Symposium. Presentation of papers and creative works by a group of international scholars, documentarians, cultural historians, and writers.
Participants include: Allen Shelton, Lesley Stern, Kathleen Stewart, Derek Sayer, Randolph Lewis, Andrew Xanthopoulos, Endre Dányi, Kimberly Mair, Lindsey Freeman, Ann Cvetkovich, Heather Hindman.
Organized by: Yoke-Sum Wong & Craig Campbell
Abstract: This is not about situated-ness as bound up with hierarchy and privilege. Ex situ emerges out of ideas about site-specificity – in which place is malleable, at once mutable and mobile in all its formations, from which ideas grow and can be shaped, and themselves inform and transform the nature of site-specificity itself. It is “…conceived in relation to the material world, all of it, all the way out. (Donald Judd)”. Site-specificity ‘reaches’ beyond its site, or its “In-Situness”, but knowledge in location that accounts for situation (as with Haraway’s Situated Knowledges). Hence, we arrive at the idea of “Ex-Situ”.
The idea of ex-situ in the context of which we’re discussing seems to have the potential to move on a different register. It acknowledges this very common situation we find ourselves in as mobile bodies in this world: from Paris to Kyzyl to Marfa to Edmonton. Ex-situ doesn’t raise a hierarchy but through travel and displacement, perhaps, it finds appeal in site specificity, in the terroir of knowledge and ideas; “here” might take us “there” or “everywhere”. This appeal may find itself manifest, for example in Alec Soth’s Paris/Minnesota magazine in which his feelings of subjective discomfort and dislocation in Paris’s fashion shows provoke homesickness, enabling him to find connections in everyday Minnesota, eg. photographing JC Penneys to mirror those that he captures of Grand Palais. Taking account of resonance and echo, the situatedness of place/site encompasses these connecting experiences. Ex-situ plays upon those connections, contingencies, convergences, correspondences, layers – material, emotional and mnemonic.
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