This study shows that in times of crisis and rapid changes of the social environment, ordinary people, by creating informal public art discover their capacity to maintain social relations through creating new social spaces for new modes of social interactions in their communities and beyond. By adopting an expanded definition of public art, this study specifically focuses on collective informal creative activity outside the institutional art sites. Based on Henri Lefebvre’s space theory and Jacques Ranciere’s aesthetic theory, this paper offers a theoretical framework for understanding people’s need and ability to co-create shared informal art spaces in everyday life; to engage in informal public art, this theoretical framework is used to analyze the two case studies of Asian groups engaged in informal public art creation: the CCCFC Badminton Fellowship (a field site case) and the 227 Conflict (an online case) by using interview, participant observation, and survey methods. These cases demonstrate that people continue the process of creating new relations in alternative virtual spaces when the original physical (e.g., the church) or virtual (e.g., the AO3 platform) ones were not available. The study finds that ordinary people have the capacity to engage in the process of simultaneously creating new spaces and new forms of social relations that are the manifestations of informal public art. They are engaged in informal public art as the process of both creating social relations and the product of new social spaces and aesthetic practices.
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Chen, Ying, "Reshaping Space: Informal Arts Engagement as Social Practice" (2022). Graduate Liberal Studies Theses and Dissertations. 8.
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