Uncontained: The art and politics of reconfiguring urban space

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The aim of this paper is to explore (a vocabulary for) the potential effects of urban artistic interventions on the configuration of city space. It engages with a particular art project that took place in Vienna, Austria, in the summer of 2000. Through juxtaposing descriptions of the particular time space of the intervention with reflections on how the ensuing excess of spatial trajectories disrupts urban orders, I seek to illustrate the potential of art to reorganise what is visible and expressible, and ponder the question whether such ‘provocations in situ (…)’ can ‘recompose political spaces, or if they must be content to parody them’ (Rancière). Constructed as a dialogue between empirical narratives and conceptual reflections, the form and the style of this paper attempt to embrace the ambiguity and openness unleashed by the performance/installation in question and ‘to stay within the compass of [its] force and imagination’ (Taussig). Resisting interpretative closure and exacerbating spatial multiplicity, or so I will try to show, constitutes a powerful effect of politically engaged urban art.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture and Organisation
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)229-246
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2010