Catalina Pollak Williamson

Outsider: Public Art and the Politics of the English Garden Square


November 2015
Designed by Constanza Gaggero
Paperback with dustjacket
135 x 215 mm
152 pages
439 colour ills
isbn 978-0-9931563-4-2


Railings are everywhere in the urban context, they control access to private and public space, and determine the behaviours sanctioned within the areas they enclose. Outsider: Public Art and the Politics of the English Garden Square incites us to take a closer look at railings in the city, and to question their function and use.

This book is published as a complement to Catalina Pollak Williamson’s public artwork, Phantom Railings (2012–2014), a project born from the artist’s interest in a particular moment in London’s social history: the removal of railings from garden squares as part of the 1940s war effort. In a comment on the railing-in of public green space within the city, the artist installed sensor-based acoustic devices along the perimeter wall of a London square, to evoke the ghost of an iron fence removed decades previously and never replaced. Outsider features an essay by Todd Longstaffe-Gowan, describing the rise of the English garden square and the major debates around their ownership, as well as a conversation between Catalina Pollak Williamson and Jeremy Deller about public art, politics and the idea of ‘play’ as an essential human need.