Unreal Nature

June 19, 2018

Instability

Filed under: Uncategorized — unrealnature @ 5:41 am

… Although a sealed structure, Condensation Cube is entirely dependent upon its ambient surroundings …

This is from the editor’s essay, ‘Where We Begin: Opening the system, c. 1970’ found in Open Systems: Rethinking Art c. 1970 edited by Donna De Salvo (2005):

… At first glance, Hans Haacke’s Condensation Cube 1963-5 may seem deceptively simple. First shown at the Howard Wise Gallery in New York, it is a sealed Perspex box, 30x30x30 centimeters, containing a small amount of water. As light enters, the cube warms and the water within condenses on its interior walls, collecting at the bottom to perpetuate the process.

[line break added] Initially, Haacke was involved with an analysis of physical and biological systems, including living plants and animals, and the physical states of water and wind. Condensation Cube is just one of a series of works the artist produced in the early 1960s combining technological with organic processes to make visible the physical forces of nature.

… Although a sealed structure, Condensation Cube is entirely dependent upon its ambient surroundings: light and temperature directly influence the process of condensation happening within, placing viewer and work in real time and space. As artist and critic Jack Burnham wrote: ‘Traditionally, artworks exist in “mythical time,” that is in an ideal historical timeframe separated from the day-to-day events of the real world.

[line break added] Some systems and conceptual artists, such as Haacke, attempt to integrate their works in the actual events of the “real world,” that is the world of politics, money-making, ecology, industry, and other pursuits.’ The phenomenologically-based practices of Minimalism which required the viewer to navigate the spaces around and within works also placed the viewer in real time and space.

[line break added] They became implicated in an interconnected system of objects in space, engaged in perceptual changes as they moved around the objects. The objects themselves, however, remained materially stable, whereas Haacke now added instability, allowing him to ‘make something which experiences, reacts to its environment, changes, is nonstable.’

My most recent previous post from this book is here.

-Julie

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