Aesthetics and ethics of working in public art: Seminar 1, a summary of the discussion.
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The hunch behind Working in Public is that art now exists in the public sphere in unprecedented ways. Working in Public aims therefore to open up greater uncertainty in what we think art is and to provoke more thoughtful and creative responses to what it might become. In understanding how and why artists currently work in public we may begin to understand the nature of the public sphere itself as it is in the process of being creatively and critically formed. In developing the programme, we are not interested in creating a normative ‘model’ of public art practice. It seems more appropriate to attempt to arrive at a sense of quality through a conscious and active process of debating what quality means. Through Working in Public we are building a rigorous understanding what actually happens in practice; what tensions and contradictions arise when artists intervene in the public sphere; what if any, is the impact of the work on the imagination and on our capacity to think and act differently.