6.25.2004

Notes for Interstitialists, Historians and Other Artists

Interstitial fans will be pleased to note that the latest issue of Bomb appears to use the term "interstitial" in a manner suiting to their pursuits. Chris Gilbert writes of Olafur Eliasson's work:

"[H]is recent installation in the Tate Modern's cavernous Turbine Hall, titled The Weather Project.... was a giant artificial sun placed in a mirrored and fog-filled environment that droves of people came to see and took ownership of in an aggressive, sometimes cultish manner. I also wanted to explore how the interstitial [emphasis mine] position of his work, which is both equally engaged and equally distant from science, poetry and politics, could be compared to the role that modern philosophy [once played]--the "handmaiden" or the "queen" of other disciplines."

In Eliasson's own words:

"As I use these ideas of seeing-yourself-sensing or sensing-yourself-seeing, they are about trying to introduce relationships between having an experience and simultaneously evaluating and being aware that you are having this experience. It's not about experience versus interpretation but about the experience inside the interpretative act, about the experience itself being interpretive."

There appears to be some correlation here with the interstitial as it has played out thus far in the genre--at least "interstitial" in an interestingly theoretical way, as seen in Karen Joy Fowler's "What I Didn't See" and Kelly Link's "The Girl Detective" and Kevin Brockmeier's "The Ceiling" which one might say go against the original experience of genre (a little sad that no one's tinkered around with this theory since I piddled with it last February) in order to create a new experience. This may be stretching interpretations a bit much to suit correlative purposes.

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I also liked Eliasson's comments on history, which I also commented on in Zu-Bolton's discussion of the same:

"People tend to think that museums are only presenting the art, but in fact the ideology of display touches directly upon questions of responsibility: How do you organize history for people? How do you show the art of the last hundred years? Will the presentation be monographic or thematic? Of course, there is no right or wrong in this, and the responsible approach lies in being open about it and admitting that there is not necessarily one truthful way of showing art but simply how we choose to show it. Otherwise, it would be almost totalitarian, as if other people who had different approaches were somehow lesser people....

"Today 'stepping outside' is rightly seen to be as much a part of the situation itself as the engagement of the actual thing.
"

I might add that that does not mean that we should not attempt to step outside our inside to get the larger picture, which Elliason's work purportedly appears to do--unschooled in his forms, I'm not sure if I'd be picking up all his themes without the aid of the interview--but that we should not only attempt to step out but also look at the frame with which we view the inside.

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Gilbert on Elliasson's art:

"The beauty of these objects seems to emerge from simply allowing their functionality to be clear. It is as if the clarity of the function dictates a certain form, and that form itself has an aesthetics to it.

Eliasson further expands on art:

"Art and its institutions are not holy areas where you step out and all rules are off so that you can do weird things that you don't have to account for. I think that having an art experience is stepping into the world, it is having reality."

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