What is this material, live space?
The paper ‘What is this material, live space?’ looks at the practice of incorporating live space into artwork, where the live space—the space able to be occupied by the viewer—is a significant and active element in the work, as shown in the work of Gordon Matta-Clarke, Michelangelo Pistoletto and Helena Almeida. It looks at the implications for live space of models of the site as discussed by Miwon Kwon and James Meyer, concluding that what their understanding of the institutional critique model may gain in critical capacity, it may lose through displacing the object of that criticism, live space, and with it, the very ‘social and political entity’ that is the subject of their concern. The paper considers that a better way to look at site-related artworks may be as experiments with contemporary spatial frameworks and their historical and cultural evolution, an approach which focuses more on the relationship between live and art space rather than on ‘the site’ as a separate entity. It uses the work of Edward Casey on the status of place in Western philosophy, and an aspect of Thomas Brokelman’s interpretation of Casey’s work, as one way of considering how site-related artwork might engage with the spatial frameworks which viewers bring to the work.

Margaret Roberts.
September, 2005
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