Thursday, April 30
The floating city
Is the image more salient in the creation of our perceptions of place than the actual? I attended a lecture at the Hammer Museum last night on just this subject, with the artists Doug Aitken and Catherine Opie talking about their work in light of this idea. Both artists talk about space and place in their work: Opie by playing with the idea of the utopian in light of the actual in her photographs and Aitken by imagining a psychological state by activating the physical building. It was a great examination of the assumptions we still hold on to regarding the experiences of place (using the spectacle of the Beijing Olympics as a starting point.) The possibilities of technology to extend the capabilities of concrete objects, to make them more about their ideas through altering their objecthood, their communicated images through networks, is truly an amazing idea. Things that seemed fantastic in the past now seem plausible. I would guess that our ideas of "place" have been significantly influenced by virtual connectivity, which has, in turn, influenced how we construct it. What a feedback loop.
p.s. The picture above is from the NYTimes of the Venturi-designed Lieb house floating under the Brooklyn Bridge on its journey from Philadephia to New Jersey. The blog Strangeharvest has an interesting little blurb on that and a floating church, an early modern solution to migration.