We like to think of public spaces as sites of democracy, democratic spaces. The agora in Classical Greece, the idea behind the “town square”, Tahrir Square, Zuccotti Park, or Rothschild Boulevard of protests and revolutions circa 2011, the street as a meeting point between strangers who can at any moment become ad-hoc partners in destiny – these are but a few examples of public spaces that are perceived as both a condition for a dynamic democracy and its symbols.
What Does Public Space Do?
Public space is a cultural concept. When Jürgen Habermas coined the term “public sphere” in 1962, he attributed it to the emergence of civil society, in other words forming a collective ideological position and conducting a public discourse, which only became possible when the masses began acquiring linguistic skills (reading and writing) in the eighteenth century. This was a cultural-urban turning point that created a new system of power relations between the masses (the public) and the hegemony (the regime, the aristocracy, religion, etc). The significance of the establishment of public space can therefore be understood in the very liberation of the public and legitimacy for acting to exercise its rights.
I had misgivings about telling him an ordinary story like the hundreds of books his mother bought him at Ikea Books. I wanted to impress him in his time of difficulty. I didn’t know she wouldn’t forgive me. I didn’t think for a moment that she would throw me out. And for what? For inventing a story?
I have never seen anyone discarding a mattress in the street. We never see the person who comes out of his house with a mattress and dumps it in the street. We also never see who picks them up. They are just there, until they are not.
“The attack on the World Trade Center is the first post-Cold War attack. Whoever its perpetrators may be, they have ushered in a new era in terror, which has absolutely nothing in common with the recurring blasts that from time to time horrify Ireland and Britain.
Every Tuesday at 20:30 approximately, a group of chairs and sometimes a small table are pulled out onto the Placeta de Sant Francesc in the Barri Gótic of Barcelona. These chairs are populated by neighbors, who have been turning up for the past 10 years “to do nothing” together.
As part of the processes of researching the connection between ethnography and contemporary art, some of which was presented in “The Ethnographic Department” exhibit in the Museum of the Contemporary at the Mamuta Center in Hansen House in 2014, we have composed a questionnaire on the Israeli sound regime.
“B” is for Bab Al Shams – On the “Palestinian Outpost” practice / Shiraz Grinbaum and Oren Ziv – ActiveStillsMay 2nd, 2016 | By Ma'arav | Category: What Does Public Space Do?
On July 14, 2011, Daphni Leef placed all her belongings on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv, an act that inspired thousands of citizens to join her protest against the high cost of living and housing. Masses of people living in public space attracted media coverage and created pressure on government ministers and Knesset members to take a stand on the issue of housing prices. Erecting a tent city and conducting temporary community life in a public space were received with relative agreement by the various authorities, which feared that forcible eviction would only escalate the protest.
Stephen Wright is a theorist, curator, and independent researcher primarily engaged in theoretical alternatives to the current capitalist framework of the contemporary artworld. Wright’s work revolves around the use value of art in society, and “usership”, one of the concepts he coined, challenges the existing museal-economic-political relationship between artist, object, and spectator, and in effect calls for its retirement. He has curated several exhibitions that explore artistic practices with low coefficients of artistic visibility, in which he examined the possibility of art without artworks, without authorship, and without spectatorship.