ARCHIP - Why there are no art objects in the North pole

Tisková zpráva
11.04.2013 10:00
ARCHIP – Architectural Institute in Prague and The Institute of Ethnology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i. cordially invites you to the talk by FERNANDO DOMINGUEZ RUBIO (CRESC - Manchester University/Open University, University of California)

"Why there are no art objects in the North Pole? A few thoughts on the material ecologies of art, subjectivity, and design."

discussant: Professor TIM INGOLD (University of Aberdeen)
date: Monday 29/04/2013
time: 6.30PM
venue: ARCHIP, Františka Křížka 1, Prague 7 - Letná

Trained as a cultural sociologist (University of Cambridge), FERNANDO DIMINGUEZ RUBIO is a remarkably interdisciplinary scholar drawing on and contributing to anthropology, science and technology studies, art and architecture. The leitmotif of Fernando’s work is the study of the material infrastructures and technologies enabling contemporary cultural and political forms.

There is probably no need to introduce Professor TIM INGOLD, one of the most distinguished social anthropologist of our time. During his amazing career Tim explored topics such as human-animal relations, livelihood, dwelling, skill or creativity to name just; few. Tim’s latest book titled ‘Making: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art and Architecture’ will be published this month.

We look forward to seeing you at ARCHIP!

In this talk I will explore the peculiar environmental, atmospheric conditions and built environments that artworks demand in order to survive as meaningful and valuable ‘objects’. Specifically, I will explore questions such as: What are the conditions under which something can becomes legible as an art object? What kind of built environments and atmospheres are required to trace the boundary separating subjective objects, like artworks, from other kinds of artefacts? And what are the conditions required to maintain these boundaries over time?
Drawing on a detailed ethnographic study of the backstage of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA), the talk will develop a theoretical vocabulary around the concept of ‘material ecologies’ to describe the complex set of architectures, heating, ventilation, lighting and air conditioning infrastructures required to engineer, isolate, and stabilize artworks qua timeless ‘objects’ of formal delectation. I will explore the unending negotiations and controversies surrounding the design and governance of the different climatic elements composing these material ecologies, such as light, temperature, humidity or sound; the different forms of aesthetic and scientific knowledge required to maintain them; as well as the effects that these material ecologies have in shaping artworks as meaningful, valuable cultural objects.
The exploration of these material ecologies will allow me to investigate the rather artificial environmental conditions required to make possible the specific forms of objecthood and personhood which underline the forms of value, meaning and property that characterize contemporary art systems. And more importantly, it will allow to clarify why there are no, and cannot be, art objects in the North Pole.
I will conclude the talk arguing for the need to ‘ecologize’ our understanding of culture in order to explore how specific environmental, climatic and atmospheric conditions provide different degrees of durability to cultural forms, meanings, and knowledge; how these material ecologies define the ways in which these categories are handed over and transformed over time, as well as the effects they have in shaping different models of being and living together.

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