Critical Artists and Urban Development - Theoretical Foundations and Proposed Explanations

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Avner DE-SHALIT, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Merav KADDAR, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Volker KIRCHBERG, Leuphana University of Lueneburg, Germany
Patricia WEDLER, Leuphana University of Lueneburg, Germany
This presentation and paper will deal with an essential issue of the ISA Research Council "Sociology of the Arts", entitled “Potency or Impotence of Artists in Society”. The “potency” or "impotence" studied here, is a characterictic of the artist, and her political value orientation and political behavior in urban settings, e.g., against urban development policies. In a comparison of four cities (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Hamburg, Hanover), our interdisciplinary and international team studies if and how artists critically contribute to the shaping of the city, and how much these critical artistic interventions are regarded as political, from a spectrum of reconciliatory and strategic cooperation with local municipalities to outspoken antagonistic opposition and protest. The presentation and paper in Toronto would concentrate on our discussion of theoretical foundations, based on first empirical findings in the four cities. We look at a triangle that symbolizes the causes, structures, and consequences of critical urban interventions of artists. The three overlapping fields (or corners) of this triangle are “art”, “politics”, and “city”. The field of “art” (or art world and fields of culture) intersects with the field of the “city” (changing urban spaces), and both intersect with the field of “politics” (understood as the engagement in shaping the collective). The focus of our research is the “urban political artivist” who is positioned in the intersection of all three fields. Other types to be considered for comparative reasons are the “urban activist” (in the intersection of “politics” and “city”), the “political artist” (in the intersection of “art” and “politics”) and the social artist (in the intersection of “art” and “city”). There is also the “exclusionary artist” who refrains from political and urban issues but is still inspired by the city for her work. This research tests the typology of artists in the four cities.