Public: Art/Culture/Ideas #37 is now available. Launched in 1988 by the Public Access Collective, Public is an art journal that explores how critical issues intersect with art and visual culture. Featuring Canadian and international artists and writers, each issue curates a unique assemblage of art projects and writing that reflect a contemporary theme. Issue #37, “Public?” is edited by Visible City Co-Director Janine Marchessault and Research Associates Aleksandra Kaminska and Jason Rovito.
About Public #37
Public 37: Public? is an anniversary issue; a celebration of twenty years of critical thinking and creative engagement with the notion of the public—as imaginary relation, politico-juridical construct, and material spatial practice. And yet, as much as it is a time of celebration, an anniversary simultaneously invites pause, the reflection of return. Although we, as editors, sought to honour this impressive history, we similarly wanted to ask whether today, in 2008—7,300 days and 36 issues later—the notion of public, and the journal founded upon it, might just find itself out of date. Thus, with this issue, we have not tried to create a retrospective of the rich ideas that have developed across the various themes and editorial undertakings of the journal (with the important exception of a detailed archive of this history, which appears at the end of this issue), nor have we tried to provide a comprehensive summary of the historical debates surrounding the meaning of the public. Rather, in seeking to capture the journal’s ambition to interrogate and complicate this very terrain, we have replaced the period with the question mark: is public still a useful term with which we can think about culture and politics, art and technology? Does it remain relevant to our efforts to define the political and imagine new forms of intervention, engagement, and interference that may transform the parameters of citizenship, community, and our understandings of democracy? In short: does public mean anything anymore?