/// DESERTING THE SITE

2016

In a landscape where nothing officially exists (otherwise it would not be ‘desert’), absolutely anything becomes thinkable, and may consequently happen.

– Reyner Banham, Scenes in America Deserta

The desert appears as a space of possibility. It has been and still is a laboratory space for human and environmental experiments: from utopian projects to military test-sites, as an archetypal mythic and psychopolitical space, as a zone of emergency and crisis, as border and buffer, and as a staging-ground for experimental or subcultural acts. The desert beyond its sole geographic position embodies a generic projection surface, a space for simulation, where new models are to be invented and new geometries and tools for orientation can be explored and engineered.

An investigation into ‘the logic of the desert’ as an abstracted landscape departs from one of the most defining features of artistic production of the 60s and 70s: the shift from the concept of ‘space’ to the notion of ‘site’ as well as the abandonment of the autonomy of the art object in favor or material and conceptual gestures. From the subversive experimentations of these beginnings to their widespread adoption and instrumentalization by institutions and markets in the 90s-00s, the notion of site progressively lost its power for critique and emancipation.

A standard framework for artistic production now demands to act ‘locally’ and to operate within ‘specific’ situations while at the same time being more and more complicit with the generic dynamics that makes art an ideal laboratory for neoliberalism and hypercapital. This dynamic that saw the background of the work of art (context, site, environment) become a privileged artistic figure raises many epistemic problems and questions of representation. How do we encounter, perceive, or know  a site? What does it mean to approach ‘the desert’ as a site? And in return, what does ‘the desert’ do to our conception of ‘site’?

The notion of ‘site’, to be able to regain a political and epistemic consequentiality, demands a strong reweaving between a concrete and an abstract site, and to explore this binding in all its dimensions. This symposium invites speakers from various fields (art, engineering, music, philosophy, art history, design, anthropology, critical studies, computer science and space architecture) and is dedicated to the exploration of this abstract and affected space, its spatial conditions and implications.

This inaugural symposium (May 2016) was followed by Plot Manifest, a two-week intensive studio in Marfa with 10 graduate students from the School of Art at U.H. and Nantes School of Art; and Marfa Sounding, a series of site-specific performances, sound installations, and conversations curated by Jennifer Burris Staton and exploring the intersection of music and the visual arts in the development of Minimalism (co-produced with Marfa Live Arts).

/// SYMPOSIUM - HOUSTON

May 17th at 2PM-4PM

Natilee Harren

Deserted Sites, Concerted Sights

4188 Elgin Street, Houston

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May 17th At 2PM-4PM

Olga Bannova

From Deep Sea To Deeper Space Through High Latitudes Of Arctic

4188 Elgin Street, Houston
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May 17th At 7PM-9PM

Benjamin Bratton

On The Stack To Come

4188 Elgin Street, Houston
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May 18th From 10AM-Noon

Derek Woods

Paranoia And Ecology: Smithson’s Non-Site

4188 Elgin Street, Houston

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May 18th From 3PM-5PM

Andy Campbell

Fragments In Tall Grass

4188 Elgin Street, Houston
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May 18th From 3PM-5PM

Gabriel Martinez

The Day The Sun Rose Twice

4188 Elgin Street, Houston

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May 19th At 7PM-9PM

Keller Easterling

Extrastatecraft

4188 Elgin Street, Houston
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/// CONCERTS + EVENTS - MARFA

DUST is collaborating with Marfa Live Arts and Fieldwork: Marfa to present Marfa Sounding over Memorial Day weekend, May 26-29, 2016 (Marfa, TX). Curated by Jennifer Burris Staton and featuring composer Alvin Lucier and cellist Charles Curtis, this program consists in a series of free site-specific performances, sound installations, and conversations in locations around Marfa and explores the intersection of music and the visual arts in the development of Minimalism.

Organized by Marfa Live Arts, this concert series emerges from Staton’s 2015 residency hosted by Fieldwork: Marfa. Marfa Sounding is produced by JD DiFabbio with support from Cate Cole Schrim.

May 24th from 10AM-Noon

Jennifer Burris-Staton

Marfa Sounding

101 East Dallas Street, Marfa
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May 26th from 10PM-Dawn

Alvin Lucier

Performance of Alvin Lucier’s “Sferics”

Fieldwork: Marfa land at Antelope Hill
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May 27th at 7PM

Charles Curtis

Performance of works by Éliane Radigue

Chinati Foundation, John Chamberlain Building
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May 28th at 2PM

Conversation

Conversation with Charles Curtis, Alvin Lucier, Abinadi Meza, and Ida Soulard

Bar Saint George
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May 28th at 7PM

Alvin Lucier

Performance of “I am sitting in a room” and other electronic works

Crowley Theater
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May 29th at 5PM

Charles Curtis / Alvin Lucier

Premiere of new site-specific work for Charles Curtis composed by Alvin Lucier

Mimms Unit
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/// PARTICIPANTS

Keynotes

Benjamin Bratton
Keller Easterling

Concerts

Charles Curtis
Alvin Lucier

Seminars

Olga Bannova
Jennifer Burris
Andy Campbell
Natilee Harren
Gabriel Martinez
Derek Woods

Organizers

Abinadi Meza
Ida Soulard
Beaux-arts°Nantes
The University of Houston
Fieldwork: Marfa

/// STUDIO

Every year a group of students from Nantes and a group of students from Houston travel to Marfa. They spend two weeks in the region creating new work and their stay is concluded by an exhibition in Marfa. The works produced in Marfa are exhibited later in Houston and Nantes, at the two schools and in partner venues.

Participation in the DUST studio is offered on an application basis to a limited number of graduate students from École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Nantes Metropole and the College of the Arts at the University of Houston. Participation is also available to international partner programs.

 

Plot Manifest

GET IN TOUCH

Beaux Arts Nantes
Place Dulcie September
44000 Nantes, France
+33 2 40 35 90 20

 

 

 

 

4188 Elgin Street, Room 100
Houston, TX 77204-4019
1 (713) 743-3001

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