Interior Architecture and Environmental Design Department Lecture:
Through a Museum Window: Tacita Dean’s FILM and the Substance of Contemporary Site-Specific Art
Date: 10/04/2018 Tuesday
Time, Place: 13:30, FFB-05
Dr. Ekin Pınar received her Ph.D. from the History of Art department at the University of Pennsylvania. She received her B.Arch. from Middle East Technical University in Architecture and her two M.A’s from University of Pennsylvania in History of Art and Middle East Technical University in History of Art and Architecture, respectively. Her areas of interest include cinematic sites and spaces, site-specific art and film, history and theory of animation, new media environments and spectatorship, expanded cinema, contemporary art, and gender and sexuality studies. She has taught several courses on basic design, history and theory of architecture, film, animation, and contemporary art at the University of Pennsylvania, Franklin and Marshall College, as well as Middle East Technical University.
Tacita Dean’s 11-minute moving image installation titled FILM opened at Tate Modern in the October of 2011. Propelled by the impending obsolescence of the analogue film format in the face of the rise of the digital, Tacita Dean made a “portrait of the film itself” in her 11-minute moving image installation titled FILM. Such self-reflexivity has almost exclusively shaped the existing scholarship on FILM, even though Dean designed the installation specifically for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Yet, without a comprehensive consideration of the profound relationship between Dean’s moving image installation and the architecture as well as the history of Turbine Hall, any attempt to analyze FILM overlooks the broader cultural and historical ramifications of the work. In Through a close visual analysis of both FILM and its exhibition space, I argue that Dean’s work sets up a complex relationship with the Turbine Hall not merely through its scale and positioning, but also, and more profoundly, through its pronounced emphasis on the tension between indexicality and animation. Furthermore, FILM imposes an implicit critique to the museum institution and its politics of spectacle. Unlike other commissioned works of Unilever Series at Turbine Hall such as Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project (2003), Ai Weiwei’s Sunflower Seeds (2010), and Rachel Whiteread’s Embankment (2005), FILM neither perceptually transforms the vast space of the Turbine Hall, nor is it dwarfed by it. Instead, the installation connects to its viewers in intimate, non-spectacular ways that relies on tactility. Focusing on the spatial and institutional politics of FILM, I intend to question the implications and limitations of “site-specificity” in the contemporary art scene while reconsidering the art and museum world’s loosely-defined concepts of “public” and “public space.”