Art from Place: The Expression of Cultural Memory in Place-Specific Art interventions

How is cultural memory expressed in the urban environment and how can/do artists utilise this expression to produce work? Under the new streams of critical geography a new sense for the word place has developed, which reformulates the prevalent concept of space by mustering the realms of memory and experience. Streams of ‘place sensitive’ art practice, which make use of the critique of the sociological object and of the current multiple significance of the category of space, have also developed. In view of the insufficiency of the concept of site-specificity to account for these new forms of art practice, the research puts forward the designation place-specificity for their definition. The importance of correlating contemporary critical theory related to sociological, urban and geographical studies, with artistic practices which operate informed by those terrains of investigation, forms a core aspect of the research. The research follows the trajectory of cultural memory in the processes through which the cultural body is formed in connection with the sensorial experience, and encompassed by an analisys of the spatiality of experience. This was done in two main stages. First, through the proposal of a critique of representation, namely in what concerns the confinments of identity to imagistic systems and on the overrated value of representations (visual or narrative) in relation to experience. A second stage was constituted by a proposed critique of vision attempting to reframe the hegemony of the visual and to convert the consideration of the perceptive into the multi-sensorial. Both in the practice and theoretically, the research has reflected upon the conditions undr which art practices operating in these territories could be said to arise, and proposes the critical defenition of the term ‘place-specificity’ as an open point of arrival for the investigation.

Year 2001
Type Thesis
Institution Chelsea College of Art and Design (University of The Arts London)
Degree PhD
Supervisor(s) Prof. Alan Read | Prof. Toshio Watanabe | Advisor Tim O'Riley
Language English
Field Conceptual Public Art