The term site-specific can be described in two different ways. Artwork made for a site for a particular reason, idea or event (eg some public art; Maya Lin’s most famous memorial: The Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial). Or artwork made in response to a site, engaged art that references the place it’s made in and has been made because of the place. Work in an environment often refers to this interpretation, by asking artist to take into account the landscape, locality, terrain, local and or historical community, artwork made as a direct response or relationship through the artworks form, material or concept. Whatever we put in a place has a chance to mingle with the place. Another key purpose to site-specific art rests in its ability to widen the audiences, offer an experience outside of the gallery context to spontaneously reach a mixed audience. Ephemeral in nature the art made for a site owes its presence in alliance to the site, once removed or displaced from site the meaning and work is altered. Gillian McIver says “The artist and the work becomes part of the collective memory of the site……”
The viewer is required to make an effort to engage in a very real association between the place and the artwork for their own interpretation of place.
On a personal level when I engage in a place something else happens. Imagine thinking and acting in a semi-natural setting for the intent of looking, observations that often, after first glance remain different. Time allows other senses to engage, the small, the overlooked, the smell, the sounds the light contribute to the thinking, wonder about place and the ideas intent. The time is fundamental here, the sitting quietly on site …..Ideas take on meaning because of the site and about the place you find yourself in. Art is not always easy, the terrain is not always smooth …..some do not make the journey to view the work ….. the ephemerality of the work may mean its only existence is now a photograph, however small remnants may remain onsite. For me the fragments of moss spores pecked by birds from my work remain and flourish on the site today, forever linking my recollection with place. See also Dr Tamsin Kerr article regarding site specific practice of Corrie’s installation ‘wherever you go there you are!’ for SOTE 2015 https://gathering4moss.wordpress.com
Corrie Wright www.corriewright.com.au