Reading Week 9: Claire Doherty's Situation



The excerpt written by Michael de Certeau was quite interesting for me. His definitions of space and place and their differentiation is exciting to think about. I like what he says about how stories transform a place into a space. I think this idea rings true for me because of its connection to my work. I agree that a place doesn't become something of importance to an individual until there are personal connections and one owns' experience tied to it.

I didn't know what to make of the Guy Debord piece. I found it extremely vague and hard to follow. I felt like He was trying to convince me of something, but I wasn't sure what. I really enjoyed the Paul Rooney reading about the guy taking the photo from the Joy Division record. It gave me a different idea of what "artist instructions" can be.

These readings really seemed to be aimed to make us to think about space and the role of the artist with the use of it. This space either being “public”, and if so, what does it mean for it to be public?, what is public art? what is the relationship between the museum and public space? It talked about the contracts happening between museums and artists and the emergence of the importance of interactive art in the museum and theories of why this has happened. The readings also talk about the difference between place and space, the situationist, and how Biopower affects space. Also the readings talked about emotional space, as well as how an artist's voice can guide us through a space.

I liked how Robert Irwin described the importance of detail when making a sculptural response to an area. He talks about walking, sitting and watching the space. To know the surrounding architecture, weather, the sounds, etc. This relates to our final assignment and to be aware of the factors he mentions. How does the Walker as an institution and as a space affect the interactive work that we will make for our final project? I also liked Paul Rooney's guided tour of the field in Calderdale. I liked how he used memory, photography, the view of an artist to describe the feelings that have been experienced there, the things that have been seen there and the things to notice as you walk through the field. I thought it was a honest and heartfelt guidance of the place. Something to definitely think about for our final project. I thought that Miwon Kwon's One place after another was perfect in explaining the reasons and motives for site oriented practices, especially in the museum. I liked the description used for this as “a melancholic discourse and practice” in the sense that the myth of spaces owning a unique identity and artists owning a privileged outlook of originally are not longer seen as the principal belief. “Sculpture in the last twenty years is an attempt to reconstruct the notion of site from the standpoint of having acknowledged its disappearance.”

Reading the Certeau piece about space and place, I caught myself drifting into tangents. I was reminded of a Nobel prize winner in physics, Schodinger, who theorized through quantum physics a cat in a completely isolated box could be both dead and alive. Its a pretty quirky theory, but then again there are a lot of contradictions or disparities about ideas throughout the readings. For example we got to read about happenings and anti-happenings. Also, Certeau and Acconci use space and place in ways not completely in line.

These different segments seem to push and pinch at each other to describe terms they can agree upon. Although they were written at different times and for different reasons, it seems like were have a need to define the boundaries between space and object. Foucault mentioned the quincunx form (he didn't identify it as such, but that's what it is) that is a fundamental element of garden design, and that geometric plotting of an archetypal form felt the closest to tying these little chapters together.

I'm not sure how Rooney's wonderful piece about the Joy Division photo (listening to them now!) fit with the other, but it pulled together different times and conditions in a way that I try to use in my work. It felt like he was trying to show layers of repeated times over layers of repeated locations, and the resulting moiré pattern is where our real experiences lie.

I enjoy Foucault. Especially when he begins to analyze deeply the "Polynesian" vacation villages "...those Polynesian villages that offer a compact three week of primitive and eternal nudity to the inhabitants of the city." I agree with Chris in that these readings really jerk you around in terms of the ideas.

I liked Foucault's bit about the garden being a sacred space representing the smallest parcel of the world and the carpet representing the garden. It reminds me of that urge to take off one's shoes and socks and walk around on soft carpet/grass/sand etc. one of life's small pleasures.

I am enjoying the relationships being raised between space/place and time. Fast modern time slowing in open public spaces.

In Paul Rooney's text he is jumping backwards and forwards, describing parallel scenes and emotions that come very vividly to my experience, then bringing the whole narrative back round to join up with the beginning again. It is a very pleasing textual whole.

Robert Irwin: Being and Circumstance
"A distillation of all of this-....whether the response should be monumental or ephemeral, agressive or gentle, useful or useless, sculptural, architectural, or simply the planting of a tree, or maybe even doing nothing at all."
I like the idea of distilling the experience of being in a space. This has helped me focus my intentions more, as opposed to trying to work outside of my interest to create an interactive project I'm realizing more that I am interested in something more ephemeral...perhaps.
The Paul Rooney, Let me take you there, was such an interesting narrative and simple gesture. I really liked that idea of existing in a moment and fully experiencing it.

I really enjoyed Foucault. I was on the bus when i read him and I found myself lost in the essays and the ideas. I liked how the "garden represented the smallest parcel of the world but then it is totally the world".
Let me take you there was a fascinating interpretation of a instructional manual. I enjoyed how the field was the object of focus but it invoked mood, memories, ideas, reminders, feelings, thoughts.
Some quotes and snippets I liked from the readings:

ten thousand hours is a common touchstone on how long it takes to become an expert

no longer self aware, even our bodily self, we have become the thing on which we are working

When you have a Happening, you cannot have an absence of Happening.

Smithson: Utility and art don't mix =Asshole

craftsmanship is poorly understood

explore what happens when hand and head, technique and science, art and craft are separated. I will show how the head then suffers, both understanding and expression are impaired

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