Expanded Architecture 01-06 (2011)

Sarah Breen Lovett

About this exposition

The exposition of practice-based research is focused on using moving image installation to reflect upon our relationship to architecture. Through a site-specific practice, existing architectural elements are re-framed, re-focused and projected back onto themselves — either through the content of the moving image, or the construction of the installation. The exposition considers what this series of works have revealed about the use of moving image installation to reflect upon our relationship to architecture; particularly the possibility of creating tension between the architecture and the image, as well as the self in space.
typeresearch exposition
published inJournal for Artistic Research

comments: 3 (last entry by Katy Macleod - 21/11/2011 at 22:37)
Richard Blythe 21/11/2011 at 22:30

The brief accounts of the installations are very good and the entire thing is well written but the account provides very limited insight into what is going on in this practice and thinking. We are offered quotations from others but little from the author. For example, Loos Pleasures is a very nice piece but we are not exposed to what happened during putting this piece together, the process of the research. What was it about the brief that piqued a research interest (all research begins in some form of curiosity). What was discovered about the nature of contemporary video installation practice in undertaking this (or any of the other) project? Does it lead to some further realization about what Loos was up to? Or does the research (making the installations) expose new opportunities in the practice of moving image installation? What changes in the research as the researcher reflects on completed works and moves on to new ones?


The bibliography is heavily weighted to historical/theoretical texts. It would seem that similar references to actual works, that is, to other creative works themselves (rather than reviews and secondary theorisations), should also be included with equal weighting. The installations are compelling and the text goes far enough for us to see something of this practice and its historical/theoretical context, there is just more to tell which could make this a more powerful research piece.


Research requires that the researcher ‘fights close to the bull’. [1] In this case the compelling works are held at a distance to the practices of their making by the way in which they are framed historically and theoretically. This exposition would be more powerful as creative practice research if the author used the technical potential of the web weave of JAR to dissect and pull apart the works and the creative works of her practitioner authorities. To use diagrams, segments of video, stills, overlays etc. to show us ‘look! this is what I see here in this and that work (my authorities/inspiration/community of practice/or in traditional research terms what might be understood as a practice version of a literature review — of contemporary researchers)’, ‘this is how I try to deal with a similar problem in my own work here, in this use of reflected light on a found surface interrupted by movement’ etc. Such an account would tell us more about creative practice. The work at present oscillates between being research undertaken through practice and a more theoretical examination of historical sources. The author should be more emphatic about the fact that this is creative practice research and that it contributes to the field of video installation practice, and perhaps less interested in the works of those who speculate on what such works might mean.


[1] A research concept articulated by Marcelo Stamm during a panel review of the PhD work of Arnaud Hendrickx at the RMIT Supervisory Research Conference in Ghent, 20 November 2010.

John Sundholm 21/11/2011 at 22:34

The subject as such is not novel, expanded cinema had its heyday during the 1960s and early 1970s with names such as Malcolm le Grice, Valie Export, Peter Weibel and Dan Graham, to name just some of them. Because of the rapid growth of video and installation art since the early 1990s there has been a renewed interest in the field. The exposition and works it describes approach installation and moving image work from the viewpoint of architecture, in this case meaning that ‘Expanded Architecture’ shifts the focus of the moving image installation, from the moving image content or screen installation, to the architecture present in the installation. This use of folding the architecture back on itself — extending the narrative, representative, image focused, screen based works that pervade the contemporary moving image landscape — is however not that common. So, although not altogether original, this contribution examines a good and intriguing topic.


The exposition consists of a short introductory text and six art works (or documentations). Each work is related to a specific theme, in which the projected moving image is used/installed in relation to a specific architectural surrounding and set of problems. There is quite a big difference between the different artwork whereas the texts are short and mostly suggestive. It is not always easy to judge the outcome; because we are dealing with architecture I would have liked to have proper drawings of the places in question and of the position of the projections. Having said this, the submission is interesting.


The basic strength in the exposition is the diversity of the work, I consider the second work, Loos Pleasure 01, to be the most original one, but it is not easy to have a full appreciation of it on the basis of the documentation since most of the work is so site-specific. 04 (Window Wound) and 06 (Dome Detail) are easier to engage with because the documentation covers the work well. Both these works are great to look at and witty, although I cannot see a real development of the subject that is being studied. Foremost the artworks represent intelligent demonstrations of various topics. Good subject and some very interesting work!


Strengths: Clearly written. Diversity makes it interesting. Good subject while there is so much installation around. Work 02 and 04 are interesting.


Weaknesses: The diversity is also a weakness. I would have liked to see a development of one or two particular subjects (interior/exterior or bodily orientation in space in relation to sight etc.) The introductory text is very short and merely suggestive, it could be longer and state more clearly what will follow. The seminal catalogue X-screen for the MUMOK-exhibition in 2003-2004 could be helpful reading.

Katy Macleod 21/11/2011 at 22:37

At the time of reviewing there was insufficient evidence of a careful distillation from the fields of Art, Installation Art and Architecture to prepare the ground for innovation in the capacities of Installation Art to newly inform how architecture is experienced. Especially important in the field of Installation Art is a depth of understanding about site, context and viewer. There are essential debates within the recent histories of Installation Art concerning, for instance, institutional critique, ‘nomadism’ and discourses of subjectivity, which were not apparent in the exposition. In addition, the exposition did not fully engage with the immersive capacities of Installation Art, in terms of viewer experience. The exposition would benefit from a more richly intense identification of what it means to experience the tension between a moving image installation and architecture.


There is a sense of interruption and an interplay between the moving image and architecture which does not precisely ‘reframe’ the architecture but plays across its surfaces and openings (such as windows) without a clear understanding of sustained interrogation. It would be helpful for the viewer/reader to know the precise rationale for provoking a ‘tension’ between architecture and Installation Art. The research needs to demonstrate how this tension informs the ‘landscape of the moving image’ and to further elucidate what this ‘landscape’ is. The use of sound and light, for example, could be more fully explored to present a closer identification of the experience of Installation Art in this context.


The posing of a central question has been adequately achieved. There is some evidence of the potential for innovation, which would be greatly enhanced were the specific and particular elements of Installation Art and Architecture more fully identified. This would provide for a keener articulation of the rationale for presenting and exploring the ‘tension’ between these disciplines through moving image works. More thought needs to be given to the terms used, such as the ‘landscape of moving image’. A much tighter realisation of the researcher’s approach could be achieved through a closer engagement with the field of Installation Art and, most particularly, through other artists’ interrogation of Art, Architecture and their contexts and meanings, eg Do Ho Suh; Robert Irwin; Olafur Eliasson — to name three very diverse practices. This would help provide evidence of how to encounter the term, ‘moving image’, and to begin to interrogate more deeply what is meant by movement, for instance. This bedrock questioning has begun but needs to gain considerable impetus. There is evidence in the present submission of a lack of attention to the precise detail of what is being claimed, also to the inevitable distinctions between sources cited from different fields. At the end of this process of research, the contributor to the journal will need to have demonstrated that practice discourses of moving image installation and architecture have been newly informed in specific ways.

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