ART/SITE/CONTEXT

ART/SITE/CONTEXT

Gillian McIver

Site-responsive art는 more like public space를 겨냥하는 것으로 작가는 보고 있다. 

The term “site-specific art” is still controversial because there is dissention as to whether it applies to work made specifically for a site (e.g. a public art sculpture such as Richard Serra’s works or Gormley’s Angel of the North or the Trafalgar Square Empty Plinth initiative) or to work made in response to and encounter with, a site. Or is the term applicable to both?[1] This may seem like a semantic point, but the art works that result are profoundly different. In this case, I am going to discuss the second, which am calling “site-responsive” art. (간결하게 정리 잘 함)

Site response in art occurs when the artist is engaged in an investigation of the site as part of the process in making the work. The investigation will take into account geography, locality, topography, community (local, historical and global), history (local, private and national). These can be considered to be “open source” – open for anyone’s use and interpretation. This process has a direct relationship to the art works made, in terms of form, materials, concept etc. Of course, artists, like anyone else, respond to these “raw materials” in individual ways.

Along with installation, site-responsive art sometimes incorporates a live art or performative element. Since most site-responsive work is temporal, existing in its original form only for the duration of its public exposure in the site, live art’s temporal nature fits well in this context.

Ephemeral In most cases the works made for a particular site owe their existence only in relation to the site. If they can be moved and replaced at all, they will be changed by this process.[6] In this case we can say that the work is ephemeral. This applies equally to Kapoor’s Marsyas, made for the Tate’s Turbine Hall, as to the House of Detention projects. In many cases the work’s “life” exists only for the duration of the exhibition. This is particularly true of work made with materials directly related to the site (e.g. waste materials found onsite). As Miwon Kwon notes, “the definition of sitespecificity [assuming there is one!] is being reconfigured to imply not the permanence or immobility of a work [as in the sculptural and land art projects of earlier practice] but its impermanence and transience.”[7] (권미원 4p)

Exists as documentationMuch site-responsive work, as with land art, exists after the initial realisation of the project, as photographic, film or video work – it is thus transformed into another art work. How to deal with this outcome is another subject not discussed here. Process-product – The main danger in working site-responsively is the temptation to be caught up in the process, as opposed to working towards an end result. While this is not a situation limited to site-responsive artists, it is one which we are all especially susceptible to. However, if the aim is also to be accessible and inclusive, we also have to take into account that people who come to see the work expect there to be a work to experience. A description of the process alone is going to be seen as self-indulgent and is an example of then kind of obscurantism that made many artists reject the institutions. This does not mean that the art needs to be “dumbed down” in order to be accessible: quite the opposite. Most people, whatever their background, are quite ready to engage with the intellectual content of an art work if the art work presents itself as open for experience. Those who are not, would probably not willingly attend any exhibition, anywhere.

Becoming part of collective memory of the site working on a site does not bestow ownership upon the artist. The artist and the work becomes part of the collective memory of the site, and the artist has to accept that. Trying to achieve union of social and artistic purposes – While the artist wants the work to be judged as “art”, the social engagement of working on sites is very much part of what is going on and will affect the outcome. By making this a virtue of the work, the artist can avoid conflict in his/her process.

Not commodity based – Because the site-responsive work rarely generates any kind of sales, income for the projects must normally come from sponsorships and grants. In this way, site-responsive art exists slightly outside of the art market. There are exceptions, as it is not impossible to make saleable works in a siteresponsive manner, but it is not common. Photo-video work that comes out of the documentation, of course, can have a commodity life outside of the site work. However it is safe to say that the site-responsive artist is constantly engaged in writing proposals and funding applications for the few grants and sponsorships that exist, and art dealers rarely visit these exhibitions.

It is an “engaged” art form Above all, site-responsive art is an engaged art form. The artist is interested in what is happening, what has happened, in the place. Working in this way implies questioning, possibly rejecting, the irony and “cool” relativism of certain strains in contemporary art. The artist cannot avoid coming into contact with social, economic and cultural realities during the course of the creative process. Siteresponsive art is not necessarily making any direct comment or “telling” the audience what to think, but instead invites them to engage with the very real relationship between place and work, and inviting them to draw their own conclusions.

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