Master Dialog / New Artistic Practices in Public Spheres: Site Specifity, Urban Tactics and Activism

HS 2017

Thursday 23. November

9.30 Welcome and Introduction

Concept Group


10.00 Urban Tactics/Participation

Moderator: Linda Cassens Stoian


10.15 Lecture Katherine Clarke

London (partner of the MUF organization, which is a collaboration of artists and architects and urban designers)

Just what is it that makes today's urban tactics so different, so appealing?

Just what is it is a paraphrase of Richard Hamilton’s title for his collage that became the seminal poster for the 1956 exhibition This is Tomorrow, which he in turn lifted from the copy of a real estate advertisement, Just what is it that makes today's home so different, so appealing?

The ‘difference’ was spatial modernity, the open plan, the lateral extension of space, seemingly without hierarchy, the ‘appealing’ was the celebration of nascent neo-liberal capitalism.  

muf are constantly mindful of Hamilton’s cheery critique on the impossibility of capitalism to produce truly democratic space and our tactics, as practitioners and producers, are those of duplicity, staying in the room long enough to understand what is going on, and then operating along a continuum of the strategic sell-out.

These tactics, which are perhaps neither different nor appealing, will be presented through recent public realm projects.



11.00 Lecture Helen Leung

Los Angeles (Co-Executive Director of LA-Más)

Community Urbanism and Grasstops Activism: A Los Angeles Perspective

Too often, politics and capitalism undermine the expected democratic processes of urban planning and investment. In Los Angeles, a non-profit urban design firm is challenging the norms by combining design, policy, and community. LA-Más invests in projects that help lower-income communities shape their growth. To ensure inclusive development that is cultural sensitive, especially in gentrifying neighborhoods, LA-Más often serves as an intermediary between political will and community need. This presentation will highlight creative housing and planning strategies, small business programs, and public realm interventions that reflect cultural preservation over production. In all these projects, there is an intentional approach towards meaningful community engagement and new political partnerships.



11.45– Lunch Break and


12.30 discussion installation


12.30 Strategies of Site Specifity

Moderators: Marion von Osten / Peter Spillmann


12.45 Lecture Joanna Warzsa

Curator of public art Munich 2017


13.30 Lecture Lisa Rosendahl

Curator of Public Arts Agency Sweden series “Industrial Society in Transition”

Extraction – From Mining to Data Mining in Luleå

The talk will focus on Rosendahl's current curatorial project, a context-specific exhibition in public spaces throughout the Swedish city of Luleå produced by Public Art Agency Sweden. The project takes the shift from mining to data mining in the region of Norrbotten as a point of departure to discuss the expanding paradigm of extractivism more generally. The exhibition in Luleå is the first part of a longer curatorial project on extraction that will continue in relation to other geographical contexts.



14.15 Coffee Break and open discussions


14.30 Activism / Commonings

Moderators: Patric Fasel / Sabine Gebhardt Fink


14.45 Lecture Dana Yahalomi

Israel (Member Public Movement)


15.15 Lecture Tanja Ostojic

Berlin (artist)

Misplaced Women?

Ongoing since 2009, is on-line and live platform, and an art project by Tanja Ostojić, that consists of performance series, workshops and delegated performances, including contributions by international artists, students and people from divers backgrounds. Within this project we embody and enact some of everyday-life activity that signifies a displacement as common to transients, migrants, war and disaster refugees, as it is to the itinerant artists travelling the world to earn their living. Project continues themes of migration, desired mobility, and relations of power and vulnerability in regards to the mobile female body as in numerous previous artworks of mine. Workshop participants get an opportunity to develop sensibility for related issues and processes. <>



16.15 Coffee Break and open discussions


16.30 Agents of Social Change

Ilan Manouach, workshop, Athens/Paris (artist)

Shapereader, an ad-hoc tactile communication system


17.30 Keynote Lecture Joe Parker

Claremont CA (Professor for International and Intercultural Studies (Pitzer College): Performative Theory, Art and Activism

Tactical Vigilance through Difference:

Embodied Collective Practices to Equalize Social Relations

Established political mechanisms have proven unable to displace plutocrats and oligarchs entrenched in national and local democracies, so some communities lose faith in electoral politics. Yet many long-established traditions of embodied, direct participation beyond liberal elections use assembly and consensus to disrupt abstract claims to equality and reclaim social spaces for governance by all. These sites also draw on specific histories Other to Eurocentric lineages of the political that open up agency to social sectors structurally blocked from the liberal public sphere: rural and urban subalterns, indigenous peoples, and the superexploited. This paper considers assembly-based movements deploying consensus in rural Mexico, Caracas, and New York City, along with artistic movements like the Street Artists Group in Buenos Aires. While assembly-based politics in these sites escape full capture by the logics and assumptions of bourgeois Eurocentric analysis, they provide many tactics useful for displacing legitimated embodied and epistemic violence. By introducing Other modes of the political unrecognizable to capitalist, phallogocentric, and nationalist regimes, these sites invite vigilance in everyday political practice that shapes equalized social spaces for the long term.



18.30– Aperitif



Universität / Haute École
Hochschule Luzern Design & Kunst
Contact email
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Content description

This conference will position and reflect traditional notions of cultural practices in the public sphere –art in context, participation, and activism – in relation to some of the most recent strategies and forms of cultural production today, namely: critical institutional practices, spatial agencies, and commonings. Considering these fields as specific contextualized arenas, the underlying paradigmatic positions will be disclosed through presentations by representative contemporary cultural producers. Mutual questions to be focused during the event include the following: What are the respective issues in current discourses, especially in light of the current rise in so - called populism? What strategies and forms are adequate in addressing such contemporary issues, and what are the difficulties in the face of the mediatization of cities, policies of (mis)representation and de-democratization? In our discussions we will focus on contemporary popular uprisings, assemblies and occupations – including Occupy Wall Street, Tahrir Square, Gezi Park, Black Lives Matter, and the Indignados, as well as on Judith Butler’s  theory of assembly through performative, embodied dissent.


Concept and Organization

Linda Cassens Stoian, Patric Fasel, Sabine Gebhardt Fink, Marion von Osten, Peter Spillmann


Foyer Research Installation Art in Public Spheres: Timothy Studer and Students of the Master of Arts in Fine Arts Programm - Major Art in Public Spheres: Debora Gerber, Christina Haupt, Nicole Heri, Yvonne Imhof, Stina Kasser, Thomas Leiser, Reto Lienhard, Lorena Linke, Violetta Szikriszt, Stefan Tschumi, Paula Weimann.



Room 345 & 351 (3rd Floor) and Foyer (ground Floor)

HSLU D&K, Bau 745, Nylsuisseplatz 1, 6020 Emmenbrücke