Public Agency

Series of lectures and workshop on the topic of designing the new public domain as part of the Urban Strategies - Urban Agency program.

Public Agency

Public Agency: panel discussion

Nov 1999
19:30 to 21:30
location: Zaal de Unie, Mauritsweg 34, Rotterdam.

The public space is traditionally defined as a domain of free exchange, functioning and participation of all citizens: meeting places in the city, the market, newspapers and other public media. The rise of digital technologies has a great influence on the structure of this space. Is today's 'public domain' more scattered or broader and richer than before the 'digital revolution'? This question is crucial for the debate about architecture, urban planning and art and about the roll they play in society. Is the public domain still a place for acting and intervening? Where does the 'public' take place nowadays and who shapes it by developing spatial and cultural strategies? How can one claim these new public spaces?

Jeanne van Heeswijk, one of the lecturers, gave her insight on the subject: Cities are not simple houses, streets and institutions, they also have energies, oscillations and atmospheres which are intuitively felt. They constitute the daily life of an area and form the basis of a cultural tissue. Frequently we are forced to employ extremely simple systems and stereotypes in order to map the world around us. Art that complies with these predetermined guidelines is no more than an illustration or confirmation. This encouraged me to shift my attention in public space from 'art object towards art objective'. Trying to create both tools in a research process that will enable ways and help finding methods to tape into these urban forces as well as to create sites where intimate social and formal situations can encounter, thereby allowing the emotional fabric of the city to be revealed. In my view it is extremely important that new formats and categories for art works and ways of working as artists are created in order to try to stimulate new connections and relations between people, different institutions, works of art, performances and many kinds of human manifestations. In order to create a platform, and for me this can be done by any means or medium possible, for seeking new positions and identities - however temporal - through which people can approach one another once more (abstract from her lecture 'From Giant Ghettoblaster to Christmas Pudding').

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