Art Works and the Production of Knowledge on Cities

Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:45 PM
Room: Booth 57
Oral Presentation
Elsa VIVANT , Université Paris Est Latts, France
Nadia ARAB , Ecole d'Urbanisme de Paris, Université Paris Est, France
Artists work on the built environment mainly through the production of art works in the public realm. This implication has recently taken a new orientation where artists work, in some cities, on issues related to urban projects along with the project team. They contribute to the early stages of urban projects and take part in field studies.  Besides the use of urban planners’ and architects’ know-how, they collect data in various forms -sound, images, objects, words, impressions- and they transform this data into art works which are  qualified as territorial. They produce through this work and their actions, knowledge on the city, the project site and the local community.  

This paper presents the results of a research project based on five case studies where artists are invited by urban professionals to work and produce knowledge on cities and project sites in France. They are digital artists, sound artists, choreographers, visual artists, actors. They work mainly through intensive field work. Site immersion and (in)formal interviews are singled out as the key elements that are used.. We will first discuss in which way and to what extend artists produce knowledge that is different from that produced and used by city professionals . What kind of knowledge do artists produce? In which aspects is this knowledge different? Are these differences due to artists’ specific skills? To their methods? To their unique gaze? To their capacity to represent the reality? Then we will discuss how can urban professionals use and work with this new kind of knowledge. How do they analyse it? What are the epistemological, methodological and analytical problems encountered in their understanding and their transposition in urban studies?