as public art. Beside the above quoted problems of public art activities, one has to take issues like economical inequity, uneven knowledge-distribution and tiredness of common participatory practices summoned by current democratic systems into account. Because one thing goes without saying: public art can’t be carried out in solitude; interaction and collaboration are part of its nature.

After a keynote speech by Chantal Mouffe, an opening performance by Maria Papadimitriou and lectures by Mika Hannula and Simon Sheikh, the conference will revolve around two main themes. Under the title “Close Encounters. Strategies of Collaboration,” panelists will discuss the questions like: what are the strategies to access existing knowledge systems and to foster collaboration between different stakeholders? Which are the current best-practice models? The panel entitled “Museum without Museum. Tactics of Emancipation and Autonomy” will ponder the question, how far public art can be a complement or an alternative to museums and reflecting on strategies of enhancement for self-organization.

Friday, 23 November 2012
17–18h Guided tour to Outdoor Gallery projects

18.30h Key-note speech by Chantal Mouffe: Critical Artistic Practices as Counter-Hegemonic Interventions

19.30h Presentation of the winning project of Pomorskie Metropolitan Rail competition

20h Opening performance Over! Leftover by Maria Papadimitriou 

Saturday, 24 November
Lecture by Mika Hannula: Politics, Identity and Public Space –Critical Reflections In and Through the Practices of Contemporary Art

Panel Discussion: Close Encounters 
Strategies of Collaboration
Mel Chin, Fulya Erdemci, Tone Hansen,Barbara Holub, Aneta Szylak, Joanna Warsza

Lecture by Simon Sheikh: Intervention, Interruption, Disruption, Pause. Possible Approaches to Artistic and Curatorial Strategies and Tactics to Public Art in the Post-Public Condition

Panel Discussion: Museum without Museum
Tactics of Emancipation and Autonomy 
Cecilia Alemani, Claire Doherty, Maria Papadimitriou, Bert Theis, Mirjam Varadinis

Symposium moderated by Adam Budak and Julia Draganović

Conference registration: / closes on 19 November, 2012. 
Admission Free!

Curators: Julia Draganovic & Adam Budak
Coordination: Anna Szynwelska, a.szynwelska [​at​]
Press contact: Katarzyna Steńczyk, k.stenczyk [​at​]

Laznia Centre for Contemporary Arts
Ul. Jaskolcza 1
80-767 Gdansk, Poland

Project supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.



THIS troublesome, uncomfortable and questionable RELEVANCE of Art in Public Space: a symposium at Laznia CCA
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Centre for Contemporary Art Laznia
November 4, 2012

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