Yesterday, in Publics, I listened to a very interesting lecture by Jeanne Van Heeswijk. It was titled “Imagination – a collective exercise of care”. Philadelphia Museum of Art had asked her to ponder on the relationship between the museum and the city. The result was a terrific, communal tour de force, that culminated into an exhibition in the museum last autumn:

Philadelphia Assembled tells a story of active resistance and radical community building through the personal and collective narratives that make up Philadelphia’s changing urban fabric. These narratives will be explored through a collaborative effort between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and a team of individuals, collectives, and organizations as they experiment with multiple methodologies for amplifying and connecting relationships in Philadelphia’s transforming landscape.

During the lecture I started thinking, what makes this art. For me the Philadelphia Assembled appeared as an attempt to make the city into a place, where people, the citizens, could live the best possible life. Does Philadelphia Assembled state, that life is art? Or does art act, simply, as a tool that helps imagination to fly, encouraging people to imagine wider and bigger, encouraging them to play? Does art bring people together to make good for everybody, together? Does it matter, in the end, how you call it?

Photo: Otto Väätäinen (Bone Garden)