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08 / 09 / 2004
François Barré: “Public space is in crisis”

Several experts have taken a look at collective space as a framework for identity in the Dialogue “Collective Urban Space”

The former president of Centre Pompidou in Paris, François Barré, spoke about public space in relation to art. Barré said that, “public space is in crisis: before arts were like a form, an illustration of the city comprised of prevailing values and, today, the only new buildings are museums. Power fears the signs of power.” Barré went on to explain that, “this weakness and difficulty in creating these symbols of public space has to do with political weakening.”

Barré holds that there is an “individual privatization of the character of public space.” Moreover, Barré explained that there is also “a time crisis because we have gone from the time of modernity to the immediacy of Internet; there is a contradiction in the time aspect of the city.”

Barré explained that, “today, urbanism is the pretext; it is constructed based on the pretext of a specific event.”

Barré says that, “what’s most important now aren’t the subjects but the cities and the relationship with the public space is what needs to be focused on.” Barre believes that, “we need to work on the esthetics of tension and breaches; it is important to give shape to cities to understand them, even though their forms are open and unlimited.”

Barré feels that the artists’ contribution to these new cities is important because “they tend to live with their backs to this part of the city that extends beyond the urban center. Artists should concern themselves with the diffuse city; they should reveal this collective space.”

Architect Beth Galí spoke of placing sculptures in the cities. According to Galí, “we are living in a time of great “mestizaje”, or mixture, in which it is increasingly difficult to draw the lines that divide architecture, landscape and art.”

Galí holds that, “sculpture is eaten up by the terrain of architecture, but that architecture must understand the artist’s project and not get stuck in the idea of esthetics and vice versa.”

Galí spoke about improvisation as “the start of creation,” Galí spoke about the relationship between city and art. She says that what the two of them have in common is their ability to move people and the fact they are collective.”