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Issue 11

Public issues

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This edition of On-Curating.org deals with aspects of the public sphere, public space, and public art in seven different metropolises around the world. The point of departure was a competition that was held for a master plan for public art in the new Europaallee district in the centre of Zurich, the first such plan in Switzerland. The urbanist Richard Wolff presents the urban development project Europaallee, which is currently being built, and traces the around 50-year-long historical development of the project and its changing politico-economic conditions. With Europaallee, the neoliberal city of Zurich is bolstering its position as a global city that is competing with other global cities economically.

What functions does public art claim to fulfil in the given economic and social context? What understanding of the public sphere underlies public art? And how does it create room for public activities? We are interested, taking the globally networked space of Europaallee as a starting point, in broadening our perspective and putting up for discussion how artists, curators, urbanists, and cultural studies experts in other cities think and act. This edition of On-Curating.org is a mosaic consisting of different perspectives of different authors from different disciplines from different big cities across the globe. It creates a picture of what the public sphere, public space, and public art can mean today against the background of regional conditions.

The architect Rupali Gupte and the urbanist Prasad Shetty examine concrete urban formulations and different scopes of the much-discussed concept ³production of space² in the Indian metropolis Mumbai. The curator and critic Li Zhenhua investigates the changed public sphere in China and the possibility of artists to interact with the Chinese public. The cultural theorist and photographer Jürgen Krusche shows the different notions and perceptions of the public sphere in the two Asian metropolises Tokyo and Shanghai. The artist Minerva Cuevas discusses the ways in which art uses public space in the megalopolis Mexico City. The cultural studies expert Derya Özkan addresses issues related to location and neighbourship as well as the possibility to create (social) space through art in Istanbul. The article is followed by a conversation between Özkan and the three members of the artist collective Oda Projesi. Curator Siri Peyer concludes this issue of On-Curating.org with an interview with Jeanne van Heeswijk, an artist who lives in Rotterdam and makes different kinds of interventions, of interactive and participatory projects that often accompany urban planning processes.