Hi Gretta,
This is fascinating.

Anna Minton has been writing and protesting the privatisation of public space and its negative impact on democracy here in the UK (and especially London) for a few years now. Here's one from 2012 She was also commented on the impact of shrinking public space on Occupy London.

Here she is on:
corona impacts on private public spaces of UK high streets https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/may/08/coronavirus-reinvent-high-street
and most private cites in the world https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/mar/26/what-most-private-city-world

Your your sign off statement also made me wonder ...>>Although I must admit that I am currently working from the understanding that all truly public space is offline.

Do you say this because the vast majority of global social interaction online is through proprietary and private platforms - google, facebook, twitter, insta, zoom etc?
Would this be different if we were using FOSS, decentralised and/or p2p communication infrastructure such as those listed in the link sent over by AGF here
Or is it something else?


On Thu, May 14, 2020 at 3:09 PM Gretta Louw via NetBehaviour <netbehaviour@lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:
Hi everyone,

Hope you’re all continuing to hang in there during these wildly unsettling times and finding ways to prioritise wellbeing.

I have a project coming up in Munich this summer (the one thing that is not cancelled!) and since the topics I’m engaging with have been regularly brought up on Netbehaviour I wanted to share some material with you all and see if anyone has some input for me, too…

The project is a commission for a rather admirable annual series of ephemeral artworks in public space in Munich, Germany. My initial proposal was to do a kind of anti-advertising advertising campaign using billboards in public space to dig into the erosion of public space through commercialisation and privatisation. But since the lockdowns have hit (and the accompanying collapse of commercialisation in daily life) I’ve shifted to thinking more about the ways that public space are used when capitalism is suspended, which also leads to thinking about more hopeful speculations on the public space and green space we would want in a more ideal future.

Basically, if shopping malls and high streets are closed, the parks are full. The problem, obviously, isn’t that there’s too many people but rather that there’s too little public space. This shift reveals more starkly truths we already knew about the socially stratified access to space. The less private space you own, the more you need public space. The more you need public space, often, the less access you have to it. In the last few months we’ve seen ‘hoarding’ (or, as the Germans charmingly call it, ‘hamstering’) of basics like toilet paper, flour, and yeast - but the green and leafy neighbourhoods of the wealthy have been hoarding public space for centuries.

I’ve got a collection of links here for people who might be interested. 

I’d really appreciate it if anyone has some other links to articles they think I should read - perhaps we can build a bit of a shared library of resources about public space, the commons and how it relates to post-Corona living. And I’d appreciate it even more if you’d briefly share your thoughts about how the use of public space has changed, or what ‘message in a bottle’ you’d like to send to the public about how to reimagine or reclaim public space. Both online and offline! Although I must admit that I am currently working from the understanding that all truly public space is offline.

Would love to hear from you!

All my best,
NetBehaviour mailing list

Co-founder & Artistic director of Furtherfield & DECAL Decentralised Arts Lab
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