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Saturday, June 1, 2013

CFP: Urban Encounters: Art and the Public (Halifax - October 2013) deadline June 30

CALL FOR PAPERS (please circulate)

Urban Encounters: Art and the Public
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, October 10-12, 2013

Public art installations are increasingly being created and used to open up
new lines of inquiry into the socialities of urban public space. As cities
strive to be indexed as culturally dynamic and 'creative', the stakes of
artistic production in public space are raised ever higher. Yet there has
been little rigorous research into how the interactions between art and the
public actually play out in the urban social context. This
interdisciplinary colloquium brings together artists and researchers to
explore how artworks in diverse media and genres can shape the urban public
– the patterned and unpredictable encounters, events, and flows of city
life – and, conversely, how the urban public can shape artistic production.
We ask:

- What forms are artistic engagements with the city taking, and how do they
influence the city's people and places?
- How does the urban public encounter art in the city, and how do these
encounters affect the structure and content of the work?
- What kinds of urban publics are generated through art?
- How can we investigate and interpret encounters between art and the
public in urban spaces?

Site-specific artworks in public space have the potential to change the
ways in which members of the public experience their cities. Artworks that
fit into the interstices of the city – the car parks or alleyways, the gaps
between buildings – open up these spaces for new exploration. Artworks that
appropriate central urban places, like main squares or monuments, can
reframe or subvert their dominant meanings. Art can alter the fabric of the
city by projecting images or sounds onto its architectural surfaces. Art
can use new media technologies to create circuits for the urban to flow
from 'real' to 'virtual' and back again. In short, art can disrupt and
rework the social and affective spaces of the city.

Moreover, while all art is interactive, in the sense that people react to
and therefore interact with it, many artists are experimenting with work
that exists only through explicit engagement with the public in some form.
This can mean attending carefully to the structures and rhythms of public
spaces, such that their surfaces or sounds, for instance, are built into
the piece. Or it can mean creating art that is activated by participants'
gestures in situ or accessed via individuals' mobile devices. Art can be
crowdsourced, with conduits set up for incorporating textual or visual
contributions from members of the public. More rarely, viewers' experiences
of art might be directly integrated into the work itself. Still other kinds
of public art are conversation pieces (Kester), generated through more or
less long-term collaborations with groups of people investigating specific
urban social problems in creative ways. Artistic engagement with the urban
public can generate original, sometimes surprising encounters.

This colloquium will engage these themes through academic papers, artists'
talks, exhibitions, and workshops on interdisciplinary collaboration. We
invite submissions for scholarly papers that focus on the themes of the
colloquium from academics, researchers and artists working in the social
sciences, humanities, urban planning, architecture, fine arts and media
arts. Space is limited, as the aim here is to give ample time for in-depth
presentation and discussion of high-quality papers, circulated before the
colloquium, with a view to producing a special journal issue. Send an
abstract of up to 250 words, along with authors' names, affiliations and
email and postal addresses to by June 30.

Conference organizers: Solomon Nagler (NSCAD University); Kim Morgan (NSCAD
University); Martha Radice (Dalhousie University). Contact for further information.

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