[ISEA2011] Panel: Glen Lowry – E/merg­ing Publics? In­terur­ban Col­lab­o­ra­tion and Build­ing Con­nec­tion across Dis­parate No­tions of Pub­lic Space

Panel Statement

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.