Monday 15th July. 8.45-12.30. Tuesday 16th July. 9.30-5pm. (Please select days you will be coming).
Space can be performed, made, manifested, enacted, marked, inhabited, occupied. It is taken and re-taken, territorialised and de-territorialised and re-territorialised, it is endlessly becoming. All these processes enable space to be more than geographical location, thus gaining symbolic dimensions and thus able to communicate. The private and public spheres entangle a different enactment of space: the private sphere is more perceived as a natural realm for self-nesting, while the public one is understood in terms of (neutral) sharing. But public space is far from being neutral nor is its sharing equitable. Metaphors like ‘stage’ and ‘arena’, often used in relation to public space, are symptomatic of this.
In addition to these explicit or implicit tensions, and sometimes in direct relation to them, the public sphere involves permeability between publicity and privacy: the assumed privacy of domestic spaces, the semi-privacy of ritual spaces, the semi-publicness of commercial spaces and the publicness of streets, squares and parks. But all these different degrees rest on distinctions and conventions that are becoming increasingly blurred. Public spaces may be privately owned, front of house becomes back of house, television makes a public spectacle of idealised domestic space and social media reveals unintended aspects of private identities or facilitates façades for alternative public ones. Moreover, those deprived of space – people experiencing homelessness, migrants, refugees live their intimacy in public, constantly scrutinized, controlled and denied privacy.
How can the enablement of space be read or reinterpreted in this context? Which politics become possible and how are they foreclosed or facilitated by new and hybrid forms of public space? If democracy supposedly rests on distinctions between private and public, what is its role today as these categories become increasingly blurred? What has it meant to be political in public space and in what ways does contemporary public space enable forms of political action?
The symposium stresses the potential for exploring the connections and contradictions, tensions and paradoxes in contemporary public space which may or may not have parallels with past examples. Papers address a range of questions including, but not limited to:
- What new forms of identity and agency can take place through the private occupation of public space (whether temporary or permanent), and in whose interests? Do acts of appropriation by one party necessarily mean displacement of others, and which others?
- Beyond formal laws of ownership, what are the informal rules that define or create contemporary public space?
- What are the layers of individual or collective relationships at play in public space? This may or may not include interactions between physicality and virtuality.
- What are the relationships between legal definitions, public policy positions and cultural values about public space?
The Symposium has three sessions:
- READING PUBLIC SPACE: RIGHTS AND USES
- POLICIES AND POLITICS OF CRAFTING PUBLIC SPACE: ARCHITECTS AND URBANISTS AT WORK
- POLICIES AND POLITICS OF CRAFTING PUBLIC SPACE: SOCIÉTÉ DU SPECTACLE
And Round Table on Technologies of Public Space.
Convenors: Flavia Marcello and Carmen Popescu
Scientific Committee: Marion Hohlfeldt, Flavia Marcello, Carmen Popescu, Frédéric Sotinel, Ian Woodcock