Art on the Streets
Photo credit: Magda Sayeg
On October 10th, the Institute of Contemporary Art in London will organize the symposium Art on the Streets, for exploring the diversity of creative responses to our changing urban environment – from street art and graffiti to yarn bombing and urban photography. The speakers will discuss creative connections to, material engagements with, and affective responses to, the urban environment, and the relevance of contemporary urban interventions to a critical understanding of the lived city. The programme brings together leading contemporary researchers, curators, artists and photographers in the field of urban creativity.
13.00 - Introductions (Phil Healey & Susan Hansen)
13.10 - Session 1: Art on the Streets
Olly Walker: The Fight for London’s Streets. Is London is losing its place as the global center of urban/street art? Once seen as the most vibrant and creative city in the world, London is now struggling to find investment in spaces to paint and thus to attract artists and interact with local communities.
Ulrich Blanché: Street Art vs. Gallery Art and its Viewers. What happens when street artists exhibit in a gallery? Blanché analyses artistic strategies often used by artists who work in both contexts.
Magda Sayeg: Working Creatively in Urban Environments: Unpicking Gendered Preconceptions. The artist will discuss her 10-year body of creative work. She engages in the reappropriation of what are traditionally considered craft, decorative and feminine traditions, placing them in a male-dominated sphere. The artist’s intention is to question the preconceived notions that viewers have about what is street art's role and who does it – revealing the gender polarities within the street art script.
14.20 - Coffee Break
14.40 - Session 2: Creative Responses to the Urban Environment
Sabina Andron: Regeneration vs Degeneration: What Happens when Graffiti Takes Over? This talk proposes graffiti as a force of urban regeneration in London’s biggest open graffiti area, the Leake Street Tunnel. Using repeated photographic documentation of the area, Andron will illustrate the sociable impact of graffiti writing, in the light of a rise in prominence of figurative muralism.
Susan Hansen: Street Art and Graffiti as Aesthetic Protest. This talk examines the transformation of public space that occurred after Banksy’s Slave Labour was cut from a wall in North London, transported to Miami and listed for auction. The excision of Slave Labour provided a ‘gap in the sensible’ and the conditions of possibility for the emergence of a visual dialogue, which transformed this otherwise apparently unremarkable London side street into an arena for aesthetic protest and critical social commentary.
15.30 - Coffee Break
15.50 - Session 3: Documenting the Urban
Phil Healey: Shopocalypse. In 1968 John Berger wrote “A photograph is effective when the chosen moment which it records contains a quantum of truth.” In the urban documentary photographic work in the Shopocalypse series, Healey has been searching for a truth about the collapse in the numbers of independent shops along the high streets in London. The portraits of buildings in the series tell a story, the images symbolise how important parts of our communities can be swept away by the winds of change if we as a society don’t value them or understand their value to us.
Panizza Allmark: Seeing the Outside In: Photography, Shopping Malls and Spectacle. This talk explores Allmark’s urban photographic work, which focuses on the walkways within shopping malls. These spaces could be described as the new High Street, but undercover and intensified. My photography conveys the spectacle in shopping malls which follows the Surrealist tradition of ‘making familiar the strange and the strange familiar’.
Paul Halliday: Democracy Wall. This photographic project focuses on the materialities of urban spaces with images made in various English locations. Halliday’s starting point will be to question how theories of urban change influence the ways in which an artist approaches the subject of locale. His work problematizes ideas of documentary truth, drawing on a critique of objectivity, subjectivity and the autobiographical. Through this project, the artist questions notions of memory, eventfulness and the archive.
17.00 - Discussion
Book your ticket here.