PUBLIC #45 CIVIC SPECTACLE

Edited by Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher

Print ISSN: 0845-4450
Online ISSN: 2048-6928
http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-issue,id=2243/
 

PUBLIC 45: Civic Spectacle considers how large-scale events have challenged conventional understandings of audience, spectacle, and what it means to “view” art. The recent success of Nuit Blanche, for instance, breeds a paradox: in one night the number of visitors often surpasses the attendance at major art institutions for an entire year. Despite such numbers, this popular exhibition format has so far yielded limited scholarship, which PUBLIC 45 seeks to engage. This issue on Civic Spectacle analyzes the greater context of performances that includes the time-honoured cultural forms of festivals and parades along with more spontaneous and oppositional events, such as flash mobs and activist interventions. Indeed, beyond Nuit Blanche, these types of civic spectacles respond to a situation of urban crisis: the loss of sustainable jobs as tourism and service industries replace manufacturing, the weakened political clout of cities as suburbs and exurbs become wealthier and more populous, and the challenges to retain a sense of community in the stressed circumstances of the downtown core.

Seventeen articles and projects in this issue are organized into three themed sections. “Nuit Blanche” considers iterations in Toronto, Paris and Halifax. Addressing how these events give prominence to insomnia, social media, urban poetics and neoliberal “civility,” the articles outline distinctive affective states and their ethical implications. The second section, “Cityscapes,” scrutinizes the material conditions undergirding these massive public art events—the buildings and streets that are appropriated and transformed by artists and residents, even symbolically devoured, as in Ali&Cia’s urbanophagy projects. The last section, “Performing Citizenship,” focuses on questions that could be said to inform many of the articles throughout. What kinds of subjectivities and political positioning do civic spectacles ask participants to embody? What range of responses ensue? The authors here focus on both officially sanctioned spectacles (the Olympics) and examples of resistant public actions (DIY technoculture).

TABLE OF CONTENTS

JIM DROBNICK AND JENNIFER FISHER         
Introduction

NUIT BLANCHE

HEATHER DIACK 
Sleepless Nights: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Performance         

SIOBHAN O’FLYNN          
Nuit Blanche and Transformational Publics

PROJECT: JIM DROBNICK AND JENNIFER FISHER  
NIGHTSENSE

CATHERINE HOWELL     
City of Night: Parisian Explorations

MAX HAIVEN        
Halifax’s Nocturne versus(?) the Spectacle of Neoliberal Civics

CITYSCAPES

ANDREW WASSERMAN  
Street Light: Manhattanhenge and the Plan of the City

ABIGAIL SUSIK      
The Screen Politics of Architectural Light Projection

PROJECT: SIMON COHEN AND ALICIA RÍOS
Ali&Cia’s Urbanophagy Ceremonies

JOEL McKIM            
Spectacular Infrastructure: The Mediatic Space of Montreal’s “Quartier des spectacles”

PROJECT: THE FREEE COLLECTIVE
The Freee Collective Don’t Want You!

MATTHEW REYNOLDS    
“A Massive Multi-Faceted Screening Room”: LA Freewaves Curates Hollywood Boulevard

PERFORMING CITIZENSHIP

CARMEN McCLISH           
Urban Playground Antics and the Redefining of Public Spaces

PHILIP GLAHN      
Digital Productivism: New Participatory Mass Culture

CHARLOTTE McIVOR      
Essences of Social Change: City Fusion, Interculturalism and the Dublin St. Patrick’s Day Festival in Post-Celtic Tiger Ireland

PROJECT: ERIC MOSCHOPEDIS
Public Dreaming and the Transgression of Neoliberal Borders

FIONA WILKIE       
“Choreographies of Nationhood”: Performing Aviation as Spectacle

LOIS KLASSEN       
Participatory Art at the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad

__________________________________________________________________________

COLUMN

IAN BALFOUR        
Seeing Through Spectacles

REVIEWS

BRIAN CURTIN      
Khvay Samnang, Untitled

JONATHAN BAXTER        
Nuno Sacramento and Claudia Zeiske, ARTocracy: Art, Informal Space, and Social Consequence: A Curatorial Handbook in Collaborative Practice

LEWIS KAYE           
Mark Nunes, ed., Error: Glitch, Noise, and Jam in New Media Cultures

MARC JAMES LÉGER        
Gerald Raunig, Gene Ray and Ulf Wuggenig, eds., Critique of Creativity: Precarity, Subjectivity and Resistance in the “Creative Industries”

Cover image: Dan Mihaltianu, Vodka Pool (2009), installation from NIGHTSENSE, Nuit Blanche, Toronto. Photo: Margie Macdonald, courtesy DisplayCult.