Art in Public Space: A Country’s Political Barometer

Video Interview with: Claudine Dussolier and Jean-Sébastien Steil

By drawing a general overview of the development of arts in public spaces in France, Claudine Dussolier and Jean-Sébastien Steil underline how tightly this art is connected to the political, economic and social contexts. It is fabricated in a transnational common issue that charts the evolution and specificities of this artistic field.

Artistic initiatives in public space seem to always start on a small scale and carry an experimental aspect before expanding progressively. As they are derived out of a need to build up a common space with the other, influence the surrounding and share imaginations, they are fundamentally political. Thus, the ethical motivation and political implication they carry keep on fluctuating depending on the country’s political atmosphere and emergencies. We have witnessed for instance in Egypt, Tunis, Lebanon, France and others, how transformative contextual events have been triggering a kind of awareness that is reflected in the artistic form produced in public spaces. Dussolier has been reflecting for many years on art in public spaces in some Arab countries. More than understanding why such emulsions are occurring, she observes that there seems to be today a need for thinking the structuration of this artistic field on a local and broader regional levels. This is in order to support its sustainability, share tools and, make use out of the collective knowledge practitioners have been accumulating for more than a decade – which is what Mahatat Co-writing Lab is initiating.



Claudine Dussolier “Politique et art dans l’espace publique dans le monde arabe” in Revue Z.A.T (zone artistique temporaire) n°4, Avril 2012 – Penser la ville artistiquement.

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