chapter  7
17 Pages

The production of temporary public space

Site-specific installation and ‘vital materialities’
WithGwen MacGregor

This chapter discusses two artworks that have been shown in Toronto's Nuit Blanche, through the lens of 'new materiality' literature, as well as its problematization, to investigate its political potential. The installation The Little People was shown in 2013 and created by the Toronto-based collective Workparty. The video projection La Conga Irreversible was created by the Cuban collective Los Carpentinos and was shown in 2014. Both of these artworks used the public thoroughfare as a sight for marching and public demonstration, calling on a shared language and history of the physical act of political protest. Within that shared language each work offered specific strategies and physical materialities to address the challenge of engaging with a huge audience without resorting to the presentation of a mere spectacle. The process of making an artwork is inherently implicated in its meaning and whether it is successful communicating to an audience.