Week 2 Notes on Readings
Rosalind Krauss, Sculpture In The Expanded Field
James Meyers, The Functional Site; or, The Transformation of Site Specificity
Miwon Kwon, One Place After Another
The word "displaced" is used many times in all these readings. Homelessness, Placelessness,
People always want to challenge labels. Few want to be what they are.
"covert message of historicism -- the new is made comfortable by being familar (gradually evolved from forms of the past)."
"We are comforted by this perception of sameness -- reducing anything foreign in either time or space."
We interpret the world through our memories -- our experiences. Our SELVES. As we communicate these interpretations, they become collective consciousness.
we like to categorize -- allocate. museums. collections. "The rage to historicize"
What is sculpture traditionally? What is traditional?
Sculpture is a commemorative representation -- art is representation.
Traditional definition of Sculpture began with the monument? Venus of Willendorf as monument? representation?
Modern art, 19th century, displaces the monument -- enter the gallery, which becomes monumental housing. Sculptural production operating in relation to the loss of site -- abstracted monuments. LOSS OF PLACE.
The David was site specific. All work is related to space in some way....context.
modernist sculpture as nomadic - in terms of abstract ideas. abstract ideas can travel with the mind. awareness of self in its material/construction process. modernist sculpture had an IDEALIST SPACE to explore cut off from time and space representation.
SPACE (mental) vs SITE (physical) -- inform each other
Art happens in the spaces between -- the contradictions, the dialog, the synthesis.
Intention of the artist = DESIGN = sculptural == physical aesthetic
ART = sculptural == physical representation
The idea of site specific art was born out of homelessness...nomadic...photography...loss of monument in the traditional form ---- POSTMODERN
Not about redefining scultpure, or even about expanding the category -- more about creating a NEW CATEGORY. wait, no. There does not need to be a new category -- I think site exists no matter what the art. It is about acknowledging its existence in the creation of context which always informs the work. And understanding it is transient. We must allow the adjustments to meaning in the context in history, place, culture, etc. Fixed meaning has NEVER EXISTED. only documentation of what it once was. Some examples are more obvious than others, therefore the dialog of site specificity becomes more inherent/valid/significant.
sculpture is merely and art process -- painting, photography, printmaking, etc can all be looked at in regards to site specificity. SITE SPECIFIC IS AN IDEA.
Culture of choice -- century of self -- postmoderism. Site specificity makes us look at ourselves to understand/create/interpret meaning. What is MY relationship to this object, in this space? How does the object's space influence MY interpretation of it?
It makes sense to document, analyze and critique HISTORY/historical events using site -- history is literally site specific.
We have the modern critic as a result of homelessness of art -- they engage viewers in understanding the context of the work art from which a dialog takes place. Often, not straightforward anymore. No longer just illustrations of an obvious theme (like religious commissioned art -- although much of that work was densely layered in symbolic content....blah blah blah...not talking about now)
Literal site vs. Functional site
Literal site: artist conforms to SPACE ("reflecting a perception of the site as unique, the work is itself 'unique.' It is a kind of MONUMENT, a public work commissioned for the site.")
Functional site: PLACE is marked and quickly abandoned. May or may not involve physical SPACE.
"To begin with, site specificity was understood, in its very constitution, as a mode of refusal of the system of art's commodification. Locating its critique within the gallery or museum, the site specific work exposed this SPACE AS A MATERIAL ENTITY, a no longer neutral space." -- Of course, that space remains NOT neutral. It embraces and sells site specific work.. Were the artists ever really in opposition of the gallery, or just challenging how to make the gallery work for them? Christo & Jean Claude -- work out side gallery, nbut represented by a gallery and sell sketches through gallery.
Ideas of placelessness...again.
idea of modern art -- object in and of itself with transhistorical meaning -- not associated with time or space. Objects then able to be commodified -- which led to a CALL FOR PRESENCE (demand for "being there") -- particular space, particular time. Origins of site specificity in minimalism. -- object's relation to site produced meaning.
site within site -- categories, labels.
"Today, much practice explores an EXPANDED SITE, enlarging its scop of inquiry into contingent spheres of interest, contingent locations."
Meeting of producer and site -- artist subscribes his/her subjectivity into the work. Fixed identities blur.
MOBILE SITE -- happenings, situationism -- Site/ non site -- Smithson (Jetty as monument thoughts of church, religion, construction, massive, destructive, glorious) -- an in-between, a non place, a ruin.
Site is really just context -- control of CONTEXT!
The SPACE of art.
Site specific art gives itself up to it's environmental context.
Aspiration to exceed the limitations of traditional media led to challenging the location of meaning from within the art object to the contingencies of its context. Independent (Cartesian) to Dependent (Phenomenological) -- capitalist market economy (exchange of goods/objects) is challenged.
Contextual thinking of minimalism (1960s, 70s?)
Site is there whether you wish to acknowledge it or not.
SITE vs. SITE SPECIFIC -- always a site, but to be specific is to bring awareness to the site/space
site specific art is passive... gives itself up to the environment. hmmmm.
specific within site within place within space. -(--semantics?)
concurrent with the dematerialization of the site is the ongoing deaestheticization and dematerialization of the artwork. Aggressively ANTI VISUAL. Art "WORK" no longer as noun/object -- site refers to ideological conditions for viewing. THis context, site is not based on physical permanence, but on recognition of unfixed impermanence. This is how view site specificity.
location as site and social conditions (institutional frame) as site both subordinate to discursively determined site.
there are often several definitions of site at work -- several different layers, OF COURSE.
semantic slippage between content and site. ha!
PHYSICAL SITE vs DISCURSIVE SITE -- action vs reception/effect (still need the physical to inform, instigate the mental.) -- all ideas start at a physical layer. Consider the process of critiquing anything -- 1. FORMAL (physical viewing) + 2. CONTEXT (time, space, history, culture) =3. MEANING (how the form and context create content -- personal to the viewer and universal to the world).
site is now structured (inter)textually rather than spatially.
3 paradigms of site specificity outlined: 1. phenomenological 2. social/institutional 3. Discursive
literal sense of physical separation, metaphorical sense as performed in discursive mobilization of site.
Site specific -- internet/music?
Artist as Producer of site specific work -- role of PRODUCER. Content maker. Progenitor of MEANING.
renewed focus on the artist leads to a hermetic implosion of auto biographical and subjectivist indulgences and myopic narcissism is misrepresented as self-reflexivity. --- SITE AND IDENTITY.
"The elaboration of place bound indentities has become more rater than less important in a world of diminishing spatial barriers to exchange, movement and communication," -- What is the definition of SPACE now?
Order of space.
uniqueness of place - establishing authenticity of meaning, memory, histories, identities -- different functions of place.
we leave behind the empirical and physical realities of a place -- no longer bound to these places. Contemporary life is a network of unanchored flows -- back to homelessness. NOMADS
The phantom of a site as an actual place remains, and out psychic,l habitual attachments to places regularyreturn as they continue to inform our sense of identity.
PARADOX OF CHOICE. "Freedon of Choice" -- choice to belong anywhere, everywhere, noware.
Our contemporary capitalist culture encourages the "self" identity in objects/products. But w/ technology there is a displacement of this self -- self is also determined by space. Our space is fragmented in the internet -- (and often false? -- MySpace.com), the new commerce. Selling of out internet identity.
passing intimacies. I like that line.