The British born organisation Situations reimagines what public art can be and where and when it can take place. They like to think and reflect on what happens when the spark of an idea is lit. They test out new ways in which to share those ideas through new commissions, events, interviews, books and blogs.
InEnArt shares The New Rules of Public Art published by Situations :
First published by Situations at Public Art Now, December 2013
- The days of bronze heroes and roundabout baubles are numbered. Public art can take any form or mode of encounter – from a floating Arctic island to a boat oven – be prepared to be surprised, delighted, even unnerved. Futurefarmers, Flatbread Society, Oslo, 2013. Photo: Max McClure
- From the here-today-gone tomorrow of a “one day sculpture” to the growth of a future library over 100 years, artists are shaking up the life expectancy of public artworks. Places don’t remain still and unchanged, so why should public art? BC System, New Works Forever, Bristol, 2013. Photo: Georgina Bolton
- Commissioning public art is not a simple design-and-build-process. Artworks arrive through a series of accidents, failures and experiments. Moments of uncertainty and rethinking are the points at which the artwork comes into focus. Let responses to the artwork unfold over time and be open to the potential for unforeseen things to happen.
- Be wary of predefining an audience. Community is rarely born out of geography, but rather out of common purpose – whether that be a Flatbread Society of farmers, bakers and activists building a bakehouse or 23,000 citizens across 135 countries writing a constitution for a new nation. As Brian Eno once said, “sometimes the strongest single importance of a work of art is the celebration of some kind of temporary community.” Alex Hartley, Nowhereisland, Mevagissey, 2012. Photo: Max McClure
- Towns and cities across the world are locked into a one-size fits all style of public art. In a culture of globalized brands and clone towns, we hanker after authentic, distinctive places. If we are place-making, then let’s make unusual places.
- Believe in the quiet, unexpected encounter as much as the magic of the mass spectacle. It’s often in the silence of a solitary moment, or in a shared moment of recognition, rather than the exhilaration of whizzes and bangs, that transformation occurs. Wrights & Sites, Everything You Need to Build a Town is Here, Weston-super-Mare, 2010. Photo: Max McClure
- We need smart urban design, uplifting street lighting and landmark buildings, but public art can do so much more than decorate. Interruptions to our surroundings or everyday activities can open our eyes to new possibilities beyond artistic embellishment. Heather & Ivan Morison, Journée des Barricades, Wellington, 2008. Photo: Steven Rowe
- Public art is of the people and made with the people, but not always by the people. Artists are skilled creative thinkers as well as makers. They are the charismatic agents who arrive with curious ideas – a black pavilion could be barnraised in a Bristol park, a graveyard could be built to commemorate the Enrons and West India Companies of our fallen economy, the sounds of a church organ might bleed out across the city through a mobile app. Trust the artist’s judgment, follow their lead and invest in their process.
- Outsiders challenge our assumptions about what we believe to be true of a place. Embrace the opportunity to see through an outsider’s eyes. Nowhereisland Ambassador, Weymouth, 2012 . Photo: Max McClure
- Is it sculpture? Is it visual art? Is it performance? Who cares! There are more important questions to ask. Does it move you? Does it shake up your perceptions of the world around you, or your backyard? Do you want to tell someone else about it? Does it make you curious to see more?
- Art gives us the chance to imagine alternative ways of living, to disappear down rabbit holes, to live for a moment in a different world. Local specifics might have been the stepping off point – but public art is not a history lesson. Be prepared that it might not always tell the truth. Tony White, Missorts, Bristol, 2012. Photo: Max McClure
- Public art is neither a destination nor a way-finder. Artists encourage us to follow them down unexpected paths as a work unfolds. Surrender the guidebook, get off the art trail, enter the labyrinth and lose yourself in unfamiliar territory. Jeppe Hein, Follow Me, Bristol, 2009. Photo: Jamie Woodley. Courtesy University of Bristol
Situations is an organization of artists based in UK and it opens up the potential for artists to make extraordinary ideas happen in unusual and surprising places, through which audiences and participants are inspired to explore new horizons.
Situations commissions and produces both temporary and long-term public artworks, as well as acting as a connector to bring people and partners together through collective programmes and festival events in the South West of England and internationally.
Working beyond the boundaries of a gallery or museum context offers a rich and often challenging set of conditions. Situations begin from a more dynamic understanding of place than a physical site, inviting artists to contribute to the lived experience of a place.
CONVERSATION: “THE HARE AND THE TORTOISE”
14.01.2014 – 16.01.2014
at SALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul
January 14th, 14.00-16.00
Provocation: Claire Doherty discusses the balance of temporary and durational programming in public art commissioning, how to balance energies and fatigue around the charismatic agent of the artist – followed by questions in discussion with Vasıf Kortun.
Claire Doherty is the founder Director of Situations, a visual arts commissioning organization based in Bristol, who were the producers of Nowhereisland, one of the primary public art projects of the Cultural Olympiad in the South West in 2012. Situations is currently pioneering the public art programme for the city of Oslo, Slow Space.