Week 1 Notes on Readings
Valparaiso, Don DeLillo
Introduction: On Installation and Site Specificity, Erika Suderburg
The following are some thoughts I had while reading in regards to topics of site specificity. If I am to sum up what I see as the common theme between the two texts, I'd say that "space" (both theoretical and physical) is built and witnessed though intersections. It is at these intersections that real critical dialog takes place.
Are we always sensitive to our surroundings?
site vs. scene vs. location vs. space
What is SPACE? What does it consist of? Mental Space (philosophy, math, geometry, linguistics, thought), Physical Space (lived experience, senses, perception), Social Space (habits, routines, rituals, politics, public, private, relationship, communication, internet -- virtual networks), Representational Space (image of the world, photograph of a room), Representation OF Space (art -- painting, sculpture, installation).
Site Specificity is making a point in a designated area. A FOCAL POINT.
Site Specific began with photography perhaps? In capturing the real world environment, the photographer had to make a choice of what he/she was capturing. The reality of it. What story is being told in the space.
Arte Povera, Conceptual Art, Land Art -- all tied together to create/interpret Site Specific concepts. 1970s I think?
Duchamp = awesome.
Joseph Kosuth (?) the chair piece...One and Three Chairs (I think?) -- in exploring ideas of identity, he also explores context, hence themes of "site specificity." --reflection, interpretation, physical, mental, and representational space.
Mirrors. Mirror as physical and as reflection -- concept and abstraction. mirror as dialectic (employed in investigating the truth of a theory or opinion).
Video as mirrors -- or really, any recording. the projected image played a critical role in a new language or representation, as artists used film, slides, video and photographic projection to measure, document, abstract, reflect and transform the parameters of physical space.
memory changes with time -- reimagine place. reinterpret POV. Site is transient.
Theater -- the intersection of architecture and performance -- site is the stage, space is the narrative
story is told after the event
set is one place, story is three places, story is told to millions (imaginary millions, thousands of cities) day and night over and indefinite period of time
layers of space --
space of the home, space of the plane, space of the flight (air, empty), space of the TV (also air, also empty). space around people, space between characters (especially sexual -- do they even know each other?), mental space -- "tell us more, we need to know more, we have to know everything,"
twin journeys -- geographic and public.
spiral into descent where layers of systems splice identity and randomly scatter it into a thousand sound bytes.
the play is recursive. "but first, take us back..." Incantation, habit, falsehood, repetition
talk is performance
invasion of the media both encouraged and wanted by its victims.
WORDS -- a thirsty world for words. "And we have words. Endless melting words. Words spoken expressly to be forgotten." p.91
The play begins wordless. the play ends wordless. 2 hours of banter and flashy vernacular all becomes WORDLESS again. he is murdered.
fate of individual in media saturated society.
media consumes citizen. he is murdered.
What is the modern meaning of life's end? when, how? what is life's value? (ehhh...stopping that train of thought)
public attention gives the mundane life new relevance. but also adds unhealthy vulnerability -- main character loses control and jurisdiction over his life.
Arte Povera -- I think this play has many some qualities of Arte Povera work. Metaphorical imagery culled from contemporary life, idealism about the redemptive power of history and art with a solid grounding in the material world -- clash/reconciliation of opposites as a source of poignancy.
Because somehow, through the "mirror" of video, we look at others and judge ourselves as missing something. -- video can be edited, pov skewed, memory altered to create fiction out of what is sold as reality. "Then you know. How some people manage to live so dynamically. It's a mystery to me how this happens." (p.45)
"we deeply need to know"