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This paper discusses the roles of artist, author, participant and spectator within the context of participatory media art events, with reference to RE/F/r.ACE, a participatory video project developed by Andy Best-Dunkley, Merja Puustinen and Victor Khachtchanski. RE/F/r.ACE enables participants to easily contribute their own images as raw material to the ongoing flow of visual and audio narrative projected into the public city environment. Situating the project within an art historical context, the paper discusses the social and political coding of the architectonic urban environment, and the rules and norms relating to, and controlling, our everyday use of public space. When the notion of free “open to all” public space is under threat from ongoing commercialisation and gentrification of urban centres worldwide, RE/F/r.ACE is an example of one attempt to draw attention to this transformation in a creative, positive, and artistic manner.
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