TOPOPHOBIA is an exhibition of contemporary art and a related book and e-publication. Originating at the Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London, January 2012, the exhibition will tour to the Bluecoat, Liverpool, and Spacex, Exeter, during the spring and summer 2012. The fear of place and the manifestation of this in contemporary art is the territory for TOPOPHOBIA. As an anxiety disorder, this phobia is understood as an irrational dread of certain places or situations yet, considered as a cultural phenomenon, topophobia connects us to the existential human question of how each of us finds our place in the world. The artworks and writing have been gathered together for a common thread; in various ways they regard place and space as somehow threatened or threatening. TOPOPHOBIA is a way of interrogating manifestations of spatial anxiety, so to better understand how they contribute to what has recently been termed the ‘culture of fear’. Freedom is the culture of fear’s first casualty. Art offers a mental space of reflection on these places of fear, and an opportunity to consider ways out of the predicaments that ensue.
Although the origin of these fears might be found in places and locations, the technologies of perception that shape our understanding of space and place are also generative of anxiety. Technologies extend the body beyond the usual limits of its senses. Forms of visual representation, simulation and picturing the world, expand the body, as convincingly as any false leg or bionic arm. They supplement the scope of the body, allow it to perceive beyond its natural limits, and transcend the boundaries of vision to see what cannot otherwise be seen, or hear what cannot normally be heard. Yet these techniques of visual and aural representation paradoxically lead to a sensation of lack and disappearance; the hors champ of the camera pan accentuates what is off screen, the night vision of long exposure camera reminds us of the dark, the revealed limbs in a wearable architecture indicate a body otherwise enclosed.
These technologies of disappearance paralyse us; as they extend they also curtail, as they propel us into the multiple, contradictory, distant and proximal locations, they also remove the ground from beneath our feet. The fear of place affects the sense of ones body in place. In this regard, like many of our emotions or feelings, fear connects us to our embodiment, as does aesthetic experience. Encounters with real art works in real space are always in relation to the body, the other works, and the architectural spaces. The curatorial project of TOPOPHOBIA has dealt with the expansion and contraction of space as it occurs between the touring venues and includes a series of entirely newly commissioned works that have been made in direct response to the host venues. The spaces themselves function as devices for viewing, articulating varied modes of spectatorship. These spaces, with their social and architectural mores, provoke a dis/locatedness or dis/placement for the collection of works. The public domain of the art gallery provides a circumstance for being with others in a shared experience of communal space, countering the tendency to the privatisation of experience and political implications of fear, which are too often isolating.
|Other (Artist)||Einhoff, Matthias|
|Other (Artist)||Ferrando Giraut, David|
|Other (Artist)||Helander, Marja|
|Other (Artist)||Kogelsberger, Uta|
|Other (Artist)||Rink, Almut|
|Other (Artist)||Reynolds, Abigail|
|Other (Artist)||Speed, Emily|
|Other (Artist)||Wilson, Louise K|
|Other (Writer)||Albano, Caterina|
|Other (Writer)||Forbes, Leslie|
|Other (Writer)||Trummer, Thomas D|
|Other (Designer)||Kirton, Ken|