Fountains Failures Futures: The afterlives of public art

Fountains Failures Futures: The afterlives of public art

HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design at University of Gothenburg

LTH-fontänen / LTH Fountain, Lund Technical University, Sweden, 1974. Photo: Unattributed. Public domain /Alvin Arkiv.

May 24, 2023
Fountains Failures Futures: The afterlives of public art
September 28–29, 2023
Skissernas Museum – Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art
Finngatan 2
SE-223 62 Lund
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Symposium registration is free and now open at Fountains, Failures, Futures. Attendance is IRL on campus at the Faculty of Engineering and Skissernas Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art, Lund University, Sweden.

Research and discussion about public art frequently focuses on conditions of emergence and production for public works. This symposium starts at the other end—thinking about the afterlives of public art with respect to processes of decline, decay, acts of reparation and reimagination, transformation and change. We are interested in questions of sustainability, custodianship, and whether “failed” public artworks can be revitalised and thought anew. What are the implications for their authorship and ownership, and what challenges does this present for commissioners, artists, architects, and urban planners? How can producers, owners and custodians of public artworks, and the communities living with these works, anticipate and accommodate complex afterlives of public art?

We also want to consider the changing terms through which futures are imagined—from progress narratives of the modern to crisis narratives of climate change—and what the implications are for commissioning public artworks and their evolution in the design of public space.

Lisa Le Feuvre
 Inaugural Executive Director of the Holt/Smithson Foundation, New Mexico, USA, and previous Head of Sculpture Studies at the Henry Moore Institute. She has written extensively on the idea of failure as a productive force and was editor for the Documents of Contemporary Art edition titled Failure (2010). Following her talk, Lisa will be in conversation with Jonatan Habib Engqvist—independent curator, writer and current editor of Swedish cultural magazine Ord&Bild.

Dan Karlholm Writer and Professor of Art History at Södertörn University in Stockholm. His research is on the theory and historiography of art, temporality, museum studies and effects of the Anthropocene. Co-editor of the book Time in the History of Art: Temporality, Chronology, and Anachrony (2018). Following his talk, Dan will be in conversation with Ingo Vetter—artist and Professor of Sculpture at the University of the Arts Bremen.

Jes Fernie Independent curator, writer, and lecturer. Many of her projects are situated in the public realm beyond gallery walls. In 2021 she initiated the online resource Archive of Destruction—a research platform about public artworks that have been destroyed by rage, boredom, fear, greed and love. Following her talk, Jes will be in conversation with Feras Hammami—researcher, writer and Senior Lecturer in Critical Heritage Studies at University of Gothenburg.

Patrick Amsellem Director of the Public Art Agency Sweden and former Director of Skissernas Museum—Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art in Lund. His research has focused on memory culture, memorials, and monuments after World War II. Following his talk, Patrick will be in conversation with Mattias Kärrholm – writer, researcher and Professor of Architectural Theory at the Department of Architecture and Built Environment, Lund University.

Case study presentations
In the last decade revision and contestation of historic monuments and memorials have gained global momentum. One of the aims of Fountains Failures Futures is to explore how these tensions can be related to other, seemingly benign, artistic objects situated in public spaces such as city squares, urban parks, redeveloped waterfronts and university campuses. These artworks are frequently commissioned without public consultation and with intentions of permanence or longevity.

Twelve different case studies were selected from an international open call. Offering an intriguing range of public artworks and narratives on their afterlives, these examples will be presented by:

Alex Hale & Gina Wall (Scotland); Anahi Alviso Marino (France); Ana Cristina Pansera de Araujo (Brazil/Argentina); Åsa Stjerna (Sweden); Carla Cruz & Angelo Ferreira de Sousa (Portugal); doris duhennois (UK); Gabriela Saenger Silva (Brazil/UK); Hans van Houwelingen, Jack Engelbracht & Bram Kuypers (Netherlands); James Carey (Australia); Jason E. Bowman (UK/Sweden); Jenny Perlin (USA/Norway); Louise Rollman (Australia).

This symposium is realised as part of a four-year research project called The fountain: An art-technological-social drama. Funded through Sweden’s Research Council for Sustainable Development (FORMAS), it creates a partnership between HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design at Gothenburg University and Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering (LTH) and Skissernas Museum.

Project Leader and contact is artist Maddie Leach (HDK-Valand), participating researchers are Lars-Henrik Ståhl (Department of Architecture and Built Environment, LTH), Cathryn Klasto and Mick Wilson (HDK-Valand).  We are a multidisciplinary team, combining our knowledge of artistic and architectural design practices; practice-based research; critical and theoretical perspectives on aesthetics, public space and art in the public sphere. 

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HDK-Valand Academy of Art and Design at University of Gothenburg
May 24, 2023

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