[artinfo] SPACES Conference, Vienna, October 30-31, 2014

Vladimir US vladimir at oberliht.org.md
Fri Oct 31 10:47:49 CET 2014

The SPACES Conference, Vienna
October 30-31, 2014

Art that reacts to life where it actually happens, blurred borders 
between the producer and the viewer of art: between 2011-2014, the 
project SPACES assembled artists and cultural workers in 
Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine acting in the public realm of 
their cities, critically reflecting on societal issues. Artistic work 
expressed in the temporary use of public space establishes a 
counterweight to the eternal representation of power that classical 
statues and monuments are loaded with, or can represent the artist's 
tactics of sustaining creativity in unfavourable conditions.

Public space is a radically changing, endangered environment, 
particularly in Eastern Europe. After decades of rather hidden and 
scattered struggles, public space and its re-appropriation through 
artists in particular, and civil society in general have become key 
elements in current processes of protest, activism and change.

Within the framework of SPACES, the curatorial team invited artists 
to develop interactive projects in Chisinau, Kyiv, Tbilisi and 
Yerevan, to reconsider public space as a place for free expression, 
social encounter, and shared responsibilities, aiming at enhancing 
civil society processes. The SPACES interventions dealt with the 
past, present, and future aspirations of spaces and cities, succeeded 
to change the rhythm of the city, made private acts public, irritated 
- all against the background of the burning question: How far can the 
citizen get actively involved in current political discourses?

Another challenge for SPACES was to strengthen the cultural public 
sphere in the four countries, juxtaposing it to an economy-centred 
cultural policy approach. The approach of a cultural public sphere 
brings together the "notion of public debate, democratic 
representation in terms of politics and policy, with aesthetics and 
emotion, that is, affective matters" (McGuigan, 2011), going 
beyond cognition.

The project created antitheses to the current urban transformation 
processes, characterized by the privatization of public property, the 
destruction of the historic centers of the cities and an ongoing 
loss of their former social functions, new ownership patterns and 
symbolic domination of the public space by political and religious 
groups in power. These processes exclude many voices, such as 
religious minorities, economically disadvantaged groups, or the 
communities of sexual minorities, and leave citizens unprepared to 
consider public space as a common space for all.

The SPACES conference in Vienna presents and discusses experiences 
from Chisinau, Kyiv, Tbilisi, and Yerevan, and connects them to other 
parts of Europe and the world. Speakers from 12 countries share their 
experiences and reflections with the audience. The discussion 
proceeds to looking at the social transformation processes in Europe 
in general and the positioning of artists in current global processes 
of protest, activism and change.


Vladimir US

CHIOSC   |   curator


Proiectul CHIOSC este realizat cu suportul financiar al Fundatiei 
Culturale Europene <http://www.eurocult.org>http://www.eurocult.org

"Oberliht" Young Artists Association

tel/fax:	+ (373 22) 286317
email: 	<mailto:vladimir at oberliht.org.md>vladimir at oberliht.org.md

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