The Invisible City: Collaborative Artistic Practices in Historic Public Spaces

By Marta Serra.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This contribution aims to share and discuss different forms of intervention in public spaces relating art to the transformation of contemporary cities. The analysis of several emergent forms of creation allows discovering, through the artistic field, various ways of expression and socio-economical dynamics shaping and modifying the contemporary urban landscape. The paper introduces a study related to the creative spatial practices which detonate processes of empowerment of communities by means of recovering the memory and the dominance of the place. Through the case of the International Urban Art Exhibition, an ephemeral and open air festival based on the outskirts of Barcelona this paper shows different practices of re-appropriation that encourage creative participation of several social agents by collaborative and site-specific projects in some public spaces (public washing places) with different communities.

Keywords: Public Art, Public Space, Spatial Art Practices, Cultural Heritage

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 6, Issue 5, pp.139-148. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.084MB).

Marta Serra

PhD Researcher, Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning, School of Architecture of the Valles, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

Marta Serra Permanyer (Barcelona, 1981) is an architect and PhD student at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (ETSAV-UPC), Spain. She combines a research fellowship at the Department of Urbanism and Regional Planning with some teaching training and several art-related projects dealing with public space. She’s writing the thesis “Latent Spaces: Artistic practices and production of public space” interested in the relationship between art and urban change. She’s currently coordinating the course “Life and The City: Ideas and Interventions towards an Informal Urbanism” and running a local public art exhibition that encourages artists to collaborate in urban space in order to re-activate abandoned places related with thermal water ( She also belongs to the collective Raumarbeiten: dance, architecture and spatial exploration. Blurring the limits between the architecture and participatory artistic practices with ‘real’ citizens provides the chance to become progressively aware of how these practices can actively shape everyday life. She has participated to some conferences and publicated in journals about research-action projects related to art and public space.


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