Participants and Abstracts

Fiona Allen

PhD student, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies, University of Leeds
Ângela Ferreira’s Maison Tropicale: The Aesthetics of Space at the Intersection of Architecture, Sculpture and the Colonial

The subject of this paper is a work by the Portuguese-Mozambican artist Ângela Ferreira that was installed at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Maison Tropicale engages, sculpturally, with the work of architect Jean Prouvé, specifically the prototype structures designed to address the shortage of civic buildings in the French colonies of West Africa. But how might we interpret this gesture? Ferreira’s work not only continued the investigation of the history and cultural legacies of colonialism in Africa, it did so through a critical reframing of the specifically modernist architectural intervention of Prouvé through a decidedly postmodernist sculptural format. Drawing on ideas from Achille Mbembe, Gayatri Spivak and Homi K. Bhabha, this paper will begin by identifying how Ferreira’s work operates within the expanding field of contemporary artistic interventions into and interrogations of territorialised politics, or a politics of space that is being investigated in contemporary cultural theory. Such theory addresses emerging sites of tension that are variously defined as colonisation, settlement and occupation. It will conclude by examining what is it that the expanding forms of transdisciplinary artistic practices can introduce into critical debates through the specificity of the aesthetic as a necessary complement to and indeed mode of expanding knowledge of lived social processes, their changes and contestations in the realm of space and social relations.

Jessa Alston-O'Connor
MA student, Department of Art History, Concordia University
Forgotten Pasts of Place Royale: Institutional Shaping of Public Memory

This essay critically examines the commemorative design of Place Royale as a tourist site in Montreal today, and the difficult and often overlooked histories of this historic square in Old Montreal. Located beside the exact spot where Montreal was believed to have been founded in the mid 1600s, it is a site rich in archaeological history for the city. The Pointe-a-Calliere Museum of Archeology has built its exhibits to highlight the history of this site: exhibits that extend underneath the square itself, and by its use of the old customs house in the center of the square. Thus, the public experience and understanding of this space is heavily mediated by the museum's narrative. But what is really being discussed? What has been remembered and what has been omitted or erased of public understanding of this space? How does the design of the space today serve to shape public understanding of this site’s significance for Montreal and Canada?
The history of the square as the public market square in the 18th century is well documented and celebrated, as are the colonial histories between the Aboriginal population, the Church, and the French and English. However, this space was also the location for the public torture and executions of criminals during the 18th century, which sometimes involved slaves - both black and Aboriginal. Relatively little has been written about slavery in Canada or New France, and these histories disrupt the collective ideals of Canada and Quebec. How are Montreal's historical and tourist sites like Place Royale portrayed or shaped through institutional narratives, and who benefits when controversial histories are overlooked? How can we begin to acknowledge and discuss the difficult histories of sites such as Place Royale? This research questions the layers of history that are still present today, and the ways that past and present collide at Place Royale.

Michelle Bauldic
PhD student, Department of Canadian Studies, Carleton University
Golden Boy: Place and Power in Diana Thorneycoft’s Auditions for Eternal Youth

Using Diana Thorneycroft’s photomontage, Auditions for Eternal Youth (2007), I aim to explore the notions of place, power and identity. The image is a triptych. The central panel contextualizes and provides a narrative to interpret the piece. Looming in the background of the central panel is the Manitoba Legislative Building. Yet the dome is bare – normally perched on top of the dome is the Golden Boy sculpture that has become a prominent symbol of Manitoba. In the foreground of the central panel, popular Canadian icons, including Mounties, several athletes, Captain Canuck and Aboriginal peoples, are lined up for an audition. The flanking panels illustrate individual auditions and outtakes from the event. I argue that the image critiques the monument, popularly referred to as Manitoba’s “Golden Boy,” although the official title of the sculpture by Georges Gardet is Eternal Youth (1918). The absurdity of a casting call and its hopeful participants is layered with dark humour that transgresses normative boundaries and questions the objectiveness of monuments. Indeed, Thorneycroft illustrates a legitimate sphere and icons, but she uses them to project, subvert and resist dominant readings of the site, the people and their meanings. The spatial dynamic of the Legislative grounds is a catalyst for uncovering identities and hegemonic norms because of its physicality, the assigned value of the place and social relations that interact in the space. In my paper, I will discuss cultural geography’s theory of place prior to applying it to the Manitoba Legislative Building. I will argue that the use of the Manitoba Legislative Building and grounds, along with the cast of iconic Manitobans and Canadians, in the image undermines their entrenched power. Thorneycroft unveils the power of place, monuments and symbols through acts of transgression occurring in Auditions for Eternal Youth.

Phillip Bloom
PhD student, Department of History of Art and Architecture, Harvard University
A Chronotopic Textile of Brick: Space and/as Time in the Xiuding Monastery Pagoda

The usefulness of “space” as an analytical concept in the art historical study of the pagoda—the tower-like architectural structure, ubiquitous throughout East Asia, meant to enshrine relics of historical Buddhist figures for veneration in the present—is undeniable. Pagodas invariably provide worshippers access to at least two types of space: on the one hand, an empirical, physical space in which rituals, most often that of circumambulation, might be performed; and on the other hand, a conceptual or imaginary space, whereby the pagoda transports the worshipper to make a virtual pilgrimage of sacred sites in India or even of the entire Buddhist cosmos. These spatial dimensions of the pagoda have been extensively studied by scholars in recent years. Poorly investigated, however, is the inextricable connection between space and time materialized in the pagoda. The Xiuding Monastery pagoda, an under-studied edifice in central China dating to the late eighth century, brings the pagoda’s chronotopic nature—that is, its conflation of space and time into a single, physical place—into sharp focus; for in this tower dedicated to the future buddha Maitreya, which was paired with a tower for the historical buddha Sakyamuni, we find an architectural structure that gives eternal present form to imagined spaces both past and future. In this paper, I first briefly review recent spatial studies of pagodas. I then provide an in-depth case study of the Xiuding Monastery pagoda as a means of arguing for the necessity of a chronotopic approach to the study of pagodas. This leads me to reflect on the applicability of Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the “chronotope” to the study of East Asian art, as well as to reflect on the temporal implications of Michel de Certeau’s distinction between “place” and “space,” concepts fundamental to my approach to art history.

Chris Campe
MA student, Department of Visual and Critical Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
drawing/ queer/ space/

Queer is not a state of being but according to Gavin Brown (2007) it is rather a “relational process”. Just as there are no queer people that embody an essentially queer identity, there are no inherently queer images either. However, as Antke Engel (2009) has shown, the role visual representations play in processes of signification, construction of reality and subjectivation gives them the potential to become socially productive. Engel locates the “social productivity of images” in the interstices between their production, representation and reception.
For this paper I will turn a series of my own drawings into a case study of how notions of space can be useful when asking images to produce queerness. I drew the 24 postcard-sized drawings of the series I can really feel my gender during the Copenhagen queer festival in 2007. They document and archive aspects of the festival, mostly architectural details and body parts, accompanied by fragmented lines of text written into the drawing. There are different kinds of space at work in these drawings: there is an idea of the physical space of the DIY festival, temporarily created by activists for a week each summer. Secondly, a representation of this physical space is suggested by the penciled lines on the plane of the paper. Thirdly, these images not only document the queer festival space, but create a mental space for projection and identification between the fragmented text and the drawn objects, as they do not seem to “go together”. I am interested in how this mental space contributes to the “social productivity of images”. My analysis builds on a rereading of some texts of the anthology “Queers in Space” (Ingram/Bouthillette/Retter, 1997), refers to Gavin Brown’s research on autonomous spaces of radical queer activism (2007) and Antke Engel’s theories on the “social productivity of images” (2009).

Jessica Darveau and Caroline Beaudoin
MA students, Art History, Concordia University
Commodifying the Landscape: Issues of Space, Ownership and Heritage in the Case Study of Mont-Orford National Park

Looking towards Material Culture as a discipline and a method of investigating a particular community or society at a given time, this case study undertakes a qualitative analysis of Mt.-Orford Park’s past, which has ultimately led to its present status as one of Quebec’s most contested and controversial places designated as a natural monument.
There are three key groups which have been identified as players within our discussion as they periodically reanimate the debate surrounding Mt. Orford Park. They are governments, conservationists, and developers. Our research reveals how each one’s discourses are geared towards a rather homogeneous, universal, and either consumer based or preservationist approach. Cultural landscapists advocate, on the other hand, the benefits of adapting a pluralist, diverse, interdisciplinary approach with regard to heritage sites. Robert Melnick (2000), for example, raises two critical questions relative to space and heritage: “how do we find, place, recognize, and protect personal meaning in a landscape?” Secondly, “how do we allow for different meanings in the same landscape?” By excluding either individual or collective interests within heritage discourses the players ignore a wider representative public sphere, narrowing the scope of those who may benefit from the space, eliminating it for others.
The groups’ divergent roles and perspectives occasionally overlap, although up to the present day no mutual point of agreement has convincingly converged. Two fundamental issues of discord fuel the debate regarding the park’s future. Firstly, the park’s vocation has never been unanimously interpreted since its creation in 1938, relative to its official designation as either a national or recreational, thus provincial, park. Secondly the groups have failed to adequately identify or commit to what or who specifically their use of the word “heritage” refers. The ambiguity surrounding Mt. Orford Park’s vocation, compounded by the ambivalent use of the word “heritage,” has obscured the debated issues while erecting undetectable barriers that inhibit consensus. By objectifying space as a natural monument heritage inadvertently becomes a commodity for consumption whereby the landscape or space supersedes the human element; the meaning and traditions valued by inhabitants are secondary to the perceived value of the “property”. In order for the National Park to remain “truly” public in terms of democratic accessibility and monumentality, it must remain a contested space, because, paradoxically, the moment it becomes a consensual space, there will necessarily be a part of the population excluded from its boundaries.

Sheena Ellison
PhD student, Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture, Carleton University
The Re-Production of Space in Colonial and Post-Colonial Landscape

A curious and perhaps ironic parallel can be drawn in North American landscape painting between the traditional works of European settlers during the nineteenth and early twentieth century and those of contemporary First Nations artists. These parallels can be drawn on the basis of at once similar and different desires to reshape land through its visual depiction. Critics such as Alan Trachtenberg describe the intentionality of landscape art as, “deliberate acts of framing a view…not nature as something given but as something simultaneously made and known in the act of perception.” In this way early North American landscape painting and photography sought to capture the land, while contemporary First Nations artists are turning to this tradition in an effort to re-capture the “same” land.
This paper will argue that by highlighting the disjuncture between landscape traditions and the lived experience of indigenous spatiality, new possibilities for envisioning landscape arise. For example, Kent Monkman reproduces landscapes once rendered by Albert Bierstadt and Cornelius Krieghoff, interjecting vignettes into the space, allowing for a reinterpretation of historical events. Another artist, Jeff Thomas highlights contradictions between popular representations of “The Indian” in urban spaces and images of friends and family members. By calling attention to the difference between urban indigenous populations and their representation in the cityscape, the traditional associations between “Indian” and “wilderness” begin to unravel and are opened for novel signification. While traditional landscape paintings depopulate the land in an effort to render it possessable, this paper will investigate how contemporary First Nations artists are repopulating the land in an effort of repossession.

Samuel Gaudreau-Lalande
Candidat à la maîtrise en étude des arts, l'Université du Québec à Montréal
Le regard du IIIe Reich: image et politique spatiale

Les grands espaces vides des plans architecturaux nazis pour Nuremberg et Berlin ont tous la même fonction essentielle : recevoir les masses. Ils ne conviennent qu’aux rassemblements parce que leur échelle écrasante pour l’individu les empêche d’agir à la manière de places publiques. Les corps répétés de la multitude assemblée deviennent indistincts individuellement et acquièrent un caractère architectonique qui, s’il est invisible pour le spectateur ou le participant, est révélé par le photographe perché sur un échafaudage dressé à son attention et dont les images deviennent, par la diffusion médiatique, la véritable mémoire collective de l’événement.
Il est significatif que toutes les photographies de propagande des lieux des congrès à Nuremberg les montrent pleins. Le régime aurait pu vouloir souligner l’importance de la masse en montrant le même lieu tour à tour vide et rempli, mais cela n’est jamais le cas : c’est parce qu’il existe, à notre avis, un lien indissociable unissant les images de foules à l’espace où elles sont prises, les deux se caractérisant tour à tour. L’image est nécessaire à la performance de l’espace et contribue à le produire, constituant par le fait même une partie de sa raison d’être. Chaque visiteur du site des Congrès à Nuremberg superpose mentalement aux ruines actuelles les photographies de foule qu’il en a vues auparavant. La relation n’est pas univoque et l’espace aussi produit l’image. D’abord, évidemment, en lui fournissant son sujet ; mais surtout en l’inscrivant dans un contexte restreint, en faisant d’elle un fragment d’une réalité plus vaste, le hors-champ. Espace extérieur au plan d’expression, celui-ci définit la réception de l’image de manière fondamentale par la marque du fragment. La certitude de la présence de quelque chose qui lui soit extérieur asseoit la prétention de l’image de propagande à la référence au monde et confère à son contenu idéologique une plus grande force de vérité.

M. Jordan Love
PhD student, Department of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University
“On Earth as It Is in Heaven”: The Creation of the Bastide Towns of Southwest France

Seven hundred towns built in 151 years: that is one new town founded every 81 days. The bastide towns of southwestern France—new towns built during the Hundred Years’ War on rural, unsettled land—are the focus of my study, which will look into their design, planning, and the creation of their cultural identity. A bastide town denotes a new town, a town created ex nihilo, and founded between 1222 and 1373 when town building came to an end. The overall design of the towns can be seen as the medieval concept of the “ideal city,” and connections can be made to the spiritual symbolism surrounding medieval ideas of the New Jerusalem. As an art historian, I am primarily concerned with how space is negotiated between marketplace and church, but also between economic enterprise and the idea of the New Jerusalem. To what extent are these towns a reflection of economic and Christian power? How did such towns create in visual terms a civic identity in an environment with no past?
The importance of bastide towns lies in the insight they give into medieval ideals of town planning at a time when most towns were the product of organic development around monasteries, fortresses, or Roman settlements. In the absence of older fortifications, the churches of the bastides became increasingly fortified in design and were built with wide, aisle-less naves, created to accommodate the growing numbers following the mendicant orders, which filled the spiritual vacuum left by the Cathar heresy after the Albigensian Crusade. To what extent were mendicants involved in the design and layout of both the churches and the towns? The austerity of the churches seems to reflect the economy of the town founder but also the simplicity of the mendicants and a wariness of the Secular Church. These very specific design choices give a unique view of the medieval idea of an ideal city in terms of economic freedom, the manufacture of identity, religious influence, and physical form.

Susanne McColeman
PhD student, Department of Art History, Queen’s University
Imaginative Journeys through Space: Pilgrimage and Printmaking in the Renaissance

In the Renaissance, there was a decline in pilgrimages to the Holy Land due to the dangers and difficulties resulting largely from the increasing power of the Turks in the Mediterranean. However, the enormous amount of literature about pilgrimages that was published during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries demonstrates clearly that interest in pilgrimage did not diminish. The deterrents to physically traveling to the Holy Land were not entirely problematic for Renaissance Christians, as the ultimate objective of pilgrimage was understood to be a spiritual journey of the soul drawing closer to God. Therefore, surrogate imaginative journeys could be equally effective and were encouraged by the affective Franciscan mysticism of the period.
Hans Belting has argued in his book Likeness and Presence (1994), that prints were a key vehicle for the increasingly standard devotional practice of contemplative prayer during the Renaissance. He even goes so far as to say that “the acquisition of a devotional image was an act of [religious] duty” (p. 411). In my paper, I plan to explore how printed visual imagery began to facilitate imaginative travel across space as a part of Renaissance meditational practices. Furthermore, I plan to extend my discussion beyond obvious devotional imagery, such as pictures of saints or biblical scenes, to include images that are not traditionally associated with spirituality, such as maps. By looking at a small selection of case studies, I will explore how the Holy Land was depicted, what visual strategies were employed to encourage imaginative travel through the represented space, and what this interior journey meant to the viewer in terms of the spirituality of the period.

Daniel Naud
Candidat à la maîtrise, département de géographie, Université de Montréal
Le cinéma québécois : un synopsis de l’organisation des espaces ruraux, urbains et périurbaine

“[G]eographers cannot continue to ignore such eloquent rivals to their own efforts to know places,” écrit Gillian Rose au sujet du cinéma (1994 : 58), rappelant que l’espace se laisse difficilement saisir dans son intégralité si ses représentations sont mises à l’écart. Ces réflexions amènent à se questionner sur les clivages territoriaux que pourrait révéler le cinéma québécois. Plus précisément, que révèle le cinéma québécois contemporain au sujet de ses espaces ruraux, urbains et périurbains?
Le cinéma étant associé à l'urbanisation québécoise, ses représentations prêtent probablement attention à l'évolution de la ville et de la campagne. Le cinéma est un médiateur considérable dans la transmission d'un savoir sur le monde, notamment dans le processus d’appropriation du territoire. Il s’insère dans un système d’idées et de jugements qui façonne et justifie la connaissance que nous avons des territoires.
Ce projet explore la représentation des espaces urbains, ruraux et périurbains dans le cinéma québécois, afin de contribuer à une meilleure compréhension de la géographie québécoise contemporaine. Situer les discours territoriaux dans leurs contextes d'émergence, souvent complexes, permet de saisir le processus de création du savoir géographique. À terme, ce projet vise 1) une meilleure compréhension de la construction du savoir qui est influencée et influence les pratiques spatiales et 2) le développement d’une méthodologie spécifiquement géographique d'analyse de discours de documents.
La démarche méthodologique retenue se fonde sur l’analyse critique de discours. Elle s’opérationnalise par un corpus de 50 films québécois contemporains, réalisés entre 1980 et 2009, soumis à une grille de lecture pour en extraire le contenu géographique. Par une analyse quantitative, les discours sur les espaces seront relevés et simultanément interprétés avec le contexte historique, afin d’établir et d’expliquer leur correspondance.

Johanna Plant
PhD student, Department of Art, Queen’s University
The Art Gallery of Windsor’s Trip to the Mall: Cultural Values Examined through Changing Spaces

In mid-November of 1993, the Art Gallery of Windsor (AGW) opened its doors in a former furniture store in the Devonshire Mall. Tucked between Zeller’s and The Bay, the AGW made its home in the mall for the next eight years. During that time, the AGW rented its former location, an old brewery on the banks of the Detroit River, to the provincial government as the temporary home of Ontario’s first casino. When the AGW left the mall in 2001, it took with it the $8 million endowment fund that it had amassed and moved into a new, $24-million purpose-built building on the site of the demolished brewery.
The path that took the AGW from one public space to another and back again was controversial. Concerned citizens took to the local paper to both decry the “prostitution of a valuable community asset,” and to call for more galleries to “move from their expensive crypts into the vibrant hearts of shopping centres.” These vehement reactions to the move are the expression of deeply held beliefs about the spaces where art should be exhibited, both in terms of geographical location and in terms of the types of buildings that are appropriate for it. The reactions also point to the complex ethical dilemmas that surround funding the arts through charitable gaming.
In this discussion, I use the reaction to the AGW’s change of space as a vehicle through which to discuss the values attached to the exhibition and funding of art. Rather than considering space as a neutral entity, this discussion will look at how art spaces, and the activities that occur inside them (whether exhibitions or gabling), reflect larger ideas about where and by whom art should be seen, and how it should be funded.

Nicola Sinclair
MA student, Department of Art History, Tyler School of Art, Temple University
Crisis of Space in the City of God? Mansions for the Bishops and Squeezing Holes for the Laity

The space and decoration of Gothic cathedrals were understood as earthly counterparts to the Heavenly Jerusalem. Awe-inspiring in their vastness, they also had human-sized spaces, as if fulfilling Christ’s promise that there were many rooms prepared in his father’s house (John 14:2). Tombs, shrines and chantry chapels established for the dead both reiterated the conceptual space of the cathedral in miniature form and established little dwellings in the Heavenly Jerusalem. Scholars including Paul Binski have characterized this ‘invasion of cathedrals by the dead’ as causing a crisis of space that curtailed and altered the rituals of the living.
This paper reconsiders the notion of a ‘crisis of space’ by examining the rhetoric of space in two tomb structures in Salisbury Cathedral, England (begun 1220): the Shrine of Saint Osmund and the Chantry Chapel of Bishop Audley. These monuments are two very different ‘dwellings’ for the dead that use space as a primary mode of communicating meaning. The problematic location of Bishop Osmund’s tomb in the Trinity Chapel, and the human-sized circular indentations in its sides into which pilgrims could squeeze, indicate that it was understood as a locus for communication between Heaven and Earth. Bishop Audley’s chantry chapel, on the other hand, seems to exclude the multitude of cathedral goers by its luxurious sequestering of space for masses and prayers reserved for Audley’s own salvific end. Despite these differences, and the crises of space they seem to illustrate, I argue that both of these liminal spaces of the tomb and the chantry chapel nevertheless promoted order. Each used space to reaffirm earthly hierarchy as a corollary to that of heaven, and more than that, to bind the living and the dead into one community. Having been built to proclaim Osmund’s and Audley’s aspirational sanctity, the monuments aided the living community by visually mapping out their own possible sanctification in the Heavenly Jerusalem.

Devon Smither
PhD student, Department of Art, University of Toronto
Not Written On By History, Empty as Paper”: Reconsidering the North in N.E. Thing Co.

The title of my paper begins with a line from Sir Francis Reginald Scott’s Laurentian Shield. Scott, like many artists in Canada in the early twentieth century, was working to establish a national identity, and in so doing, employed the vast “empty” wilderness of the pre-Cambrian shield to stand in for such an identity as well as an historical past. Through the production and circulation of stylized, mythic, and heroic artistic representations of the northern landscape, a specific ideological space known as the ‘North’ was developed in Canada in order to solidify land claims and develop a unique national iconography. This paper examines the Arctic projects of the Vancouver-based artistic team of Iain and Ingrid Baxter or N.E. Thing Co (NETCO). Focusing on works such as Sixteen Compass Points (1969) and Territorial Claim (1969), this paper aims to elucidate an understanding of their northern projects as depictions of the interconnection and oscillation between the Arctic as an ideological space, constructed through southern representation, and as a physical haptic space experienced by these artists. Reading these works against Deleuze’s theorization of smooth and striated space, I argue that NETCO foreground the disjuncture between the ideological space of national representations, and the human realities of the Arctic as a physical environment. When engaging NETCO’s works as art objects, the viewer is offered a translation of real embodied experiences mediated into representation, and with this comes the difficulty of disconnecting a sensory experience from the histories and narratives that inform the viewer’s reading. My paper will focus on the multiple, interconnected and contradictory spatial understandings of the Arctic made apparent in the work of NETCO.

Annie Stott
MA student, Department of Art History, Brigham Young University
Social Structure and Identity from within the Roman Domus

Architecture has the profound ability to affect the lives of those who occupy its space, as buildings are not just passing thoughts or trivial containers to the drama of life, but a significant part of life and a factor in how people think and act. Therefore, the spaces within an ancient Roman household had a powerful effect on the way Romans lived, shaping not only individuals but also the society to which they belonged. Households of ancient Rome were intimately connected with the important social and religious rituals of daily Roman life, serving not just as the primary locale for such events, but also the controlling power to which those events conformed. In effect, a careful analysis of not only the physical space created by architectural frameworks, but also the social, religious and gender spaces created within the houses of Pompeii, reveals how the household was an inseparable factor in creating and maintaining social identity, as homes were a means of organizing people into a hierarchal order, both within the household and society at large. Using the House of Menander as a case study, the nature, use and affects of space within the domus brings to light how the paterfamilias, or head of the household, could establish and maintain his identity and importance in the community through the ritual of Salutatio, how the ratio of public and private spaces within the home helped the paterfamilias maintain power, and how the axial orientation of the household, based on the circular templum of Etruscan priests, carefully structured space so as to increase the illusion of the paterfamilias’s power and control. In addition, a look at the way space is divided and used in the Roman domus exposes intriguing information about gender relations and the role and nature of women in Roman society, suggesting that women enjoyed more freedom and power than originally thought.

Courtney Thompson
MA student, Department of Art History, Theory & Criticism, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
The Reception of Rachel Whiteread’s House (1993-1994)

My presentation will address the reception of Rachel Whiteread’s House (1993-1994). There are several historiographies of Whiteread’s sculpture. There was its immediate documentation and debate in the media during the original life of Whiteread’s artwork; the catalog of 1995, published through Phaidon with supplemental essays by theorists; and its online component that remains today on Artangel’s website, which includes excerpts from Whiteread’s video diary of the project. While there is much narrative overlap within the documentation, what is forgotten in the conversation is the politicization of the artwork in its relation to urban development and housing policy in the aftermath of Thatcherism. This thread is woven through the intersection of the historiographies—implicit in essays that discuss the site specificity of House and in Whiteread’s subsequent recollections of the work. It is an issue embedded in discussions of class and culture, yet marginalized under the media frenzy of the Turner Prize, awarded to Whiteread the same year. Her statement in the Sunday Telegraph on October 24, 1993 has virtually been forgotten, “I am making a monument to a house, to a home, but it’s much more generalised; more to do with the state of housing in England; the ludicrous policy of knocking down homes like this and building badly designed tower blocks which themselves have to be knocked down after 20 years.” Seen through her 1996 duo-tone screen print series Demolished—twelve photographs of the demolition process of three council housing towers, the demolition of House resonates not only within Whiteread’s body of work, but within a larger context of failed housing policy and its impact on the landscape of contemporary urban identity. My paper addresses the larger backdrop of the legacy of Thatcher’s housing policy and its undercurrent in Whiteread’s sculpture.

Sarah Wilkinson
MA student, Department of Art History, Concordia University
The Living Monument: A Consideration of the Politics of Indigenous Representation and Historical Public Monuments in Quebec

This presentation will discuss the ways in which current discourses on Indigenous representations are understood in relation to public historical monuments in Quebec. It will focus on how Indigenous peoples have been historically depicted in two Quebec heritage sites: Jacques Cartier Fountain (1893), and La halte dans la forêt (1890) by acclaimed Quebec artist Louis Philippe-Hébert (1850-1917). These historical monuments were connected with a nineteenth-century French Canadian sovereigntist agenda (1850-1948), one that was separate from the politics of New France (1608-1763); one that featured Jacques Cartier as a figure of French Canadian nationalism and include sculptures that deploy the archetype of the noble savage. This is an image that represents male and female Indigenous peoples as contemplative, eroticized figures located in subservient positions to a founding figure. Through discussions with Onondaga/Iroquois artist Jeff Thomas I explore how Native artists can utilize appropriation to challenge the contested nature of monuments, creating visual acts that redefine originally intended meanings, resulting in social change. Drawing from postcolonial scholar Ruth B. Phillips, these acts can be defined as living monuments. This presentation will propose that living monuments offer the possibility of reconciliation between historical monuments, the current politics of Indigenous representation and the politics of inclusion proposed by the Quebec State, concerning its relationship with Indigenous peoples in draft bill O82 Law on Cultural Heritage. Through this discussion, I intend to provide insight into issues surrounding historical public monuments and open a dialogue that aims to offer a more informed basis for the construction of future public monuments that depict Indigenous peoples.

Michelle Wong
MA student in History of Art, Couratuld Institute of Art
Extrapolating Space: Ideology, Politics and Conflict in the Philips Pavilion, Brussels Expo

This paper examines the Philips Pavilion in the 1958 Brussels World Exposition, an instance where the notion of space was negotiated and expanded on multiple levels. Commissioned by the Dutch corporation of Phillips, the Pavilion was conceived by French architect Le Corbusier to be a container for a Gesamtkunstwerk, an Electronic Poem that combined the effects of space, vision, music/sound and light. During its conceptualization and construction, an international team of collaborators joined Le Corbusier, including diverse luminaries such as the architect and composer Iannis Xenakis and the composer Edgard Varèse. In the context of this exceptional project, I argue that the creative process was a metaphysical space where ideas were generated, exchanged, and conducted. The end product was an entirely self-supported, concrete structure, a work that resulted from innovation and experimentation; in turn, the process itself became a conceptual space that embodied the paradox of collaboration and conflict.
Temporality and spatiality became dialectically intertwined in the Philips Pavilion. While the structure’s curved, continuous surface conditioned the acoustic space for the Electronic Poem’s sound component, the space was enacted by the uncanny sounds and human bodies that circulated in it. The walls of the Pavilion also functioned as a panoramic screen for a cinematic work that echoed the ethos of Andre Malraux’s Museum without Walls, a constructed historical space where Le Corbusier offered his architecture as the solution to mankind’s otherwise inevitable, self-inflicted apocalypse.
While many complex notions of space can be extracted from the creation of the Philips Pavilion alone, this paper probes the relationship between the creative project and its historical context: how does one situate the Philips Pavilion and its experiential components in the height of the US-Soviet rivalry, and in post-war Europe where the assertion of pre-war humanism seemed ridiculed by the mass dematerialization of human bodies in Auschwitz and atomic bombings? This paper considers the position that the Philips pavilion occupied in the ideological space of reconstruction culture and Cold War politics.

Anna-Sophia Zingarelli
MA student, Department of Art History, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
“Housecleaning Day”: The Uses of Photography in Interpreting the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906

The earthquake and subsequent fire that ravaged San Francisco in April 1906, has been a defining event in the city’s collective memory. This paper examines how narratives of the disaster were shaped by the production and reproduction of photographic images, arguing that city authorities promoted representations of the event that were consistent with urban planning goals and opposed independent image-making that could undermine their control of the imagination of public space.
In 1904 the city council, eager for the burgeoning San Francisco to be viewed as a mature rival to its Eastern counterparts, commissioned a new plan from famed “White City” architect Daniel Hudson Burnham. Reluctantly abandoned due to financial and logistical concerns, Burnham’s plan would aggressively rethink the existing urban space, displacing immigrants and workers to set a new stage for the city’s desired role as genteel commercial capital of the West. The disaster afforded an opportunity to return to Burnham’s vision, remaking San Francisco in the image of the City Beautiful.
Authorized publications about the event favored a large body of austere images originating in journalism and insurance claims. Focused on the architectural, rather than human, costs of the catastrophe, these photographs enabled city representatives to minimize the earthquake’s toll, recasting the disaster as just one of any number of fires that had afflicted American cities in recent memory. As such, the fire could then be promoted as a natural part of city growth, making space for modernization. The deeply humanistic images of privately motivated photographers such as Edith Irvine and Arnold Genthe, however, reveal the power of the photograph as a site of resistance to this interpretation. The divergence of these two bodies of images indicates that photographs were instrumental in articulating conflicting narratives of the disaster and shaping responses to the public spaces it made and destroyed.