Edited by Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher /
This issue of PUBLIC considers how large-scale events have challenged conventional understandings of audience, spectacle, and what it means to “view” art. The recent success of Nuit Blanche, for instance, breeds a paradox: in one night, the number of visitors often surpasses the attendance at major art institutions for an entire year. Despite such numbers, this popular exhibition format has so far yielded limited scholarship, which PUBLIC 45 seeks to engage. This issue on Civic Spectacle analyzes the greater context of performances that includes the time-honoured cultural forms of festivals and parades along with more spontaneous and oppositional events, such as flash mobs and activist interventions. Indeed, beyond Nuit Blanche, these types of civic spectacles respond to a situation of urban crisis: the loss of sustainable jobs as tourism and service industries replace manufacturing, the weakened political clout of cities as suburbs and exurbs become wealthier and more populous, and the challenges to retain a sense of community in the stressed circumstances of the downtown core.
Table of Contents
‘Sleepless Nights: Contemporary Art and the Culture of Performance’, Heather Diack
‘Nuit Blanche and Transformational Publics’, Siobhan O’Flynn
PROJECT: ‘NIGHTSENSE,’ Jennifer Fisher and Jim Drobnick
‘City of Night: Parisian Explorations’, Catherine Howell
‘Halifax’s Nocturne versus(?) the Spectacle of Neoliberal Civics’, Max Haiven....