This anthology explores site-specific practice, its legacy, and the conversations that occur as negotiations between cultural production and the place of its reception, through critical and creative essays by leading theorists, architects, and artists.
At a time when questions of “place” are active in dialogues around globalization, cultural identities, and the loss of public space, how are artists, theorists, and architects imagining space? How does contemporary art make use of architectural vocabularies and histories in the fabrication of objects and events? What is the ongoing role of conflicting models of site-specificity in contemporary art and architecture?
“Surface Tension” examines the conversations that occur as negotiations between cultural production and the place of its reception. Such conversations are underscored as inherently complex, embodying intersections of the imagined and the real, and the intensities surrounding art, performance and architectural productions that seek public potential. The anthology explores site-specific practice and its legacy through critical and creative essays by leading theorists, architects, and artists from around the globe, including an insightful interview with Gordon Matta-Clark
from 1976, a controversial essay by Juli Carson on the lingering debate surrounding Richard Serra's Tilted Arc, Margaret Morgan's plumbing of Modernist depths via the semiology of the toilet, and Kathy Battista's unearthing of women artists' groups in London from the 1970s. These are complemented by rarely heard audio works by Bruce Nauman and Yoko Ono
, documentation on the Dutch artist Paul Panhuysen
's architectural and installation works and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's recent and highly-acclaimed public project in Rotterdam, excerpts from Eyal Weizman
/Rafi Segal's censored contribution to the World Congress of Architecture from 2002, as well as works by LA-artists Michael Asher
and Simon Leung whose contextual practices address the politics of representation and public space.
“Surface Tension” looks towards proximate space and experiences of locality to tease out the tensions between global consciousness and the site-specifics of everyday life. This entails a consideration of the desires and impulses that occur within and against the contexts of cultural arenas, and how such interactions perform within the dynamics of spatial organization. Out of these relations comes the radically diverse ways space can be negotiated, manipulated, and traversed.
Essays/writings: Kathy Battista, Jennifer Gabrys, Gordon Matta-Clark
, Margaret Morgan, Paul Panhuysen
, Lucy Lippard, Laurie Palmer, Brandon LaBelle, Ken Ehrlich, Jane Rendell, Juli Carson, Atau Tanaka, Michael Asher
, Simon Leung.
Documentation of projects: Concrete Steps, Jen Hofer/Melissa Dyne, Kim Abeles, Carol Brown, Wochenklausur, Christof Migone
/Alex St-Onge, Michael Rakowitz
, Eyal Weizman
, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Tanja Jordan, Lizzie Scott, Lize Mogel, Terry Fox
, Lynn Kirby, Octavio Camargo, Colette Meacher, Valerie Trever.
Audio CD: Bruce Nauman, Paul Panhuysen
, Anthony Moore, Erik Nauman, Stuart Dempster, Frances-Marie Uitti, Undo, Yoko Ono
, Terry Fox
, Alison Knowles, Atau Tanaka.
See also: Surface Tension – Supplement No. 1
and No. 3