Duration conference

Duration Conference

An international, interdisciplinary conference exploring the temporality of contemporary public arts practice.
Culture Lab, Newcastle University
28 March 2012 to 30 March 2012

Duration was an international conference held at Culture Lab, Newcastle University at which I presented a paper (a downloadable PDF of which is available of the right hand side of this page).  The conference included speakers from Australia, America, Canada and Europe. The aims of the conference were described by the organisers as follows:


DURATION explores explore the tensions between permanence and temporality in contemporary public arts practice. Public Art engages with issues of societal change, policy-making and environmental specificities, all of which unfold at a unique pace. Critical practice and new technologies can engage, disrupt or challenge this pace by working across time and space.   

Themes include:   

Permanent / Ephemeral: how do ephemeral practices disrupt, agitate or question the permanence of contemporary social and physical landscapes? How do ‘permanent’ rhetorical topoi in our landscapes retain relevance and evoke meaning against the continual pulse of change? What are the dialogues between ephemerality and permanence in contemporary practice and how do they relate to broader social and political discourse? How do we inscribe temporary acts/events into more permanent forms and what are the implications of this? 

Duration: What is the duration of a public artwork? In commissioned work, how are demands for ‘visual’ deliverables mediated with desires for socially-engaged and place-enriching practice? In our consideration or evaluation of public art projects, are we too quick to judge? How does duration affect our perception of value? Is there a different temporality to urban and rural works?   

Expectation: How have contemporary art practices used temporal disruption to alter the audience’s expectations and experience? How is contemporary public art practice engaging with technology to disrupt desires for immediacy?   

The conference responds to the AV Festival 2012 theme of Slowness; the Festival aims to slow down the biennial experience by presenting work at multiple venues and at different paces, speeds and times of day.