Art and Urbanism. Public Art and Technology

Project Details


Art and Urbanism
The aim of this project is to investigate artistic practices in public art and technology, and its relation to fine art, architecture and urbanism. The project aims at establishing a critical approach to the field´s present and historical meaning, and serve as the outset for future research and projects within the subject.

A broad variety of subjects and themes relating to public art and technology are highly relevant today. A vast number of different artistic projects of varying aesthetic quality are to be found in every large city today; a lot of experiments and novel forms of public art emerge. At the same time the field still has a weak theoretical foundation in all areas; being both art architecture and urban sociology.

Research in this field will build on close contact with artists, architects, curators and other stakeholders connected to the field´s artistic and methodological founding. These types of collaboration will enable the realization of actual art projects and physical works 1:1. The research forum will develop a platform for research, based on theory based research and artistic praxis.

By approaching the theme from an art theory, architecture theory and urban sociology discourse new insight, meaning and rationales concerning art and urbanism will emerge.

In art discourse it is possible to discuss ”art with an agenda”, where art is used as a catalyst for both cognitive, social and political processes in a broader context.

The historic roots of art and urbanism are closely associated to the Situationists and the historic avant garde, and is best exemplified by artistic projects defined by their relation and dialogue with reality and their contemporaneity. In recent decades installations, performances etc have found their way into urban space and used it to start critical dialogue and reflection in the intersection between art and architecture. Relational art, with its focus on social relations, active participation of the viewer/participant and presence in time and space, allow for projects where artistic interventions or works are introduced into a site in order to promote social interaction, create non-commercial and autonomous meeting places and add greater diversity in terms of spaces and experiences into the urban landscape. In the art theoretical discourse this type of works can be discussed in relation to concepts of Space and Place, Site-specificity and general contextualization of art. We are particularly interested in art and its relation to its physical context, understood both as a well-defined urban site, the urban landscape, a culture/nature landscape and the inner space in the specific installations. This research forum focuses on art on display in non-art-institutional settings; in public spaces. This is also the reason for the close relationship between the art theoretical discourse and the architecture theoretical discourse and the urban sociology discourse.

In the architectural theoretical discourse it is relevant to work with the temporal architectures scenographic character and experiment with space, construction, atmosphere etc. Art and Urbanism – Public Art and Technology should not be mistaken for the present focus on temporal architecture in city planning and urban development, where artists and other forms of ”urban circus” are enrolled in a economic rationale, which essentially is about creating good investment possibilities in an insecure time for urban development projects. This trend can be discussed, as part of the whish for creating ”urban life”, ”safety”, ”well-being” and ”safe property investment”. The current economic situation opens up for a operationalization of the tools and experiences gained in artistic projects.

Within the urban sociology discourse theory about the constitution of social, public spaces in opposition to private space. The presence of technological solutions and products in public space have also an impact on the way the public experience and act in public space, so this aspect of contemporary urban life and its relation to art is also of interest.

All types of technology applied to public art are of interest to us. We want to investigate projects and installations taking place in specific spatial contexts, and investigate the role of technology in these types of works.

It is our common interest and goal to investigate different methodological and theoretical approaches in order to understand and frame the concept Critical Spatial Praxis in a broader academic context.

Tasks for the research group:
The work of the research group will be in the intersection between theoretically based research, teaching in BA/MA programs and artistic practice (research by Art)
Below we state some of the immediate goals for 2012 and 2013

The research group will work for

1. Organization of one or more research seminars on the subject

2. Planning courses and workshops where we as individuals and groups develop teaching-based projects on the subject

3. Developing art- and installation project in scale 1:1 (in Aalborg, Copenhagen and other places) in collaboration with IMAGES, Roskilde Festival and others.

4. Formulating a larger research project and apply for funding for this project..

5. Contributing to a planned international conference on Instant Urbanism in 2013, and writing research based articles for the planned RELATE anthology

6. Finally we suggest that the group enters competitions, developing projects and join other research networks with the same field of interest and competence.

Milestones and timeline for the research group 2012-2013
Formation of research environment with small steering group (fall 2012)
a) Seminar with national researchers (October 2nd 2012)
b) Invitation of two art professors/guest researchers for development of projects and teaching based projects (spring 2013)
c) Seminar with national and international researchers (March 2013)
d) Contribution with an art installation at Roskilde Festival 2013
e) Participation in IMAGES Festival with installation(s) and artist talks
f) Participation in Conference with papers and poster presentations (September 2013)
g) Artist talks/Master classes in project World University, IMAGES September 2013
h) Publishing papers in high-ranking journals and publishing houses (2013-2014)

Effective start/end date01/09/2012 → …