Art programming as a test laboratory for social questions: the case of Horta do Baldio, a vegetable garden for agriculture

Cláudia Madeira
Since the beginning of the new millennium, the programming performing arts sector in Portugal has expanded, and also become a test laboratory for social questions, jointly shared by the artistic community, specialists from the different social domains and the general public. Various authors in different fields are researching or have made important contributions to explaining this kind of expansion in participation appeal, such as Claire Bishop, Hal Foster, Suzanne Lacy, in the Arts, Jacques
more » ... he Arts, Jacques Ranciére, in philosophy, or Richard Sennett and Jeffrey Alexander, in sociology, among others. To discuss this process, I will analyse the wasteland Vegetable Garden, Horta do Baldio, which grew out of the artistic programme, Mais para menos do que para mais (or More for Less than for More) that took place in Lisbon in the period from April to June 2014 1. Today, this ephemeral and utopian green space in the centre of Lisbon still exists with the participation of the community. As one of the participants and 'guardians' of this project, I will analyse in this chapter, from one methodological strategy of research-action, not only this process of participatory citizenship but also the role of art and culture in the sustainable development of a city. 1. Challenges of performing arts From the beginning of the new millennium the performing arts sector in Portugal has expanded in two directions. The first covers the area of cultural programmes, through an increase in the number of cultural organizations, mega-events and festivals, from the most official to the most alternative. The second involves transdisciplinary arts, through an increase in the number of artistic projects that combine different artistic disciplines and even the recent social and exact sciences researches in areas such as anthropology, sociology, biology, etc. 1 See