University of Tasmania
April_Krause_-_Experiencing_Unbuilding_and_In-Between_Spaces.pdf (3.69 MB)

Experiencing unbuilding and in-between spaces : analysing works by Gordon Matta-Clark, Rachel Whiteread and Michael Arad

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posted on 2023-05-26, 02:55 authored by Krause, AK
Art and architecture have been used to invest politically contentious meaning into practices of urban unbuilding and the creation of in-between spaces. This research seeks to understand examples of such work by critically reading the works of two artists and one architect: Day's End (1975) by Gordon Matta-Clark, House (1993) by Rachel Whiteread and National September 11 Memorial design (opened 2011) by Michael Arad. The investigation aims to deepen scholarly understanding by demonstrating how critical debate can connect art and architectural works and methodologies in sites and geographies of unbuilding and in-between spaces. The methodology used in this investigation is a mixture of fine art analysis, architectural criticism and geographical theory, which reflects my experience in these areas. It seeks to weave together insights from a range of theorists who explore ideas of unbuilding, in-between spaces and embodied experience. It also draws on auto-ethnography and observational ethnographic methods used when doing field work at the National September 11 Memorial and other sites. Of particular importance in such comparative analysis is first the manner in which all three works have responded to sites that are politically contentious, and second the way in which the artists and architect have sought to invest and give meaning to these urban spaces. These acts of making meaning occur differently with each of the works, with the audience interpreting the works in a way that is different to the artist's and architect's initial aims. This contribution to scholarship is significant because it shows how urban life; space and place; ownership and access; and politics can be addressed through works that involve unbuilding and in-between spaces. Day's End, House and the National September 11 Memorial design illustrate how artistic interventions into politically contentious places catalyse public debate about the events embedded in these sites.


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