A couple of weekends ago I visited the Ai Weiwei exhibit at Alcatraz, and it reminded me of how much I enjoy installation art. The great grand wiki gives a pretty good description of such art: three-dimensional works that are often site-specific and designed to transform the perception of a space. And it is that latter part especially, space, that is what lands it here on Architecture Monday.
Installation art is installed in a space, altering the space by the fact it is in the space, while itself creating new space by its own form, which we then experience as a new space, both from the space and the object creating space. And I’m being purposefully hyper-verbose and intricate about it, it is a good rendering of the experience of installation art. It’s not just an item intended to be viewed independent of its context, it is inherently tied to its context, which, in many ways, is just like architecture itself. Any building is tied to its context, both physical (site, location, orientation), neighbourly (buildings around it), culturally, socially, historically… which in turn so too is the art contextually tied to cultural, social, historical realms. And in the case of Ai Weiwei, with explicit intent to challenge, awaken, and engage with those contexts to evoke thought, reflection, and create meaning.
So to thus continue the verbose intricacy, installation art is about space tied to a context in a space tied to a context creating space contextually linked to all previous contexts up the chain, while similarly spatially linked, evoking context and space to invite exploration and reflection and heighten any message or meaning intended.
As I said, I really enjoy installation art.