Theme “Of Memory and Public Space” – Serge von Arx and Eliot Moleba, Editors of VIS Issue 9 (Closed)

Public space is central to political and social life, especially within our urban environments. Streets, squares, and parks are the stage where our everyday life largely unfolds, and play a vital role in defining the community ties of our neighbourhoods. As such, the public space is a society’s main archive, bearing all its memories, hidden or open. This raises or sets the ground for questions about the politics of memory and remembering.

We conceive of the public space as a void. While the art of architecture and town planning lies within the precise framing of its spatial potential, artists bring it to life as they engage, reveal and catalyse social encounters, as an interdependent dialogue. “Of Memory and Public Space” focuses on the potentiality that is created or emerges from work of and in the public space.

In this issue of VIS, which is also organised as a dialogic editorial endeavour, we wish to invite work that creates artistic interventions or intrusions in public spaces which trigger movement or action as a form of remembering. The interventions must blend with, be enacted or inserted into the public space with the goal to evoke responses of the public, consciously or unconsciously, and thereby contribute to or initiate a debate which emerges abstractly in the shape of movement or an action, rather than verbally. How do these artistic interventions punctuate the spatial silence or noise in the urban environment?

We are interested in the artistic practices of researchers, artists and architects, whose work is both celebrating and questioning the role of art in dealing with collective memory. How can and does artistic work help us to reflect, identify and reveal our society and add meaning to our cities? How can interception in the public sphere trigger a response in the form of an action or a movement for us to relate and engage with the histori(es) and memori(es) embedded within public spaces? In other words, what is it that we decide to remember, what do we ignore and what do we choose to forget?