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The Aestheticization of Public Space

Esthétisation de l’espace public

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Published on Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Ce colloque est organisé en plusieurs sessions sur une thématique large relative à l’espace public, considéré à la fois comme un espace concret des formes urbaines accessibles au public (public space) aussi bien que comme un espace virtuel de dialogue (public sphere) que désigne le débat public analysé par les politistes et comme un cyberespace dès lors qu’il prolonge cet espace du débat public. La notion d’esthétisation de l’espace public rend compte d’une série de phénomènes qui traduisent l’importance croissante de l’esthétique dans l’espace public : les interventions croissantes des artistes (art urbain, arts de la rue, commandes publiques, etc.) dans les espaces publics urbains ; la convocation du sensible dans la production urbaine ; le développement des mobilisations « esthétiques ». Il est prévu trois sessions au cours du premier semestre 2013, puis deux autres au cours du second semestre, en Slovaquie et en France.


Aestheticization of Public Space, Call for papers - International Conference, Sofia – Bucarest – Paris, 20th April – 22th April – 6th June 2013


This conference is organized in several pre-planned sessions, devoted to the multiaspect topic of public space being considered both as a specific space of urban forms, accessible to the public (public space), the space of urbanism, as well as a virtual dialogue space (public sphere) including the public debate analysed by specialists in political sciences and as a cyberspace in case of extending this space of public debate.

“Aesthetic” means reflections acting on practices and artistic productions in the city and also the analysis of aesthetic experience and sensitive (aesthesis) of inhabitants. The notion of “aestheticization of public space” reflects a series of phenomena linked with the growing importance of aesthetics in the public space: increasing interventions of artists (urban art, street art, public orders, etc.) in urban public spaces, convening of sensitive in the urban production, development of “aesthetic” mobilizations.

There will be three sessions during the first semester of 2013, then two more in the second semester, in Slovakia and in France. 

First Session: 20th April 2013

Sofia University St Clément d’Ohrid, Bulgaria

Aestheticization of public space: issues, actors, perspectives

The contemporary world is marked by a gradual substitution of the ethical dimension in the aesthetics. A reason for this could be related to the processes of individualization and the fragmentation of social groups in the second modernity. Another explanatory hypothesis is the generalization of the merchant principle in a mobile and publicized world, where not only goods and works, but also places, ideas, even the movements of citizens are competing for attention, that is to say the customers, the citizens, the supporters, the members.

We propose to reflect on this new state of our societies in an interdisciplinary manner, thus combining the aesthetic approach to the social sciences, the media analysis with the analysis of urbanism.

 Our proposed topics include:

  • Aestheticization in the city: projects and resistances. Urbanism and public art against various appropriation of space by the citizens. The blurring of boundaries between public and private, between art and economy, between citizen and artistic action.
  • Renaissance of sacred monuments and their uses, old and new rites, blasphemy in society and public events.
  • Cultures of consumption: advertising, fashion, commodity and commodification, the staging of objects.
  • Aesthetics of social movements: creativity, carnival games, especially with the new media.
  • Aesthetic aspects of citizen action
  • Aestheticization of public spaces lined by digital media...

Second Session : 22th April 2013

Academia Romana, Calea Victoriei 125, Bucarest

Aestheticization of public space and decisive moment of metropolitan cultural issues

In recent years, we can observe in Europe and North America a process of aestheticization of public space. This term refers to a series of phenomena that reflect the growing importance of aesthetics in the public space: multifaceted interventions of artists in urban public spaces, call-up of sensitive in urban productions, development of “aesthetic” mobilizations. Everywhere, especially in our cities, there are public actions developed as well as mobilizations, experiments with aesthetic references and actors in aesthetic field.

We will analyze the relationship between these phenomena and the cultural decisive moment of metropolitan issues: the evolution of cultural policies and the development of creative cities, policies of images and marketing of cities. The session will discuss the various forms of the aestheticization of space to better understand some urban developments and the renewal of the terms of the debate about the future of the city.

The effectiveness of these new urban policies requires the invention of participation devices capable of restoring the experience of inhabitant while encouraging the emergence of a public debate. This session, in particular, will include contributions about participatory workshops, urban experiments and innovative methodologies that illustrate this important new residents and cultural issues in the production of the city.

Third Session: 6th June 2013, INHA, Paris

Borders & aestheticization of public space

The public space, a priori open to all, is now not easily opposed to the private area: the cyberspace, in particular, pushes and transforms the frontiers. But, in fact, the boundary between these two areas has not always been clear, especially in art. Privacy is indeed “publicized” while public spaces are “privatized”. Thus, the permeability of boundaries between spaces has become a major topic of discussion, perhaps because all areas are concerned, daily private lives, appearances, behaviours of groups or “tribes”, sexuality, body, but also aesthetics, relation to images, reception and creation.

The project is therefore to encourage collective thinking and transdisciplinary developments about aesthetic spaces, expressions, creations, receptions, and trying to understand how and why these “aesthetic” intentions contribute to the transformation of borders, and, finally, to the definition of these new spaces.

Among the different issues, we will focus on the various treatments of the mentioned problems by the artists, including two main questions:

  • How do these geoartistic practices nourish contemporary art?
  • Does the expansion of public space make possible the existence of a private space, namely a space in which I am deprived of the other?

This session is linked with two series of International Conferences:

  • FRONTIERS (Soulages 2012-14, Labex ArtsH2H université Paris 8 & RETINA. International) &


 Proposals for papers (title, abstract, profile or the author) should be sent:

  • For the first session to Ivaylo Ditchev (ivayloditchev@gmail.com) and Gilles Rouet, (gilles.rouet@gmail.com)
  • For the second session to Emilian M. Dobrescu (dobrescu@acad.ro) and Gilles Rouet (gilles.rouet@gmail.com)
  • For the third session to François Soulages (francois.soulages@wanadoo.fr) and Gilles Rouet (gilles.rouet@gmail.com)
  • before February 28, 2013

Accepted contributors will be required to send their text before June 10, 2012, for a publication in Local & Global, directed by Gilles Rouet and François Soulages, L’Harmattan Editor, Paris.

Scientific committee

  • Éric Bonnet, Université Paris 8
  • Ivaylo Ditchev, Université St Clément d’Ohrid, Sofia
  • Edith Mihaela Dobre, Academia Romana, Bucarest
  • Emilian M. Dobrescu, Academia Romana, Bucarest
  • Serge Dufoulon, Université Pierre Mendès France, Grenoble
  • Antoniy Galabov, Nouvelle Université Bulgare, Sofia
  • Petia Gueorguieva, Nouvelle Université Bulgare, Sofia
  • Svetla Koleva, Académie des Sciences Bulgare, Sofia
  • Anna Krasteva, Nouvelle Université Bulgare, Sofia
  • Jacques Lolive, CNRS, Grenoble
  • Gilles Rouet, Université Matej Bel, Retina.International, Institut Français de Bulgarie
  • Imad Saleh, Université Paris 8
  • François Soulages, Université Paris 8, Retina.International
  • Antony Todorov, Nouvelle Université Bulgare, Sofia
  • Gérard Wormser, Sens Public


  • Université St Clément d'Ohrid
    Sofia, Bulgaria
  • Academia Romana
    Bucharest, Romania
  • INHA
    Paris, France (75)


  • Thursday, February 28, 2013


  • espace public, esthétique, villes, usages


  • gilles rouet
    courriel : gilles [dot] rouet [at] uvsq [dot] fr

Information source

  • gilles rouet
    courriel : gilles [dot] rouet [at] uvsq [dot] fr


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« The Aestheticization of Public Space », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, https://calenda.org/234585

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