"Else-Where": Essays in Art, Architecture, and Cultural Production 2002-2011

Cambridge Scholars Press (2011)

Gavin Keeney
Deakin University
“Else-where” is a synoptic survey of the representational values given to art, architecture, and cultural production from 2002 through 2011. Written primarily as a critique of what is suppressed in architecture and what is disclosed in art, the essays are informed by the passage out of post-structuralism and its disciplinary analogues toward the real Real . While architecture nominally addresses an environmental ethos, it also famously negotiates its own representational values by way of its putative autonomy ; its main repression in this regard is “landscape,” figure of the Other and figure of the Real. Engaging forms of spectrality, and not necessarily speculative intelligence per se, architecture is also “conscious” of its own complicity in capitalist orders, a complicity that in part underwrites its avant-garde forms of agitation since the onset of modern architecture. As a result, and over the course of the twentieth century, architectural vanguards have successively been depleted such that they return only as reified half-measures in the late-modern production of difference. As such, the essay “Actually Existing Ground” examines the failed promise of Landscape Urbanism. Since the 1960s, as with the allied arts, architecture has evacuated many of the utopian gestures given to modernism and embraced a form of ultra-contingency in a direct alliance with the post-modern and post-Marxist concession to markets and to cultural production as principal means of establishing formal hegemony. This recourse or surrender to the economic-determinist ethos of post-modernity, regardless of attempts to problematize it and/or critique it through types of what Manfredo Tafuri has called “operative criticism” , has, arguably, all but failed, and with the suggestive return circa 2011 of new forms of resistance an exit from the accommodating spirit of the times is indicative of the expectation of strenuous, yet highly formal and non-discursive operations within artistic and architectural production. The essays collected in “Else-where” cross various disciplines, inclusive of landscape architecture, architecture, and visual art, to develop a nuanced critique of an emergent formal regard in the arts that is also an invocation of the highest coordinates given to the arts – formal ontology as speculative intelligence itself – or the return of the universal as utopian thought “here-and-now.”
Keywords Art  Architecture  Cultural Production
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Call number N66.K27 2011
ISBN(s) 9781443833592
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