Exposition

A Place, Constructed (2011)

Laura F. Gibellini

About this exposition

The exposition introduces the artist’s research into the concept of ‘place’. To do this, the weave has been conceived of as a place in itself and as a space for mapping some fundamental considerations implicit in the artist’s own practice. Layering image, moving image and text, the exposition seeks to avoid illustration, denying an explanatory relationship between the text and image or vice versa. Rather, in form and tone it seeks to make sense in a sort of delayed time — over time — little by little, as a collage of the different ideas, which form practice. The exposition is brought together as a momentary presentation, as part of an ongoing reflection, as fragments of a particular train of thought that expand, like a drawing, over time.
typeresearch exposition
date01/01/2011
statuspublished
urlhttps://www.researchcatalogue.net/view/12162/12163
doihttps://doi.org/10.22501/jar.12162
published inJournal for Artistic Research

comments: 3 (last entry by Claire MacDonald - 21/11/2011 at 15:16)
Kathleen Irwin 21/11/2011 at 14:44

The submission chiefly comprises a short video entitled Home Thoughts and an essay that contextualizes the artist’s analysis of her subject. The link to the video was discovered accidentally and if the page hides other video portals, I have not been able to access them – save one other that moves a 2D image from one plane to another. A pattern of dots and numbers opens more dots and numbers – all appearing to be repetitions of the same pattern. Small illustrations punctuate the page in ways that appear to illustrate the conflux of mapping symbols and abstract decoration. The scant text offers little illumination as to the meaning of these illustrations.

 

The video itself investigates a variety of physical spaces that represent, I believe, moments and landscapes of the artist’s life – and the underlying mobility that seems to characterize her current circumstances. Overlaying these images is a filigree of lines, a pattern that is reminiscent of wallpaper motifs or perhaps topographical mapping lines. The soundscape is comprised of a child’s music box: this lends a certain aura of nostalgia to the work. The video, rather than being particularly innovative in itself, serves to launch the ideas in the critical analysis, an essay entitled A Place Constructed. It does this rather successfully. The article deals with spatial practices, embodied spaces and the interiority / exteriority / subjectivity of place. In this, it covers ground that has been well travelled in the last number of years from a number of perspectives, chiefly phenomenological and from a variety of disciplines. The notion of space is taken up here through a range of metaphors including becoming, mapping and cartography; the idea that the attempt to represent space simultaneously masks and reveals it is a key trope in this work.

 

The paper activates a number of key theorists (Barthe, Heidegger, Korper, de Certeau) and these citations are well positioned to move along the argument. The conclusion of the paper argues that the use of topography as a new decorative pattern means the absorption of exteriority into interiority. The circularity of this argument is neatly illustrated in the layout of the page and how certain symbols double back to reveal the same decorative element. This is a clever strategy and one that is not apparent until one has read the entire article and explored the site. In the end, I was not clear if the submission was complete in itself or referenced a project with a life beyond what is represented here.

 

This submission would be of interest to textile designers, graphic designers, print makers, performance artists, intermedia / video practitioners (among others). I believe that the submission cleverly takes up the task of representing a complex range of ideas in a visual and abstract way. This argues for an interest in it beyond a specific range of disciplines. The submission is explicit about its concerns and articulates the argument well. The author explicitly states that the article takes up issues that are currently of concern in her artistic practice but does not make further reference to the nature of the practice beyond the short video clip that animates the page. In my opinion this is a serious omission as the video is not, in itself, particularly innovative or well done. Having said that, the nature of the submission is interesting in the way the video and graphics are woven through and illuminate the critical writing. The whole is pleasing and well constructed.

 

The writing contextualizes the key research concerns within a range of relatively recent theorists but does not make reference to the work of other artists who function in the same sphere of ideas. Nor does it situate itself in relation to the social or political. The writing is quite abstract – even poetic. It may well benefit from the layering on of aesthetic / social / political contexts but then it would be a completely different submission.

 

I do not believe that this submission provides particularly new or innovative insights. Having said that, it is a good piece of writing and I enjoyed exploring it. It is a good example of practice-based dissemination.

 

The article exhibits a very good level of written English, builds a good argument and shows a proper use of citations. I found the layout aesthetically pleasing although the size of my computer monitor (13 inches / 33 centimeters) made it extremely difficult to get an adequate overview of the page. I am not certain that I have an adequate sense of the page even after spending a considerable amount of time exploring it. Having said that, I felt that the way that the page unfolded and opened up through the use of portals was an extremely good foil to the hermeneutics of the critical writing.

 

This submission is on a level with other examples found in JAR and should be accepted as is. Any suggestions that I might make as to adding layers of context would change the nature of this submission beyond what it might be able to sustain. I have some concerns that it does not adequately reflect the artist’s own practice, that it is unnecessarily abstract, and that the studio practice is not readily evident. However, as in all things practice-based, there is a range of approaches. This is an interesting submission and I support its inclusion.

Lesley Duxbury 21/11/2011 at 15:07

Laura Gibellini's exposition is undoubtedly of both artistic and intellectual interest. The author clearly articulates contemporary issues in defining place as personal (interior) and physical (exterior) location with a part to play in communicating issues in today’s increasingly globalised world.

 

Globalisation has necessitated, particularly in the West, that we retreat to internally constructed worlds for stability as outside of ourselves we are on shaky ground. Nothing is as it used to be or how we were taught that it was, which appeared to be as solid as rock. However the author uses fairly obvious imagery to articulate her ideas and sometimes for me it is a little too didactic – overlays of pattern and contours and nostalgic sounds of a musical box – certainly conjure up times when things appeared to be more simple. But is this a symptom of the age or our age?

 

While Gibellini writes extremely well and uses quite appropriate scholarly references for this exposition, such as José Luis Pardo, Martin Heidegger and Gilles Deleuze, I have a few concerns about the established nature of her references and therefore maintaining the status quo regarding the position of artistic research. Given that this project (Journal of Artistic Research) is about the articulation and presentation of artistic research, not as something separate from accepted notions of scholarly research but different yet equal to it, I would like to see more artists referenced in the text so that the text does not remain the ‘scholarly field’ and the visual/aural contribution remains ‘artistic’ - so that we acknowledge the research contributions of already existing artwork. To this end the work of an artist such as Roni Horn would appear to be an appropriate ‘scholarly’ reference in the way she defines place in both her work and texts and her use of ‘place’ as a verb – as in ‘to place’ – which would be entirely apt in the context of this exposition.

 

Gibellini clearly articulates what she is setting out to question and gives the parameters of her project. The exposition most certainly demonstrates innovation in the form of the presentation through which she takes the reader/viewer on a personal yet universal journey. The research issue is well-contextualized through theoretical and artistic issues, however I found lacking the thoughts and/or work of other artists and this gives rise to the perception of this exposition as one that is divided into text (theory) and visuals (art). The text of this exposition in the main does not provide new insights and in many ways neither do the visuals. However in combination, and either through good luck or judgement in the way this exposition is accessed online, the new insights and interpretation of existing knowledge is evoked in the viewer/reader. By bringing together selected texts and images the work evokes the global concerns of relationship to place and yet provides for individual interpretation. Overall I assess this as a thoroughly researched exposition.

 

The design and navigation of this exposition provide the means to access the research content. Initially I found the design an obstacle but by being forced to navigate the design, paradoxically the research became more accessible, which I believe was the intention of the author. The exposition is accessible, readable and engaging. It posits contemporary, apposite and universal issues that are relevant to artists and certain social scientists. Its strength is in the ways the ideas are articulated through a combination and accumulation of text and images, not in the individual components themselves. Some of the links appeared not to take me anywhere and I expected more of some of them but again, this could be the purpose of this exposition.

Claire MacDonald 21/11/2011 at 15:16

This submission is of artistic and intellectual interest – it addresses, through visual and textual means, the ideas and ideals of place as a term, as a concept, and as a ‘topic’ which is realized culturally in multiple ways. The artist/writer gives us a series of visual fragments – which are intriguing - and combines photographic evidence of ‘something that has happened’ or indeed, is about to happen, together with, and in one case overlaid with, line drawings and decorative drawings of various kinds. These are deliberately ‘in the style of’: drawing by numbers, topographies, 2 dimensional representations of 3 dimensional territories etc. In addition, she presents a text which does not discuss or analyse her work, but which tries to give an impression of its starting point and context, and which, I suspect, is formally as ‘artfully’ constructed as her drawing – in other words, she is placing her ‘essay’ (her attempt, her proposal) within a textual form that is in itself contingent, reflective and allusive. This is interesting and thoughtful. What is much more difficult here is to place this in relation to the form of artistic research.

 

The two parts of the work as a whole form an oscillating motion in relation to one another – they exemplify the contingency – which is why I say the drawings are ‘intriguing’. Intrigue, and the way in which intrigue might lead a reader/viewer into the work, is part of her subject. Gibellini's approach is thoroughly within the terms of an approach to art making which is consistent with allowing art practice to ‘think’ it’s way onto the page (which is a place of course). I think it addresses the idea of ‘how art thinks’ and as such it is a very interesting and suggestive piece. The exposition relates to art making, to cultural geography and phenomenology, to design to cultural thought, philosophy, history, to ideas about what writing is. It’s also just an essay. In terms of impact – I think I would prefer to say it has relevance than impact. Gibellini's essay is written towards a subversion of easy targets – it is a reflective essay whose visual practice creates an internal dialogue – and that is a very interesting research method.

 

This exposition is in visual/textual terms enabling the reader to navigate fully the ideas as they are realized in practice. It has good notes – it uses the formal apparatus of textual and scholarly production properly – and it also works on the page to extend the way it is read – and this idea of place and extension is something she discusses. She knows the relationship between a topos, a space, and a contingent place! I think this is an intriguing and well thought out submission. It is also internally consistent – and, while I am sure all things can be edited or improved through dialogue, this is a piece which is clearly ‘of a piece’. It is a textual/visual proposal that in its form and content addresses place – and as such it is extremely thoughtful. In this context assessing its weaknesses becomes harder. If it has any it is that the content itself is well known – the writer rehearses the history of the terms she is using – but this is ‘relieved’ and extended in her art work – which is an essential corollary, an integral part of the work. It also points towards modes of writing and reflection – it is about place in discourse, and I think her writing approach is an interesting one. It is also, interestingly, and almost covertly, about ‘translation’ in an almost mathematical sense.

 

It stimulated me to think – even reading it across my small screen – and I read and reread it several times. I would love to see this piece extended and enlivened by being curated into JAR alongside other works that do similar things – it makes me think of Anne Carson’s work, for instance.

 

It is an exposition I could imagine using in postgraduate teaching – in addition to other things – as a exemplar of ways artists are thinking through the relationship of textual and visual production. I think it is thoughtfully conceived for an online context – and is of publishable standard.

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