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The art of travel: forever engaged in the "there" beyond the "here"

Carr-Harris, Ian (2001) The art of travel: forever engaged in the "there" beyond the "here". Canadian Art, 18 (3). p. 68. ISSN 0825-3854

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Abstract

It is, of course, the city of this year's "Platea dell'umanita"; part two, one might say, of Harald Szeemann's grand linkage between the then of the twentieth century and the now of the new millennium. I'm here--in another June--to pursue those two thoughtlets of a year ago a little bit further through Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller's work The Paradise Institute, shown here under the curatorial direction of Wayne Baerwaldt. Taking my cue from Venice itself, I'm interested in pursuing the linkage of time with that of place: in returning to Venice, I am in a place that connects Cardiff and Collyer across time--eight years, 1993 and 2001--through place, the same site--Canada's ambassador pavilion to the biennale. I want to reconsider Collyer's sculpture Kiosk, shown along with four similar works from the early 1990s in the Canadian pavilion that year by curator Philip Monk. In the process, we add then and now to here and there. As with Yonge Street, Willowdale, Robin Collyer's Kiosk in the pavilion in 1993 was clear about its boundaries. The pavilion itself was conceived around the discrete nature of the visual artwork, its historic definitional status as an implicit commentary on, rather than elision with, affairs in the world. To enter the Canadian pavilion that year was to enter into an assembly of five iconic three-dimensional images, each of which, like Kiosk, acted with respect to one another as words in a sentence. I want to insist on this comparison, because I made the point earlier that, with Collyer, the language within signs has been converted to the language of signs--in this case the palpable form of the sign: Kiosk. Language in this mode as both title and object becomes itself palpable, very much here, and assumes an equivalent dimension to the icon to which it refers, to the "there" of the object-image. It is this contiguous relationship of here to there that connects Younge Street, Willowdale and Kiosk to the viewer within the oscillation I have described as a form of travel. Alice ran hard to find herself in the place she never left, about to embark upon a game whose moves were clearly established while their possibilities remained entirely undetermined. Collyer's pavilion in 1993 presented the viewer with a set play of five "moves," like those sketched out for Alice by the Red Queen. Striking about all of them, Kiosk included, was their quotation of suburban culture and the fabrication of interlocking specific objects whose anonymity produces the realm of possibilities out of which are generated the recognitions that provide the viewer the "carnal delight and spiritual ecstasy" experienced when confronted with Collyer's work. The viewer of Kiosk is free to move from their "here" to Collyer's "there" unimpeded. If The Paradise Institute is overdetermined, in both the technical and popular senses of the term, Collyer's Kiosk is underdetermined, indeterminate and open to moves in a game whose evolution is to be determined by the viewer. Delight and ecstasy thrive in an environment of ambiguity where possibility can be both recognized and invented, where the terms at issue are driven neither by deception nor by imposition. With Kiosk, I know where I am, even in a strange land.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Art, History & criticism
Divisions: Faculty of Art
Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2016 16:36
Last Modified: 04 Feb 2017 19:41
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/1097

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