Voter turnout is at an all-time low, and more time-intensive civic engagement – especially at the local level, often struggles to draw more than a few people. But at the same time public art and collaborative performance art are gaining attention and popularity. Keene State College in New Hampshire is trying to use the latter as a way to motivate the former through what they call a “participatory democracy performance” which sounds at once intriguing and a little (perhaps intentionally) ironic:
“This issue may sound familiar because it’s ripped right from the headlines of the local newspapers and Keene City Council meetings by New York artists Aaron Landsman and Mallory Catlett, who visited Keene many times during the past year to create ‘City Council Meeting,’ a piece about empathy, democracy and power, and how individuals engage in civic discourse,” program planners said. “(It) uses formal meeting procedure to consider its innate theatricality and to question what it means to participate in public and civic life. It asks participants to consider the poetry in bureaucracy, the architecture of power, and the comedy of procedure.”
You can read more here.
What do you think? Could theatre be the new gateway to city hall?