Public Space: Fights and Fictions

ELPIDA KARABA

Art theorist and independent curator Elpida Karaba, who also teaches art theory and art history, works with research-based curatorial practices focusing on collaborative working methods. In 2014, the first performance of her in-process curatorial educational program PAT (Temporary Academy of Arts) took place in Peristeri, Athens. Her research interests and publications are specifically related to art theory and criticism, political theory and discourse analysis in documentary, activist and performative art practices.

Force or fiction: It has to be real. In the realm of the current events, of a harsh economic and humanitarian crisis, reclamation of the public sphere is at the top of the agenda of powerful cultural institutions, universities and museums. The momentum and the challenging of the physiognomy of the enlightened world and contemporary democracy lead to the urgency of powerful institutions to control and regulate. But one should ask, though, about the terms of the reclamation of the public sphere and the specificities of the subjects involved and the place from where they reclaim it, south, east, west, black, etc. One should shed light on the details of this regulation—details we tend to overlook, as power relations and stereotypes are repeated, that relocalize and regionalize the world and the subjects in order to maintain a minimum of the existing status quo. It might perhaps be a realistic approach to invent fictitious assemblies, coalitions, unions and legislation units that will drive forward mechanisms of aligning subjects and so reveal the antagonisms and the contradictions of the reclamation of the public sphere and the anti-humanism vocabularies, and separate trivial from serious claims.