What I particularly enjoyed about the day was that every single paper was interesting and well presented, despite different types of presentation techniques being employed. The first session was on the theme of 'Borders' and consisted of two papers: From 'The Loop' (1997) to 'Sumision (formerly Word of Fire' (2007): Decennial Sketches of 'La Frontera' by Andres Montenegro and The Vanishing Berlin Wall: the representation of an old boundary within a new city by Georgina Webb-Dickin.
Andres' paper focused on the works of Francis Alys and Santiago Serra. I was particularly intrigued by Paradox of Praxis I in which the artist pushed a large block of ice through the streets of the Historical Centre of Mexico City until it had melted. This was an exhausting task which ultimately resulted in 'nothing'. It is strange as both an art historian and as someone who has worked in a gallery environment to consider an artwork which has no tangible result, other than its documentation, especially when the great effort involved in tapestry results in a piece in which the weaver's labour is clear to see.
Georgina's paper addressed the different ways in which fragments of the Berlin Wall have been redisplayed or 'fixed' in different sites within Berlin. Many of these are displayed with very little information about their original location or the fact that they have been 'fixed'; the pieces on display in the Potsdamer Platz are sited to look as though they always stood there, however they must have been moved and the street beneath them has been repaved.
|detail from quick, slow (2010)|
All in all, well worth the trip to Bristol!