Exhibitions & CFP


A couple of exhibitions around the world that hit the nail on the head in terms of some of the issues we raised a couple weeks ago about art, citizenship, and locationality:

El Lissitzky: The Artist and the State at the Irish Museum of Modern Art

Imagine There’s No Country, Above Us Only Our Cities at Para Site, along with a short review

And, another CFP that may be of interest to you, if only to have a look at how some of these questions are currently being formuated:

Call for Proposals, ‘Territories of Political Participation. Public Art, Urban Design, and Performative Citizenship’ co-edited by Laura Iannelli and Pierluigi Musarò and published by Mimesis International

In the early 1990s, in Chicago, Mary Jacob curated “Culture in action”, an experience of participatory public art which left a mark on the contemporary artistic research and criticism. Over the last decades, this “new genre of public art” has developed. In these “dialogical” and “connective” aesthetics, public artists have involved citizens in creative performances that aim to modify inhabitants’ perceptions of the places where they live, to create new relations within and toward the territory, and to transform (often temporarily) the physical spaces. From ‘70s, and always more frequently, some processes and tools developed by architectural research stress inhabitants’ involvement in territorial planning, where the planners become triggers of a spatial transformation which compares “projectual-citizens” and institutions. Over the last half-century, local, national, and international policies have been increasingly characterized by (more or less systematic) attempts to involve citizens in the different levels of territorial governance, sometimes with an investment on projects of spatial transformation through participatory Public Art and Urban Design.

Moving from the outcomes of a two-years interdisciplinary research programme on the Italian contemporary Public Art and Urban Design, funded by the Sardinia Region (Italy), the book aims to shed light on the different creative forms of civic engagement and actions proposed by art and architecture around the “political” issues of territories.

Focusing on communicative practices that develop between city-places and media-spaces, the book aims to offer a trans-disciplinary analysis of Public Art and Urban Design as fields wherein new civic cultures and new repertories of political participation can be activated around the conflicts of everyday territories to test the vitality of contemporary democracies. In so doing, it will contribute to the scientific debate about participatory governance as performative practice by documenting the different forms of citizens’ involvement through contemporary forms of Public Art and Urban Design. Subsequently, this aims to provide the basis for critical reflection on participation and for reconceiving participation as not merely representing citizens, but making them. As such, the book aims to engage in a constructive debate with scholars from the fields of sociology, cultural and media studies, political sciences, arts, architecture, and urban planning.

An indication of the agenda of questions the issue proposes to address would include:

-Assuming that processes of planning and decision making related to urban issues are increasingly characterized by attempts to involve the public, what are the different participatory methods and tools that are available to planners and policy practitioners?
-How public artists and urban designers contribute to increase or challenge the legitimacy of the planning process and the recognition that planning processes should involve those actors that are affected by them?
-What happens when ambitions regarding citizen involvement in urban transformation are put into practice?
-What evidence is available about the ways in which participation through art and urban design enhance learning processes, improve the quality of decisions, contribute to empowerment, or promote social change and democratic citizenship?
-How do art and architecture can foster participation, inclusion and new relations of communication that effectively challenge the power of traditional practices of citizenship?
-In which ways participatory art and urban design can contribute to involve vulnerable, disadvantaged, marginalised or excluded categories – such as migrants, homeless, disables, etc.?
-How do participatory art and urban design can create new communicative spaces and alternative social relations that are capable of reconfiguring the relationship between belonging and citizenship?
How does it challenge ‘from below’ accepted social categorisations?

Proposals should be a maximum of 400 words and indicate not only the proposed topic but the kinds of approach, methods and forms of illustration/documentation/data to be employed. Proposals for shorter items (including discussion pieces) as well as for conventional length articles (max 45,000 characters, including spaces) are welcomed. The deadline for receipt of proposals is September 20th 2015. Proposals should be emailed to Laura Iannelli (liannelli@uniss.it<mailto:liannelli@uniss.it>) and Pierluigi Musarò (pierluigi.musaro@unibo.it<mailto:pierluigi.musaro@unibo.it>). Selection for invitations to submit the paper will follow within 3 weeks of the proposal deadline, along with details of the planned schedule. The deadline for receipt of papers is March 2016. The book is expected to be published on September 2016.

Image of Lam Hoi-sin’s lightbox installation, OK via


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: