[-empyre-] In and out of the system

John Haber jhaber at haberarts.com
Tue Jan 15 04:26:12 EST 2008

That's a truly great summary from GH.  I'll pretend to think it's pretty
much what I was saying there.  Still, I found it useful to see their
disruptions as two sides of a shared aspiration that's difficult and
interesting to reclaim. 

BTW, a little more on Kant.  I find him fabulously difficult to follow,
and I've read a French book that even made him into a
post-structuralist, with all those categories and subcategories in
"Critique of Judgment" as a testimony to excess.  But one should be
careful of assimilating his sublime to Burke's earlier one on the one or
to later Romanticism on the other.  (Indeed, those two have much in

Beauty is for him a central aesthetic category, and an art object is
beautiful even if particular individuals don't find it appealing.  It is
not strictly associated with "information" or a fixed narrative, because
it's not subordinate to reason: it's about "free play" between the
imagination and the data, so to speak.  The sublime is just one section
in the book, and it can be a matter of individual response, because only
certain individuals are, well, good or moral enough to be capable of
it.  It's not strictly associated with fear, as there are categories
other than terror, such as nobility.  It's thus a bit on the
"information" or structuring narrative side itself.  Finally, both
categories involve reason, so again be careful of imposing Romanticism
backward onto Kant. 

Images projected onto gallery walls might be a cool version of Plato's
cave, though <g>. 



Smithson worked within the gallery system. His site/non-site was an  
investigation of a non gallery aesthetic or peripatetic investigation  
of space and displacement.   Matta-Clark was more of a Situationist.  
He was also working within the "art system" that gave him support.   
Both artists proposed alternate ways of seeing and doing. The gallery  
system then was miniscule compared to now. Looking at Smithson and  
Matta-Clark one should be inspired by the intentions of the artists  
and not the conceptual and physical residue of there investigations.  
The logic is this; if one were to work out of Smithson's ideas one  
would be looking to disrupt the  integrity of the art gallery and the  
"virtual" space produced within the gallery and the artwork;  Working  
out of Matta-Clarks intentions would bring us to a utopian aspiration  
for an evolving city and would have as much to do with group actions  
as any individual gesture (such as cutting a building.)

More information about the empyre mailing list