Prologue to Blog Postings:

Posted on the Cooper Gallery Blog: 
Friday, 25 November 2011

Continuing in retrospect
Thoughts Concerning the Epistemology of Space and Visual Culture.
 
 
Part 2
This is not a new concept. Irit Rogoff discusses ‘In the same way both feminism and post-colonial theory have insisted on the need for a multi-subjectivity, so does the critical process of geography spatialzation insist on the multi-inhibition of spaces through bodies, social relations and psychic dynamics’[1] So if this rhetoric has been called on before, in the very recent past, can it be called on again and insist on a multi subjectivity into the epistemology of space and visual culture?
Art has the capacity to create the visual language to communicate concerns of the epistemology of social relations. In his discussions on Social Space, Henri Lefebvre goes into great detail of the early emergence of sub-urban settlements around Venice and Tuscany in precapitalist Italy leading up to the industrial era, namely leading into the renaissance. With the growth of productive forces such as agriculture, craft, early industry, brought forward by new technologies, a new type of social space emerged. Lefebvre describes that these spaces came about from a surplus in production creating a new social class, which led to luxurious spending on palaces and monuments giving artists and architect freedom (and the money) to express. What emerged from this was a new language for describing space, this ‘perspective’ first given form by architects and geometers was then ‘discovered’ [2]by painters. Here changes in spatial perception gave rise to changes in visual culture, not that the two can be distinguished completely as one rotates in motion around the other. One inspiring, then being inspired by the other and here ultimately ‘knowledge emerged from practice’[3]
Philosophical abstract thought has many times been be put under analysis to arrive at a concrete conclusion, can Lefebvre’s cyclonical motion be employed within contemporary visual culture? Can the thought and questioning of the creation of new social spaces be the impetus to change society? Not the invention of a new built object in which to dwell but a rethinking of the epistemology of space and spatialzations. By introducing questioning of critical epistemology, subjectivity and spectatorship into the arena of spatialzation we move away from the central systems of power to the fringes, Rogoff discusses this and adds another element to the argument, she calls on the development of what she calls the ‘curious eye’ [4]to counter the old bourgeois term the good eye to communicate a contemporary way of viewing which is influenced by the subjectivity of the viewer influenced by all aspects of visual culture and culture in general. Within visual media the inventions have occurred, new tools in hand, and ‘curious eye’ employed, what will the artist create?

[1] Irit Rogoff, Terra Infirma, geography’s visual culture, (Routledge, London, USA and Canada) 2000 p23
[2] Henri Lefebvre, The production of Space (Blackwell, Oxford and London) 1993 p79
[3] Henri Lefebvre, The production of Space (Blackwell, Oxford and London) 1993 p79
[4] Irit Rogoff, Terra Infirma, geography’s visual culture, (Routledge, London, USA and Canada) 2000 p30
Posted by Sinead Bligh at 04:27
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