31st March 2011, 77 Leonard St.
THE DYNAMICS OF SPACE
Attilia Fattori Franchini
“But space – does it remain the same? Is space itself not that space which received its first determination from Galileo and Newton? Space – is it that homogenous expanse, not distinguished at any of its possible places, equivalent toward each direction, but not perceptible with the sense?
Space – is it that which, since that time (Newton), challenges modern man increasingly and ever more obstinately to its utter control?”
Martin Heidegger, Art and Space, 1969
“The present epoch will perhaps be above all, the epoch of space”, states Foucault in the famous text Of Other Spaces. He calls the twentieth century “the epoch of simultaneity; of juxtaposition; the epoch of near and far; of the side by side; of the dispersed”.
Space has acquired in the last decades an increasing importance in contemporary art practices and discourses. Science and philosophy intervene in shaping and interpreting this concept, while Architectural critic becomes Architect-cultural, playing a major role in artistic reflections. Now, we will not pretend to overview all the possible intersections between space and philosophy neither try to define it from a scientific point of view.
What we attempt here is to quote a few ideas that will help us to understand better in which light the artists and the works presented in SINCE TOMORROW have to be approached.
Space - as intended by Heidegger in one of his later writings, Building, Dwelling, Thinking - “it is not determined by the characteristics of the place itself but from the features of its boundaries”.
“Accordingly, spaces receive their being from locations and not from “space” he writes. [..] The spaces through which we go daily are provided for by locations; their nature is grounded in things of the type of buildings. If we pay heed to these relations between location and spaces, between spaces and space, we get a due to help us in thinking of the relation of man and space.”
We are, therefore, tempted to analyse the subject of these boundaries as decisive factor in determining the qualities of space, which are capable to give to space a different meaning and connotation.
Nevertheless, there is more, as we discover from Bachelard’s Poetics of Space, it is not we and our presence or absence or proximity that influence the form of space. Instead, there is a mutual influence in between elements, so space influences us as much as we do.
Moreover, as Foucault reminds us, space is not even a void, present in between beings, but is “a set of relations that delineates sites which are irreducible to one another and absolutely not superimposable one other”. Space intended as a set of relations, is a flux in constant movement, not a fixed concept but an entity able to change its form and matter within history.
This admission - not a new discovery but a new acceptance - raises some questions such as: What is the space we are living at the moment and how we represent it?
What is the ultimate meaning of a special representation?
The answer is not easy and can never be exhaustive but as an object of the analysis which propose itself as fluid and undefined. What is interesting are the multiple natures of these answers, the kaleidoscope of relationships that shape the concept of a dynamic space and contribute also to form the main ideas behind SINCE TOMORROW.
The majority of the artists exhibited interpret this idea of space through various practices and approaches. The title of the exhibition urges on us to look at our nearest future and take it as a point of departure. The artists selected are young and burgeoning, their action in the present leads to the future while connecting to the past, mixing, juxtaposing and reverting, recreating new relationship while rediscovering the old ones.
The classical dichotomy between urban space and natural space, how we relate to it and how it contributes to the construction of our identities are at the centre of the analysis and allow us to deepen the comprehension of this wide set of relationship, how this has been evolving and developing right now.
The photographic work of South African artist, Dylan Culhane characterised by double exposure unusual overlapping, establish unexpected connections about how to understand nature in the digital.
Zuzunaga’s micro and macro colorful approach enlarge our perceptions and invite us to reflect about our digital culture; how the increasing scope of our urban landscape and daily activity has changed our aesthetics and representational codes.
The architectural sculptures of Neil Ayling de-construct buildings and facades in fragments to recreate fictional new three-dimensional compositions which permit new links between reality and urban imaginary.
The painting of Ross M. Brown and Nick Macleod are inspired by decadent locations. Mcleod is inspired by found images of abandoned places and crime scenes while Brown concentrates on wasteland and the influence of time on it. Tension is at the centre of their representation and it is expressed through changes or distortion of the original image.
Susan Corke and Katie Surridge’s work adds natural and imaginary elements to our cities, revealing dream-like escapes towards parallel realities; through their different approach they are able to create a conceptual bridge between nature and the contemporary city landscape.
The detailed etchings of Gemma Anderson are concentrated on the self and are set in a pre-historic forgotten world inhabited by ancient animals and plants.
The expressive landscapes of Briony Anderson emerge us in a romantic natural force where the man is a mere spectator. Anderson’s paintings are an investigation of landscape in which the final output is an expressive image completely detached from its source while at the same time presenting small details that reveal themselves upon looking.
Shannah Bupp’s painterly research on people becomes an exploration of physical structures and psychological status always represented as androgynous and fragile in response of the external inputs of global societies.
Alessandro Librio’s mystical and musical performances using architecture as point of departure to enlarge and transmit sound, complete and contain the intrinsic idea presented in SINCE TOMORROW.
His work has the power of reminding us of the importance of looking at things from a different point of view. Using the the rhythm of these dynamics through his practice offers a functionality to the “void”, materializing it while the extremes of the man-urban relationship and natural space become a defined entity.
Heidegger, Martin, "Art and Space." Charles E. Seibert, trans. Man and World vol. 6, no. 1 (1973), pp. 3-8.,
Foucault, Michel, “Des Espace Autres”, published originally in Architecture-Mouvement-Continuitè, October 1984, but was the basis of a lecture given by Michel Foucault in March 1967.
Heidegger, Martin, “Building, Dwelling, Thinking”, Poetry, Language, Thought. Translated by Albert Hofstadter, New York, Harper & Row, 1971.
Bachelard, Gaston, “La Poètique de l’Espace”, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1958; english translation JOLAC, Maria. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969.