University of Sydney
17 - 28 June 2013

Art and Architecture on site and non-site

The objective of the Curatorial Practice Intensive ‘Art and Architecture on site and non-site’ is to investigate the relationship between architecture and art in institutional (i.e. galleries, museums) and non-institutional spaces (i.e. street, public space, abandoned sites). According to the artist Robert Smithson the non-site represents an actual site. While art in a gallery often presents itself on site, architecture is mostly represented though models, drawings, photographs, and diagrams off site: a reality that became explicitly relevant for Land art and Street art projects, which were documented and represented in gallery environments. 

Copyright: Tara Sydney von Somogy

The most influential proposals in the history of architecture were made in the context of temporary exhibition.” (Beatriz Colomina, Media as Modern Architecture, 2008)
A three-day field trip in Berlin will serve as a starting point in the analysis of the artist’s/architect’s pictorial and physical engagement within different urban settings and seeks to lead to an understanding of these practitioners’ roles in participating in contemporary cities. Students will explore the meanings of inside/outside, public/private, mass/individual, destruction/resurrection and persistence/movement: distinct configurations grounded in an experience of place. Students will look at selected art and architecture exhibitions to explore exhibition strategies (on site and non-site), design principles, techniques and structural systems while simultaneously searching for alternative ways for engagement in art and architecture, i.e. links between the vivid scene of street art activities and its spontaneous and flexible consideration of abandoned sites and modern planning.
The process work, taking place in the studio, will hereafter reveal how art/architecture practices function in specific urban contexts as a tool for enhancing innovation, experimentation, communication and active participation. Students will work in pairs and focus on one example of a specific art/architecture topic from their field trip in order to design a temporary intervention in the urban environment of Berlin. Students are asked not to copy one of their research examples but to understand and apply the underlying principles to their own projects. 
Key areas for the students to cover in the workshop: 
  • strategies of engagement: how to engage people in experimentation and participation;
  • temporary interventions: moving parts (rotating, turning, shifting, flapping, folding, rolling, swinging, lifting …) and time-frames defining action; 
  • latent potential of site: testing ideas and programing (definition of function);
  • impact (1:1 urban scale): conceptual notions and spatial qualities;
  • behaviour: individual, collective, political, proactive, adaptive;
  • creation of synergies: across disciplines, studios, spaces, cultures.
Please click on the links below to watch some of the videos that the students made in the course of their projects.

Video: 'in search of street art... or something'
Studio coordinator: Dr. Claudia Perren

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