Thursday, January 15, 2009

Building Democracy

On Support Lectures
Friday, January 23, 2009, 6.30
Andrea Phillips
Ottoman Bank Museum Conference Hall,
Bankalar Caddesi, 11, Karaköy

"The word democracy was not forged by some experts concerned with identifying objective criteria by which to classify forms of government and types of society. On the contrary, it was invented as a term to “indistinguish” things, to show that the power of an assembly of equal men could be nothing but the confusion of a formless and squawking horde, that this latter was to the social order what chaos was to the natural order. To understand democracy is to hear the struggle that is at stake in the word"
Jacques Rancière: Hatred of Democracy, 2007, p.93

Andrea Phillips will expose how most formations of public space – political, cultural, institutional – can be critiqued for the way in which they impose types of action upon their subject. The word democracy, we must remember, implies not only intentions of freedom through open discourse, but also the basic inequalities any democratic process invariably starts from. Accordingly, conceptions of public space are on the one hand based on the democratic idea of free movement and free speech, and on the other, hinged upon the falsification or suppression of these very values.

This talk will focus on the important relationship between public space and democracy, and how it both is articulated by how we behave in the urban environment, and conditions how we move and act within it. The question is weather socially-engaged cultural practices are able to support the formation of public space, and what the nature of such an engagement might be.

Andrea Phillips is Reader in Fine Art, Department of Art, and Director, Curating Architecture, Goldsmiths University. Her research interests focus on contemporary art, architecture and current socio-political thought; as well as movement, mobility and fluidity in contemporary art and political philosophy. Her current research project is a series of seminars and workshops on Curating Architecture which explore the connections between practices of curating – gathering, displaying, distributing, caring for cultural product in its broadest definition – and the practices of architecture (thinking about, constructing, distributing the built environment). Curating Architecture starts from the premise that the routines of artists and architects may share many conceptual and theoretical concerns, particularly in debates around the politics of space, but that contradictions each discipline’s claims are reinforced through their often paradoxical display in the public sphere.

‘On support’ takes its lead from the larger project and ongoing collaboration between Architect Celine Condorelli and Artist-Curator Gavin Wade, ‘Support Structure’, which looks at the systems and structures conditioning how we inhabit our environment.

"On Support’ is supported by the British Council.
Additional support has been provided by the Goethe Institute Istanbul.