Tactical engagements with civic space

Posted by Ian on Apr 24, 2009 in blog | No Comments
Searching for the abandoned tunnel under Phoenix Park with Paddy Bloomer, Dublin, March 2009
Exploring the gaps in urban fabric, the Tactic Project in Dublin has been exploring forgotten spaces and creating new gaps for social activity. Recently completing a residency at the Lab on Foley Street, the group has been reflecting on their productivity and impact on Dublin city.
From the group’s mission statement:
Tactic is a cross-national laboratory for tactical art making: investigation, intervention, discovery, testing and application. It is a space for activists and artists to meet in Dublin and inform each other’s practice, develop projects and engage a public.”
Tactics… are isolated actions or events that take advantage of opportunities offered by the gaps within a given strategic system, although the tactician never holds onto these advantages. Tactics cut across a strategic field, exploiting gaps in it to generate novel and inventive outcomes.”

Philosophically basing their activism within the thought of Michel de Certeau:
“These “ways of operating” constitute the innumerable practices by means of which users reappropriate the space organized by techniques of sociocultural production… the goal is to perceive and analyze the microbe-like operations proliferating within technocratic structures and deflecting their functioning by means of a multitude of “tactics” articulated in the details of everyday life;… to bring to light the clandestine forms taken by the dispersed, tactical, and makeshift creativity of groups or individuals already caught in the nets of “discipline:” Pushed to their ideal limits, these procedures and ruses of consumers compose the network of an antidiscipline..”

Contextualising the groups aspirations within the work of more familiar art-agonists K Foundation or the NSK, there is always a question or criticism of to what extent such initiatives actively engage with urban communities or whether they skate along the surface of the city in indulgent flaneurie. Whichever the case may be, the energy, enthusiasm and initiative is something to be embraced and supported critically.
Street intervention by Paul Hickey, Dublin, March 2009 (photo by Ralph Borland)
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