The choice of being an artist is a gigantic risk you make! Everyday you look for the solace, for the panacea but at the end of the day you find yourself failed. Especially after my experience in the public art I think more often that I stand on a bridge. A spot that what came before and what comes after does not matter. A bridge is public and can contain social content. A bridge is hybrid of the sciences, art, social sciences and architecture. In art, namely in the public art you lose your connection to all of the art, yet you are not in the destination either. It’s an illusion, but a beginning, a process for social studies through the artefact.
We as humans need the bridges, we do not need the past or the future, the present time and now where you stand is the solace. What the public art did was to leave the shore of being civic, to public – it was a move from vertical to horizontal, from studio work to congested society… The public art must not assault, intimidate or control the public, it should be neighbourly. Yet very few definition of the public has been given in philosophy.
The public art itself opened a notion for me towards design. The illusion that appeared in the public art, the solace that it was seeking, was more attainable in design, but less illusionary (probably. Don’t take my word for that ). Design is however a practice for a historical satisfaction of a group of people. Yet still the illusion remains. It is an extreme temporal informative moment which you get rid of the material by the time the information is transferred. Design is a public piece of art however public art is a piece of art for the public. Design is like a sculpture being made for a special location or an occasion proper for the time, but public piece of art is involving and engaging. We go around the sculpture. Although design goes further than a sculpture obviously, because it is producible and carry-able. You get to know about things with a designed piece, but with a sculpture you pinpoint the history to remember. Both design and sculpture come for free! You find them everywhere. But for a public piece of art you are thrown in the middle of the things – you are detached from the history of art and design. Public art depends upon some interplay, it is based upon some shared assumptions. Public art shares and you share with public art. The public space invites, the design leaves you with the invitation. The public art is the host and the design is the door keeper being paid for welcoming you in a tidy dress. Public art has social functions, but design runs the party. You don’t have a relationship with the designed pieces since it relates you to things, it brings you to places and means and matters. A public piece of art is a political, social experience.
Public art rejects the universality of art, but design seeks to be understandable nicely. Public art is detectable geographically, like design but the public art remains none-sperabel from the geography, but design travels and makes design-movements or identity.
Both are however illusions – a search for the panacea.
Written by Fariborz Farid – from under the apple tree.