In many public projects, art is expected to take a set of functions, for example, to alleviate social problems, to comply with different requirements, or to be accessible to a wide group of audience or users. However, in some cases, art can adopt a critical function by being positioned in ways that make it possible to question the terms of engagement of the projects themselves. This kind of public art practice is critically engaged; it works in relation to dominant ideologies yet at the same time challenges them.
The function of art that is brought out of its traditional context exemplifies at the same time two of the main pitfalls of public art as described by cultural theorist Malcolm Miles in Art, Space and the City: its use as wallpaper to cover over social tensions and as a monument to promote the aspirations of dominant ideologies.
(Jane Rendell in Art and Architecture: A Space in Between)
However, within the wake of new cross-disciplinary interest in the city as the maze linking up all social, cultural, political and economical transformation and thus the ultimate case study to research them, some artists have found a new reason to turn to the city: to collect narratives or dramaturgical information, to understand, map out and interact with the context they are part of.
From their point of view, it is not so much the insertion of an object or performance in the public space that matters, but the process of intervening, interacting and researching the urban network itself, and the information this brings about.
In the City/Stage Interface lecture event, contextualizing the Path of Money project, recent performative experiments in the city are theoretically connected with urban activist practices using the intervention as a tool to map out, understand and/or collect information on the city. The lecture performance by Daniel Aschwanden and Peter Stamer on the ongoing Path of Money experiments in China, are the main part of the event.
In Shanghai, Liu Yan + aaajiao/3S Media Center and the Zendai Museum have acted as the hosts of the event; in Beijing, Adrian Blackwell and Els Silvrants/Theatre in Motion will take over their role.
Thursday 22 May 2008 - 19:00
Zendai Museum of Modern Art, Art Classroom, Shanghai, China
Friday 30 May 2008 - 21:30
TIM studio, Beixinqiao, Dongsi Beidajie, Dongsi Shisi Tiao 93 A 4th Floor
(if you need directions in Chinese, please mail email@example.com)
Entrance is free of charge. More info on www.we-need-money-not-art.com