For this assignment I am looking to present a selection of interventions placed in the public space of Liverpool. After a period of getting the process right and reflecting on the approach, I gathered 6 completed interventions around the city centre. Each one comes with a selection of supporting photographs that document the process of making. The creative approach may be grounded in the theory of A3, but as we can see the aesthetic has been enhanced by elements of banal urbanity.
While the arrangements are site-specific, the compositions are the product of encounter between shadows and surfaces that are arranged harmoniously rather than orderly, drawing on my inspiration from Lee Ufan. Like Lee, the concept embodies a global mixture of influences and disciplines. The multiplicity of which include the Germanic form language and a ‘psychical space’ from the Japanese concept of Ma (Campany, 2018). As such one cannot create a singular meaning but instead regard it an example of a “game” of artistic activity that can be a way of living in todays globalised world (Bourriaud, 2002).
More recently the theory has been reinforced by adding further research points on site-specificity and participation. In particular, the essay One Place after Another: Notes on Site Specificity (Kwon, 1997) became a useful guide in how working in the public realm is critiqued, but also how the role of the artist evolves from being “…a maker of aesthetic objects…” to “…a facilitator, educator, coordinator, and bureaucrat.” (Kwon, 1997, p.103). These interventions in the public space are something I can continue to work on in a noncommissioned way, but there is future potential to engage with institutions and clients in producing site-specific commissioned work. All of which could be part of a self-sustaining approach to personal/professional practice that I wish to promote in the final module SYP.
While I am happy for the viewer to engage with the resulting work and attach their own levels of meaning, I don’t wish to “…renounce authorship…” and autonomy on the process and documentation (Bishop, 2006, p.183). Instead I would like to see this as an ongoing development to a way of seeing that can potentially suggest “…new perspectives on our condition.” (Bishop, 2006, p.181).
The ephemeral quality of the work also pays homage to art such as A Line Made by Walking (Long, 1967), which depended on photography’s primary utility to document. Yet unlike engagements such as performance and sculpture, in my examples the act of photography has also produced the work of art, showing the formats polarity in one piece and not something secondary to another medium. This is something which can be seen in the supporting images I have sequenced below. From documenting the workflow, to the follow-up; I was curious to see how the installed shadowgram would exist afterwards. This kept me returning to the sites as long as I could, building up a larger selection of images to define its presence, and in some cases, its absence.
Saint James Street
The choice of using image and text is limited to informing the viewer to where and when each work was created. This is simply because it is something absent in the photographs themselves. And in order to allow a multiplicity of opinions on how to read the work, I feel it best not to intervene with words that might converge to a particular meaning.
Similarly with sequencing, as my work is not narrative based, I mainly need to consider what sits well as a spread. If I was to focus on the documentation images then the sequence would likely be a linear one. If I was to present mainly the representational image I have selected for each installation, then I am more likely to approach the sequence like a monograph. This gives a sense of play in the later edit where I can find complimentary images to sit side by side, perhaps by way of subject such as the bicycles if I was to keep them in a final selection.
The conclusion of this assignment is to discuss the successes and reflections of intervening in the public space, before considering how the overall BoW should come together for a final direction in A5. From the initial starting point which evolved into a way of creating notations, to the technique of the shadowgram, and now formations created firstly in an interior, which now also intervene outside; is this a fully rounded conceptual BoW, or is this a point to converge on one idea and produce more for a final submission?
Bishop, C (2006) ‘The Social Turn: Collaboration and its Discontents’. In: Artforum International, 44(6), pp 178-183
Bourriaud, N (2002) Relational Aesthetics. Paris: Presses du Réel.
Campany, D (2018) ‘Physical Space, Image Space, Psychical Space’ In: davidcampany.com At: https://davidcampany.com/physical-space-image-space-psychical-space/ (Accessed on 04.12.18)
Kwon, M (1997) ‘One Place after Another: Notes on Site Specificity’. In: October, Vol.80(1), pp 85-110