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Guerrilla Picnicking: malleable public spaces?

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The public status of shopping centers is contestable. On the one hand they are controlled (surveyed and monitored) spaces of consumption; simply ‘hanging-out’ in their interiors may be conditional on a subjectively assessed ability to purchase. On the other hand, the shopping center is synonymous with suburban life, where often these are convenient and available civic places for entertainment, social gatherings and cultural engagement.
Conducting a public picnic within these suburban interiors serves to test out the extent of public freedoms, and stake a claim for the right of citizens to occupy these ‘quasi’ public spaces in an unconventional manner.
Recalling nostalgic practices of a mid-19th century recreational pastime, the picnic provides a disarming method of laying claim to the ambiguous public territory of the shopping mall. The picnic blanket acts as a visual marker of the spatial boundary that is being claimed, for a time, by an apparently transgressive public.
Part public celebration and part public protest, the guerilla picnic serves to increase the options for belonging within a shopping center by a non-purchasing public, affirming the potential of these spaces to cater to a variety of publics. Guerilla picnicking provides a ‘momentary rupture’ to the more orthodox view that shopping centers only provide for relatively fixed, tightly regulated and commodified identities. [1]
Bring: A picnic blanket, a packed lunch and a sketch book.
Meeting point in front of La Monnaie | De Munt
Jen Smit
Monday, June 15, 2015 - 12:30
Place de la Monnaie, Place de la Monnaie, 1000 more
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