The Symposium “This Troublesome, Uncomfortable and Questionable Relevance of Art in Public Space” was held in Gdansk on 23-24 November 2012. Julia Draganović and Adam Budak curated the event and on behalf of Laznia Centre for Contemporary Arts have called international artists, critics and curators to bring together debates from varied perspectives and practices in an attempt to evaluate which roles artists, curators, designers and architects can actually play in revitalizing and regenerating urban space.
In 2013, on the anniversary of that event, Laznia CCA published a book by the same title summarizing the symposium. The essays included in the book are elaborated versions of the oral contributions of those lecturers who were able to participate in this publication project. Chantal Mouffe, keynote speaker of the symposium, accounts for a reflection about “Critical Artistic Practices as Counter-Hegemonic Interventions”. Mika Hannula agreed to reprint chapter two of his book Politics, Identity and Public Space (Expodium 2) entitled “Social Imaginaries”. Hannula’s contributions serves background for a series of texts dealing with “Close Encounters. Strategies of Collaboration” for which artists Mel Chin and Barbara Holub as well as curators Julia Draganović, Aneta Szylak and Joanna Warsza give examples of best practice models regarding questions like: what are the strategies to access existing knowledge systems and to foster collaboration between different stakeholders?
In the second section entitled “Museum without Museum. Tactics of Emancipation and Autonomy” curator Claire Doherty and artists Maria Papadimitriou and Berth Theis ponder the question, how far public art can be a complement or an alternative to museums and reflecting on strategies of enhancement for self-organization. Moreover, Jadwiga Charzyńska, The Director of Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, introduces the work of The Outdoor Gallery of The City of Gdansk from its start to the current state. Agnieszka Wołodźko presents a survey of public art in Gdansk of the last decades.
Authors of the texts: Chantal Mouffe, Mika Hannula, Jadwiga Charzyńska, Mel Chin, Claire Doherty, Julia Draganović, Barbara Holub, Maria Papadimitriou, Aneta Szylak, Bert Theis, Joanna Warsza Agnieszka Wołodźko