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By Nicolas Whybrow

To Henri Lefebvre, the gap and "lived everydayness" of the inter-dependent, multi-faceted urban produces manifold chances of identifiction and consciousness via usually imperceptible interactions and practices. artwork and town takes this statement as its cue to envision the position of artwork opposed to a backdrop of worldwide emerging city populations, bearing in mind the more moderen performative and relational "turns" of artwork that experience sought of their urban settings to spot a partaking spectator -- an implicated citizen. In exploring how works of art current themselves as a method wherein to navigate and plot the town for a writing interlocutor, Nicolas Whybrow discusses different examples, representing 3 key glossy modalities of city arts perform. the 1st, jogging, contains works via Richard Wentworth, Francis Al?s, Mark Walllinger and others, the second one, play, comprises paintings through Antony Gormley, Mark Quinn and Carsten H?ller. The 3rd, cultural reminiscence, Whybrow addresses in the course of the debatable city holocaust memorial websites of Peter Eisenman's memorial in Berlin and Rachel Whiteread's in Vienna.

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For Benjamin the ‘promises of continual progress and endless improvement [were] among the mystifications of capitalism’, with the ‘endless stream of identical artefacts and the cyclical character of fashion’ producing what might be called a phantasmagorical ‘eternal return of the same’ (Gilloch 1996: 11–12). The significance for Benjamin of an object’s afterlife (or a building’s ruination) was, according to Gilloch, that its ‘truth content [. ] is released only when the context in which it originally existed has disappeared, when the surfaces of the object have crumbled away and it lingers precariously on the brink of extinction’ (14).

Not only have the visual arts been superseded by electronics, ‘they have [also] masked [this] failure or accident with commercial success’ (64). 6875in IBBK018/Whybrow ISBN: xxx x xxxxx xxx x September 24, 2010 T H E F U T U R E O F A R T I S U R B A N effectively one of not keeping up to speed with technological change, whilst preserving market value as a form of fetishised consumer relic. In place of the visual arts Virilio substitutes his notion of the ‘vision machine’ which emerges in fact as an argument for the way advances in digital technology – spelling the ‘end of the analogical’ – will alter the structure of perception per se: ‘it’s a machine that’s reconstructing sensations pixel by pixel and bits by bits’ (66–7).

Perhaps, then, where Virilio and Lotringer conclude in their exchanges that art ‘no longer plays an artistic role’, we are not that far from Lefebvre’s ‘the future of art is not artistic, but urban’ (1996: 173) – a notion which incorporates, as we have seen, the ludic (or performing) body. And, moreover, we may be a little further in our exploration of the ‘theatrical turn’ in contemporary art. 6875in IBBK018/Whybrow ISBN: xxx x xxxxx xxx x September 24, 2010 A N D T H E C I T Y CITY-SPECIFIC ART Lefebvre’s ‘slogan’ implies, for my purposes, art that is sited or ‘plays some part’ in the ‘culture’ of the city and that is produced as a response to – and therefore, importantly, contributes to producing in turn – city existence.

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