I have been thinking about the idea of councils trying to regenerate areas by introducing public art.
I feel conflicted as I do obviously believe (I am doing this course after all) that art has the ability to simply change a person’s day/life or beliefs and that public art can be a great way of increasing an audience, letting people see art that aren’t always interested in it and bringing interest to an area.
However in terms of areas such as Possilpark and other deprived neighbourhoods, I feel this idea of public art as regeneration is a cop out of really dealing with the social issues.
I think visually it may make the area more pleasant to look at, but when any sense of hope has been taken out of people’s lives by constant police presence, no financial help and councils ignoring problems, people stop caring and this is when vandalism occurs and people lash out. (seen in the quote below)
You can put the art there but without solving the issues I don’t think, at this point, that it will make much of a difference.
I am struggling to collect my thoughts on this. I think I am just speaking of public art put in place by the council as somewhat of a quick fix. I think art separate of that could be much more important, could actually highlight things going on in the area, local people, communities, issues that need to be sorted.
But I don’t want to ignorantly just come up with some idea for a public piece of art and just plonk it in the middle of Possilpark, say it relates to the ‘deprivation’ and ‘urban decay’ and feel all self satisfied with what I’ve created, as some middle class art student who thinks they understand the problems of the area.
Maybe I should just continue to wander round without putting any pressure on myself to come up with an idea at all, and try and learn as much as I can about the communities?
I know I am writing a lot on this blog but I am very conscious that these are sensitive issues we are dealing with, I do not want to offend in any way with this work.
I often hear talk of council run areas or estates being ‘scummy’ or ‘shitty’ etc. and this alone might be something to look at. These words are horrible. If you are going to talk of a place as ‘scummy’ the next step is then to call the people ‘scummy’ or ‘scum’. I don’t even think people realise that they are doing it, it is so ingrained in society. The fact that we have to have our eyes opened to it (and i’m sure I had to have mine opened at one stage) is quite depressing. The people are no different.
Perhaps bringing people’s prejudices to their attention would be a route to look at?