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Anne Ring Petersen: The Reconfigurative Power of Art in Postmigrant Public Spaces

Aesthetic Seminar

2019.01.15 | Yasmin Marie Jensen

Date Thu 28 Mar
Time 14:15 17:00
Location Kasernen, Aarhus University, Langelandsgade 139, Aarhus C, Building 1584, Room 124

This lecture explores how contemporary artistic practices play out in postmigrant public spaces, understood as plural and conflictual domains of human encounter impacted by former and ongoing migration, and by new forms of nationalism. It probes the question: Can public art open up a social and national imagination pervaded by anxieties about (post)migration to other ways of thinking about collective identity? And if so, how? To provide answers, two ground breaking art projects in Copenhagen are discussed within the conceptual framework of ‘postmigration’. The first project is The Red Square, a part of the public park Superkilen in the multicultural Nørrebro district. Designed by the artist group Superflex (in collaboration with architects from Bjarke Ingels Group and Topotek 1), Superkilen opened in 2012. The second project is Jeannette Ehlers and La Vaughn Belle’s collaboration on the sculpture I Am Queen Mary. Installed outside an old colonial Warehouse in Copenhagen harbour in 2018, it is the first monument in the country to commemorate Danish colonialism and complicity in the transatlantic slave trade. The lecture proposes that these projects may provide us with important answers to the question of the much debated yet crucial role of public art in democratic societies, particularly how works of art may form a possible loophole of escape from dominant discourses by openly contesting, or subtly circumventing, monocultural understandings of national heritage and identity, thereby helping us to imagine national and urban communities otherwise, i.e. as postmigrant communities.

The seminar is public, and we welcome everybody. 

Programme: Aesthetic Seminars Spring 2019

Seminar, Kunsthistorie, Æstetik & Kultur og Museologi, Litteraturhistorie og Retorik, Contemporary Aesthetics and Technology, Kulturelle Transformationer