Luis Berríos-Negrón

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Exposition: IN SITU: Sonic Greenhouse. Composing for the intersections between the sonic and the built (13/01/2018) by Otso Tapio Lähdeoja et al.
Luis Berríos-Negrón 24/03/2019 at 14:59

Comment about 'In Situ'

From a disciplinary and collaborative standpoint, the exposition presents a high level of excellence manifested by its technological output.

Specifically intervening in a greenhouse facility is of relevance. Beyond its role as contribution to research in sound art, it also compliments broadly to environmental art, installation, art display, curatorial practices, architecture, climate studies, history of science and technology, and sustainable architectural practice.

I am concern though that a critical analysis of ‘greenhouse’, itself as ‘medium’, is missing. It is a traditional, 19th century approach to celebrating greenhouse, falling short of addressing contemporary assessments of what this important technology, building, gas, effect, and spatial display, of natural history, and of art, represents today within the toxic logic of global warming.

I do want to absolutely point to the very thoughtful, if elegant aspirations to identify, and even privilege aural over visual experience.

But, in the context of perceptual and environmental studies, by omitting the overarching importance of ‘greenhouse’ in relation to the pervasive invisibility of global warming, the work unfortunately celebrates a still-colonial attitude towards perceptual problems, particularly the ones 'greenhouse' has represented for over 200 years.

As far as its research quality, this is a difficult aspect to evaluate. Is the work produced to create a series of specific aural outcomes in the way an artist traditionally preconceives and deploys the artwork, in this case the ephemera of instruments and triggers created to activate the space and produce a previously unknown aural experience, just as an abstract expressionist drip painter, or a performance artist or musician improvises to deliver a previously unknown outcome? Or was the work produced as a method to question and explore sensorial experiences in ways that would quantifiably and/or qualitatively inform and enrich the practice of sound art, installation, display, etc.?

I suppose these are the questions I would propose to both the authors and their 'readers'.

But, those questions ought not impede the thrust of the work, as I do strongly believe that In Situ merits due attention for the robust commitment and complexity it portrays.




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