At the invitation of the City of Munich, the Scandinavian artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset curate the series “A Space Called Public | Hoffentlich Öffentlich”, which takes place mainly in the centre of Munich in 2013. The art project focuses on the question “What is the meaning of public space for Munich? What is the identity of this city?”, which the invited artists address in very different ways through installations, sculptures or interventions.
The title chosen by the curators Elmgreen & Dragset makes it clear that their interest is exploratory: It is not a question of defining ‘public’ or ‘space’, but of exploring meanings and interactions with the means of contemporary art. For Munich, as for many other European cities, the question of the meaning and value of public space has to be asked anew. What once primarily characterised the function of public space – its function as a meeting place, marketplace, place for the exchange of ideas and forum for urban society – is increasingly shifting into the virtual realm under the influence of the Internet and social media. This technological and subsequent social change raises questions about the redefinition of public space: In the near future, will the public spaces of large cities – especially those in the city centre – be reduced to shopping centres or tourist attractions? How does Munich want to define itself through its public space? What is the identity of this city?