#PublicArt: Leveraging Digital Mediation to Visualize (In)formal Networks of Creative Practice

Authors: Jessica Breen*, University of Kentucky
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: public art, digital mediation, community engagement
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The digital mediation of art presents a double-edged sword to practitioners of community-engaged public art. On one hand it provides public exposure for their artwork and personal brand, potentially providing new opportunities to expand their practice around the globe into cities and communities where they might not previously have had access. On the other, it limits their control over the narrative around their work and potentially facilitates its unsanctioned replication. Artists have attempted to regain control by creating companion websites for their art along with dedicated hashtags and social media accounts. This allows artists to reassert their vision for their project, centralizing information regarding the work, and curating those instances of mediation that they choose to deem legitimate or sanctioned. This paper provides a case study of how digital mediation by the public and attempts by artists to control it through digital countermeasures can be leveraged to trace the formal and informal networks of creative practice that community-engaged public art moves through. By visualizing these networks, we gain insight into the work that art does/is asked to do in the urban and the connections between places that it generates, particularly smaller cities and towns that may not previously have received significant attention.

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