Rethinking space in my practice

The argument of public space can be complex and multifaceted, artist’s engagement with pre-existing spaces is a tenuous dialogue in which restrictions in funding and health and safety are often crippling to the expression of the artist. If we consider the topographical form in which space is observed today, in which space has been virtualized and morphed from concrete to code, perspective fragmented and incomprehensible to visualise or simply flattened beyond repair. Space in the streets is relative to three things for example, how we navigate space, how space is perceived and how people interact in public space. These inquiries can be explored in a variety of ways such as form, which the artists from modernist times tried to do in a variety of ways, from the vibrant, blasted spaces of Uccello and the Futurists, the utopian architecture of Frederick Kiesler or the sculptures of Richard Serra. In Form, the modernists were attempting to unlock the revolutionary potential of their local town squares by recreating the representation of them, however they decided to do it, it was often flawed in the completion, with the ideals being far from the reality of living in/occupying them. In many regards, artists in the later half of the 20th century took things slightly further with more environmental approaches in industrial areas and the dialectic, having been shattered and fragmented after a certain “postmodern” practices came into be. The challenge of approaching the issue today is that spaces are under a far more visceral control system than before. In surveillance cameras, mobile tracking and private ownership which accounts to give proportions of disused land in Scotland. These barriers can be overcome by the brave, but it’s not an accessible way for most.

A further disencouragment in approaches ways of occupying spaces, rethinking or even observing is the social consensus. In cities or more specifically in crowds, people protect their areas and spaces, often going out of their way to prevent any damage or change in historical architecture. This attitude is hard like the concrete its protecting. It is Anti-Community and out to uproot anything not giving fuel to the system. Projected by the media via subliminal methods of indoctrination, most are unaware of their surroundings, or see no way of changing it. This attitude which has in recent years been dubbed many names but most prominently Capitalist Realism by late cultural critic Mark Fisher, whos ideas confirm that there is little room for imagination anymore, that people can struggle to even think of anything BUT the neo-liberal, post capitalist world. Alas, the legacy of concrete lives on as a permanent stain, but there is still hope for those willing to take action and see.

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