City of the spectacle: White Night Melbourne and the politics of public space

Mercer, D and Mayfield, P 2015, 'City of the spectacle: White Night Melbourne and the politics of public space', Australian Geographer, vol. 46, no. 4, pp. 507-534.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title City of the spectacle: White Night Melbourne and the politics of public space
Author(s) Mercer, D
Mayfield, P
Year 2015
Journal name Australian Geographer
Volume number 46
Issue number 4
Start page 507
End page 534
Total pages 28
Publisher Routledge
Abstract Public policy frequently is utilised as a medium to facilitate or restrict access to public space, and to privilege economic priorities. In this context urban arts festivals are used as a means to generate dominant narratives of place and use of public space. Urban arts festivals generate spaces of spectacle and wonder, and are often used as marketing strategies to revitalise urban economies and differentiate cities one from another on the global stage, engendering a commodification of place. The present paper explores this tension through an examination of the role of urban arts festivals in spatial politics. White Night Melbourne is the first Australian iteration of the Nuit Blanche International, an international network of all-night arts festivals. It is used as a case study to explore the impact of an urban arts festival on the spatial politics of Melbourne. A theoretical basis is established using the frame of Guy Debord's ([1967] 1994) The Society of the Spectacle, as well as the concepts of 'assemblage' and 'expressivity'.
Subject Social and Cultural Geography
Keyword(s) Public space
Urban arts festivals
Place-branding
Spectacle
White Night festival
DOI - identifier 10.1080/00049182.2015.1058796
Copyright notice © 2015 Geographical Society of New South Wales Inc.
ISSN 0004-9182
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