‘Art in Public: A to Z’ is a discussion aimed to increase awareness on what makes art ‘public’. This discussion is part of the series of public program responding to Ly Hoàng Ly’s solo exhibition.
What is public art? How can such an artwork relate to the public space in which it is located? What does it mean to create art for, and in, public space today? Is it still relevant, or enough, to just plant a static mass in a designated communal zone and assume it will enter into a public imagination that is discussed and remembered?
Approaching the Trần Hưng Đạo statue by the Saigon River (District 1), for example, do we see it as an artwork of an iconic historical figure, or simply the signal of a roundabout? Does the traffic and urban planning here allow us the needed space and time to pay attention to the art? Do we actually care about this sculpture? Perhaps the presence of Trần’s statue might have become so assimilated into our everyday that it is now just another mundane signage. Is there a way to shift this dispassionate and inactive way of engagement? How can we adjust the exclusive language of traditional outdoor sculpture (monumental in scale, static in materials, rigid in forms etc.) and, together with the contribution of urban planning, enter the inclusive language of a social collective consciousness? How can a public artwork take into consideration not only the historical and social context of the space it occupies, but also the dream, need and reality of the community who use it? What are the processes, and the people involved to enable such a reality? Why are such iconic public monuments needed in contemporary life?
To begin, renowned architect Hoàng Thúc Hào – Laureate for the SIA-Getz Architecture Prize for Emergent Architecture in Asia 2016 – will talk “happiness architecture”, which explicates the core tenet of his work philosophy: a human’s well-being. Through a presentation of recent projects, Hoàng will illustrate the ability of architecture that includes not only designing building and space, but also creating happiness by preserving and transforming both local innovations and traditional cultural values of marginalized, often neglected social groups.
This event will then follow with a panel discussion focusing on what it takes for an artwork to do more than ‘just be outdoors’, attempting to form possible resolutions for the questions mentioned above. Participating speakers include:
- Architect Hoàng Thúc Hào
- Journalist, Member of the Editors Board of Người Đô Thị Magazine, Ex-Vice President of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture, Sports & Tourism – Ms. Nguyễn Thế Thanh
- Artist Ly Hoàng Ly
- Representative of Thaco, fabricator of Ly Hoàng Ly’s public sculpture titled ‘boat home boat’
*Image: 3D rendition of ‘boat home boat’, 2017, SS400 steel