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The Usual Suspects

Jacques Derrida


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Semiotics] (philo entry) Notes from Nick Kaye's "site-specific art - performance, place, and documentation", LCN #####???####, ISBN 0.415.18559.9 (London, Routledge Press, 2000). BEGIN EXTRACT QUOTES [P. 1] This book is concerned with the practices which, in one way or another, articulate exchanges between the work of art and the places in which its meanings are defined. [Note 1]. Indeed, a definition of site-specificity might begin quite simply by describing the basis of such an exchange. If one accepts the proposition that the meaning of utterances, actions and events are affected by their "local position", by the *situation* of which they are a part, then a work of art, too, will be defined in relations to its place and position. To 'read' the sign is to *have located* the signfier, to have recognised its place within the semiotic system. One can go on from this to argue that the location, in reading, of a image, object, or event, its postioning, in relation to political, aesthetic, geographical, institutional, or other discourses, all inform what 'it' can be said to *be*. [Indeed as Kay points out in discussing Bernard Tschumi's ideas], [P.42, p.#2] ... While drawing on the work of artists and theorists emphasizing post-structuralist concepts of the sign and the text [Tschumi 1985:24; La Case Vide, London, Architectural Association], Tschumi has also defined his practice in relation to the work of 'early "concept performance" artists' and their emphasis upon the phenomenology of space. Thus, in "The Architectural Paradox", Tschumi positioned his work in relation to the post-minimalists installation art of Bruce Nauman, Doug Wheeler, Robert Irwin, and Michael Asher, where: By restricting visual and physical percetion to the faintest of all stimulations, they turn the expected experience of the space into something all-together different. The almost totally removed sensory definition in-evitabley throws the viewers back on [P.43] themselves. In 'deprived space' [...] the materiality of the body [elision in Kay's work] coincides with the materiality of the spece [and] the [""] subjects only 'experience their own experience'. -- (Tchumi 1994a: 41-42) [Tschumi 1994a [1975] 'The Architectural Paradox' in Bernard Tschumi Archtecture and Disjunction, London: MIT Press, 27-52] [Note 2] Next: Zzzz. Next: Notes for this page. {Back to the TOP of this page}


(This section only) [1] An important point here is that the place into which the art is installed *automatically* creates in the (potential) viewer an *expectation* of art to be there. For example, if we walk into a room (say the waiting area of an apt complex; eg, SouthSide at Lamar, Dallas, Terra), then we see painted walls. And there is automatically an expectation that "things hung on a wall" are *paintings* (or other art). But, imagine if there is a mop hung on the wall (or just sitting in the middle of a blank wall, either laying down, or leaning up against the wall -- what then? Now, if the viewer is aware of a certain artist's reputation for using mundane objects (readymades, etc) as part of the art, then viewer may view the mop *as* art, even though to the casual viewer/passer-by the mop is hardly noticed at all. Thus, regardless of some (i would say) *nebulous* "meaning", the art or even just the expectation of art, creates even more of a presence than the place itself. (standing on shakey ground here). {Back to the TEXT} [2] But, i would maintain that this is what *any* art does. When we see the Mona Lisa we are inevitably "thrown back on ourselves". Every human event has at its core our own feelings about ourselves; eg, a funeral, a football match, etc. Falling back on our "mop on the wall" example, consider the "useless tools" art of Margaret MacDonald. When we first encounter one of these tools (eg, a gardening trowel will all manner of nails and screws inserted into the handle -- thus making the tool not only useless but literally un-usable), we say "how interesting". We reflect momentarily on the object and what it *means*, later after encountering her "un-friendly jewelery box" or a similar nature, we open the top and look inside, and find that indeed there are several *expectations* 1) That the inside will be completely filled with plastic resin, thus afforeding no storage space within, 2) That the inside, might actually have some beautiful gem or a nice little photograph in it. Thus, the artist can *not* create the space, without creating the expectation by the viewer. Thus, once the viewer becomes educated, the separation (or joining) or meaning, thing, and space goes out the window. Only, at the very first (*the* first time) does the object, space, and ultimately meaning have as part of it's nature *un-bounded-ness*. By this, i mean both in the sense that the object/space/meaning (OSM) is wide open, and that the triad are indeed un-bound to each other. I would go so far as to assert, that at the *first* instance, the object, space, and meaning could be bound not only in an infinite (or nearly so) number of ways, but that the object space and meaning could be bound to *anything* in the universe. The connection is made by the viewer and thus they *own* the experience -- no matter how minimal or maximal it is. Ultimately this goes back to QM and the observer/observed effect. (more on this later -- off to class; damn i'm tired) nite all, --42-- {Back to the TEXT} [3] {Back to the TEXT} [4] {Back to the TEXT} [6] {Back to the TEXT} [7] {Back to the TEXT} [8] {Back to the TEXT} [9] {Back to the TEXT} [10] {Back to the TEXT} [2] {Back to the TEXT}


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