Contemporary art is defined by intersectional practices through which artists combine art and current social and natural disciplines in innovative ways. As the term itself shows, artivism varies between art and activism, art being mainly the means, and activism the goal. Contemporary socially engaged art in public space developed during the twentieth century from historical avantgarde movements and subcultures of lower social classes. Based on personal understanding of the discipline and its status withing the field of contemporary art, I focus on key elements for development of the artivist discipline.
Firstly, I explore the development of the city and the conditions that influenced the contemporary dynamics which have led to specific language of rebellion as well as artistic engagement in policies on city development. Hereby I mainly mean revitalisation, urbanisation and gentrification?processes which manifest the physical and consequently also socio political transformations of cities in order to meet the standards and needs of the contemporary society. These processes influenced the way people understand public space as well as its status. The latter changed many times throughout history because of the changes of the social order.
In the following, I offer a definition of public space and public domain and concentrate on understanding the difference between public art and art in public space. This is a prerequisite for understanding the logic of ephemeral actions, which are often no more than gestures, that are typical for artivism. I count a series of examples from recent art history and draw closer to my own field of interest, and then focus on the practical part of the thesis, which refers to politically urbanist circumstances in the city of Ljubljana. I list international examples with content reference, but I also shed some light on respective examples of artivist practices from the specific geographical area of former Yugoslavia and today’s Slovenia. I thus provide a substantive justification of my own project and support it with a detailed description of the process and results of my practical project’s execution.
The thesis is concluded with some thoughts about presentation possibilities and social range of my own practice, but also of the wider field of contemporary forms of socially engaged art in connection to activism.