Irene Amengual

The Question: How (from your experience and perspective) do artistic practices create public sphere?

At the educational department of the Museo Es Baluard, which is where my experience proceeds from, we are interested in working with artists and cultural producers, with collectives and groups of people, because it seems important to us to develop practices in which a public sphere is generated. This means initiating a series of debates amongst the members of that group on a concrete issue of any type to generate a discussion in society. The public sphere is a place of enunciation where we always intervene from a perspective, from a position or a very specific place.
Working with artists is interesting because it makes it possible to initiate those debates and processes. When one works in the educational field, they provide a complement to one’s ways of doing and even to one’s ways of looking. The relation between art and education is problematic, not free of conflicts and not always easy. Moreover, working in education or in artistic practices does not necessarily entail generating a public sphere. Nonetheless, when shared projects are generated with that intention, very interesting processes and results can be obtained.
Some of the artistic practices that are related to creating a public sphere are those that involve collaboration, the communitarian and the participatory (depending on the degree of participation). In any case, one has to be very careful with the relations between different agents and the hierarchies that can be established. One of the dangers of artistic practices in this context is that they can assume a hegemonic position and that those who are working collectively to generate debate can end up being manipulated. But this forms part of the problems involved in the process itself.