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Generous, but no’ social (twenty year voyage beyond the bath-tub)

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Abstract:

This article reflects upon two projects in Glasgow (1990–1991) and Liverpool (2008) self-initiated by artist and lecturer Alan Dunn. Both projects evolved from and were disseminated in the context of daily public transport journeys. As thousands of people are repetitively shuttled around cities and artists sit amongst them, grey areas of mental spaces open up, spaces that Dunn proposes are conducive to creative experiences. He reflects upon art away from the studio, home, work or commerce place, when the act of moving is passive and responsibility-free. The two projects highlight certain themes, strategies, problems and rhizomic thinking around public art. Is it public if one does not know what the public think of it? Can it be public if it is neither social nor conversational? Are the envisaged stories stronger than those overheard? Can it be public if it is in the background and goes unnoticed? Is public an intention rather than a state?

Keywords: audio art; bellgrove; billboard art; mersey tunnels; posters; public transport

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1386/post.1.2.193_1

Affiliations: Leeds Metropolitan University

Publication date: 2011-01-25

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  • The poster-maker, the pamphleteer and the tagger aim to sway the popular heart and mind through visual public interventions. As new technologies rise, turning the public sphere into a transparent, ubiquitous communications medium and a global marketplace, is the privileged status of the poster doomed or are we seeing it transformed as part of a new wave of visual rhetoric? When the environment starts to become responsive to our very presence and aware of our individual nature what is the role of the 'traditional poster' delivering a classical rhetorical message? This peer-reviewed journal aims to lead the debate. The Poster stands as a vehicle for the ideas of media theorists; scholars of Cultural Studies and Cultural Materialism; for social psychologists of visual communication, for architects and designers of wayfinding schemes; for philosophers of Aesthetics and Politics, Society and Linguistics; for social scientists, anthropologists and ethnographers; for political campaigners and artist activists; for communications researchers and visual communications practitioners.
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