To read



11.2017 #2

In the following session, we will focus on the topic of public art and role of the artist in society. The reading group will be simultaneous with the “As an artist in society” seminar with Irmeli Kokko, Paul O’Neil (Artistic Director of Checkpoint Helsinki), Christine Langinauer and will be moderated by Pontus Kyander (lecturer Academy of Fine Arts).

Focusing on the idea of public art and culture in relation to citizenship and everyday spaces of life, whether urban/rural, we will read a section of Étienne Balibar’s recent book Citizenship. One of the ways in which Balibar problematizes the idea of citizenship is through the notion of inclusion and exclusion of the subjects within the state. Although debates on exclusion are not new and writers such as Rancière, Lok Wac­quant, Genevieve Fraisse, and Eva Cherniavsky (which we have read previously) among others, have separately worked on this issue, but Balibar offers a new angle in this perspective. He proposes a positive, ‘affirmative’ agenda when identifying the foremost challenge facing democratic politics today: ‘finding forms of collective autonomy that would correspond to the environment of globalization’.

From the cover jacket:

“Not everyone is a citizen, even within one nation-state. It has been said that certain persons are in society without being of society. The dynamics of inclusion and exclusion continue to generate dramatic asymmetries and create openings and closures, especially today in a time of particular fragility and when national sovereignty is in flux. So are there too many antinomies within citizenship? Balibar does not shy away from these antimonies, but he knows that to renounce citizenship would be to abandon the chance to create new modes of collective autonomy, in short, to democratize democracy.”

Citizenship is constantly being redefined within the public realm for demands of equality and liberty. Artists as culture-producers are able to play a big role in transforming this notion of citizenship and question the preexisting categories of “active citizen”.

We will also read an essay by Paul O’Neil titled Three stages in the art of public participation: the relational, social and durational. In the text, with references on modern, post-modern and contemporary art we get a precise analysis of participatory art and its function in durational works; a perspective that is emphasized as “public time” rather than space.


Reading materials:

  1. Étienne Balibar, Citizenship (Chapter 3)
  2. Paul O’Neil, Three stages in the art of public participation (essay)
  3. Marina De Chiara, A tribe called Europe (essay)

Supplementary Reading:

  1. Karl Marx’s Capital, Vol. 1, Chapter 15, Machinery and Modern Industry (Sections 7-9)



Date: Tuesday 21.11.2017, 13:00 – 17:00
Address: Ex-club (Merimiehenkatu 36, 00150) Call 0417537605 to get in



(Photo: Crowd•Source” 2017 Curated by Timo Tuhkanen, at 13lock)


(Photo: Muhaned Durubi reading from ”The Diary of the Last Seeker” On the background “Suomi100/ the broken ones” on 14.11.2017)



✳︎ ✳︎ ✳︎
We are open to collaboration and joint projects. The reading conversations are usually carried on collectively. We are not reading the selected texts during the meetings, but focusing on the conversation about the subject. The topic of each month’s reading varies based on the collective interest. We are reading books, essays, and other materials in topics regarding contemporary art studies, politics, philosophy, criticism, etc. If you would like to join, just come in (free and open to all). You don’t need to read all the materials in order to be there.
Feel free to bring your friends.