Green Aspirations and (Un)sustainable Detours
Keywords:Social practice art, Participatory art, Public art, Failure, Urban greenery
The participatory, public art project Istedgade Green Spots and Sustainable Detours wanted to engage several hundred local residents to take part in co-designing, implementing and sustaining multiple green oases in and around the street Istedgade in central Copenhagen. This article constitutes a qualitative, reflexive analysis of the processes of developing the artwork with a particular emphasis on the reasons why it failed to develop the ambitious project it originally envisioned. The article discusses the project through the lens of the new norms for artistic practice that have evolved within social practice art, a field of art with a particular sensitivity towards issues of invisibilities, inequalities and injustices and a strong activist dimension. While highlighting two key challenges affecting the success of the project, the article also raises the question of whether the short-term evaluation of the project constitutes an adequate measure for this type of intervention into urban development.
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