Panel: Public Art of the Sustainable City
Increasingly, artists and scholars seek (or are invited) to create dialogic works capable of captivating and activating publics across disparate geo-political locations. However, in as much as it depends on our ability to transport/translate engagement strategies across borders and between cities, this type of work necessitates careful consideration of underlying assumptions about the cultural political functions of contemporary public art. In the context of new urban spaces and emerging publics, these interurban collaborations challenge the primacy of European or North American models. In an attempt to locate key questions about the global mobility of public art and public art discourses, this paper draws on the example of Maraya, an ongoing international art project that strives to link urban sites in Vancouver, Canada, and Dubai, UAE. It begins from the notion that Vancouver and Dubai are organized around very different notions of public space, based on different historical connections to a European bourgeois public sphere. From here, my paper will set out to describe key issues involved in thinking or working through international collaborations, specifically around issues of global mobilities, interdisciplinary practice, and bridging publics.
- Glen Lowry, PhD, is a Vancouver-based writer, editor and educator. His work focuses on creative-critical collaborations between artists and academics, particularly in the context of new and emerging publics. With Henry Tsang and M. Simon Levin, Lowry is a lead researcher for Maraya, a large-scale public artwork linking urban waterfront spaces in Vancouver and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Since 2002, he has edited West Coast Line, a Simon Fraser University-based cultural journal, and he is a founding editor of LINEbooks, a micropress specializing experimental, west coast poetry and poetics. In 2009, he published Pacific Avenue, his first book of poetry. Lowry is the Assistant Dean of Culture and Community at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Vancouver, Canada.