Art on the Streets II

Institute of Contemporary Arts London March 21 2018

ICA Cinema 1
10.30 Susan Hansen & Sabina Andron – Welcome

10.35 – 11.15
Place, Genre, Encounter: Art in the Streets
This talk will take up the question of how we think about image in the public spaces of the city. It argues for the dynamic relationship between law, art and image, a dynamism that arises from the spectator’s encounter with the image in public space. Through a number of encounters with images existing on the borders of legality, in flux, or even just out of the reach of easy categorization, the talk will consider the images at bus stops and train stations, in tunnels, and on ladders, on motorway overpasses, bridges, and the walls of city streets, in situations that are more-or-less public, more-or-less legal, and more-or-less cultural. On this journey through the ‘non spaces’ of transit the aim is to question the ways in which we conceptualise the image in terms of genre, place, presence and law.

11.15 – 12.30
“I Made You You’re Scum”: Declarations, Digs and Dialogue in the Visual Activism of Dr. D.
Focusing mainly on almost two decades of paper-based urban interventions, this talk will survey variations in placement and modes of address employed by the visual activist known as Dr. D. By tracing their material type, scale, position, style and other qualities, Adrian will show how Dr D.’s interventions operate in different registers, posing ideas and questions that are often not the clear-cut ‘agitprop’ they might first seem at a passing glance.

Have You Seen My Gesture? On Why We Prefer a Painted Wall
Why do we generally consider graffiti as painting, even if writers often look at it as a performative act? This talk will look back at the 1970s and 1980s, when this specific view on graffiti has arisen, to better understand why graffiti has gradually shifted into painting, but also to stop looking at its current decorativeness only as the fruit of unnecessary and non-sensical commodification.

You gotta fight for your right to be arty
Carrie Reichardt will present her 20-year body of creative work. As a figurehead for the Craftivism movement in the UK, she will discuss the importance of art as both a form of personal therapy and as way to open up a dialogue about difficult and polarising subjects such as death row – a personal and poignant account of how art can help to communicate and heal.

The development of URBAN NATION
Yasha Young is the director and curator of URBAN NATION, the world’s first museum for urban contemporary art. Her talk focuses on the development over a decade of an international museum from the ground up. Not only in regards to content creation, but also the design of the building and the inclusion of the creative community and the city all in one fluid and natural flow. This includes ground breaking architecture as well as the curation of exhibitions and city walls, as well as the strategies needed to successfully fundraise, the diplomacy applied to mediate and negotiate between the traditional art world and the next generation, and the cultural development and scientific research needed along the way while remaining true to core values and final goals. To have an idea is one thing. To implement, finalize, guard, and keep the focus and spirit alive with over 250 people involved with different needs, opinions and agendas for years of construction in a world that’s focused on fast lived and enhanced digital experiences is something very different.

Lunch 12.30 – 13.30
The Unlock Book Fair is the international publishing fair dedicated to graffiti and street art. It provides publishers, artists and readers with a unique space for encounter and exchange. Unlock brings to the Art On The Streets symposium the Unlock
Showcase, a travelling bookstore carrying a selection from the publications gathered yearly at the fair – mostly small-run, scarcely distributed projects from independent publishers. Our invited local publishers, Dog Section and Gamma Proforma, bring their fine collection of street art-related titles.

13.30 – 14.45
From Intervention To Exploration, Twelve Years of Teaching
Can the values of street art be conveyed in an educational setting?
What approaches would be the most successful? Javier Abarca shares his experience of twelve years of teaching street art in institutional settings, and looks into the pros and cons of the different formulas he has adopted – starting with intervention to finally focus on exploration.

Market Road Gallery and friends: Get up, speak up or make up?
A recent ongoing experiment called the Market Road Gallery, at the border of Camden and Islington in London, has been dubbed the “UK’s first bookable interactive art gallery”. In fact, it is one among an evolving handful of efforts by Marcus Willcocks at Central Saint Martins and friends beyond, for street art to act as a lever among and towards hands-on generative arguments that can dynamically inform the places we inhabit. Marcus will give a glimpse of the journey, stumbles and surprises to date – both from the Market Road Gallery pilot and related practice, exploring how artworks in street contexts
might provoke more people to think more seriously, speak more constructively and act more playfully through contested but productive actions in the built and visual spaces around us.

Public as Private/ Private as Public
With the increasing corporatisation of “the streets”, let alone of what has today come to be known as street-art, where can the radical act today transpire? With many contemporary artists rejecting this site due to its current status as a space of hegemonic control and surveillance, a space of pure consumption and passivity, has the famous trope of the “street” today lost much of its utility and possibility? And where does that leave us if so?

Surface Space: An Inquiry into the Materiality and Politics of Urban Surfaces
This talk engages with the political potential of urban surfaces, as border locations between publicly produced and privately owned spaces. Starting from a “surface object” made from layered spray paint, the talk will speculate on its visual, material and legal regime, and argue for an understanding of city surfaces as a form of spatial commons.

COFFEE 14.45 – 15.15

15.15 – 16.30
Drawing Graffiti, Writing Architecture: Reflections on an Atlas of Athenian Inscriptions
This talk proposes a critical exchange between architecture and graffiti. It focuses on a designed book object which promotes a new situating of Athenian inscriptions and allows us to make sense of, navigate in and reconstruct the Athenian graffiti landscape through characteristic surfaces. Presented as an atlas, a book of drawings of writings and writings on drawings, it offers a close study of three plus one situations in which graffiti has been recorded. The talk discusses how the book, in both drawn and written form, describes the graffiti and open up questions of graffiti related to each situation.

Made Corrections: Art as Rehabilitation
This talk will focus on the Made Corrections project, which identified and documented existing historical prison-based graffiti, while promoting young offenders’ participation in contemporary street art, within the Kaunas Youth Correctional Facility, a Lithuanian prison for juvenile male offenders. Juvenile offenders in Lithuania, like young offenders internationally, face particular challenges to their mental health and wellbeing, especially during periods of incarceration when they exhibit much higher rates of depression, self harm, and suicide attempts than their non-incarcerated peers (Bradley, 2009). This project sought to collaboratively engage young offenders in the process of design, layout and production of works of street art.

Urban Creativity Research Network
Urban Creativity is an international research topic created with the purpose of knowledge gathering and scientific recognition of Urban Creativity as Graffiti and Street Art (G&SA) studies area. Reflecting on recent UC research agendas, Pedro Soares-Neves will propose a thought-provoking reflection on the role of graffiti and street art research in connection to infrastructural professional practices such as architecture and urbanism.

Art as Intervention: Assessing the impact of street art on urban communities
This talk asks how we might ‘measure’ the impact of street art on contemporary urban communities. Communities often develop strong positive affective ties to works of street art, and more recently some popular works have been granted heritage protection in recognition of the cultural value now often attached to street art. Street art may help to build the level of community engagement and social capital in urban communities. High social capital facilitates a sense of community empowerment, and is a social determinant of health and mental health. Beyond the social benefits of street art to the general
community, street art may also be used to positively engage with particular marginalised or vulnerable segments of the community, as a form of ecopsychosocial intervention.

COMFORT BREAK 16.30 – 16.45
16.45 – 17.30

Nuart Round Tables
In the true spirit of street art, Nuart are initiating a brave – and surely some will think stupid – attempt to transgress the hierarchy established to discuss transgression. Nuart are proposing to broaden their usual “round table” events to include all delegates and guests. This sideways step into detournement aims to the table of the Q&A inside out and upside down by asking what knowledge and insights this audience of 100 or so guests can offer us. Key words here are empowerment, agency, diversity and general laziness on the part of Nuart. Using the tried and tested methodology of pencil and notepad, Nuart have commissioned 20 questions from renowned and emerging artists and scholars that will be posed to our guests. This is an opportunity to glean some insight into who our audience are and what their thoughts are on the myriad of tasks, issues, fields and challenges we all face and engage with on a daily basis. Each guest will be given a “beautifully” branded pencil and note pad. The note pads will be collected and collated at the end of the Q&A with a view to publication sometime in the near future. As a way of thanks, guests may keep the pencils.