notes

Random notes related to site specificity and other things

As cited by Vince Dziekan in Virtuality and the Art of Exhibition (p. 42), Nick Kaye defines (in Site-Specific Art: performance, place and documentation, Routledge, 2000) site-specificity as encompassing “a wide range of artistic approaches that ‘articulate exchanges between the work of art and the places in which its meanings are defined.” The artwork is in some sense inseparable from the site in which it is exhibited. Meaning exists within the interaction between the site and the artwork. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

(During the artists’ presentation at Multipli{city}, there was indeed a strong consensus that the exhibited artwork took on a separate meaning when they were transplanted to the Graduate Gallery. The graffiti wall became a work with a completely different feel, for example, and the re-created makeshift shack space could only serve as “documentation.” After the panel discussion the artist talked with other people and agreed that if transplanted to a small town, for example, his installation would then take on even more wildly different meanings.)

Site specificity is opposed to media specificity (p. 191). In a sense, site specificity is treating the site as a material support. That said, in the digital realm, “media” is “fundamentally” just “data streams” (Cubitt as cited by Dziekan) and perhaps we can talk about “the liminality of borders in the digital age” (Dziekan, p. 144, although not referring to this context). The site is also not just the physical space, as “the artistic investigation of site never operates along physical or spatial lines exclusively but rather operates embedded within an encompassing ‘cultural framework’ defined by art’s supporting institutional complex” (One Place after Another: notes on site-specificity, 1977, p. 88, as cited by Dziekan).

According to Dziekan, modern curatorial practice very much hinges on site specificity (e.g., p. 42). He also mentioned other processes in curatorial design, such as choreography (p. 93).

Random questions not mentioned above:

What is a “programme architecture”?

What is a “facture”? “digital facture”?

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