Bill Balaskas, This is a public space, 2009, digital video, 0’ 17’’ (loop-play)
Bill Balaskas is an artist, theorist and educator, born in Thessaloniki, Greece and currently living and working in London.
This is a public space questions what is a “public space”. “In theory, it should be a spatial experience of democracy: an agent of well-being for all members of our societies, regardless of their gender, race, age or socio-economic background. An open and unrestricted space that belongs to the people. But, what truly belongs to the people? In a time when the new urbanity of capitalist development and the politics of terror have together transformed the way we conceptualise our environments, the answers to such questions are anything but granted.”
This is a Public Space attempts to expose the ambiguities emerging from the characterisation of spaces as “public”, while advocating the expansion of their definition as a means for their democratisation. The phrase “I can own it” in the video, underlines not only opportunities but, also, challenges. The redefinition of “public space” lay at the epicentre of the establishment of Milton Keynes. This related not only to the provision for spaces such as parks, but also to the creation of unstable boundaries between public and private landscapes – a challenge that is even more pertinent today.