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It has been proposed that this article or section be merged with Site specific art.

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Site-Specific refers to sculpture or any other art which responds/interacts with/is inspired by its surroundings. In part site-specificity in art responds to a greater historical trend which places art in everyday life as opposed to a separate and privileged sphere. Artists producing site-specific works range from people like Robert Smithson, Andy Goldsworthy and Christo to Richard Serra and younger artists like Sarah Sze.

Later revisions and problems with the term

The Exploding Cinema, a UK-based diy film collective defines site specific in their Dictionary of Video Art ( as:

"Locations and environments may have some kind of drama or meaning for ordinary people (eg. a dole [welfare] office) but this has no signigance for the bourgoisie until interpreted by the heightened sensibilities of the artist."

This compaint addresses the fact that the idea of site specificity as an iconoclastic choice to reject the commercialism of the gallery system has become one of the mainstays of the established duchampian school of commercial, contemporary international artists.

The re-presentation of sites of trauma, neglect or mealancholy can be seen as part of the cultural process of 'regeneration'. The aesthetic sensibilities of the artist make the sites, and the subjects they purport to represent depoliticised and therefore acceptable for cultural scrutiny.

A good recent example of this process is British artist Jeremy Deller's 'The Battle of Orgreave' (2003), a site-specific re-enactment of the clash between picketing miners of the NUM and riot police outside the BSC coking plant at Orgreave, South Yorkshire, on 18 June 1984. Filmed by Mike Figgis and Channel 4, this became a startlingly graphic documentary about the historical events and their social context. Many of the 'actors' had actually participated in the original riots as police or as rioters. Deller's representation is well meant, and by involving the miners who had initially participated in the strike, he does alleviate some of the familiar problems of 'high culture' representations of working-class people and realities. However, the market reality is always in evidence. Press and documentation of the event refers to it as 'Jeremy Deller's The Battle of Orgreave', and in Art Angel publicity he is credited as having 'conceived' the idea. Of course this is standard practice in the naming of authored material, and without Deller's idea and cultural caché the film would not have been made. However, the naming of the project as art, the standard assignation of an author, and the contexts in which it is marketed and distributed are problematic. Deller's position as conceptual author and the marketing of the film through art and media channels privileges his position over the participants', despite his objections. In the 'high culture' context of the art gallery this film becomes a commodity from which he gains notoriety and financial reward, whereas the participants were volunteering, so the process inevitably commodifies the experiences, the stories and representations of the ex-miners. This film can be seen as the first stage in the 'heritagization' of the Miner's strike; not that the strike was not a significant event before Deller's film, but this representation of it was engineered by an outside interest, and used to generate and enrich a market that is completely independent of Orgreave and the people whose experiences are represented.

This is the crux of the Exploding Cinema's point about site specific art - it manages to alienate the representation of some part of everyday life, or history from its previous inhabitants, by drawing it into the privileged sphere of art, rather than the other way round as was originally intended.

In music, sound sculpture is often site-specific.


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