Sustaining Urban Public Spaces through Everyday Aesthetic Cosmopolitanism: The Case of the Art Center Recyclart

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Jingjing LI
Ching Lin Pang


This article explores how social artistic interventions provide forms of everyday aesthetic cosmopolitanism – an intellectual and aesthetic openness towards objects, places, experiences, activities that relates to the everyday life of people regardless of identity, occupation, social class, cultural/racial background, and lifestyle – in transforming urban voids into inclusive urban public spaces. Through socially engaged art, artists and artistic institutions do not play a leading role but act as facilitators to provide space and context for events to emerge. Through participant observations and interviews for the period 2015-2018 and using concepts of everyday aesthetic cosmopolitanism, we demonstrate how the art center Recyclart, through socially informed artistic interventions, practices, and performances, contributed to transforming urban voids into inclusive urban public spaces. Our results indicate that local life, enacted by so-called marginalized residents and their everyday practices in urban central neighborhoods, is critical in city-making and contributes to everyday aesthetic cosmopolitanism.

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