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Each artist has their own particular existential question.William Shakespeare wondered if it was better to "be or not to be;" Ai Weiwei is wondering about our future. The Chinese contemporary art star is taking part in an art installation in London whose aim is to reflect on the post-covid world.
To discover the art installation "WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE," art lovers will have to go to the heart of London -- to Piccadilly Circus. The project was launched in early October by CIRCA, a new platform presenting daily digital art, both online and in a public space in the English capital. Many international artists have been invited to participate, including Ai Weiwei, Marina Abramović, Nikita Gale, Indy Johar and Tom Whyman.
To make the installation even more interactive, CIRCA is inviting the public to share their own answers to the question raised by "WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE." They can submit their answers on the CIRCA website until October 30 in the hopes of winning an unpublished work by Ai Weiwei. The lucky winner will also have their answer displayed on giant screens in the middle of Piccadilly Circus.
The artist has created a special edition of 51 prints entitled "#CIRCAECONOMY," all signed by him. While one of Ai Weiwei's prints will be given away as part of the launch of "WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE," the others will be put on sale on CIRCA in the coming weeks. Their selling price: 5,000 pounds (about 6825 US dollars). Proceeds from the sale will help support CIRCA's free public art program in London, Tokyo, Seoul, Milan and New York, while strengthening the #CIRCAECONOMY initiative.
Giving new impetus to public art
""We're starting to test the limits for how art in the public realm can not just speak to regular people, and intervene in public debate, but listen and respond, providing new creative impetus to powerful and positive ideas," outlined Josef O'Connor, artistic director of CIRCA.
The covid-19 pandemic has intensified the debate about the importance of public art in the face of prolonged closures of museums and other cultural venues. The City of Toronto decided to devote 4.5 million Canadian dollars (about 3.6 million US dollars) to a 10-year public art program . Under the ArtworxTO project, more than 350 new murals, installations, exhibitions, art events and dance works are expected to be created by 2022.
An essential investment, according to Toronto Mayor John Tory. "As we look to rebuild our city post-pandemic and bring about a renewed sense of hope and vibrancy, the arts and culture sector will play a big role in our success," he said in September, when the launch of ArtworxTO was announced.