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Hooray! We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary in 2023! The celebrations will be themed around the future of arts.

Salzbrunn, Monika, Moretti, Federica, von Weichs, Raphaela and Wiederkehr, Sara: Whose aesthetics in which décor? Performative art and muralism as activist art against gentrification. Insights from Cameroon, California and Mediterranean cities

In the context of global struggles about the right to the city and against gentrification and “touristification”, artistic interventions have gained increasing importance. Urban activists use art to put into question local politics and to raise collective awareness for the consequences of real estate speculation, city marketing, and other top-down transformation processes. The definition of aesthetics is central in those debates from an emic and etic point of view: empirically, on the one hand, police actions against “undesired” populations (homeless people, refugees, etc.) and the shut-down of squatted houses and social centres are justified “in the name of the décor” (Pisanello 2017). On the other hand, activists and artists protest against speculation and city marketing through artivist actions, claiming for alternative urban aesthetics and the right to the city for its inhabitants. From an etic point of view, we refer to Rancière’s work (2011), considering that aesthetics have always been political. Based on the ERC research project ARTIVISM. Art and Activism. Creativity and Performance as Subversive Forms of Political Expression in Super-Diverse Cities, the research team will provide examples from performative art in Italy and France as well as from Cameroonian and Californian Latino mural art. Those are a mirror of struggle for recognition, revealing different conceptions of whom belongs to the city and to whom belongs the city.