Further to Chris’ post — I found Hans Ulrich Obrist & Olafur Eliasson: The Conversation Series to be last week’s best quick-read. (Actually, I guess it was last’s weeks only quick-read, if I don’t count reading 1/2 of Austin Grossman’s cleverly sardonic “Soon I Will be Invincible”. Anyway.)
I added-to-cart like a ‘droid without a restraining bolt..So, running Chris’ dog-ear algorithm..
This leads to the question about your collaboration with architects. It seems to have become a more important aspect of your work recently.
..In the same way that artistic practice has rediscovered its ability to constantly re-evaluate its own platform, architectural discourses have opened up a bit, engaging in matters other than their own formal setup. This is why including architects — and engineers or scientists — is crucial for bringing me to places I couldn’t reach on my own.
Let’s talk about public art.
..When you show in a gallery, you’re quite concerned with what came before and what will follow in the gallery program because there’s certain overlap in ideology. So if the shows before and after yours are nonsense, then your show takes on that agenda, whether you like it or not. The case is different with public art because, like architecture, it has been extensively compromised. But I see a great potential for art in public space because theres always the possibilit that people might not rrealize that it’s art. It’s as simple as that. People might enter a plaza and think a piece is something functional or something they don’t understand, but it’s there. And that intrigues me — the fact that such pieces are not immediately recognizable as art.
..I’d like to ask you about an edition projects of yours I once saw the beginnings of. The was to map the whole of Iceland using found images
..The Icelandic Cartographic Institute used photos to make maps of the country…They photographed the whole country from aboe by plane. And these photos were made with an unusually good photographic system. What’s interesting about this, besides the idea of mapping things completely, is that we are now in an era of satellite images, so aerial photography has disappeared..the airplane is only one kilometer up in the sky and that means that the view of one squar kilometer of ground is completely different than the view from a satellite, which is 600 kilometers high. There’s a spatial issue an airplane photo deals with that a satellite photo doesn’t have to deal with. A satellite photo involves another coneption of cartography; this is quite interesting because our eyes and the way we relate to space are in a limbo between aerial and satellite perspectives.
..the idea of a “parliament of things” is something I’ve also engaged with through a text by Bruno Latour that he wrote while preparing for his exhibition Making Things Public..in which he describes the idea that all things are relative and to be debated and evaluated. I like this, and it’s something I’ve focused on in much of my work — the notion that we all perceive things differently even though we’re engaging with identical physical objects or environments. For Latour, it’s not a question of universal rules that would define things, but an emphasis on negotiation.
p. 73What about specific projects of yours in relation to the urban situation?
Yes, through the idea of an unbuilt city, I’ve slowly realized how all of my work forms a sort of spatial language. I’m also developing this idea of how to construct and deconstruct at the same time: you can say something and both evaluate and critique it simultaneously, like in an endless loop.
p. 75My last question is about the inadequacy of some of today’s museums that become less and less experimental
..Currently artists are obsessed with dematerializing, recontextualizing, or reevaluating the object. I’m referring to the whole disappearance of the object and everything now being based on relations — the quasi-object. That’s not a problem in itself, but unfortunately museums are moving in the wrong direction. Their approach to it remains highly conservative: they’re trying to institutionalize the object — and not just the object’s physical qualities, but the experience of it. In fact, museums tend to commodify, or at least objectify, the experience of the object. And as this is played out, they narrow down the way the public sees things. To be frank, I think they’ve become producers of “seeing-machines”; they not only produce the art, but they dictate the way art is to be seen thanks to their event-driven and conservative perspectives on the object. So they’re losing the socializing potential of art..
The reason I do these interviews is to learn more myself; it’s a way of saying to people that I’m not the mastermind of the project, at least not in the classic genius kind of way. There’s no reason to pretend that I’m doing this all by mself; I’m going to involve various people in the project.
The next question is about the micro and macro aspects of landscapes. I know that you maintain this ongoing project of attempting to photograph the entire topology of Iceland — a mapping project..
One aspct about my excitement with this project is that it constantly varies, it changes a lot. To cover and document the whole surface of Iceland is actually more about the impossibility of creating an objective map … but equally about how cartography has fostered a third-person point of view on our inhabited space. At some point, for instance, maps began to be so precise that one could actually relate to them as a kind of time dimension, enabling us to say: “From here to Rome is a half year on horse-back.” A map thus also became like a clock, a temporal calibration. So in my project the idea of mapping everything from the air, documenting minutiae, all the glaciers, all the waterfalls, the crevasses, the routes, curved roads and straight roads, all these mappings serve to destabilize our usual conception of time. When documenting things, you also apply a new dimension to them; I apply what we talked about before — the different ideas of space — and question the dimensionality of things.
The weather is one of the few really public domains..we might say that the weather is in a constant dialogue with the landscape..if it rains, it becomes completely black and shiny; if it’s super-dry or if there’s a sandstorm, it changes color; and if the sun is radiant, the glacial melt is so intense that the rivers rise enormousl. So the landscape and the weather function as an ensemble and your body is reciprocally isolated.
The idea is to establish an interdisciplinary school that focuses on spatial issues. It will do so primarily from the perspective of art and artists, but it should also have a group of architects and perhaps several scientists working on, for instance, psychophysical issues. The school should offer some sort of post-graduate degree; I think it would be nice to have a group of PhD candidates affiliated with it..In other words, the school is not about producing artists in the traditional sense, but about introducing a vocabulary through which artworks can become much more integrated into society, social structures, and scientific and architectural discourses.