Artists’ Publications as Art in the Public Realm
The exhibition project "Inside the City" will focus on the changed constellations in and around the public space, and explore the means by which those constellations have been mirrored, subverted, adopted or in general addressed in contemporary artistic production since 1960. What stance do artists take in these contexts? And what strategies do they develop to deal with them?
Inside the City
Three Bremen institutions ‒ the Centre for Artists’ Publications, the GAK Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst and the Künstlerhaus Bremen ‒ have joined forces to present the exhibition project Inside the City, whose title has its origins in Im Inneren der Stadt, a song on the Hamburg band Kante’s Zombi album (Kitto-Yo, 2004). In keeping with these institutions’ individual focuses, within the framework of the show they will each explore different aspects of the public space in the contemporary art of the 1960s to the present.
The CENTRE FOR ARTISTS' PUBLICATIONS will directly enter the public space and present art with the means and media of publicness, i.e. with forms of publication. This also includes the opening of a CALL FOR POSTERS, which invites artists to participate with their own designs in a Poster action. The GAK GESELLSCHAFT FÜR AKTUELLE KUNST will stage an exhibition titled “Inside the City: Public Space and Free Space” devoted to current restrictions on the public space and artistic means of questioning, but also circumventing, those restrictions. The Künstlerhaus Bremen, for its part, will present “Inside the City: Digital Influences on the Public Space”, concentrating on how digital space creates new ways of regarding the public space as a place of community. With “Inside the City: Artists’ Publications as Art in the Public Space”, The various artistic approaches represented in “Inside the City” will accordingly not only take up their positions in the exhibition rooms of the three institutions, but in many cases literally spread out into their subject ‒ the public space, the inside of the city.
The city, particularly the European one, is fundamentally defined by the public space. Public spaces can on the one hand be conceived as the squares, parks, streets and paths accessible to and utilizable by all the people in the cities, i.e. the public, without special permission or fundamental restrictions. Yet the term also refers to a meta-space in which public opinion can form without constraint, and access to all information and media is free and can be freely discussed. In this sense, the public space is penetrated by media that in turn generates publicness. Today, what this means above all is mass-media publicness.
Even before Twitter and Facebook, a change had already come about in the constitution and perception of publicness and public space, leading to a fundamental change in the public space itself. In order to satisfy our desire for safety, for example, the number of surveillance cameras and other means of control have continually increased. The privatization and commercialization of formerly public spaces have moreover led to a change in the original functions of those spaces: certain uses are ruled out and certain users excluded, or public spaces are converted into private ones capable of keeping societal and social conflicts on the outside. Another factor contributing to the change of the public space is the expansion of multi-media communication services, for example by way of tablet computers, and the virtualization of the city, for instance via Google Maps, bringing about the further media infiltration of the public as well as an overlapping of the public and the private.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a substantial programme of events and activities enhancing and intensifying the theme in a wide range of different ways, and by a publication.