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Concepts Are Mental Images: The Work as Ruin


Images don’t have to be descriptive; they can be concepts, and Deleuze and I often discuss this point. Concepts are mental images.

—Paul Virilio

I am thinking here of a number of divergent works sharing a form of architectural thinking concerned with the potentialities of space. Without suggesting a narrative or illusionary effects, they touch on the virtual by involving everyday material from nearby social and cultural locations in the creation of a moment of suspension—one that can translate into spoken words, installations, staged discourse, drawing, and so forth. In a digital age, this approach to the virtual often assumes an analogue form of expression, for instance by substituting video with camera obscura as a means of not only dealing with the analogue image, but also of using minimal means to construct spaces that are handmade and mechanical.

The interventions of New York-based Ei Arakawa, for instance, symbiotically integrate different forms of art until they become unintelligible. His performances often involve the works of other artists (like those of painters Amy Sillman and Nikolas Gambaroff), which are left to oscillate between changing concepts and situations.[footnote See the performance BYOF (Bring Your Own Flowers), which took place in November 2007 in New York as part of Performa 07, and .

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