the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

elizabeth diller on destination nothingness

Posted by rigorousm on December 14, 2014

[ED] I was very interested in how we receive culture spatially: how rules of space were governed, what the inheritances were, and what demanded rethinking. There were issues of privacy and publicness, issues of property and interface. It mattered to me that I would play in real space with real human interaction. It didn’t matter whether it was large or small or how it was funded, or whether it was temporary or permanent. None of that mattered. What mattered were the experiments and the actualness of them– not just theorizing them, but playing them out. A lot of early work was, in fact, temporary and on a credit card, and it was thrown in a New Jersey dumpster afterward. … I felt it was just more fun to make things and really engage the public.

… Another really important project was the Blur Building [a Swiss National Expo platform built atop Lake Neuchatel, Switzerland, in 2002, and intentionally shrouded in artificial fog]. It was the first project in which we started to think hard about audience, something that really never occurred to us before. Most of our following were academics and people interested in art and architecture; we had never really done anything for a broad-based general public. So we began to think about how to do work that could be read on many levels at the same time. We got very involved in this environmental-scale project. It was a turning point for us because it was a really large-scale experiment with technology that challenged the notion of materiality, of inside/outside, of scale.

[DK] Yet it was essentially a display of fog, of nothingness. There was no there there.

[ED] Typically in exposition pavilions, you want to represent nationalism or perhaps technologies, something about the culture. We were really delighted by the idea of making an exposition pavilion where there was nothing to see and nothing to do. It was truly about nothing. That’s one of the themes that actually runs through a lot of our work, this question of what happens when you remove more and more. You’re making something, but what you’re doing is perhaps taking away the conventions of value. So what you have is something that doesn’t seem likes it’s full of value but perhaps is.

— Elizabeth Diller interview with Dave Kim for Surface Nov 2014, pp 126-128.

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