19th-Century Paris: Out with the Old/In with the New
Travel back to 19th-century Paris from the comfort of your home. Prof. Lauren Weingarden’s lecture recovers the transition from medieval to modern Paris that occurred under Emperor Napoleon III’s reign and his city planner Georges-Eugène Haussmann. This urban renewal scheme, dating from 1850s-1870s, was the first of its kind and set the example for urban modernization during the 20th century across the globe. Weingarden tracks this pivotal moment with examples of 19th-century French art, architecture, and literature. From these perspectives, we better understand how “the city of lights” has captured the imaginations of creators, travelers, and trend-setters.
Presented to: The Institute for the Learning in Retirement, Boca Raton, Florida.
Hijacking the Seine: Stephane Thidet’s Detournement (2018)
Stéphane Thidet’s Installation artwork, Détournement (2018), diverts the River Seine into the Consiérgerie, where flows through the monument’s medieval halls along a 200-meter course. Drawn from the riverbed at the Pont-au-Change, the water passes over the quai de l’Horloge to enter the old kitchens from above, cascades into the Salle des Gens d’Armes, and then follows a meandering path to the Salle des Gardes. Here the water is pumped up to a 5.5-meter-high window, and cascades into the moat outside the Consiérgerie and back to the river bed.
In this paper I interrogate the intersection of geographic and historical factors that motivated the artist in order to analyze the multivalent meanings of détournement as both the titular artwork and the critical idiom. First, I survey the historical and topographic trajectories of the Seine and the Conciergerie as two separate tributaries that first converged when the 1910 Flood breached the medieval monument and then peacefully reconverged in Thidet’s Détournement. At this convergence point, I postulate a more subversive meaning of the Installation artwork. Using Guy Debord’s coinage of détournement as an interventionist practice, I translate the word détournement as “hijacking” and track the multiple hijackings that Thidet’s Détournement performs.
“Many thanks for this great lecture. It’s a pleasure to have your point of view and thoughts about this work.” (email: 8/2/2021) – Stéphane Thidet
Presented at the 12th International IAWIS/AIERTI Conference, Water and Sea in Word and Image: 12-16 July 2021.
Naturalizing and Reframing Contemporary Installation Art at Inhotim 2021
I have organized my presentation into 3 parts. Part I reviews the history of Inhotim and its original museum-in-a-garden aesthetic. I call this phase Inhotim’s curatorial aesthetic turn or trope. Part II examines the Installation artworks designed or curated to harmonize or dialogue with nature. In this conference light, I focused on the interaction between art and nature at Inhotim Institute (Brumadinho, MG, Brazil), home to one of the largest museum collections of contemporary art in Brazil, nestled in botanical gardens and a forest preserve.
I have organized my presentation into 3 parts. Part I reviews the history of Inhotim and its original museum-in-a-garden aesthetic. I call this phase Inhotim’s curatorial aesthetic turn or trope. Part II examines the Installation artworks designed or curated to harmonize or dialogue with nature. In conclusion, I offer a critical reflection on Inhotim’s more recent ecological turn, a turn already highlighted in some Installation artworks, but currently celebrated by art critics’ and scholars’ perspectives, Inhotim’s exhibition planning, and its digital platform on Google Arts & Culture.
Keynote Address presented to the 3rd International Text-Sound-Image Colloquium (III Colóquio internacional escrita, som, imagem) held at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais) in Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Octoer 26-29, 2021). The conference theme was “Nature in Focus” (Natureza em Foco).