Mobilizing the Grid. Collaborative Creativity in Public Space, and Radical Artistic Flows from South to North. From “Sandinista” to “Zapatista” to “Occupy Wall Street”
Keywords:grid, public art, public space, the Americas, resistance
The article at hand explores the mobility of artistic ideas and practices within the Americas and analyzes collaborations between artists from the South and the North. In particular it looks at artistic collaborations between artists from Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico and the US that embrace radical aesthetics defining art as tool for social change. In which way these artists challenge and change the public sphere by practicing art within public space is the major research question guiding the analysis. Revisiting public space in the Americas also means to return to the foundational pattern of structuring space in the American hemisphere: the grid. The grid is considered the foundational architectural and urban structure to colonize and organize space in the Americas for purposes of spatial community-building and expansion. the grid contains tremendous power to shape the social in spatial terms. Functioning both horizontally and vertically, it supports the expansion of territory as well as the extension of architecture. This article reads the grid as a fundamental “American” structure–a “space of entanglement” that sets spatial limits to utopia but also provides open spaces between the metal, steel, and iron through which voices of the dispossessed can pass and through which new forms of participation, interaction, and community emerge.
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