concept urban situations scale interventions research arte/cidade - zona leste
r. smithson


r. smithson


R. Smithson works:

Negative Map of Passaic, 1967
Map for Double Nonsite, 1968
Mer de Canada, 1967
A nonsite, Franklin, New Jersey, 1968


Passaic, by Robert Smithson, is a documentary narrative, in the form of photographic essay, on this area of New Jersey, NY. It reminds the travel narratives, with its factual old monuments descriptions, but inverting its picturesque sensitivity. It makes a tour through this landscape to portray it as devastated by industrialization and urban growth. A world without past, converted into a geologic conformation in collapse.
The expeditions could have for objective the selection of sites for future interventions, but they were essentially the basis of a complex cartographic operation, that Smithson called "nonsites". The areas covered by these itineraries are characterized by suburban and industrial horizontal extension, without any urban centrality. A landscape in transition marked by monotony.

He collected land samples and rocks, adding photographs, cartographic drawings and maps that, displayed in galleries, configure the nonsite of those sites. An approach that deals with the convergence of geologic and topographical information. Cartographic drawings that use maps, cut and removed of the context and transformed into new compositions.

The nonsite device serves to establish a strategy to approach so complex and disfigured situations that is impossible to focus in some aspect, to portray in an articulated mode. The nonsite operates as framing device, as parameter, while the site stays at the margin, where the sense of distance and limits is lost.

The site/nonsite relation serves to guide the observer to a highly complex situation, that cannot be equated by registers. It accumulates information and levels of meaning until the point where possible sense emerge. The visited sites are taken more for that they have of dysfunction and spraying, for its discontinuity in relation to the environment, not as landscape. The observer in fact never sees the sites, the perception become schematical and abstract.





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