Re: [-empyre-] politics of critical fusion?

Hello Tim,

Yes, political connotation is something that is definitely present in the "Chernobyl Project", in the most fundamental and active way. As the artistic act that the project makes - seeing the invisible, a very specific “invisible” particular to a very specific space - is, intrinsically, a political act as well, that addresses different layers of “invisibility”, as we have discussed here.

I have been interested in creating unexpected visualizations of political issues, which I believe should be meaningfully addressed in a subversive fashion. As it is the case with Chernobyl, I am intensely concerned with the invention of particular devices designed to display images in specific ways - with special attention to the different possibilities it opens while producing meaningful images; and by that I mean meanings that are integral part of the virtually endless ways in which an image can be generated.

That was also the point of previous project, the video “88 from 14.000”. While Chernobyl requires the invention of a whole new device for creating images, this one required the invention of a specific display. It displays images of people who were imprisoned and murdered by the Khmer Rouge regime, in Cambodia. The pictures, taken at the time of their detention, are projected on a veil of falling sand; the actual time of projection being proportional to the individuals' time in prison (1day of life at the S21 prison = 1Kg of sand = image displayed during 4 seconds).

To a large extent, the ongoing consequences of the Khmer Rouge period shape the social reality in Cambodia, but they are not on newspaper covers, even though they are urgent issues, that deal with questions about how we relate to our past nowadays and affect the life of millions of people. These are questions concerning social responsibility, especially “at the intersections of art, geography, architecture, and activism”, as you formulated very concisely.


On Sep 21, 2007, at 2:56 PM, Timothy Murray wrote:

It's nice to have you back online, Alice

I've been meaning to ask you about your commitment to creating art "events" that have an inherently political undercurrent, as does Chernobyl, whether from a "green" standpoint or from the perspective of international relations. Is this just something that pertains only to the Chernobyl project or is it reflective of your work as a whole? I'm asking in relation to our framing of "critical spatial practice" as what "entails the claiming of social responsibility at the intersections of art, geography, architecture, and activism.



Hi Maurice,

From reading the posts, I had in mind a similar idea, but was uncertain about the relation between "critical fusion" and "fiction". Thanks for the explanation. I think it should apply then to all powerful works of art?

It seems to me that in creating specific ways to access some reality, even if in very temporary and contingent forms, the inquirer inextricably formats what is seen and created. Considering that in a painting, in a film, in an installation and so on, the way in which we formulate questions to something called reality shapes in an intrinsic way the results that might be created - there always should be, I think, a critical fusion taking place in good (strong, powerful) artwork, in different degrees of information, fiction and "reality"?

Timothy Murray
Professor of Comparative Literature and English
Director of Graduate Studies in Film and Video Studies
Curator, The Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, Cornell Library
285 Goldwin Smith Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853
empyre forum

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