The neo-imperialist function of public art is to clear a path for aggressive economic expansion: Birmingham - Guangzhou - Birmingham

In collaboration with Dave Beech.

The Neo-Imperial Function: Site 1-3
Birmingham - Guangzhou - Birmingham

Gavin Wade invited us to take part in his project Public Structures which is a special project for the Second Guangzhou Triennial BEYOND: an extraordinary space of experimentation for modernization which is curated by Hou Hanru, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Guo Xiaoyan. In collaboration with Dave Beech we are developing a new function.

The neo-imperialist function of public art is to clear a path for aggressive economic expansion is the latest in a series of text works entitled The Functions of Public Art by Hewitt & Jordan and Dave Beech. Previous works in the series are: The Aesthetic Function of Public Art; The Economic Function of Public Art; The Function of Public Art for Regeneration; and, The Social Function of Public Art. Each work in the series uses changes in site, scale and form to extend the critical potential of the statement.

The neo-imperial function is a text work in Mandarin. The work is also sequential, comprising of three phases, in two cities, over two months.
The project began in Barford Street, Birmingham UK as a text work on a Maiden advertising billboard. The billboard was photographed, this photograph was made into a new poster and displayed in the city of Guangzhou. The Guangzhou poster in its new site was again photographed and exhibited at the Guangzhou Triennial. This image has now been returned to the original site in Birmingham, it is in this way the work occupies the same exchange mechanisms of production and consumption that occurs in industrial, commercial and cultural relations between the UK and China.Guangzhou and Birmingham are twinned cities.
The function of public art in these relations is tied to commercial enterprise and the hope of establishing or maintaining an advantage in an economy shaped by  global asymmetries. For this reason the text for the neo-imperial function is meant to be always out of place – not fully at home and therefore not giving advantage clearly to one culture or another.

Site 1: Barford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham UK (7th - 20th November 2005).
Site 2: Guangzhou City & The Second Guangzhou Triennial (18th November -15 January 2006).
Site 3: Barford Street, Digbeth, Birmingham UK (7th - 20th December 2005).

This new work is a continuation of a series of text works entitled the Three Functions that discuss the functionality of public art.

Supported by Maiden Outdoor Advertising

© 2005 Hewitt & Jordan