My head, Michel Foucault

"My head, for example, my head: what a strange cavern that opens onto the external world with two windows. Two openings -I am sure of it, because I see them in the mirror, and also because I can close one or the other separately. And yet, there is really only one opening- since what I see facing me is only one continuous landscape, without partition or gap."

Michel Foucault, "Le corps utopique" (1966)


Anthony Vidler

“How do we define, and thereby ensure the individual integrity of each art as a practice when there no longer seems to be any division between the spatial and the textual, or more problematically in the case of sculpture and architecture , between the aesthetically constructed spatial and the functionally constructed spatial?”

“ When artists like Vito Acconci are experimenting with architecture and architects like Frank Gehry seem as preoccupied with the sculptural form of building as with its functional role, it seems that what Rosalind Krauss once termed the “expanded field” of sculpture as involved architecture, or, as the experimental constructions of Dan Graham and others demonstrate, architecture has invaded sculpture.”

“This ambiguity has been present at least since the 1960’s when it was equally possible to see Dan Graham taking his inspiration from architectural theory and practice as it was to see Louis I. Kahn constructing a “minimalist” aesthetic akin to that developed by Donald Judd and his peers. But with the current exploration of digital form common to the architecture of Frank Ghery and his younger contemporaries and to sculptors like Richard Serra, the distinction seems to have come to rest in the narrow territory of “use” versus “uselessness”.

Anthony Vidler. Architecture's expanded field  in: Anthony Vidler, ed., Architecture between spectacle and useWilliamstown, Mass. : Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute ; New Haven : Distributed by Yale University Press, 2008.

The image is from: Haus-Rucker-Co live again : Lentos-Kunstmuseum Linz, 16.11.2007 - 16.03.2008 / Ausstellung und Katalog Andrea Bina.



After spending almost two months in New York working, reading and over all thinking in what I am going to study [or at least try to] during the next two years, I think I can write it down. Next week I will return to Spain for a short time and I don't want to leave without saying it.


From the use of action in architecture to the use of Internet as the new battlefield.

I am interested in how the architectural field have used the performance as a means of stating discourse. I would like to know who used this format and how it was developed. I am thinking in people such Vito Acconci, Ant Farm, Haus-Rucker-Co, and so forth. This line will force me to study what exactly means "performance" in architecture. Performance could be an experiment at the street, a self-made prototype or a video record of a lonely action in a laboratory.
I want to link that research to the use of internet as a new public space and how contemporary experimental architecture uses that space. The study of actions on the web.

This work lines is related to how the exhibition has been used as a way to show new ideas and to produce a direct communication within the society. I would study witch architects have used the exhibition as a way to show their projects. In that sense, I am interested in the exhibition as a rehearsal of experimental practices. The exhibition hall as a production space instead of an exhibition space. The idea is to connect this concepts to the curator figure. How an architect could become a curator, focusing its role in the idea of cultural producer. In conclusion, this work line aim is the reappraisal of the exhibition of architecture and the redefinition of the curator of architecture.

I am interested in architects who work in the field of art and artists who work over architecture. Or simply I am interested in the collision of this two different fields and the people who work on this subtle line.

Let's see what I can do.


Arthur Drexler

"There are different ways of discussing architecture," he explained. "There is the chore of the journalist, the task of the academic historian or critic; people expect different things." There were also multiple institutional prerogatives for a curator which "Transformations" "refuses to gratify": "The first is that father or mother will tell you what to do.: the missionary role" Second was the expectation that the museum will validate great achievement" by presenting only the best recent work. Third was the role of reappraisal, a role he believed more easily accomplished for work of 1920s than of the present. Distancing his position, he proclaimed: "The missionary role is expressly disavowed; the validating role is disavowed. The reappraisal role is not entirely disavowed. It does occur in the manner in which the material is presented, in the juxtapositions and the quality which do result in a reappraisal."

Arthur Drexler "Response",6.
In: Felicitty D.Scott Architecture or Techno-Utopia (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1980)


The death of Modern architecture

"Happily, we can date the death of modern architecture to a precise moment in time. Unlike the legal death of a person, witch is becoming a complex affair of brain waves versus heartbeats, Modern Architecture went out with a bang.
Modern Architecture died in St. Louis, Missouri on July 15,1972 at 3:32 p.m. [or thereabouts] when the infamous Pruitt-Igoe scheme, or rather several of its slab blocks, were given the coup de grâce by dynamite. Previously it had been vandalised mutilated and defeaced by its black inhabitants, and although millions of dollars were pumped back, trying to keep it alive [fixing the broken elevators, repairing smashed windows, repainting] it was finally put out of its misery. Boom, boom, boom."

Charles A. Jencks "The language of Post-modern Architecture" (New York: Rizzoli,1977)



Amir Zaki at Perry Rubenstein gallery

"Relics",  body of photographic "portraits" of elevated lifeguard towers taken along different beaches in Southern California. 
Zaki has digitally altered the images in order to remove any visible access leading to the tower platforms. This is a work that follows earlier artist's interest in architectural structures.

Richard Hughes at Anton Kern Gallery

From May 20 through July 3, 2010 Richard Hughes has a group of works related to architecture, memory and childhood at Anton Kern Gallery, 532 W 20th Street NY.

CUE art foundation exhibition

Last week I visited the CUE art Foundation gallerie with it's 2009 Grant Recipients.
I found interesting these two works:
Alison Williams
Glasshouse #3, 2010
Mixed media
Charlotte Meyer
Refusal (66 days and twenty years), 2010
Monofilament, silver, nylon


Neil Gall

En la galería David Nolan de Nueva York se está exponiendo la obra del artista escocés Neil Gall. Actualmente vive y trabaja en Londres.
La exposición se llama "The great constructor" y se trata de unas piezas en óleo y grafito sobre extrañas construcciones.

Jean Marie-Straub y Danielle Huillet

En el Culturas de esta semana [24-03-2010] de La Vanguardia aparece la pareja de cineastas Jean Marie-Straub y Danièle Huillet y en el artículo, escrito por Anna Petrus, se habla del interés que existe en sus películas de encontrar la forma cinemátográfica para la literatura, el teatro, la música o la pintura. Esto me lleva a pensar en la posibilidad de hacer algo parecido en la arquitectura. Cómo sería una arquitectura que fuera una versión de los cuadros de Matisse, o una arquitectura que fuera un homenaje a "El lobo estepario" de Hermann Hesse o bien una arquitectura que formase una serie de Stanley Kubrick.

Con esto no me refiero una translación directa de la estética sino más bien de un trabajo que se superpusiese a la obra de estos autores y la redefiniera. De algún modo buscar una cierta simbiosis entre lo mirado y el que mira. Una pieza donde la fuente de la que bebe se desdibuja a través de una nueva caligrafía, más allá de la simple adaptación.


Miguel Noguera

Miguel Noguera es un performer catalán muy interesante. Ríanse e imaginen con él:


Takahiro Iwasaki

TAKAHIRO IWASAKI was born in Hiroshima Japan and studied MA Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art in 2005. Recent exhibitions include New Contemporaries, 2005 and ‘Roppongi Crossing 2007 Future Beats in Japanese Contemporary Art’ MORI ART MUSEUM, Tokyo. Iwasaki previously participated in a drawing residency at
R O O M in 2006

Iwasaki lyrically transforms the gloss of the commonplace, demonstrating an almost meditative attention toward the material and situation at hand. Objects become vessels of fantasy, whispering to us of another possible existence. The romance of landscape frequently collides with the artificial and everyday. Narratives are spun around the conception of space where we might briefly inhabit a Lilliputian world or lift the lid on a private interior. To live in the wouldn’t or the would?

via room


talking about Hans Ulrich Obrist - Fabrizio Gallanti

Posted by Fabrizio Gallanti - 10.16.2009 in Abitare

text by Stefano Boeri

Our long-time collaborator and author, Hans Ulrich Obrist, has been named by the magazine Art Review the “most powerful person” in the art world, leading a list of 100. His may be considered as a soft power, as surely he is not seeking power as his goal: an uncessant hurricane of energy and ideas, connecting artists, critics, writers, thinkers, and practitioners of multiple disciplines. He won this recognition solely for what he gives to the art world (and not only to it) rather than for what he takes. Power therefore is just a consequence of his work and generosity. We are very happy for him.
While I was looking through my hard-disk about him, I found out this text, written three years ago.
It is mine and Abitare’s small hommage to our beloved Hansino.

Mobile Positioning.

(Why Hans Ulrich Obrist is not a curator of contemporary art.

Why Hans Ulrich Obrist is not a critic of contemporary art.)


We are presently experiencing a period of great productivity and great hypocrisy in the field of contemporary art. A hypocrisy that above all concerns the division of roles among production, criticism, and curatorship.

As we know, the criticism and curatorship of contemporary art are supposed to be based on a common order of discourse, which distinguishes them from the sphere of artistic production. It is an order of discourse that functions according to the two great practices of the delimitation of boundaries and classification. Both in fact are called upon to include and exclude authors, works, places, and institutions within categories of value and degrees of excellence.

The critic of contemporary art is supposed to establish the ontological realm in which something new has occurred or is occurring. Within this sphere, he is supposed to constitute families, trends, and perspectives; observe the development of the artists and their works; and grasp and attest the phases of that development, its sudden swerves, declines, and gaps. In short, his task is to historicize the present.

The order of discourse of curatorship, by contrast, is supposed to be based on a fundamentally geographical criterion. The curator is supposed to circumscribe the territories in which new forces are at work, follow and guide the trajectories of artists, construct spaces in which audiences can encounter works of art, and generate exclusions. In short, his task is to create hierarchies of places and institutions.

To summarize: the criticism of contemporary art is supposed to circumscribe and classify at the level of present history that which curatorship is supposed to circumscribe and classify at the level of present geography.

In fact, however, this is not how things actually stand. On the contrary, for some time now these two domains have been in the process of becoming more and more superimposable and superimposed, so that at this point they are virtually synonymous. Among the territories of contemporary art, curatorship has absorbed the role of criticism, and criticism has stretched to the point where it occupies the field of activity of curatorship.

But there is more: the nature of the sphere of the production of contemporary art has changed today as well. It has annexed the bases of criticism and curatorship. From Andy Warhol to Dan Graham and from Alighiero Boetti to Matthew Barney, art has gradually become a delocalized and self-reflexive practice, which eludes geography and purports to historicize itself. The artists move within a global and extremely broad terrain that affords them increasing opportunities to exhibit their work (biennales, fairs, anthological exhibitions, retrospectives) and where trends and tendencies spring more from an artist’s positioning within a particular event than from a classification of genres and poetics.

In fact, as is often pointed out, from this perspective every artist is potentially the author of his own criticism and the curator of his own work.

But however glaringly obvious it may be, this fundamental con-fusion of identities, expectations, and functions continues to be anesthetized and suppressed. Still adrift on this sea of dissolving boundaries are rigid professional roles and constituencies codified according to anachronistic codes and institutions. Curators who pretend they are only curators call on artists who pretend they are only artists to produce works of art to submit to the judgment of critics who pretend they are only plying the critic’s trade.

These roles formally divide up a field of practices fundamentally unified by the dissolving of generic differences.


It is impossible to understand the work of Hans Ulrich Obrist if one ignores the importance of this productive con-fusion and the hypocrisy that continually conceals it.

In spite of his “formal capacities,” Obrist is neither a curator nor even a critic of contemporary art. And this despite the fact that he moves within the order of discourse on which both of these disciplines are based and agrees to take on roles and identities dictated by their respective spheres of activity.

Obrist is not a curator nor even a critic—he simply works on the presently existing state of affairs.

Obrist does not delimit or classify artistic geographical fields or spheres of activity. Instead his work revolves around the concept of positioning. Obrist positions himself, that is, his body within the force field of contemporary art, and he does so in order to intercept and modify the scattered materials that make up the sea of “dissolves” in which the boundaries between the roles are melting away.

Obrist projects the movement of his body throughout the world, and thanks to it he encounters artists, works, reviews, exhibitions, articles, institutions, events, journals, collections, dealers, journalists, archives, schools, installations, museums, performances, seminars, conferences, conventions, workshops, Kunsthallen, gallery owners, and politicians, all of which constitute the materials of global contemporary art.

Obrist’s arrangement of these materials springs from the encounter between them and his “body/sensor.” It does not respond to a criterion of delimitation and classification—established a priori or redefined after the fact—but instead corresponds to a labor of artistic production, one that is arbitrary and changeable, temperamental and omnivorous, and obsessive in its all-encompassing reach: everything deemed notable must be noted, and everyone who wishes to be sought out must be sought out and interviewed. Everyone: artists, architects, philosophers, institutional representatives, filmmakers, politicians, scholars, poets, students, photographers, and even mere witnesses.

Obrist has been working for years on a global artwork on the scattered materials of contemporary art. He is working on the existing state of things with the obsessive single-mindedness of one who knows that he cannot help but travel its entire length and breadth and who is waging a utopian struggle—and this is indeed a utopia in its pure form—against amnesia. A battle to diminish the enormous, growing, and inevitable distance between (individual) memory and (collective) history.

As the ultimate form of body art, mobile positioning—the subjective and mobile interception of artistic practices and experiments—is a necessary and (at least in part) unwitting precondition and strategy of any rigorous effort to work on the sea of contemporary art.

Thanks to the brilliant and transparent arbitrariness of art, Obrist’s work is not only a salutary stocktaking of the existing state of things—it is also a revolutionary condition for overcoming it.

Reyner Banham loves Los Angeles