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Call for Papers

Public Art and Urban Spaces

editors Annalisa Cattani, Fabrizio Rivola , Federico Montanari and Ruggero Ragonese.

deadline: 30 March 2022


Public Art in the last decades has actually constituted the possibility of inserting art practices within the numerous spaces, languages and narratives already present in the city and its representation.
Its origins can be traced back, as is known, to the languages of the historical avant-garde and their re-propositions during the last century, particularly in the sixties, when there was an urgent need for participatory art in various ways and intentions.
Today Urban Public Art is particularly influenced by the critical debate that took place in the United States in the 1980s following the problem caused by some public works in relation to the inhabitants of the place chosen by the artist and the tension created towards the social context of reference. Richard Serra (Tilted Arc, 1989, Federal Plaza, NY) creates an installation that opposes the idea of functional and representative art to express also the conflicting characteristics of public space.
The typologies have therefore alternated according to the paradigms of "art in public space", "art as public space" and "art towards public interest".
These themes offer an interesting partial overlap with other practices present in the urban space such as activist art or Guerrilla Marketing where very similar operations from a formal point of view differ greatly in their effectiveness and destination.
These practices have changed the narrative of urban space and places, abandoning some and reorganizing new ones.
These art forms also provide new glances and new approaches to the possibility of building communities, promoting increasingly active processes of participation.
Born with various forms, the practice of Public Art, just think of the differentiation between permanent and temporary site-specific, had as characteristic to address in particular the chosen place. However, with the advent of social media the documentation of public art has created a new statute of the works that all become permanent on the net within countless contexts.
Public Art therefore also gets into the game of content marketing and experiential marketing which has created new needs and goals such as inform, entertain, educate, and make people participate.
At a time when marketing is taking on the role of becoming an expert in storytelling and all its rhetorical dynamics, one can take up these tools already known in the theoretical field for a study of the evolution of narratives that occur in this area.
More generally, possible research directions with respect to the processes of signification and narration could be those of: bidirectionality, open stories, uninterrupted narratives, the passage from drop down dynamics to peer-to-peer ones, the transformation of spectators and consumers into "spectators- actors" and "consum-actors".
These are some of the possible concepts brought into play together with those of iconoclasm, damnatio memoriae, monuments, re-signification that have interested the discourse of public art in recent times.
This call is addressed both to scholars of social sciences, semiotics (semiotics of art and sociosemiotics), as well as to the broader field of visual studies, anthropology, design and urban studies. But it would like to be an issue that also involves artists and researchers in the field of art.
– The acceptance of the articles and their publication is subject to double blind peer review.
– The Authors can find all the editing and format rules at the page "Come si collabora" (how to collaborate), on the Ocula home page. The page includes an Italian, English and French text. Please read it carefully and follow the recommendations.
– There are no official limits of length to the articles, yet we recommend 40.000 characters as a reasonable maximum measure (including spaces, notes and references);
– Files format accepted are .doc, docx, .odt;
– The articles may include any kind of images;
– Images (photographies, graphs, tables) must be included in the main text
file and submitted each as a separate file, in .jpg, .png, .tif, .eps, .psd formats.
– The Authors must send their contribution in two versions: one in anonymous form, to be sent to the reviewers, and the other containing name, position, email, website, biographic notes. Each version must be a separate file.
– In the anonymous file, in any reference to the Author's publications the name must be cancelled and replaced by "Author" and the titles by "Title of the publication". The date must be let visible.
– To write the articles please use the templates and that can also be downloaded from the page "How to contribute" .


Abstracts submission: 30/03/2022
Abstract acceptance: 31/04/2022
Submission of the essays: 30/07/2022
Notification of acceptance, rejection or revision request: 30/10/2022 Final submission: 15/11/2022
Scheduled Publication: 15/12/2022
Accepted languages: Italian, English, French

Articles must be sent to:

Annalisa Cattani: annalisacattani7@gmail.com
Federico Montanari: federico.montanari@unimore.it
Fabrizio Rivola: fabriziorivolastudio@gmail.com
Ruggero Ragonese: ruggero.ragonese@unimore.it

Some bibliographical references:

Birrozzi, C., Pugliese, M., 2007, a cura, L’arte pubblica nello spazio urbano, Milano, Bruno Mondadori.
Bishop, Cl., 2015, Inferni artificiali. La politica della spettatorialità, Roma, Luca Sossella.
Bourriaud, N., 2010, Estetica relazionale, Milano, Postmedia Books. Bourriaud, N., 2016, L'exforma. Arte, ideologia e scarto, Milano, Postmedia Books.
Campitelli, M., Vladilo, E., 2008, Public Art a Trieste e dintorni, Milano, Silvanaeditoriale.
Courage, C., 2017, Art in Place. The Arts, the Urban and Social Practice, London-New York, Routledge.
Gaglianò, P., 2016, Memento. L’ossessione del visibile, Milano, Postmedia Books.
Groys, B., 2013, Going public, Milano, Postmedia Books.
Marrone, G., Pezzini, I., 2006, Senso e metropoli I. Per una semiotica postur-bana, Roma, Meltemi.
Marrone, G., Pezzini, I., 2008, Senso e metropoli II. I linguaggi della città, Roma, Meltemi.
Peverini, P., 2017, Social Guerrilla. Semiotica della comunicazione non convenzionale, Roma, Luiss University Press.
Pezzini, I, Finocchi, R., 2020, a cura, Dallo spazio alla città. Letture e fondamenti di semiotica urbana, Milano-Udine, Mimesis.
Pioselli, A., 2015, L'arte nello spazio urbano. L'esperienza italiana dal 1968 a oggi, Milano, Johan & Levi.
Sacco, P., 2006, “Arte pubblica e sviluppo locale: utopia o realtà possibile?”, in Economia della cultura, anno XVI, n. 3, pp.285-294.

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