Project 3: Place in art – Exercise 1


Notes on reading academic text:

On my first read through of the text I attempted to make notes, in a broad sense in my sketchbook. I actually found this harder than expected. So after a short time abandoned this to just allow myself space to just read the text. You can see some of my initial notes below:

Notes on place essay 1






notes on place essay pt2








I found the second read through of the text easier as I already felt somewhat familiar with the trajectory of the essay. However it is still an essay which seems to have a broad scope, it covers the dark ages to the present day in a very small space, throwing out the names of many Philosophers, Scientists, and Artists that I am unfamiliar with. I found it hard to actually understand the subject being referred to when I’m not familiar with those thinkers or writers being mentioned. I also wonder how long it would take me to actually research those names in order to get a better sense of context.

Here’s my summary of the text:

Place is difficult to define, and people have wrestled with it’s definition over the ages. Today we seem preoccupied with the idea of place as an unseen space or perhaps a sense, we talk about ‘everything having or being it’s correct place’ and that can apply to ordering of physical items or ordering of emotions. Scientists tried to define place within the broader sense of ‘space’ and as such tried to limit it to things that could be measured by man, and removed any consideration of the value of place, beauty or human experience of place. Artists began to consider how we project ourselves and our sense our value onto places around us, and as such attributed emotional connotations or memories to place. This suggests that place can be experienced differently by each individual and is as much to do with human perception as it is to do with physical land masses, or land features e.g. rivers, etc. It finishes with suggesting that art and place are strongly linked, “… to make art (which is also to think about it) is to make place”.


Research Point: Artists mentioned in Essay who use text to describe ‘place’:

Firstly from the Essay it was hard to know which Artists mentioned work included text, but there were a couple that seemed clearly to use text:

Ian Hamilton Finlay:

Finlay is described on the Tate website as a Concrete poet, a term I’d not heard of before. Looking at his work shortly it’s not heard to see why, there’s a prevalence of concrete sculptures inscribed in a serif fonts or Roman typefaces

I found this article in the Guardian helpful for a look at the life of the artist and to give me a sense of context when looking at his work.

The piece I looked at, in the form of a photograph on the Tate website is called, Monument, 1991.

I think this piece makes reference to place in a number of ways, firstly the watering cans, instantly bring the garden to mind. Without any sense of knowing the artists history, it seems a little strange. But when you consider ‘Little Sparta’ the garden and it’s sculptures curated and loved by Finlay as a Home then the watering cans seem more significant. They begin to seem like symbols of home, or symbols of those people’s names (on the watering cans) and tie those people to a place, to his world, to his universe as it were.

Douglas Huebler :

The Essay mentions Huebler’s series ‘Location’ – but I couldn’t find any images which allowed me to read the text in the piece, so I’ll make some comments on the piece below:

Duration Piece #6, 1968

In all honesty I have no initial idea how to analyse this piece, or make sense of it. But I’ll attempt to form some response to it. It’s interesting a time sensitive, site specific work, that is captured and frozen into a sense of place or time, by the description in the text and the polaroid images. The dust is subject to the space it’s presented in, although we don’t know whether the dust was moved by the artist, or the environment, effects of nature or effects of man. I can’t decide what significance if any to give to the location of the work. Did we need to know the specifics of the building and floor which it was placed on? Does that give us some sense of grounding or reality to a piece that seems to conceptual?

I’m not sure what to add and am unsure without further input from the artist how to see the piece, and maybe that’s the point the artist has already tried to frame our response to it, through photographs and descriptions that I’m not sure how to look at it with my own perspective.

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