Surface Tension: Problematics of Site
Edited by Ken Ehrlich & Brandon LaBelle
CD selection by Stephen Vitiello
328 pages with Compact Disc
ISBN 0-9655570-4-9
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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.

Additional contributions by Kim Abeles, Carol Brown, CopenhagenOffice, Octavio Camargo, Jeremiah Day/Concrete Steps, Dispute Resolution Services, Jennifer Gabrys, Jen Hofer/Melissa Dyne, Lucy R. Lippard, Colette Meacher, Christof Migone/Alexander St-Onge (undo), Laurie Palmer, Lize Mogel, Michael Rakowitz, Jane Rendell, Lizzie Scott, Atau Tanaka, and WochenKlausur.

Accompanying CD includes audio works by Seth Cluett, Stuart Dempster, Terry Fox, Alison Knowles, Frances-Marie Uitti, Anthony Moore, Bruce Nauman, Erik Nauman, Yoko Ono, Paul Panhuysen, Atau Tanaka and undo.