Tag Archive for "public sphere"

Discourse and Discord

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Architecture of Agonism from the Kitchen Table to the City Street

Public Symposium

April 12–14
Co-Presented with and at the Walker Art Center

In an era of cultural conservatives and the liberal elite, Occupiers and Tea Partiers, civil uprisings and government crackdowns, perhaps the one point of agreement today is there’s no shortage of disagreement. But if that’s true, then why isn’t there more debate—not online flame wars, not the televised jockeying of political candidates, but live, in-person dialogue?

Join with a range of other unlike-minded people to debate and discuss, disclose and expose—and find out what happens when you move beyond agreeing to disagree.

More information here.

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The Street Fair

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Eighth Avenue Fall Festival, NYC

View south down 8th Avenue, September 18, 2011

View south down 8th Avenue, September 18, 2011

I checked into my hotel on Sunday and walked out immediately to head to the the World Maker Faire at the New York Hall of Science. As I turned onto 8th Avenue, there was something not so common in my experience of New York – no cars.

Eighth Avenue Fall Festival, NYC

Lemonade stand.

Lemonade stand.

At first it was exhilarating. Sunshine. People. No traffic. A kind of marketplace. What was not to like? I decided to walk down to Times Square to catch the 7 out to Queens.

Eighth Avenue Fall Festival, NYC

Murano Style Pendants

Murano Style Pendants

As I walked down the Avenue, I noticed what seemed to be an inordinate number of stands selling “murano-style” glass for $3. There didn’t seem to be any clear difference between the stalls.

Eighth Avenue Fall Festival, NYC

Pashimas

Pashimas

There were also pashminas and scarves being sold at nearly indistinguishable booths.

Eighth Avenue Fall Festival, NYC

New York Candy Apple

New York Candy Apple

Although this booth was no candy ass copy, almost worthy of the State Fair

Eighth Avenue Fall Festival, NYC

The New York Times

The New York Times

And it was good to see The Times reaching out to its neighbors with a robust absence.

Eighth Avenue Fall Festival, NYC

Sound Activated LED T-shirts

Sound Activated LED T-shirts

The LED T-shirts were hard to pass up.

Eighth Avenue Fall Festival, NYC

1200 Thread Count Egyptian Comfort

1200 Thread Count Egyptian Comfort

But it was the repetition that stood out more than the “unique.” I did some very minimal research, and it appears that this “fall festival” is organized by a street fair organization, Mardi Gras Festival Productions,which, presumably arranges street closure permits with the city and sells space to vendors.

Feast of San Gennaro, NYC

Feast of San Gennaro, NYC

Feast of San Gennaro, NYC

Nothing wrong with producing a commercial street festival. The street is still closed. The traffic absent. But it’s not the 85th Feast of San Gennaro, which also, of course, sells space to vendors, where I witnessed the pizza pie making contest a couple of days later.

Bust Magazine Craftacular

Bust Magazine Craftacular

Bust Magazine Craftacular

Nor was the Eighth Avenue “Fall Festival” the Bust Magazine Craftacular at the World Maker Faire, which sold “not your mother’s crochet” and other artisan gewgaws that you can’t live without.

My point is not to run down the Eighth Avenue Fall Festival per se. It’s unexceptionally true that not all street festivals are created equal. It’s less obvious how to “give back the streets” without still withholding their control. The commercial market stunning set on 8th Avenue, the fun artisan market with a $28 entrance fee to Maker Faire, and the authentic community festival, also on the streets, are three options.


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Public Matters, LLC, a self-described “rag-tag group of consultants”, is the artist-run initiative behind the production of the South L.A. Market Makeovers. Their goal, simply stated, is to “work with community members to create media about their neighborhoods…to develop in them a sense of ownership over these places and a belief that they can directly shape their neighborhoods’ future.
A post by Sue Bell Yank

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Become the protagonist in an urban cell phone led adventure through the streets of Minneapolis. Blast Theory’s A Machine to See With will play out on the streets of Minneapolis April 15-19, 2011.
I hesitate to reveal too many specific details about the work because I want to avoid spoilers. This is an artwork that you must experience yourself.

Blast Theory, A Machine to See With

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bimbos, San Francisco

Definitely humorous – for a $100 contribution to Crouse’s Kickstarter campaign, he will personally take your favorite movie and use “The Moustachizer” to add moustaches to everyone in the movie. – Unlogo also raises serious issues about how the increasing commercialization and privatization of contemporary society plays out in an increasingly hybrid public space, where all your vacation photos and videos posted to Facebook (or wherever) also become augmented megaphones for the brands and logos in those “memories.”

Join me in supporting Jeff’s Kickstarter campaign for Unlogo.

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Carlos J. Gómez de Llarena, The Urban Speaker at the 2010 Conflux Festival. via Alias Arts

There are many “updates” to the traditional Speaker’s Corner.

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“Sociologist William Whyte’s late twentieth-century clarion call for a “rediscovery of the center” asked us to reconsider centralized, dense public spaces rich with unexpected encounters and “maximum choice”. His appeal still echoes, but against radically different conditions. Notions of density, the public and private realms, and the experience of urban space have been re-inscribed in the purview of networked culture — the decentralized, layered, re-publicized and de-privatized conditions of virtual cooperation, coordination, and performance. The explosion of mobile media has transformed understandings and experiences of mobility and presence for technology users and non-users alike. Our social, cognitive, industrial, geographic, and economic experiences and systems have become severed or skewed from traditional anchors and re-oriented within network culture.”

from Rediscovering the Center…Again by Nepal Asatthawasi and Germaine Halegoua via the network architecture lab

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Facebook won't let me post a link to Marina Abromovic's info on the MOMA site!!!!!! www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/965  Add your comment

Facebook won't let me post a link to Marina Abromovic's info on the MOMA site!!!!!! www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/965 Add your comment

I was going to write a longer response about seeing Marina Abramovic’s retrospective The Artist Is Present here on Public Address, but when I tried to do the short version – Amazing! See it! – on Facebook, it wouldn’t let me post the link to the MOMA site.

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From agonism to the agoratic?

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“Today our ideas on public art are no longer fixated on official art and State mythology, and monuments. The vision of what public space is has been radically transformed – so that, when artists intervene in the public domain, they are not making objects such as statuary, but are reflecting on and engaging with the larger social and political processes that govern the area they are working in, the neighbourhood or community with which they have formed a working relationship or an empathetic alliance.”–Nancy Adajania, Public Art? Activating the Agoratic Condition

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