Public Space tends to be a subject of homogenization in terms of its aesthetic character as well as surveillance by powers controlling it, whether it is a government authority or commercialization. On the other hand, Guerilla Public Space struggled for by recent activism, such as “Occupy Wall Street,” tries to emancipate such spaces into a people’s place, where the spontaneous “power-to-do” (ref: John Holloway) of each participant cooperates with others to create a world they want to see. The actions done by everybody there contribute to the definition of it.
In this paper I compare this spontaneous power of people to “occupy” and redefine the space with artistic creativity. Then I investigate the possibility of empowering such activism by art through two case studies, the “(Park)ing Day” and the “Sidewalks for People”. Both of them have a highly decentralized, DIY character, which demands strong artistic creativity.
A participatory art, empowering everybody to be an artist, will help activists explore their causes and desires more deeply, diversify their expressions, intensify their interaction with each other on every level including subconscious or contextual ones. It will result in a powerful ecosystem of people creating Public Space. This empowerment will be vital for activists to avoid a trap of fetishism, which can make them stick to a cliché easily co-opted by commercialism, or doctrinarism, resulting in a new power controlling others. Continuously being creative and explorative with the help of art, activists can not only resist but can also successfully grow out of the fetishistic way of life capitalism imposes on them.
|Keywords:||DIY, Decentralization, Public Space, Social Movement, Inclusiveness, Non-violence|
Associate Professor, Graduate School of International, Media, Communication and Tourism Studies, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan