Site Specific Art & Games

Which is my translation from the french term ‘l’art in situ’. After attending a very interesting lecture on site specific and site dependent art forms such as monuments and gallery work, I started thinking about video games and play. The general idea behind this art type is that there is a relationship between the art piece and the location in which it is placed. In the cases of monuments, the relationship is an explicit one – the monument usually depicts a specific event usually at the specific location. For gallery pieces, it is the idea of artwork being created specifically for gallery space – in an attempt to create a specific gallery experience (which some have said – sorry I don’t have my references with me at the moment – that gallery work has dissolved the idea of ‘studio work’ since the studio is not the primary showing space…but I am babbling).

But what interested me was another kind of site specific art – art that is built to be in a sort of cybernetic relationship with the space it is in and the spectator. The examples used in class were a gallery exhibit called mirrored cubes (actually untitled I believe) by Robert Morris, as the spectator walks around the cubes, they only actually see the space they are in through the reflections on the mirrors. Another interesting example was of four steel slabs that weighed literally a ton – are leaned up against each other in a ‘house of cards’ style. The art is dependent on it’s relationship with gravity …

In terms of my work on avatars and identity, I have been thinking around – so far not very successfully – about the site specific relationship players (spectators) have with their avatars (the art) within the game space (the site). At this point, I am just thinking about the relationship a player has with the digital space but in terms of l’art in situ – is there more to it than simply an idea behind the action?

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