The conference organized by the ŁAŹNIA Centre for Contemporary Art was yet another event in the Art and the City series after July’s “Not another public art festival”. 1.
Summer is gone and so are our summertime actions – now it was the time to reflect upon them and summarize this experience as well as define and plan future projects under the public art programme.
The subtitle of our conference, “Just what is it that makes our cities so different, so appealing?”, paraphrases the title of a famous collage by Richard Hamilton. During our meeting, we attempted to find out whether art showcased in urban spaces could in fact be the factor making our cities so different, yet so appealing.
The conference encompassed talks by sixteen speakers and specialists from Poland as well as Denmark, Finland, Austria, Luxembourg and Germany. The event was divided into two parts.
The first covered prospects for the development of contemporary urban art. The opening lecture was given by Prof. Bukdahl, who was talking about the liberty unleashed by public art. Then, over several presentations, we got to know examples from Vienna, Helsinki, Lublin and Milan, and this segment will end with a debate on the Gdańsk Outdoor Gallery moderated by Prof. Paweł Leszkowicz.
The second part focused on the role of the city in the context of art projects and creating shared spaces. This segment began with a lecture by Grzegorz Piątek, who talked about the experience of Warsaw in organizing art and participation-based projects. The series of presentations concerned actions undertaken by cultural institutions based in Gdańsk: ŁAŹNIA Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdańsk City Gallery, City Culture Institute and the company operating the Pomeranian Metropolitan Railway (PKM). This part concluded with a debate with representatives of cultural institutions and local administration units responsible for the implementation of municipal plans (e.g. Road and Green Areas Administration, Gdańsk Development Office, Mayor’s Bureau of Culture). The debate in part two was moderated by Artur Celiński.
The two-part structure of the conference reflects the division contained in the title, which underlines the relationship between art and the city as two mutually influential entities. Each part ends with a debate, which will serve as a summary of sorts, hopefully bringing constructive solutions enabling further development of the discussed subject matter. Results derived from the conference, and lessons learned, will serve as a foundation for the planned online platform showcasing all art objects and art-related actions based in Gdańsk.