Public Space: Fights and Fictions

MAURICE SPECHT

An independent researcher with a background in philosophy and political science, Maurice Specht is fascinated by the work behind the projects, objects and events that appear in cities. From organising a street-party to occupying a square or running a public space, thought, action, cooperation, coordination etc. are needed to make things happen. His work resonates with his research into these processes, and this also informs his writings, organisation of events, and setting up of projects. Maurice Specht has published several books and articles, organised multiple events and run two public spaces—a public Reading Room staffed by 104 volunteers and a collective think and workspace on an island in Rotterdam.

The new interventions which make publics emerge are fictitious: they show us the potential of the public sphere. They remind us that, even if we do not see it anymore, there is always the possibility of the emergence of a counter-public. They also remind us why we need publics (to keep open the possibility of the future), and what publics can do (make this future appear). They are however fictitious, for they are marginal storylines in a sea of other more powerful possibilities. It is only when they are followed up on (whether by maintaining them in the long term, or growing into other things) that they can become a genuine force. A force that reboots the political. Maybe even democracy.

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