On the mediation of affect: art or the institution? (abstract)

September 5, 2011

This essay explores the nature of the art institution in terms of context and neutrality and specifically examines its role in the mediation of affect between the work of art and its audience.

The text is framed around the role of The Dia Art Foundation, in both mediating affect and in its explicit control of context in three works by artist Walter De Maria. These works, both commissioned and maintained by the foundation are the New York earth room, the lightning field and the vertical earth kilometer.

In examining the possible encounters with these works, the essay will establish the formation of affect according to the Spinoza/Deleuze lineage of affective discourse; expand upon the concept of heterotopias as described by Michel Foucault; will reference the seminal White Cube essays of Brian O’Doherty to question the myth of neutrality in the art gallery and museum; and will explore the nature of both art and architecture as produced outside of the terms of commercial gain, as a product of Georges Battaile’s accursed share.

The essay concludes by looking beyond questions of site specificity and context in a work of art but to speculate on their relationship in the joint creation of artwork and affect specific architectures.

Kim Bridgland

One Response to “On the mediation of affect: art or the institution? (abstract)”


  1. Kim, I think you might have too many theorists with their theories than you will be able to use in an essay of 3000 words. It could be that the heterotopias is only mentioned in passing, and I don;t know whether there is any space for Bataille here? Unless he can support Deleuze-Spinoza on the question of affect?
    You have not mentioned that all these works are off site, unsettling some of the assumptions we make about the space of the art museum?
    You may need a little more focus, but it is looking promising.


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