Part of the 2015 ACT Lecture Series, Civic Art. The lecture series investigates the critical spatial practices that claim manifold definitions of public art, through a diverse array of visual forms argued by key practitioners across the disciplines of art, pedagogy, architecture, and urban studies to identify the tools, tactics and consequences of actively reclaiming public space.
Rikke Luther will discuss her art practice and the political economies of place. The concept of a ‘site’ is narrow. In contrast, place entails consideration of access; how social spaces and interactions are constituted; how spaces are lived; and how they mediate our material behavior. Above all, places are constructed by speech.
To pay attention to place involves an on-going process of learning. Each place has its own power dynamics, regulations, ideologies and histories. Each place is always historically entwined with its current environment, but now also its future environment. In our era, climate is changing Boston and other coastal cities. Today, just as human behavior and speech construct places, an increasingly fast changing environment must impact our thinking. Consequently, in our time, an ‘art of public places’ must not only learn from this context but also define it.
Luther has worked as a professional artist and professor since the mid 1990s. Prior to founding Learning Site in 2004, Luther was co-founder of the collective N55 in 1994 (leaving in 2003).
Learning Site was founded as a research-led and site-related art initiative with the aim of exploring ways of making art that did assume the circulatory institutions of the museum, biennial festival, transnational art fair and market as the grounding reality of art practice. Luther’s work has therefore explored the proposition that what an artist exhibits is a small fraction of the learning, knowledge and intuition that drives its production. In order to make any art, a diverse and complex system of coming-to-knowledge, sifting and deciding must take place. While that process is necessary, it is not always coherent or easy to define. The exhibitionary art object may be a part of that practice, but no more consumes or defines that practice than curators or viewers are able to.