A New Relevance for Public Art


Session Title:

  • Urban Ecologies

Presentation Title:

  • A New Relevance for Public Art




  • If we accept that art has a role to play in the influence of popular opinion on issues of ecology and ethics, we can then also question the effectiveness of various approaches and methodologies that are at the disposal of the contemporary artist.

    As we endeavor to extricate civilization from fossil fuel dependence and pull ourselves back from the brink of ecological disaster, the existential debate over the purpose of art deserves renewed attention. Is it possible for art to contribute actively to solutions to the problems that confront us? Can interdisciplinary solution-based art with hyper-constructivist relevance inspire social change?

    As the trend in architecture sees buildings move towards zero-impact and positive-impact construction, and energy generation becomes more nodal and diversified, perhaps the trend in urban infrastructure will follow. Since the new means of energy generation do not pollute in their daily operation and can therefore be integrated into the fabric of our lives, will the design of public space, and therefore public art, also seek to incorporate renewable energy technology as we endeavor to create holistic urban ecologies?

    What does art have to offer sustainable infrastructure and the future of city planning? And, more fundamentally, can art maintain its conceptual purity while fulfilling practical functions such as energy generation?

    The relationship between art and technology is an ancient symbiosis. From the earliest tool-making that manifested aesthetics beyond pure utility, to the rich array of contemporary media works, both sides of the coin have gained riches from the company of the other. Art can use technology as a medium not only for the expression of ideas but also as a tool for the creation of solutions that, through their sublimation of the everyday, have a dual purpose role: both demonstrating while inspiring.

    The organizers will present their work in the context of the Land Art Generator Initiative and host a panel discussion regarding the issues related to aesthetics and infrastructure, and interdisciplinary art.