Public Art definition in the PARTGO project
In order to understand the following, it is important to get to know the common starting concept of the PARTGO project on what public art (PA) is. The definition is based on the shared knowledge and experience of the PARTGO working group.
Public art is art that is created, placed, performed or happens in a public or semi-public space*, thus it primarily operates within the public realm, reaching beyond art audiences and their forms of attention. It is an umbrella concept that includes object based (statues, sculptures, murals etc.), time based (audio environments, performances, projections, etc.), context-, process- or community based (interventions, participatory or on-line projects etc.) manifestations, and combinations thereof. Accordingly, public art works can be physical or intangible; autonomous or functional; permanent, temporary, eventual or ephemeral; monumental or small-scale; representational, processual or participatory.
Since the 1960s, the focus of public art has shifted towards the social construction of public space, and the social performance of the public artwork now has increasing purchase. Public art introduces new forms of authorship and of exchange (anonymity, interactivity, community involvement, etc.) with its audience. With its variety of approaches and appearance, and complexity of meaning production, public art is a rich field for art schools to encourage and develop social sensitivity and responsibility, interdisciplinary, analytical and (self-)critical thinking, and collaborative skills in new generations of artists.
*Public space refers to an area or place that is open and accessible to everyone (e.g. city squares, streets, public land); semi-public space refers to sites such as city parks, schools, hospitals or shopping centres that are in principle open to everyone, but may be subject to some restrictions; virtual spaces can also be considered public spaces.
From the definition, we deduced what elements we should ask about in the questionnaire: the time and space dimension of the public artwork, the artistic fields involved, the role of social cooperation and participation in the creation, and what categories were relevant regarding the output of their public art course (monumental, representational, experimental, educational, political, ephemeral, provocative, aesthetic, participatory.)
At the same time, we also asked what knowledge and skills the course provided for the production of the public artwork interpreted according to the above concept (development of cooperation skills, public art theory, public art history, concept developing skills, collaborative skills, public engagement skills, interdisciplinary knowledge, technological knowledge, curatorship financing/funding knowledge, maintenance of the public artwork, art/cultural management skills).
Finally, we also asked what educational methods were used (background reading, group-analyses, pedagogical drama techniques, cooperative/collaborative work techniques – games, creative problem-solving techniques, work management techniques, self-assessment techniques) and what kind of work organization was used to teach
The questionnaire research phase proceeded in parallel with the planning and implementation of our own pilot courses. The research was planned and carried out jointly by the entire PARTGO team, both researchers and artists. Therefore, the research was not only descriptive and exploratory, but can also be considered pedagogical action research. The joint definition of the concept of PA, the planning and conducting of the research, as well as learning about the results and, based on this, the planning and conducting of the second phase, the interview, shaped our team's thinking about the concept of contemporary PA and teaching about it.