Communication and knowledge creation in urban spaces: The tactics of artistic collectives in Barcelona, Berlin, and St. Petersburg

Aleksandra Nenko, A. Khokhlova, N. Basov

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The chapter explores how artistic collectives communicate and take part in generating knowledge about urban space as actors of grassroots creativity. The data used is on three urban artistic collectives that work in the field of visual arts: La Escocesa (Barcelona), KUNSTrePUBLIK (Berlin), and Parazit (St. Petersburg). We investigate the tactics artists apply engaging in communication in city spaces and (re-)conceptualizing those as an arena for alternative (creative) collective practices, which belongs to the artists themselves and their publics. The tactical choices artists make include the selection of city spaces to embed their art projects in, of ways those projects interplay with the historical and sociocultural backgrounds of spaces, as well as of aesthetic and conceptual formats to better integrate their work into particular urban contexts. The findings reveal variations in how artists tactically manoeuvre in-between two logics, by which urban space is mastered: (1) bottom-up, spearheaded by urban communities, which inhabit and change the city space ‘for themselves’ finding resources in group dynamics and the local traditions of representation in the urban space; (2) top-down, applied by city administrations and economic elites, which transform the city space through the implementation of city-planning and cultural policies. Accounting for both, artistic collectives take different paths with regard to how these two logics unfold and compete in their cities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCommunicating the City
Subtitle of host publicationMeanings, Practices, Interactions
EditorsGiorgia Aiello, Matteo Tarantino, Kate Oakley
Place of PublicationBern
PublisherPeter Lang
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781433137518, 9781453919026, 9781433137525
ISBN (Print)9781433130984, 9781433130977
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2017

Publication series

NameUrban Communication


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